Backpacker insurance for gap year hazards should never be ignored. A gap year adventure should be the most exciting trip that any young person will experience in their lifetime. That first taste of freedom and adventure, where you inevitably hook up with like-minded travellers and make memories and lifetime friends.
In all the excitement and anticipation of the trip it is natural to want to ignore the potential hazards – and with a heap of good luck nothing will go wrong. After all, you have spent many months planning the trip and doing your research…
Many gap year travellers choose popular long-haul destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam, Africa and Australia – all a long way from home. Needless to say, setting off on such a fantastic adventure would be crazy without the peace of mind of a quality Backpacker travel insurance policy tucked in your rucksack. The importance of researching your destination(s) cannot be emphasised strongly enough.
With any luck you will not run into any hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, typhoons or tropical diseases along the way, but with some preparation and knowledge you can be ready to face anything thrown at you.
We always recommend that travellers visit the website of the British Foreign Office for the latest travel advice, and this service is offered for free by most governments. Staying safe and personal security on your travels is always a concern. You’ll need to be aware of the current political situation and potential hazards you could encounter – and, most important, what to do and where to go for help if anything does go wrong.
Personal safety and security is of prime concern, as most countries have problems with pick-pocketing, mugging, drink spiking, and various scams.
Being caught in possession of any illegal drugs or substances can, in some countries, result in very serious charges, imprisonment, and even the death penalty!Read up on the local laws and customs of the country you are visiting and respect their rules and dress codes to avoid trouble. Again, it is important to know that travel insurance is unlikely to cover any claims related to your use or possession of illegal substances or abuse of alcohol.
A cheap backpacker policy automatically covers a range of sporting activities that are considered hazardous. Always check the policy to see what is and is not covered before you set off on your trip. One-off activities like a bungee jump or elephant ride are normally covered.
Most important is to have excellent cover for Medical Expenses – and always check that it includes Repatriation. Falling ill or sustaining an accidental injury while halfway around the world in a remote area could cost many thousands of pounds. You may need to be flown to a neighbouring country for specialised treatment – all very expensive. Without insurance you, or your family will have to foot the bill. Your consulate or embassy is on hand to provide limited help, but they do not pay your bills, and ignorance is no excuse…
One of the biggest problems travellers face is the loss or theft of their passports. This is something normally covered by your travel insurance. The nearest consulate or embassy will help you to obtain a new travel document, but it is not free!
A cheap backpacker policy should also provide cover for things like Mugging, Missed Departure, Scheduled Airline Failure, Hijack, Personal Liability and Legal Expenses. Most Backpacker policies are cheaper because they are ‘light’ on cover for luggage and possessions. There’s no point paying for cover that you do not need.
If you are busy planning your gap year adventure and are under the impression that insurance is unnecessary, or you have not factored the cost into your budget, why not discuss it with your parents or family members. Rather than set off uninsured, ask if they will purchase a policy for you as a farewell gift. They should be motivated to help, because allowing you to travel uninsured may bring them a world of trouble if the worst should happen and you run into hazards while you are on the other side of the world.
The news is full of tragedies of this type all the time – where families suffer hardship and often have to organise fundraisers to find the tens of thousands of pounds needed to fly their loved ones home. The cost of a Backpacker policy is such a small price to pay for peace of mind for you and your family.