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Long stay, Gap Year and Backpacker Travel Insurance Top Ten Tips

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Emergency Medical Expenses

Most Gap Year/Long Stay Travel Insurance covers Emergency Medical Expenses, getting home (Repatriation) and ambulance costs.  The Foreign Commonwealth Office cannot help you in emergency medical situations.

Tip 1 - This is the most important cover, don’t leave home without it, it can cost £100,000’s in extreme circumstances.

Medical Conditions

What if you have a medical condition(s)

Tip 2 - Don’t be frightened in telling the Insurance Company.  Most of the time they will agree to cover this, sometimes they may ask for extra premium, but at least you know you are covered.  If you don’t tell them, any claim relating to that condition may not be paid, or in some cases any unrelated claim may not be paid.

Cancellation – by you

If you can’t go on your trip at the last minute because you are sick or injured, insurance will pay for your flight and any other cost that you may not get back from the Tour Organiser etc.

Tip 3 - Check the amount insured (sums Insured) is enough, some Gap Year trips can cost a lot more than the amount Travel Insurance policies provide.  If your trip costs more, ask the Insurer if the sums insured can be extended or look around.

Cancellation – by Airline or Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO)

If your airline goes bust or the FCO has recommended not to travel to the destination you have booked, some travel insurance polices will cover these cancellations, many won’t.

Tip 4 - Check the policy you buy does, this is very important in the current climate. You must have booked direct, not through an agent.

Personal Liability

What happens if you swing round and accidently knock someone into the road, they are hit by a passing car and badly injured? - you can get sued.  Travel insurance will pay for the amount they sue (if successful) plus legal costs.

Tip 5 - Get a policy that does not exclude you accidently injuring a travelling companion (it can happen)and also covers trip accommodation.

Working, Volunteering or Studying on your travels

If you are injured at work people seem to think the employer will pay. They won’t, unless it was their fault. You will have to prove this which can take years.

Tip 6 - Buy a Gap Year insurance that covers working and watch the small print as some will cover working but not if being paid, and some will only cover certain types of working.

Sports and Activities

Most Gap Year and Backpacker Insurance policies have a lengthy list of sports and activities, the problem is second guessing what you are going to do.

Tip 7Many Insurances provide grouped activities, if that is the case pick the highest grouping that you think you might do or choose a Gap Year Policy that covers all unplanned (not booked before leaving home) sports and activities.

Kit – all your stuff

Some of the cheaper policies do not cover your personal belongings/effects, which is fine if that’s your choice. If you are not taking much with you and the value is low that’s probably a good choice.

Tip 8Take a look at everything you are taking with you and check that the policy you buy covers them (if you want them covered).  Be aware that many policies won’t cover iPods, camera’s, laptops etc.

When to buy

You can buy Travel Insurance any time before you leave on your travels.

Tip 9It is more beneficial to buy insurance just after you book your travels, so that you are covered if you have to cancel (see tip 3).

Insurance Documents

Once you have purchased your insurance you must keep the documents somewhere safe and accessible.

Tip 10 - Take two copies, leave one at home and take one with you. You can also scan into an internet document safe or your e-mail account, so you can access it over the internet, just in case you lose the paper copy.

Family Annual Policy

So your family says don’t worry we’ve got an annual multi-trip (AMT) travel insurance that covers all of us.

Tip Plus one! - for parents. Annual Multi Trip policies are for short trips, and are normally for up to 31 days on any one trip only.  Also to be considered a child under an AMT policy usually must be under 18 or under 21 and in full time education.   

Also they may not provide the cover necessary for gap year or backpacker activities, like volunteering, working or studying.


Mind The Gap Year provide a specialist travel insurance policy for those travelling and studying overseas.

Do click here for a quick online quote.

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Written by Guest Blogger


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