Travel insurance is one of the most important things you need to remember when planning for your gap year. Travelling is unpredictable, especially if you are going to be away for a long period of time. Although you have to be sensible when travelling you also don’t want to be worrying all the time about things getting stolen, activities you can and can’t do and costs of potential accidents or cancellations, so you need to make sure you’ve got the right insurance policy.
Here are a number of things to look out for when booking travel insurance.
1) Make sure you get insurance that covers you for the destinations you’re going to.
Many policies only cover Europe or North America and Canada. It’s best to try to get worldwide cover, that way if your travel plans change you’ll still be covered.
2) Get a policy that covers you for an extended length of time.
Many travel insurance providers will only cover you on trips that last around 30 days or less. If you’re planning on going away for a few months or even the whole year then you need to ensure that your policy will cover you for the entire time you are away.
3) Ensure sure your policy covers you for activities and sports.
Many travel insurance policies and providers will not cover you for any sports or activities you undertake on your gap year, deeming them extreme sports. Sometimes even something like horse riding can be called an extreme sport, so check the policy carefully and decide what activities you are likely to do while away.
4) If you’re backpacking make sure you get a policy that covers backpackers.
OK this one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to hear that may travellers don’t. Many companies consider backpacking to be a separate activity with its own risks involved, so the insurance you need will be different than if you are going abroad to learn and language or to work in a summer camp.
5) Don’t forget to cover the full amount of your valuables.
Most insurance policies have a £300 limit on single items. If you’re taking a big digital camera, laptop or smart phone with you, then these items may cost more than the limit and therefore won’t be covered. We don’t advise you to take all these items, but if you must take your good digital camera with you to get that once in a lifetime photo opportunity, then you may need to take out an extra insurance policy to cover it.
6) Make sure your get a policy that will cover any potential medical costs.
OK so most travel insurance policies will cover some sort of medical costs, but you need to make sure that it will be enough. Many hospitals around the world charge a lot for medical attention, for example, hospitals in the USA can cost up to $10,000 per day.
7) Check the excess.
Many insurance policies will make you pay an excess amount if you need to make a claim, which may cost you around £50 to £100. Often the cheaper the policy the higher the amount of excess you will have to pay. Make sure that you don’t have to pay more excess than the cost of the item itself.
8) If you’re planning to come home part way through your gap year make sure your insurance will cover you once you go back to travelling again.
Many policies will become void if you touch back in the UK at anytime during your trip, say for Christmas, so get insurance that will cover you for multiple trips.
9) Lastly, make sure you buy your travel insurance when you book your trip, not a few days before you leave.
This way if you need to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances you may be able to get your money back.
Getting good travel insurance will mean that you are covered should something happen when you’re away and will also mean that you won’t have to worry so much while you’re away and can concentrate on enjoying the experience.