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Gap year travel insurance

An essential part of your gap year travels

Travel Australia

The gap year, no longer just for students, is becoming popular with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and ages. Taking time out to travel for a year or more is exciting and daunting in equal measure.

There's a lot to think about when you leave the familiarity of home and head abroad for an adventure. Not least is making sure you have the right type of gap year travel insurance in place before you go.

Don't leave home without it

Travel insurance is essential for any trip. But particularly when you're away for a long time and experiencing new and exciting things.

We recommend that as soon as you make your first booking for travel, accommodation or excursion, you buy your gap year travel insurance. That way, you're covered financially if you have to cancel your trip before you leave.

covers you for at least a year and sometimes for up to 18 months

What's different about gap year travel insurance?

Most standard travel insurance policies are there to cater for short summer holidays, so they usually only provide insurance for up to 30 days or so. When you're away for a year or more, you need a policy that covers you for the entire time.

Gap year travel insurance covers you for at least a year and sometimes for up to 18 months depending on the type of policy you have.

During that time some policies allow you to travel back to the UK for short stays, such as a visit back at Christmas. A standard travel insurance policy will usually end when you return to the UK, even if it's just for a visit.

You should also look out for policies that provide cover for all the activities you want to do. It's possible you'll want to have a go at scuba diving or snowboarding and many insurance companies class these sports as risky, so only insure you if you're with a qualified instructor or swimming within a certain depth. And not all insurance policies will cover you for multiple bungee jumps!

What should gap year travel insurance cover?

Each insurance provider will have their own breakdown of exactly what's covered but as a general rule of thumb, you should check you're insured for:

  • Emergency medical expenses. These can include ambulance transport, stays in hospital, treatment and drugs.
  • Don't skimp on medical cover. In the US especially, medical expenses can soon add up. If you fracture your femur, costs can exceed US$10,450 very easily.
  • Repatriation home if you're too unwell to continue your journey. Or worse, if you die and your body or ashes need to be flown home.
  • Lost, damaged and stolen possessions, including gadgets.
  • Cancellation costs if something happens that means you can't travel, or if you need to cut your travelling short to come home.
  • All the activities and sports you plan to enjoy, in case you get injured.
  • All the countries you wish to visit, even if you're just passing through.

What to double check before you buy gap year travel insurance

Maximum claims

Insurance companies often put a maximum amount on the claim you can make for any one item. So if you have a phone worth £500 but the maximum claim for each item is £300 you could be out of pocket.

Also double check that the cancellation insurance for your trip covers everything you plan to do, including pre-booked activities. Again, there may be a maximum amount you can claim for.

Medical conditions

It's essential that you tell the insurance company about any medical conditions you have. If you don't and you need to make a claim, the insurance company may not cover your medical costs if the claim is related in any way to a pre-existing condition.

Working and volunteering

Many travel insurance policies won't cover you for accidents that happen whilst you're doing manual work, either paid or unpaid. Check with your insurer before you start using that chainsaw.

War and conflict

If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said not to travel to a country or region then you won't be insured if you choose to go there.

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