I'm planning a holiday to the Queenstown area in New Zealand, in July.

The plan is to arrive in at Christchurch airport, pick up a rental car and drive to Queenstown and spend about a week driving around the area.

What I'm wondering about, is the quite plausible scenario that the weather is bad, and the roads are closed, and what the best way to mitigate scenario is, such that I'm not left out of pocket. ie. the worst case scenario is that I arrive in Christchurch, have hotels and activities booked in Queenstown, but can't make it there because of a closed road.

I have a credit card with complimentary travel insurance, but its terms are quite vague:

you arranged travel is cancelled or delayed by the carrier because of unexpected:

  • weather conditions

Where 'the carrier' isn't defined, but presumably that refers to an airline, or possibly a bus provider, but presumably not a rental car or a government authority closing the roads.

What is the best to mitigate this kind of problem?

  • Is there a particular kind of travel insurance that will cover this kind of scenario?
  • Just buy refundable accommodation?
  • What if I bought a bus ticket as well, making the trip eligible for the travel insurance?

I imagine that this is quite a common problem - so am wondering what the typical way people deal with it is.

  • Is the driving from Christchurch to Queenstown an important part of the holiday? You could always just fly to Queenstown otherwise. Mar 28, 2019 at 12:12
  • 1
    @MichaelHampton - In retrospect, that might have been the better move. But the tickets are already booked. Though, part of the trip is Lake Tekapo which is closer to Christchruch than Queenstown.
    – dwjohnston
    Mar 30, 2019 at 4:37
  • Looking into it a bit more, I'm not really sure why you're particularly worried. If there is a snowstorm, roads might be closed, but it won't be for long as they'll be cleared quickly, and the weather at lower elevations rarely allows for snow to remain on the ground for very long. You might ask the rental company about snow chains, but I suspect even if there is a snowstorm you'll only have to wait a few hours. Mar 30, 2019 at 4:52
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    @MichaelHampton - In New Zealand, if there is a lot of snow, they close the roads.
    – dwjohnston
    Mar 30, 2019 at 5:37
  • Indeed? You might lose a day then. Maybe I'm a bit more cavalier due to having experience driving in snow and when not to do. If the roads aren't closed and it doesn't look too bad (more than 10cm or so) I would probably go. If you don't, you might want to be a lot more conservative. Mar 30, 2019 at 5:40

1 Answer 1


Why don't you ask the insurance company? If I were you I would be more worried with the rental company providing a car without snow tires..

In addition, road closures can occur but, if it is just snow, are often quickly resolved. So I would not worry too much. It is also difficult to prove to the Insurance that road has been closed. For flights etc. this is simply as you will always have an email from the airline.

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