A simples guide

What insurance do I need if I'm going to travel for a year?

If you’re off on an adventure, make sure you’re covered for it – there’s nothing worse than realising you’re not insured for that lost suitcase when you’re staring mournfully at the baggage carousel. But if you’re heading off for a year or more, standard travel insurance policies will not cut it, so what exactly do you need to make sure your travels stay first class?

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Can I get long term travel insurance?

Yes – you can. But exactly what type of insurance you need will depend on what type of travelling you’re doing. An annual policy will cover you for 12 months, but it’s designed to provide insurance for several short trips and you’ll find policies will stipulate a maximum trip length usually of around 31 days at a time.

If you’re travelling continuously for a year, then you’ll probably want to investigate what’s known as backpacker travel insurance. With this, you’ll get cover for your continuous jolly around the world for up to 18 months or even two years depending on the policy you go for.

backpacker

What specific things should I look out for if I’m travelling for a year?

As ageist as it sounds, some policies may have lower or upper age restrictions so it’s always important to check this before you decide to buy. You should also think about the countries you’ll be visiting and make sure your insurance covers all of them – even if you’re just passing through.

Consider what you’ll be doing while you’re away. If you think you might need to sub your travels with some bar work or fruit picking, then make sure your policy will cover you for this – some policies will rule out any manual work but you might want to clarify what’s considered ‘manual’.

If you’re going to participate in any ‘risky’ sports (and isn’t that what travelling’s all about) such as bungee jumping, cliff diving or kayaking then make sure you either take out additional sports cover or that your policy already includes it otherwise you might not be covered while you take part in those activities.

Also bear in mind that you might get homesick and decide to come home for a bit to give your family a hug (or do your laundry). So it’s worth looking for a policy that lets you have at least one trip home during your travels – how long that visit home lasts will depend on your provider’s policy. Surprisingly, some policies don’t allow for you to do this.

What does a good travel insurance policy look like?

Any insurance policy should be geared around you and what you’re planning to do, but as a general rule, a decent standard policy will cover you for:

• Medical expenses – this one’s the biggie. Always make sure you have more than adequate health cover – if you’re travelling for a year then chances are you might need it at some point. Medical care can be expensive when you’re abroad especially if you end up having to use private hospitals. Make sure you’re also covered for emergency flights back home.

• Cancellation/curtailment – a year can be a long time away but life still goes on. If you find that you need to come back home for an insured reason, make sure this is part of your policy; it should allow you to return home and claim back what you’ve missed out on.

• Missed departure – if you’ve not even arrived at your destination then you should be able to claim compensation – reasons for missed trips could be due to strike action, bad weather or mechanical breakdown. Check that this is included in your policy if this is important for you.

• Baggage cover – nobody wants to be the last one at the baggage carousel thinking ‘where’s mine’ but it does happen, so make sure you’ve got enough cover to replace all your things.

It’s worth paying special attention to what your policy states about ‘valuables’ and ‘gadgets’ such as your tablet, smartphone or camera. They may not come under ‘belongings’ and there may be an upper limit on how much you can claim back if they’re pinched or damaged – don’t assume your expensive tech will automatically be covered.

• Personal liability – even if you’re not usually accident prone, accidents do happen. So if you find yourself at the receiving end of blame then you’ll want to be sure that you’re covered for any damages you might need to pay out for.

One last word of advice is to check the excess on your policy – some policies charge an excess for every different claim you make, rather than there just being one excess for the whole policy, so make sure you check the small print.

Great deal, best price

If you’re looking for choice and value, then look no further. We love a good comparison and want to help you find the best deal we have at a price your wallet won’t crumble at. So, before you pack your toothbrush, make sure you’ve got your travel insurance sorted you really need to have cover in place as soon as you book your trip – it’s your paddle just in case you find yourself up that creek.

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