If you’ve just finished your studies, or are taking a career break for an extended holiday, gap year travel insurance is the right kind of cover for your trip.
It's different to annual travel insurance because it provides cover for a longer period of time, usually 12 months. With an annual policy there’s a cap on the number of days you can be away each time, usually 30-60 days.
There’s also additional cover, designed to cover the activities and type of travel that you’ll be doing.
You’ll sometimes hear gap year insurance called ‘backpackers travel insurance’ - it’s the same thing. But all policies are different, regardless of what they’re called, so check the insurance you’re getting is the right cover for you before you buy.
A gap year policy covers everything you’d expect from a standard travel insurance policy, like cancellation and delays, medical expenses, repatriation and lost or stolen luggage. Here’s where it differs:
Because they’re geared towards younger travellers, some gap year policies set a maximum age limit - it can be as young as 35.
There are policies with higher age limits, but you’ll need to check policy docs or give the insurer a call to be sure. If you’re under 18 you’ll need to check too.
Most insurers will cover you for one year, but others can cover longer durations, like 18 or 24 months.
Always check that your policy fits the length of your trip, plus some buffer in case you decide to stay for longer.
Stop-over cover means that if, for example, you stop off in Singapore on the way to Australia, you’re covered in Singapore too.
With this cover in place, you can explore more of the word en route to your end destination.
Some gap year policies cover you if you decide to come back to the UK before heading back on your travels.
If you’re planning on coming home for Christmas, or a wedding, check that UK return is included in your policy.
Some policies will cover you if you decide to work abroad as part of your gap year.
Double check your policy - manual labour might not be covered, but voluntary work usually is.
Gap year insurance usually covers a broader range of activities compared to a standard travel insurance policy - check your policy to make sure any planned activities are listed. You can get optional cover for activities like scuba diving, skiing or bungee jumping.
Make sure you’re up to date on vaccinations. You won’t be covered if you get ill when it could’ve been prevented with a vaccination
Do your homework on the countries you’re travelling to before you head off. Check the Gov.uk website for more information and search by country
Check the medical cover small print of your policy. Most insurers won’t cover you if your incident is alcohol or drug related
Get your gap year insurance in place as soon as you book your trip, so you’re covered for cancellation too
Check your policy for restricted countries and exclusion clauses
If your insurer has a 24-hour helpline, keep a note of this number - it’s handy if you’re travelling alone or for the first time