21 January 2009
Every year thousands of people think about taking an extended holiday.
School leavers and recent graduates make up the majority of people taking extended holidays, but many professionals also consider taking a career break to explore the world. Only the most seasoned travellers realise the many potential problems they may encounter on such an adventure and take out a suitable travel insurance policy. Recent research has shown that as many as 25% of gap year travellers jet off without adequate insurance protection. Many younger, less experienced travellers are likely to embark on an expedition without realising the potential problems that may occur or without taking suitable precautions to protect themselves against them.
Specific policies available
If you're taking a gap year, it's important to remember you'll be on holiday for a long period of time is much longer than the average holidaymaker. Having a suitable insurance policy will protect and reduce what could be an otherwise distressing and costly experience if things do go wrong. Annual multi-trip policy limit the number of consecutive days you can remain abroad, usually 35 to 41 days, so they're generally not suitable for gap year travellers. There are specific gap year insurance policies available. These policies are also known as a backpacker insurance, for travellers aged up to 36, or long stay insurance, if you are older than 36.
What they cover
A good gap year or long stay travel insurance policy will insure you have:
- Suitable financial protection if something goes wrong while you're abroad. For example, if you are involved in a crash or injure somebody, you may have a liability to that person. Travel insurance will cover this liability.
- Medical assistance. In the UK, citizens have access to the NHS, a luxury not available in any other country. Medical assistance is particularly important if you intend to travel to the United States, where medical treatment is very expensive. For example, an air ambulance can cost more than $15,000 and intensive car beds can cost up to $2,000 per day in America.
- Cover for cancellation of the holiday due to illness or family bereavement.
- Cover for your baggage and other personal items should they be lost or stolen.
Travel insurance will provide you with financial protection should any of the above occur while you're travelling. Remember that travel insurance polices differ between insurers, so it's vital that you search the market to find the most suitable insurer for your requirements. Make sure you read the policy documents to make sure that you understand what is included and excluded from your backpacke's policy.