Gap year travel insurance is one of those things that nobody ever wants to have to use, but at the same time it is something that nobody can afford to risk being without.
This is especially true for people who intend to travel abroad, so this section provides tips on choosing a travel insurance policy which will provide all the cover you need without breaking the bank.
What will you be doing, where are you travelling and for how long
Most travel insurance quotes will be based on these questions, so have the answers. If you are travelling within Europe then it is likely that you will get a cheaper travel insurance quote, if you are travelling worldwide then your quote will be more expensive. Similarly, if you are a sporty type intent on skiing, rock climbing or other extreme activities, cover whilst you are doing these things will be additional. Finally it is likely that you will be wanting more than just a few weeks cover, so look for cheap annual travel insurance or specialist gap year and backpacker insurance.
Watch that budget! Existing insurers may offer a cheap or discount rate
Contact your existing insurers to see if they provide gap year travel insurance or worldwide backpacker insurance. If you have any other type of insurance policy that you are happy with, contact your provider and ask if they also offer travel insurance. Many companies offering one kind of policy (such as motor or home insurance) offer other types, and because you are an existing customer you may receive a good discount.
Check the small print of any travel insurance policy
Know what the travel insurance for gap year policy covers. This involves looking through the small print of the travel insurance policy before buying it, and asking yourself the following questions: 1) Will the Europe or worldwide travel insurance policy cover you for the entire duration of your gap year? 2) Will the travel insurance policy cover you in every country you intend to visit? 3) Will the travel insurance policy cover the cost of potentially very expensive medical treatment in the case of sickness or accident? 4) Will the travel insurance policy cover stolen possessions? 5) Will the travel insurance policy cover the cost of you being transported back to your home country should you become incapacitated? 6) Will the travel insurance policy cover missed flights or cancelled accommodation due to sickness or ill health? If the answer to every one of these questions isn’t positive, you need to look for another policy.
Extreme activity may not be covered
Be aware of extreme exceptions in gap year or backpacker travel insurance policies. If you intend to participate in anything that could be considered an “extreme sport” or “dangerous activity” whilst on your gap year (this usually includes things like bungee jumping, skiing or mountain climbing) then you will probably have to take out additional cover. Check with your travel insurance provider rather than assuming you will be covered no matter what you get up to.
Shop around for bargain travel insurance
Shop around for cheap European or Worldwide annual travel insurance. The travel insurance industry is hugely competitive, so you should never buy the first suitable travel insurance policy you find. We suggest getting quotes on similar gap year or backpacker travel insurance policies from at least three companies (including any existing insurance companies you use) so that you get an idea of the kind of value you are getting.
Know how to make a claim
Know how to claim on your gap year travel insurance. As we said earlier, none of us want to have to actually use our travel insurance policy, but it is important that you know how to make a claim should the need arise. Familiarise yourself with the travel insurance claims procedure of the company you use before starting out.
Take copies of your travel insurance policy with you
Take the details of your gap year travel insurance policy with you. It’s no good having a perfectly good insurance policy in your home country if you will need to refer to it abroad. Take whatever evidence of travel insurance you need with you so that you have it handy should the need arise. It is usually a good idea to photocopy your main travel insurance policy document and to pack this with your passport and visa, but check with the instructions provided by your provider to confirm exactly what you should be taking on your trip.
See the Gapwork Insurance section for travel insurance companies who can help you.