Backpacker Travel Insurance

Backpacker Travel Insurance Guide

There are nearly 100 specialist backpacker travel insurance polices to choose from, read our Backpacker Travel Insurance Guide to help you understand whether this is the right type of insurance for you and your family

Backpacker Travel Insurance

This guide covers:

  • Backpacker Travel Insurance - In Brief
  • Who is Backpacker Travel Insurance for
  • How many trips can you take with Backpacker Travel Insurance
  • Key points about Backpacker Travel Insurance
  • Top Picks for Backpacker Travel Insurance Policies
  • What are Reciprocal Health Agreements
  • Important Considerations about Backpacker Travel Insurance

Backpacker Travel Insurance - In Brief

Backpackers Travel Insurance is aimed at anyone who plans to travel around the world for an extended period of time (normally more than a month). The policy is specifically aimed at younger travellers (normally under the age of 46), who may visit multiple countries, during one extended trip.

Policies are known by several different names including working abroad insurance, year abroad insurance, gap year insurance, student travel insurance, explorer travel insurance, but in essence they are one and the same.

Backpacker Travel Insurance will normally be for up to 12 months, but some Insurers will allow you to extend this up to 18 months – Most travel insurers offer a separate specialist policy, although there are some single trip policies that offer competitive cover and premiums for tips up to twelve months. You can use the search facility below to compare polices, by saving your favourites.

Who is Backpacker Travel Insurance for

Most specialist policies have a maximum age limit of 45, although standard single trip policies don’t. So if you are older and still fancy taking a year out to travel, then you should still be able to find good cover. This policy is best suited for individuals over the age of 18, who want to:-

  • Travel the World
  • Move Abroad for a short period of time (365 days or less)
  • Work Abroad for a short period of time (365 days or less)
  • Study in a Foreign Country

How many trips can you take with Backpacker Travel Insurance

Backpacker Travel Insurance covers you for multiple destinations within the scope of your policy cover (e.g Europe, Worldwide, Worldwide (Excluding USA and Canada) between your leaving and returning the UK. Most Backpacker Travel Insurance Policies allow for up to 365 days travel, however some cover you for longer than this. You can find this information by searching the insurance provider here

Some policies wil allow you to return home once or twice for a short period and you can also check this by following the link above. This may require an additional premium.

Key Points about Backpacker Travel Insurance

  • Backpacker Travel Insurance will allow you to stay in one country, or travel to a whole host of foreign countries, without having to organise a separate policy for each country you travel to.
  • The policy will provide cover if you want to work abroad. Some policies do exclude manual labour (generally defined as work with machinery or above 3m in height), so you need to check the policy details carefully for any occupation exclusions.
  • Some policies have strict alcohol exclusions written into their policy wording. Having a blanket exclusion on claims relating to alcohol is harsh as most people will expect to enjoy a few drinks – However there are companies that provide acceptable alcohol limits in their wording and so if you are worried, it is best to check the policy wording.
  • If you are planning to spend several months abroad, the chances are you will involve yourself in any number of sporting or adventure activities. You should think carefully about what activities are planned – Some policies do not even include surfing as standard (requiring payment of an additional premium) – So it is imperative you check the policy to make sure your covered. If the activity is not covered as standard, most companies will allow you to add the activity with payment of an additional premium.
  • If you plan to return home, some policies allow you to do this for a period of time 1 - 2 weeks without invalidating your insurance. During this time your insurance is suspended. Some policies require you to purchase a return home extension in order to do this, so plese check with your Insurance Provider. You can find this information by searching the insurance provider here
  • If you are planning to travel to an area where there has been a Natural Disaster in the past or if there was a past risk (even if not current) of Natural Disaster, we would recommend searching for a policy where you can get cover for this. In most cases this will require payment of an additional premium as it would be classed as an optional extra. All of the Top Picks have this as an optional add on.
  • It is important to check which countries have Reciprocal Health agreements with the UK - and additionally - make sure you read the policy terms for EHIC and Medicare. Some Insurance Providers insist on an EHIC Card if travelling within Europe or that you register on arrival with Medicare if travelling to Australasia (Australia or New Zealand).

What are Reciprocal Health Agreements

In short, Reciprocal Health Agreements are agreements agreed between the UK and certain countries that they will provide some treatment at reduced cost or free of charge. What is covered under these agreements varies from country to country. In the EU this is covered by the EHIC Card and in Australia / New Zealand by Medicare. Most Insurance Policy Wordings will not cover you for any claim for costs that would have been recoverable under these agreements, so it's important to read the requirements of that policy and make sure that you follow the terms. These may include holding an EHIC card where travelling to Europe and Registering for Medicare on arrival.

Many Insurers will state on their Policy Wording that they will not deduct any excess from claims paid out where the costs have been reduced by Reciprocal Agreements, so it's definitely a benefit to make sure you comply with this policy condition and are able to take advantage of these agreements

Important Considerations about Backpacker Travel Insurance

This policy is specifically designed with the younger traveller in mind and so most backpacker policies will only offer cover up to age 45.

A countries economic and political situation can change very quickly, take the situation in Ukraine for example. If you plan to change your itinerary, I recommend you check with your travel insurer first and keep in touch with the foreign office website, as to which countries are deemed not suitable for travel.

You will be away from home for a long period of time and therefore baggage and money cover is also very important. If you have home insurance, check the personal possessions section, to see if the cover is better. If you don’t, make sure you choose a policy that has good limits and not too many exclusions – Also bear in mind that many policies will not cover laptops, i-pads or tablets as standard. Many will be able to cover these as an optional extra.

When working abroad, some travel insurers will exclude personal liability e.g. if you injure someone or damage property through the course of your work. It is recommended to find a company that doesn’t have this exclusion.

Some Backpacker policies will allow you to return home for a short period of time (normally 14 days) some will not. So if you have to return home for a funeral or wedding for example, check the policy wording carefully.

Most Backpacking policies exclude existing medical conditions as standard. However it is important that you are honest and upfront with an Insurer about any condition you may have. Even if this means having to find alternative cover or paying a higher premium.

Make sure your Insurer has a good 24 hour easy access telephone number. You may be on your own in a strange country, having the back up of 24 hour helpline with access to expert help and advise is essential.

Some of the better policies will automatically include things like search and rescue and catastrophe cover, some exclude it and some offer it as an add on.

Finally, you will be abroad for a long period of time and Travel Insurance is very important. Whilst you may think the cheapest policy is the best, it will more than likely carry lots of exclusions and higher excesses. This is a long trip and time spent researching and comparing cover, will be time well spent.