Travellers urged to pick travel insurance well

Gap year travellers, backpackers and long-term travellers are being urged to take care when picking a travel insurance policy as terms – including whether quick trips home are permitted – vary widely from policy to policy.

An analysis of over 200 gap year policies by a travel insurance comparison site has found a wide variation in the duration of the trip covered.

The policies vary significantly – half of the policies available allow travellers to return to the UK for a short time period for example, a wedding, Christmas or family emergency, while for the other half of policies, any return to home turf would automatically invalidate the policy.

Travel insurance policy lengths vary from 31 days to 2 years and most policies taken out are multi-trip policies that last the entire year or more. 31% of policies cover travellers for a single year and only 12% cover holidaymakers for 360 days or less.

Policy terms, conditions and exclusions vary from policy to policy, so it’s important to take the time not only to read-up on all the places you want to visit during your travels, but to go through the policy small print to make sure you don’t do anything which could invalidate your cover.

Extended travel policies, like backpacker and longstay cover, typically provide cover for a range of  sporting activities as standard. If you’re after a more adrenaline-fuelled trip, you’ll probably need to upgrade your policy or add on optional extensions to ensure you are covered for the more risky stuff like cage-diving or sky-diving. Insurance companies tend to make a distinction between you taking part in a hazardous sport once on your time away and it being the main purpose of your holiday. Make sure you read your policy wording too – some policies may only cover activities such as a safari, hot air ballooning or scuba diving if it was organised from the UK.

If you intend to volunteer or work abroad, terms and conditions relating to the nature of the work allowed may vary from policy to policy, so make sure you check and shop around when looking for the right insurance. Once you’ve found the right policy for your trip, don’t forget to take the policy documents and the important numbers with you. In case of an emergency, it’s also sensible to leave a photocopy of the policy with your family or friends.

Insurancewith travel insurance ensures you not only for possessions, cancellation and curtailment, bur also includes cover for medical expenses up for £10,000,000. This is particularly important if you’re planning long-term or multi-trip travel throughout the year and need to be covered should anything happen. With our backpacker and longstay policies, you have the option to return home for two non-consecutive periods of up to 21 days – something which is rare amongst travel insurers, as confirmed above.

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