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Backpacker travel insurance - sometimes called long-stay, extended trip or gap-year insurance - covers you for a continuous trip lasting between two and 18 months.
It’s useful for those travelling to multiple countries or if you’re going away for a long time.
You can buy backpacker insurance for individuals, couples, families and groups.
Your backpacker policy should cover:
Yes. For example, the US has higher medical fees than most places in Europe.
Insurers cater for this by selling policies suitable for different parts of the globe - so the cost of worldwide travel insurance that includes America would be higher than for European-only cover.
Your backpacker insurance will be priced according to where you plan to go and your own personal circumstances:
You must declare pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer. This will increase the cost of your cover as there’s a higher risk you’ll need treatment abroad.
As you get older, the cost of your travel insurance will rise, as you’re more likely to have medical conditions or need treatment while you’re away.
If you need to take any valuable possessions with you, like a camera or laptop, your travel insurance will cost a little more, as it takes into account the added cost of replacing your expensive item(s) if they’re damaged, lost or stolen.
Your travel insurance will cost more if you need a policy with lots of adventurous sports, watersports or winter sports included.
If you’re going to be doing something especially risky that isn’t included as standard, you might be able to add it on for an extra fee.
The longer you’re away, the higher the possibility of you needing to make a claim, so you’ll have to pay more for backpacker insurance than you might for single trip insurance for a week’s break, for example.
Here are a few things that could mean any travel insurance claims you make will be rejected:
You won’t be covered if you ignore the advice of official bodies like the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and World Health Organisation (WHO)
If it’s found out your judgement was impaired by drink or drugs, your claim will be rejected. Check your policy wording - some policies will have specific alcohol limits, but others will only state you must not drink excessively
If you intentionally cause harm to yourself or others, participate in illegal acts or behave recklessly (unless to save a human life), you won’t be covered for any claims as a result
If your belongings are left unattended or unsecured and they’re stolen, you won’t be able to make a claim
You need to be as accurate as possible when applying for backpackers’ travel insurance. Your insurer could refuse to pay out if you’ve given them the wrong information or withheld details which could affect your claim
You won’t be able to claim if you aren’t enjoying your trip and want to end it early
If you’re backpacking in Europe, your insurer won’t pay for treatment that’s covered by your European Health Insurance (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance (GHIC) card.
Make sure you take your insurance policy number and your insurer’s emergency contact details on your trip.
If you’re claiming for stolen items or baggage, you’ll need to have informed the local police within 24 hours of the incident and got a crime reference number to give to your insurer.
For medical treatment claims, get in touch with your insurer as soon as you (or someone on your behalf) are able.
Preferably, you should let your insurer know before you accept any medical treatment, but in an emergency this isn’t always possible.
For smaller claims you’ll usually have to pay for things upfront and then reclaim the cost from your insurer when you get home, so get receipts for everything relating to your claim, including medical treatment, medication or replacement clothes.