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The worst advice we have ever heard about
backpacker travel insurance

If you’re planning your gap year or a backpacking trip, chances are you’ve got a very long list of things to plan, consider, and remember. Backpacker travel insurance may not be at the top of your list, but it’s vital for anyone planning on being away for an extended period of time.

Here at Allianz Assistance, we are keen to bust some of the myths we’ve heard about travel insurance for backpackers. Read on to find out what to buy, when to buy it and why you shouldn’t get on that plane until you’re insured!

Many regular insurance policies will only cover you to be out of the country for a maximum of 30 days. Chances are, you’re planning an adventure that will last longer than a month, so you’ll need to find a policy that covers you for the entire time you are away.

Look for a specialist backpacker policy; many can cover you for a year or even 18 months, meaning peace of mind for the duration of your trip.

If you’re young and in good health, you’re probably not expecting to suddenly fall ill whilst you’re away. However no traveller is immune to the risk of illness in a foreign country – whether it’s breaking your leg or catching a tropical disease. With up to £5 million for medical expenses included in the Allianz Assistance backpacker insurance policy, you’ll be well covered if the unexpected does happen.

It’s worth remembering that travel insurance is not just for medical emergencies; your policy will also cover you for lost personal possessions, missed departures and cancellation, but remember that terms and conditions will always apply.

The ideal time to purchase your insurance cover is as soon as you’ve booked your trip. That way you’ll benefit from cancellation cover, meaning that if anything goes wrong before you travel, you’ll be able to cancel and still recoup some or all of the cost.

Bad idea – once your trip has begun it is too late to buy cover.

If you experience a medical emergency, most travel insurers won’t be able to help you. If you are not covered, you will need to be sure that you can afford any potential medical costs on your own, otherwise treatment may be denied or delayed.

Allianz Assistance statistics show that the average travel insurance medical claim in 2016 costed over £5000. You can buy a policy right up until you start your journey; so don’t leave the airport until you’ve sorted your travel insurance!

If you are under the influence, your insurer is within their rights to deny paying your claim. This includes you being under the influence of alcohol, solvents or drugs, and anything you may do as a result of using these.

So be careful, be wary and make sure you know the exclusions in your policy – check your policy wording for full details.

Not all countries are included in every policy. There is usually an additional premium for travelling in the US, Canada or the Caribbean, so these countries are often excluded from standard backpacker policies.

Also note that if the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against travel to a particular country, it will most likely be excluded from your policy. You can check the FCO’s travel advice here.

If in doubt, contact your travel insurer directly to make sure your chosen policy will cover the countries you are travelling to or through.

Good news - most backpacker policies will insure you for a whole host of sports and adventure activities. For example, an Allianz Assistance policy includes activities such as jet-skiing, glacier walking and mountain biking to name just a few.

Your policy wording will give you full details of what is and isn’t covered – just make sure you check before you commit to an activity.

Most winter sports won’t be covered in a standard backpacker policy, so be sure to add-on winter sports cover if you’re planning on skiing or snowboarding.

Don’t fall prey to the myths above; if you’re about to set off around the world, take advantage of Allianz Assistance’s worldwide protection and care.

Check out our backpacker travel insurance page for more information about the product or get a quote now.

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