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Everything you need to know about owning a car in NZ

Thinking about buying a car or campervan in New Zealand or have you already bought one? Let's get you on the road with all you need to know about owning a car in New Zealand!

The search has probably cost you some time and effort, but you've almost reached your goal - happily driving off in your new vehicle!

Below are some important things to remember before and after signing a sales contract (sales contracts are usually only set up with dealers).

Sales contract for buying a car in New Zealand

Warrant of Fitness (WoF)

It is a check to see if your vehicle meets the required safety standards, but is by no means a pre-purchase inspection! Make sure you don’t buy a vehicle with only a few weeks left before the next inspection is due.

  • Every 6 months for vehicles first registered 1999 or earlier

  • Annually for vehicles first registered 2000 or later

  • You can get the WoF issued in many garages, but consider doing it at VTNZ, as they are an independent provider, not a garage, and therefore won’t advise unnecessary repairs.


Vehicle licence fee to use public roads (not registration. For registration see transfer of ownership below)

  • To drive a car on public NZ roads, you need current rego. If you are planning on taking the car for a test drive or want to take it home after purchase, make sure it has not expired!

  • To renew the licence visit

Transfer of Ownership

  • Both you and the former owner need fill out the form of ownership transfer immediately after the sale. This can either be done at the local Post Shop, VTNZ, VINZ or AA with the form MR13B (Seller fills out MR13A) or online (online is only possible with a NZ driver licence)

Exploring New Zealand in own campervan or car


In New Zealand you are not legally obliged to have your vehicle insured. However, we strongly recommend you to get at least a third party only insurance, so your trip won’t be ruined, if you accidentally damage another person’s vehicle or property and have to cover expensive repair costs. The insurance can either cover the driver (so you are insured on any car you drive) or the vehicle (the vehicle is insured for multiple drivers with valid licences). Always check the conditions of your insurance to see what’s covered.

Insurance options

  • Third Party only - covers damage towards other people’s vehicle or property only

  • Third Party, Fire & Theft - other vehicles’ damage covered and your vehicle is covered if damaged by fire or stolen

  • Comprehensive - the most expensive option. Damages to other vehicles and your own vehicle are insured

Popular vehicle insurance providers:

Time to explore New Zealand

Now it’s time to take your new vehicle on the road.

If you haven’t driven on the left side of the road before, but have been driving for a while in your home country, you should still inform yourself about driving practices in New Zealand. For example on NZTA's website.

If you are not a confident driver yet, or just want to refresh your skills, take part in a driver training to be perfectly prepared for your road adventures in New Zealand. AA is offering an online programme with some useful tips for your road trip in New Zealand.

Enjoy your time in New Zealand!

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