Published by Joe Davine on
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How to get backpacker travel insurance

If you’re off on an extended trip, gap year, or adventure, then a backpacker travel insurance policy will ensure you’re covered for anything that could go wrong. We’ll take you through everything you need to know right here to make sure you have the right level of cover.

What is backpacker travel insurance?

Backpacker insurance is a form of travel insurance designed to provide cover for extended trips across a variety of countries. Other policies will commonly have short limits on the length of time you can travel for, and which countries you are able to go to. If you’re going on a long trip where you’re likely to be moving around a lot, whether you’re taking a gap year or just going to explore the world, then backpacker travel insurance is exactly what you need.

By getting insurance designed for backpacking it is also easier to find cover included for a whole range of activities such as bungee jumping or white water rafting. With other forms of travel insurance, these sorts of activities usually have to be added as an extra.

What does it cover?

Backpacker insurance typically covers more than other forms of travel insurance. When you’re travelling you don’t always know exactly what you’ll be doing next, or where you might decide to go. This is why insurance for backpackers covers extended trips, travel in a large number of countries, and often insures you for extreme activities as standard.

A backpacker travel insurance policy will commonly include cover for:

  • Medial treatment
  • Extra activities and extreme sports (such as white water rafting)
  • Extended travel
  • Cancellations
  • Legal fees
  • Cover for your valuables/backpack
  • Working abroad
  • Trips home (in case you need to return for a family emergency)

Are there any exclusions?

As with any insurance policies, there are a few exclusions to bear in mind that may either prevent you from taking out a backpacker policy, or mean that your insurer won’t pay out on a claim. These will be different for each policy, so be sure to read the fine print, but these are the things to watch out for:

  • Age restrictions. To take out backpacker travel insurance you usually need to be at least 18 years old. Insurers will also usually have maximum age limits, which can be as low as 35 years with some providers.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, then you’ll need to check if a policy will cover you. Often it won’t lead to you being denied insurance, but can lead to an increase in the cost of your policy.
  • Lying about medical history. If you have a pre-existing medical condition that you have concealed from your insurer when taking out the policy, they will not pay out for treatment related to that condition.
  • Advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel to a country or region, your insurance will not be valid if you choose to go there. You can check the government’s advice on foreign travel to all countries on their website.
  • Taking part in illegal activity. If you sustain an injury or lose property while in commission of a crime, your insurance will not pay out.
  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you are inebriated and injure yourself on your trip, you won’t be able to make a claim for medical treatment.
  • Loss of unsecured possessions. While backpacker travel insurance will cover you for losing your possessions, a claim may not be valid if you have left them in an unsecured place without supervision.

How long can I travel for, and which countries can I go to?

With backpacker travel insurance you can select the amount of time you want to travel for, and can get coverage for much longer trips than with other travel insurance policies. The most popular option is travelling for more than 90 days, and you can find policies which will cover you for a year or even more.

In terms of where you can travel to during this time, that depends on the type of backpacker travel insurance policy you take out. Insurers usually offer four distinct options:

  • Europe. A European policy will cover you for travel around Europe. This is the cheapest form of backpacker travel insurance.
  • Australia/New Zealand. If you’re travelling around Australia and New Zealand for an extended period of time, this type of backpacker insurance will cover you everywhere.
  • Worldwide (excluding USA and Canada). If you’re visiting a number of continents, but not travelling to North America, then a worldwide policy that excludes the USA and Canada will insure you for your trip.
  • Worldwide (Including USA and Canada). The most comprehensive form of backpacker travel insurance. These policies will cover you wherever you decide to go on your trip.

How much does insurance for backpackers cost?

This will depend on your age, which countries you want to be covered for, and how long the policy will last. For this reason it’s hard to give an accurate one-size-fits-all quote, but in general getting a backpacker policy for European travel will cost in the region of £20 and £30, and cover for countries that are further afield will range between £50 and £100.

The only way to get an accurate figure for how much your backpacker insurance will be is to fill in the details of your trip and get a quote from a trusted broker.

How is backpacker insurance different from regular travel insurance?

The key differences between backpacker insurance and other types of travel insurance are the amount of time you can travel for, the countries you can visit, and coverage for extreme sports and activities.

With other types of travel insurance you are commonly limited to 31 consecutive days of travel, can go to just one or a small number of countries, and cover for sports or activities has to be added as an extra. With backpackers insurance, you can travel for much longer (over a year if you want to), get cover for the entire world, and are typically covered for a range of activities as part of the policy.

Do I need backpacker insurance if I have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

Yes, even if you’re only travelling in Europe you will need travel insurance regardless of if you have a European Health Insurance Card. Your EHIC will only cover you for basic medical care, and offer no financial assistance with repatriation if you need to return home.

Backpacker insurance will give you comprehensive private medical cover, meaning you won’t be faced with any financial problems if you fall ill or get injured on your travels. On top of this, your backpacker insurance policy will cover the cost of any cancellations, lost luggage, or theft or your valuables/money.

What are my other options?

If you’re planning on travelling to multiple countries, then your only other options would be to take out individual travel insurance policies for every country you planned to visit, or to get an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy.

The first of these options would likely be very expensive and cause you a lot of unnecessary hassle. You would also have to provide dates for exactly when you would be in each country on your trip, meaning you would have to plan everything months ahead of time and take away the freedom to explore that comes with a backpacker policy.

Taking out a multi-trip policy is a good option if you’re planning on taking numerous holidays across the course of a year and returning home after each one. Most multi-trip policies have a limit of around 31 consecutive days of travel per trip, so if you’re planning on travelling for months at a time then you’ll want a backpacker travel insurance policy.

Where can I find the best insurance for backpacking?

That’s where we come in. Our reviews of each company’s backpacker insurance policies will help you find the perfect cover for your trip. We’ll take you through the pros and cons of each option so you can focus on having a great adventure without worrying about what you are or are not covered for.

Where can I get a quote now?

Right here. If you want to find a quote right now then simply click below and one of our trusted insurers will help you find a great quote in minutes.