Travel insurance for the Cook Islands
Situated halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, the Cook Islands is a true Pacific paradise steeped in Polynesian history and culture. Travellers are drawn to its fifteen islands for their tropical climate, endless aquatic adventures and pure relaxation.
Family-friendly islands like Rarotonga are guaranteed to keep the kids happy, whether they’re snorkelling in the turquoise lagoons or exploring the Jurassic Park-like jungles.
Couples may want to venture off the beaten path to more far-flung, romantic islands, such as Aitutaki (often called ‘Heaven on Earth’), which is popular with honeymooners.
Whatever your sense of adventure, comprehensive travel insurance for the Cook Islands is the best way to keep you and your family safe. So what should your Cook Islands travel insurance include, what should you know about COVID-19, and how can you stay safe during your escape to paradise?
Things to know about the Cook Islands and COVID-19
Thankfully, the Cook Islands managed to keep the country almost entirely free of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic due to firm restrictions including those on international travel. The country re-opened its borders in January 2022, with some travel requirements.
Cook Island COVID-19 travel requirements for Australians
For up-to-date information on the Cook Islands’ current COVID-19 entry requirements, you can visit the Cook Islands travel website.
Cook Islands travel insurance and COVID-19: What are you covered for?
From missed flights and cancelled events to booking extensions and room relocations, disruptions due to COVID-19 can be frustrating on holiday. So when it comes to your Cook Islands travel insurance, does your policy include cover for COVID-19?
Here are some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and travel insurance:
Do you need travel insurance for the Cook Islands?
The Cook Islands is known to be a safe destination, but there are still incidents of petty crime against tourists, a risk of natural disasters, and health hazards that could put a downer on your trip.
Our travel insurance policy is designed to protect you from these types of unexpected events, so you can focus on enjoying your holiday, knowing we’re with you should anything go wrong.
What should your travel insurance policy for the Cook Islands include?
With a holiday to the Cook Islands providing everything from adventure activities to poolside relaxation, it’s important that you have a travel insurance policy with a wide range of cover benefits. A comprehensive travel insurance policy for the Cook Islands is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the unexpected.
Natural disaster cover in the Cook Islands
Like its Pacific neighbours, the Cook Islands experiences cyclones predominantly from November through to April. Cyclones and severe weather often affect the region, which can cause disruptions for Aussie travellers.
In fact, a flight from Auckland in January 2022 had to be diverted back to New Zealand after being unable to land in Rarotonga. Several of our unlucky travellers have experienced disruptions due to poor weather impacting the Cook Islands, needing to claim for unused accommodation and additional meals.
If you’re planning to visit Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, particularly over the summer months, it’s important to consider a travel insurance policy that offers cover for natural disasters like cyclones and travel disruptions due to poor weather.
Our International Comprehensive natural disaster cover
If your prepaid travel arrangements (such as flights, accommodation and excursions) need to be changed or cancelled because of an unexpected natural disaster in the Cook Islands, and your insurance started before the event occurred, our International Comprehensive policy can offer cover if you need to cancel or change the dates of your prepaid travel plans.
If you’re stuck overseas for more than 12 hours because your flight has been delayed or cancelled due to an unexpected event, we can offer cover for the cost of any additional equivalent expense type, including scheduled transport and accommodation and living expenses incurred while you are waiting to return home.
If your insurance started after the natural disaster has occurred, you won’t be covered for any alteration costs incurred as a result of the natural disaster, such as cancelling or changing your original flight. However, our International Comprehensive policy can still offer cover for other unexpected events in accordance with your policy, such as having your personal belongings stolen or injuring yourself overseas.
Medical and hospital cover
Our International Comprehensive policies offer unlimited cover for medical treatment and evacuation, and our Emergency Assistance team are also available 24/7. Remember that medical facilities in the Cook Islands are not always up to the same standard as in Australia. Travellers should take special care when visiting the Outer Islands like Manuae, Takutea, Manihiki, Penrhyn and Rakahanga. While they offer a true sense of untouched beauty, their healthcare facilities are often limited to the basic healthcare offered by resorts.
Does my insurance cover adventure sports in the Cook Islands?
The Cook Islands is all about adventure, which is why our international policies offer cover for many adventure activities.
However, our policy doesn’t cover you for certain activities, like kitesurfing. For other activities like parasailing, you are only covered if you participate with a licensed operator. If you’re scuba diving in the Cook Islands, it’s essential that you hold an open water diving certificate or are diving with a qualified instructor.
Activities which are excluded under our policies can be found under General Exclusions in the relevant policy document.
Is there cover for lost, stolen and damaged valuables
While the Cook Islands is a safe and welcoming destination for Kiwi travellers, your travel insurance should protect your valuables from loss, theft and damage. Whether it’s a stolen phone or a GoPro lost on the reef, our International Comprehensive policy offers cover for your lost, stolen, or damaged personal items resulting from an unexpected event.
Travel insurance for cancellations and delays in the Cook Islands
Cancellations and delays are an unfortunate reality of travelling, which is why our International Comprehensive policy offers cover for changes to your journey before and after you leave.
For example, if your trip to the Cook Islands is cancelled or changed due to an unexpected event before you depart Australia, your policy offers cover for cancellations fees and prepaid travel costs.
If the unexpected happens during your holiday in the Cook Islands, your policy offers cover for transport, accommodation, meals, activities and tour costs if you cannot reach your next destination on time, or if you need to cut your trip short and return to Australia.
Travel insurance that features quality cover for cancellations and delays, including cover for COVID-19, has never been more important.
Cover for rental vehicles like mopeds and scooters
Mopeds and motorbikes are some of the most popular ways to get around the Cook Islands, with a round-trip of Rarotonga taking a little over an hour. However, they’re also some of our most common claims from the country, which is why your travel insurance should include cover for when you’re driving or a passenger on a moped or scooter. Our International Comprehensive policy offers an additional add-on for mopeds and motorbikes if you require cover for your trip.
With International Comprehensive, we also offer cover for rental vehicle excess, up to $10,000 if your moped or motorbike is stolen or damaged.
Staying safe in the Cook Islands
No one likes to think about what could go wrong when planning their dream holiday, but reading up about local risks is a good way to ensure your trip goes smoothly. Before you visit the Cook Islands, familiarise yourself with the following safety information:
Crime and pickpockets
Although the crime rate is low on the Cook Islands, thieves sometimes target tourists, especially at the beach, so never leave your personal belongings out of sight.
Insects and illness
Take plenty of insect repellent and you may want to book accommodation that has a mosquito net over the bed as there are some insect-borne diseases, such as dengue fever. If you’re pregnant, discuss your travel plans with your doctor as the Cook Islands has reported cases of Zika virus.
Food safety in the Cook Islands
Like any destination, there’s always a chance you might fall ill with food poising in the Cook Islands. If you’re eating from the resort buffet, you should use your best judgement to avoid contaminated food. To avoid food poisoning, remember to:
- Eat fresh and well-cooked food
- Avoid hot meals that have gone cold, and cold meals that have gone warm
- Ensure you use clean and dry serving utensils
- Avoid buffets without screen guards protecting the food from other guests.
- Stick to bottled or boiled water
There are a few local laws to be aware of on the Cook Islands:
- If you're driving, monitor your alcohol intake and remember the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers and motorcyclists is 0.08.
- The Cook Islands' standards of dress and behaviour are modest, especially outside the resort areas, so cover up to avoid causing offence.
Cook Islands travel insurance exclusions
Our International policies provide comprehensive and medical-only travel insurance option, however no travel insurance offers cover for everything. It’s important to remember what your Cook Islands travel insurance may not include, like:
Cover for pre-existing medical conditions (PECs)
Pre-existing medical conditions (PECs) aren’t automatically covered under travel insurance, however, they can be added as extras when buying your policy.
At SCTI, we have a list of PECs that you must declare when organising your travel insurance, and a few definitions that you should be aware of if you’re travelling with health conditions. Find out what you need to do to seek cover for your PECs.
If you’d like some advice on how your pre-existing conditions might affect your Cook Islands travel insurance, please don’t hesitate to email us at any time or connect with one of our insurance experts on 1800 196 484.
Other Cook Islands travel insurance exclusions
Pre-existing medical conditions aren’t the only thing that may not be covered under your Cook Islands travel insurance. You won’t be covered if:
- You’re participating in adventure activities with an unlicensed tour operator, such as diving or parasailing.
- You’re riding a moped or motorbike and you haven’t added this as an extra on your travel insurance policy.
- You’re sailing more than 22.2 kilometres (12 nautical miles) from populated land.
- A natural event occurred before the start date of your insurance and causes disruptions to your travel plans.
How much does travel insurance for the Cook Islands cost?
The price of your Cook Islands travel insurance will depend on several factors, including:
- Your age
- How many people are on the policy
- How long you’re travelling for
- Whether you’re visiting other countries as well as the Cook Islands
- Whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions
- Whether you have any high-value items to add to your policy
- Whether you add cover for moped or motorbike riding.
What’s the best travel insurance for The Cook Islands?
The Cook Islands is regarded as a safe destination for all kinds of travellers, including solo adventurers, families and everyone in between. However, it’s important to get a travel insurance policy that will keep you and your belongings safe.
The best travel insurance for the Cook Islands should provide comprehensive protection for things like:
- Medical emergencies
- Lost, stolen and damaged valuables
- Natural disasters
- Cancellations and changes to your trip
- Rental vehicle excess.
What you need to know
This page includes some information about our products but, as with all insurance policies, terms and conditions apply. For our terms and conditions (including information about exclusions, excesses and sub limits) we recommend you read the relevant Financial Services Guide (FSG), Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) to ensure our travel insurance products are right for you.