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Often referred to as gap-year insurance, backpacker travel insurance is a popular choice for individuals planning to go away for an extended period of time, usually spanning over several countries, in the same trip.
This insurance policy is often associated with the younger population, however, the proportion of backpackers over the age of 30 has grown over time, from under 5% in 2002 to around 10% by 2017. With that in mind, most insurers now offer this policy to travellers between the ages of 18 and 65.
Whether you’re looking to discover the charms of Southeast Asia, road-trip across the USA, or hop from one culture to another in South America, getting the right insurance for your trip will provide you with peace of mind so you can get on with discovering the world!
Backpacking holidays are often associated with higher risk. It could be due to lack of travel experience, being young and vulnerable, or simply being in an unfamiliar place or country. Each insurance provider will have different policy factors, but it’s important to check that they have the following as standard for backpacker insurance.
Some countries, such as the USA, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, have notoriously expensive medical charges. It is important that, should you fall ill or suffer an injury whilst away, you are covered for up to £1m, otherwise you could face some nasty bills.
If for any reason, you need to cut your trip short or cancel it before departing the UK, this will cover you for any financial losses and expenses you may incur in the process. It’s also worth checking if your provider covers End Supplier Failure - this relates to a hotel or flight company going out of business that might affect your journey.
Should you miss your flight due to an unforeseen circumstance that was out of your control, this will cover you with any expenses incurred when changing your travel itinerary. It is important to note that if you miss a flight due to your own negligence, then insurers will most likely reject your claim.
Whether you’re a budding photographer or a sports enthusiast, it’s important to make sure you have cover for all your worldly goods. Losing your luggage on any trip is stressful but on a backpacking trip, can cause a lot of stress - so make sure you have cover for all your items and their value.
It is likely that your policy will cover you for a range of activities including white water rafting, scuba diving and bungee jumping, but it’s worth checking the small print to be aware of what you are covered for. If you are planning on doing winter sports then it might be worth getting additional cover for activities such as skiing and snowboarding.
If you are involved in an incident that injures or damages a third party, then it is important to have personal liability cover should you need to pay out for medical bills or repairs.
You may want to conquer the world, but there are a number of countries and territories which The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) deem currently unsafe for travel. If you travel to a country on the FCO's list, your cover is likely to be invalid.
It is important to note that certain travel restrictions remain in place due to COVID-19 - check out the FCO's current travel advice for more.
Don’t wander off and leave your possessions unattended, as you run the risk of having them stolen and your claim being rejected due to your own negligence.
While you might attend a full-moon party and travel down the rainbow road, it’s important to remember that if you need to claim for an event whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is very likely that your claim could be rejected.
Travelling with a pre-existing medical condition is possible, but you must declare it with your insurer when you book. If you need to claim for an illness whilst you’re away but your insurer isn’t aware of your pre-existing condition, you run the risk of it being rejected.
Backpacker insurance usually provides cover for an 18-month period, which is the longest of all travel insurance policies. Allowing you to travel the world in your own time and have a proper break. Some insurers will allow you to extend this period - so double check when you’re booking a policy.
Most insurers will offer backpackers insurance for people aged 65 and under, so if you’re looking to go on an extended trip and you’re 65+, you might want to shop around. For older travellers, you can sometimes opt for a 100-day upgrade on regular travel insurance policies - so double check when you’re booking a policy.
With any insurance, backpacker insurance is not a legal requirement, however it is highly recommended if you are travelling to places you are unfamiliar to. Especially as a backpacker, you are considered higher risk to normal travellers.
A backpacking holiday is a trip that takes a more flexible route than a standard week away in Spain with the kids. Meaning you are more likely to be staying in cheaper accommodation such as hostels over hotels, these are higher-risk places to stay due to their capacity and less secure sleeping arrangements.
Alongside this, you are more likely to be travelling via public transport meaning you and your belongings are exposed to higher risk throughout the length of your trip.
A backpacker travel insurance policy will insure you for as long as you're away – and some may even let you temporarily return to the UK to visit friends or family, or deal with an emergency.
The majority of single trip travel insurance policies limit cover to 31 days before you have to return home. Plenty of policies do extend insurance to 60 days, however, for most backpackers that won't nearly be enough, so it’s important to look at other options such as backpacker insurance.
Going away for less than 60 days? You might find single trip insurance to be a better fit.
If, in the unfortunate event, that you need to claim whilst on your trip, there are a few things to keep in mind to make it as painless as possible. Also, be sure to keep a copy of your policy documents on you, either online or as a paper copy.
If you were the victim of a crime, some insurers may require you to tell the police and get a report within 24 hours in order to cover your claim.
Most insurers should have a 24/7 contact number so you can make a claim as soon as possible – in some cases there may be a deadline of 31 days for it to be accepted. Keep this information handy just in case you need it.
Insurers are likely to request evidence to support your claim, such as a police report, medical forms from a hospital or GP, or receipts to prove ownership of items which may have been lost or stolen.
Some insurance providers might try offering £10m for medical cover, or provide cover for additional activities as standard - make sure you only select the cover you need.
By comparing insurance quotes at Quidco Compare, you can save money and find cheap backpacker travel insurance policies that suit your travel requirements, you could get up to *£33 cashback, too.
By comparing different policies and insurance companies, Quidco can provide access to cheap backpacker travel insurance quotes with up to *£33 in cashback. Simply work out the type of cover you need for your trip, then use the comparison tool to get instant quotes and find the ideal backpacker travel insurance.
Non-essential and international travel is not currently permitted before 17th May 2021 at the earliest (dates subject to further confirmation from the government).
Unfortunately, if advice from the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) warns against non-essential travel to your destination when your trip starts, you won’t be covered if you still go away or decide to cancel for this reason. It is important to make sure you check the latest FCDO guidance before you travel.
*Based on a couple aged 30 with no pre-existing medical conditions, taking annual multi-trip cover for Europe. Cover starts on 4th March 2022 and ends on 3rd March 2023. Prices correct as of 3rd March 2022.
If you're struggling to find suitable cover, the Money and Pension Service (MaPs) also provides a list of specialist insurers on the MaPs directory website – or you can call the British Insurance Brokers Association on 0370 950 1790. https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/everyday-money/insurance/travel-insurance-directory