Gap year and backpacker insurance

Ten tips for top travel

1. Once you step outside the UK, healthcare costs escalate. In some countries, you may not get treated if you don’t have insurance. Don’t leave home without it.

2. Don’t rely on standard policies which may limit cover to a short period. You need specialist backpacker or gap year insurance that runs for longer.

3. How much the insurer pays out for theft is capped. The baggage allowance may seem generous but it doesn’t include cameras, mobile phones or laptops. These are ‘valuables’ which might have a smaller limit. Check you’ve enough cover or leave the tech at home.

4. Find a policy that allows you a quick visit home or an unscheduled stop-off if needed.

5. Planning on bungee-jumping or white-water rafting? Make sure you’re covered for dangerous sports.

6. If you’re already ill before your trip (called pre-existing conditions) and you don’t tell the insurance company, they might not pay up if the worst happens while you’re away.

7. Party with care. If you’re off your head and you hurt yourself, see above. And if your cash is stolen from your sunbed while you’re swimming, you’ll have a battle to get paid out. Insurers expect you to look after your stuff at all times.

8. Get an EHIC card if you’re going to Europe so you can get public medical treatment in most European countries for low or no cost. Remember that this is not a replacement for travel insurance and may only last until the UK leaves the EU. The card is free so don’t buy it from rogue websites which charge.

9. It’s simple to buy the insurance online. Use a comparison website such as MoneySuperMarket*. Enter your details and the dates/location of your trip and the site highlights the best policy from its panel of insurers. Prices vary depending on your age, destination and length of travel.

10. Take the documents with you and leave a copy with family or friends back home. You could also keep a photo of the policy number and insurer’s contact details on your phone.


More stuff:

  • To find the best policy in the whole market, go to Defaqto and click on travel insurance.
  • Get useful pointers at GoCompare
  • See more travel tips from Moneywise


Last updated 7 January 2019.