We are going to be in NZ very soon for 2 months and are considering whether to buy or rent a car while we are there. At the moment we think that buying one would be the best option. We fly into Auckland and have got some info on the auction houses so it shouldn´t be too much of a problem to get one.
I just have one question though about insurance and tax (if required) for the car while we are there. I assume it`s very easy to sort but just wanted some info on good insurance companies and how to go about it.
We then go to Australia and plan to do the same thing so if anyone has advice on both that would be great but NZ is the priority at the moment.
Many thanks in advance
For 2 months, I doubt if it is more economical to buy a car. You can get good deals on rentals, you don't have to spend valuable time on the buying an selling process (and usually, travellers get stuck when it comes to selling), you don't have to spend valuable time when the car you bought needs repairs and usually the rental will be a better vehicle than what you will buy.
But I do know for some people buying a car is part of what they would like to experience, so in case this is what you go for, you should know that in NZ, if your car is registered you are insured by ACC for body damages, so it is not compulsory to have any other insurance. However, I think it is not wise to not have at least third party insurance, as cost of repairs is very high. You can check BBH website (http://www.bbh.co.nz/motor_insurance) which offers third party insurance for travellers. This is the only good option I know of for travellers (you can imagine insurance companies are not very thrilled to insure travellers).
Because you come early in the season you might be lucky to sell again to newcomers in summer! But rental cars are also reasonable for long-term periods. I would at least look at the cars and try to buy one, the registration and vehicle testing process in NZ is so quick and easy.
We once had our car insured with AMI (online quote), also the AA offers insurance. consumer.org.nz gives some general tips about choosing insurance. Here is some more overview information about buying a car in New Zealand etc.
You might find it cheaper to buy if you're staying 2 months. Rentals are high. Cars have to be run through the govt WOF station before you can register them. They check for safety. If you do decide to buy, you might try a car fair. I've bought cars and also a movan. The Kiwis are easy to deal with. Very honest. I don't know if I'd be that comfortable buying a vehicle in the US. With the economy like it is, you might find a good buy on an older vehicle. The GST is high, so that will add up your price no matter what you choose. I've had good luck with AA. I have towing insurance with AAA in the US and they're reciprocal companies. If you have AA insurance in your country, you might check with them. You'll also get good free maps of the back roads from AA.
I haven't bought a van or car for two years, but you might check for a dealer with a buy back plan. There were RV dealers who guaranteed a a certain buy back price. Just get online and ask.
Another thing to consider: some rentals want you to switch cars if you're traveling between islands. Not particularly a problem, just something to think about.
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NZ-- there are some very resonable hire car companies, insurance is included in the price. The cheaper companies seem to allow you to take car on the ferry, this will cost for the car and occupants. Also you have to check if there is a free for pick up one location and drop off in another.
Australia- Hiring cars more expensive here. There are well established backpacker vehicle purchase/sale locations in perth & sydney. However you have to build in extra time to sit around until you sell your car.
On an insurance note, our travel insurance included car hire insurance.