The university or school holidays are the perfect time to see the world. But before you take off, make sure you have the right type of travel insurance.
What does travel insurance cover?
Student travel insurance helps you out of trouble if your trip doesn't go according to plan. So if you:
- Have an accident or become ill and need emergency hospital treatment, travel insurance will usually cover the cost, minus any excess you need to pay. And it can help you get back home if you're too unwell to continue your holiday
- Lose your bags or have your cash and passport stolen, travel insurance can reimburse you any replacement costs
- Have to cancel or cut short your holiday because you become unwell or a close family member dies, you can claim some of the cost of the holiday back
- Accidentally damage property or injure another person, travel insurance can help cover the cost of the damage if you are legally responsible
Travel insurance policies differ in the type and level of cover they offer
Single trip travel insurance
If you're planning a one-off holiday for example - travelling through Australia and New Zealand, this insurance is probably suitable.
Just check the policy covers you for the full length of the trip. LV= provides cover for up to 366 days, but not all policies offer cover for as long.
Annual multi trip insurance
With annual multi trip insurance, you can take multiple trips in one year without having to take out separate policy for each one. So, if you go skiing in January, inter-railing around Europe in June and on a city break in October, this type of insurance could be the cheapest way to cover your trips. Again, check the policy covers you for the length of each trip.
Gap year and backpacking insurance
If you're travelling for a year or more, you should consider gap year insurance. These policies will sometimes let you return to the UK temporarily without having to take out another policy when you leave again. They can also include cover for voluntary work and adventure sports.
Family travel insurance
If you're aged between 16 and 22, you may already be covered for travelling on your family's existing travel insurance policy. Some insurers, like LV=, allow children to travel independently if this is chosen as an option when the policy is taken out.
How do you choose the best travel insurance?
Travel insurance policies differ wildly in the type and level of cover they offer. So to help you decide what's best for you, consider the following questions:
Where do you plan to travel?
Check all the destinations you plan to visit are covered by your insurance. Travel insurance is usually split into Europe, Worldwide excluding the Americas, and Worldwide including the Americas, but each insurance company will have their own breakdown of the countries they cover.
What do you plan to do when you arrive?
Are you lying on the beach, working, volunteering, skiing, scuba diving, hiking the Inca Trail – or all of the above? Most travel insurance won't cover you for any manual work, and some won't cover you for volunteering. You can get cover for adventure sports, but read the small print to check any limitations. For example, if you're diving, you could be restricted to a depth of 30 metres, or your policy could exclude moped hire. If in doubt, chat to your insurance company.
How long will you be away for?
Some single trip policies only cover you for 30 days or so, so if you're away for longer, make sure your policy covers the full duration of your trip. And if you plan to travel back and forth to home during your trip, check your travel insurance doesn't end when you re-enter the UK the first time.
Things to keep in mind when choosing travel insurance
- Check the maximum amount you can claim for each damaged or stolen item. If you have a camera worth £800 but the maximum claim for each item is £500, you could be out of pocket
- You must tell your insurer about any pre-existing medical conditions, otherwise the insurance company may not cover your medical costs if the claim is related
- You won't be covered for alcohol or drug related accidents, or if you leave your bags and gadgets unattended
- Ensure the full cost of your trip, including pre-booked excursions, is covered by the cancellation insurance
- If you plan to travel to countries the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advise against, you'll need to find a specialist insurer
- If you're planning to go on a holiday in Europe, remember your travel insurance - your European/Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is no substitute. GHIC only provides the same cover as local residents would receive, so it doesn't cover any costs to get you home if you're too ill. LV= will waive your excess if you use your EHIC for medical treatment and will cover the costs not covered by the GHIC card.
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