Student gap year insurance

 If you’re looking for good-value gap year travel insurance, then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you should know before your backpacking adventure begins.

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What is gap year insurance?

Also known as backpacker insurance, this type of policy is geared towards travelling for long periods of time – usually 12 months but sometimes up to 18 months. In contrast, although annual (or multi-trip) policies are valid for a year, the number of days you can be away for are limited per trip (usually 30 to 60 days).

Gap year cover will also let you travel to multiple countries, so you don’t need to worry about taking out a new policy every time you cross an international border.

What should I look for in backpacker insurance?

All good travel insurance policies contain similar features, regardless of whether they’re specifically aimed at students or otherwise. Look for:

  • Medical expenses A good policy will mean you could be covered for medical treatment and emergency flights back home (repatriation). If you’re heading off to Europe, make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which will give you the same healthcare as locals and can be used in conjunction with your travel insurance policy.
  • Cancellation and curtailment Make sure your policy covers the cost of your trip, in the event of it being cancelled or curtailed (cut short). Insurance providers will differ on what they consider as valid reasons for paying out should you make a claim, so double check that you’re happy with the conditions set out in the small print. You should also make sure that you’re protected if your holiday provider goes bust.
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  • Delays and missed departures This could ensure you’re compensated for any expenses if your flight is delayed due to an insured event, such as strike action. It’s also worth checking that you’re covered for missed departures, as providers tend to be very specific about what counts as a good reason.
  • Personal liability This may cover the cost of any damage or injury you unwittingly cause while you’re away.
  • Lost luggage Most policies will cover the cost of replacing any lost or stolen baggage, but make sure that the cover amount is enough to replace everything you’re taking with you on your travels.

What else is important?

Policies will differ according to insurance provider, so if something’s important to you then check that it’s included. Consider:

  • Extreme sports Some backpacker policies provide cover as standard for extreme sports such as kayaking, white water rafting and rock climbing, but if you know you’re going to be doing something specific, like bungee jumping, then check you’re covered.
  • Return visits home If you think you might get homesick or need to come back for a family event, such as a wedding, then look for policies that let you return to the UK and then go abroad again. If you think you might need this feature, don’t assume it’s always included as standard – make sure you check the policy details.
  • Working abroad Some policies will cover you for illness or injury sustained while working abroad, but they don’t always cover manual labour, so read your policy carefully if you intend to work while travelling.
  • Age limits If you’re a mature student or you’ve taken a sabbatical, then be aware that some backpacker policies have age conditions and you won’t be able to buy certain policies if you’re over a specified age. If that’s the case, look for policies that will cover you, whatever your age. 
  • Check the countries covered Not all backpacker policies cover you for travel to the USA, the Caribbean or Canada. You may end up having to pay a slightly higher premium if you’re visiting any of these countries.

Can I get gap year insurance with a pre-existing condition?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you should always tell your insurance provider. A medical condition doesn’t mean you won’t find cover, it just means that your premium may cost you a little more.

There are plenty of insurance providers that cover a range of conditions and illnesses – from diabetes through to arthritis. Always be honest, or you could invalidate your entire policy.

Top tips for travellers

If you do decide to go away for the adventure of a lifetime, then here are a few top tips to keep you safe and sound:

  • Find out if you need a visa and make the necessary arrangements to get one if you do.
  • Check with your GP whether you need any vaccinations. If you do, make sure you get an appointment in plenty of time before you travel.
  • Ensure you have enough money to fund your trip.
  • Look at whether the Foreign Office cautions against travel to any of the regions you’re planning to visit. If you do visit a country or an area with restrictions or warnings in place, you could invalidate your insurance.
  • Give yourself time to get your bearings and book your accommodation for at least the early part of the trip before you leave.
  • Behave yourself! Insurance providers take a dim view of incidents that occur because you were affected by drink and drugs and are highly unlikely to pay out for any claims made. The authorities in some countries can also be very severe if you commit a drug-related offence.
  • Know the local customs and respect them.
  • If English isn’t widely spoken where you’re going, then think about whether you can get by with what you know of the local language. Alternatively, stock up on phrasebooks.

Why compare student gap year insurance?

Finding a policy that’s right for you can be daunting and, while price is an important factor, don’t assume that cheap is always the best option. You need to choose a policy that works for you based on where you’re going, what you’re doing and how long for. And that’s where we can help, as you can compare travel insurance with us taking all that into account. Start your travel insurance quote with us, today.

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