You’ve booked your around the world flights and you’re starting to plan your gap year but before you start packing your bags it’s important to make sure you have insurance in case something goes wrong.
Travel insurance will protect you if anything happens, from you becoming too ill travel to your travel company going bust, and it’s important to buy a policy as soon as you’ve booked any travel or accommodation.
As you’re going away for a longer period, standard insurance won’t cover you, and here we’ve outlined the main things to look out for in a gap year policy, and how to avoid getting ripped off.
You can’t rely on standard insurance
If you’re going away for an extended period of time, usually 60 days or more, you’ll need a specialist policy and you can’t use your standard travel insurance.
These policies are different because they will cover a wide-range of countries and activities, whereas your normal policy is designed for short breaks throughout the year.
Avoid taking too many expensive items
As you may only have one bag, your luggage will already be limited, so try to avoid taking too many expensive items.
Some policies will dictate that valuables are kept in a safe place - such as a locker or in a secure reception - which may not be possible in all places, such as if you’re camping or in a hostel. Buy a good lock for your bag and make copies of important documents, such as your passport and any visas you’ve had to buy, and keep electronic copies of these.
If the worse happens and you do lose something, or it’s damaged or stolen, make sure you get a police report, as you’ll need one in order to make an insurance claim.
Not all countries or activities will be covered
Before you set off on a tubing trip in Thailand or agree to a bungee jump in New Zealand check your policy document as many extreme sports won’t be covered as standard.
There may also be restrictions, such as wearing a helmet if you’re hiring a moped, and if you’re not adhering to these and there is an accident - your policy could be invalidated.
Similarly, some countries may be deemed too dangerous to travel to and they won’t be covered by any insurance policy. If you’re away for an extended period of time it’s worth checking the Foreign Office website to make sure the countries you’re travelling to are still deemed as safe to travel to.
As things can change very quickly, if you do travel to a country which the Foreign Office has advised not to go to, your travel insurance policy could be invalidated.
Cut the cost of your policy
Don’t buy the first policy see, it’s important to find one that will cover you for your trip but also one that won’t break the bank.
Unlike with standard travel insurance, you’re probably not going to find many gap year policies on a comparison website. Therefore you may need to approach a specialist insurer, such as Allianz or World First.
If you’re really struggling to find affordable cover, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association can help you find a policy and they have a free service for this.