So your backpack is packed. You’ve got your flights sorted. You’re about to set off to discover the world… But have you thought about your travel insurance?
We all know that when you’re planning your year out, of all the things to consider, insurance might not be at the top of your list. But it’s worth considering to help to you overcome any setbacks while you’re away.
Imagine if you get injured while you’re trekking through the rainforest, or you become ill when trying that local delicacy? Backpackers’ insurance can cover medical bills to help you get back on your feet and enjoying your trip again. Don’t want to be out of pocket if anything happens to your belongings? Your backpackers’ insurance could have you covered.
Gemma Sonfield, our Head of Travel, says,“It’s important to arrange comprehensive cover and ensure you’re protected in every country you visit. Travellers might assume that they are covered under an annual policy, but a holiday over 30 days often requires additional protection and policies can vary in terms of excesses, exclusions and premiums.”
Fear not, travel insurance doesn’t need to be a long and boring process – we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve put together our top tips of things to consider while you’re off exploring the world.
Time limitations: around half (52%) of backpacker policies provide cover for one trip that lasts up to about 18 months, which should cover most backpacker trips. But, almost one in three (30%) limit travel to 12 months – which might not be enough if you’re planning something big. Also bear in mind that whilst many (74%) policies will allow you to fly back for an emergency or special occasion (like a wedding or if someone was ill) some won’t, so watch out in case there are limits on how long you can stay at home.
Maximum medical cover: on a trip like this, it’s a good idea to have the most comprehensive medical cover available. While it’s easy to be tempted by cheaper policies, don’t forget to check whether they come with higher excesses to offset the low price. It could mean that you have to pay out more if you’re ill while you’re abroad so make sure you think about whether you’d have the spare cash if you did need to claim. The vast majority (82%) of backpacker insurance policies cover medical expenses of £3 million or more and all policies offer repatriation services, so you can be brought back to the UK if needed, as well as emergency assistance. And before you go, make sure you get all of the vaccinations and medication that are recommended for the countries you’re visiting. They should help keep you safe and you could invalidate your insurance if you catch a tropical disease and haven’t followed the country guidance.
Transport nightmares: missing a flight can be a traveller’s worst nightmare. It’s costly and inconvenient and unfortunately very few policies provide cover for missed flights or stopover times. 45% don’t cover missed travel connections and 38% will not pay out for missed departures. If you’re lucky enough that your policy does cover missed flights, you’ll still need to get confirmation from the appropriate authority for the reason you missed it as well as how long you were delayed to be able to make a claim.
Natural disasters: you might have picked places of amazing natural beauty for your trip. But if the scenery comes with a high chance of volcanoes, earthquakes, floods or landslides, make sure your insurance covers any potential disruption. Nearly half of backpacker insurance policies (47%) offer no cover for departure delay due to natural disaster, but just over a third (35%) offer cover of £1,000 or more.
Highway to the danger zone: overall, backpacker policies cover travel in Europe or worldwide, either including or excluding the USA. But before you buy, check that all of the countries you plan to visit are included. Places that are experiencing political unrest or that the Foreign Office advise against travelling to are unlikely to be covered in your policy so bear it in mind when planning your trip.
Extreme sports: when you’re away, you want to make the most of every second. But while you’re desperate to try new things, your insurer might not be so keen. High risk activities like sky-diving, shark diving, swimming with dolphins and even banana boating are unlikely to be covered as standard but most policies (91%) include an option to cover additional sports so you don’t have to miss out. Check carefully to see if you need to let your insurer know you’ll be doing any of these things before you leave.
Save those pennies: you might think that because your policy includes baggage insurance that means all of your belongings will be covered. However, not all providers include electronic items such as smart phones under this section. Just check what your insurer classes as a “valuable” object before you assume you’re fully covered. 52%of policies only cover valuables worth up to £250 and only one in 10 policies offer cover for valuables of £400 or more so if you’re planning on taking anything worth that much, look into whether they can be protected separately under a home insurance policy.
Start with insurance: we know that the fun of planning a big trip like this doesn’t normally include buying your travel insurance. But it’s worth ticking this off your prep list early as it will cover you if you can’t go on holiday due to unforeseeable circumstances. Cancellation cover pays for any prepaid travel or accommodation expenses if you have to cancel or cut your trip short. Just make sure you check the limits on your policy as very few policies (18%) cover the cost of cancellation of £5,000 or more.
We know there’s probably quite a lot to take in, but preparation is key when you’re planning the trip of a lifetime. We want you to be able to make the most of your trip, knowing that you’re covered for some of the mishaps that might occur. You can compare backpacker insurance now and make sure you’re covered for your amazing adventure.