Backpackers’ guide to buying travel insurance

Ah the excitement of backpacking is priceless. Exploring the vast, untrodden landscape of adventure and discovering quaint corners of novelty… what could possibly go wrong with backpacking?  Everything, actually. It is universally understood that backpackers have more pressing need for travel insurance more than any other type of travellers!

Backpackers insurance, also known as long stay insurance, is aimed at people travelling over an extended period of time, often visiting a number of worldwide destinations in one trip. Backpacking insurance generally covers all the standard insurance policy, including baggage cover and cancellation, plus many extras relevant to the adventure that you are about to embark on.

A number of different backpacker travel insurance providers cater for those wishing to take a backpacking trip and many will offer policy options tailored for your exact needs. Insurers consider the length of trip you wish to take as well as your age and planned activities therefore its worthwhile thinking about what you are planning to do in advance and check your policy wording to ensure it is covered.

Things to consider when buying backpackers insurance

  • Length of trip – Generally insurance policies for backpackers will cover you for travel between 3-18 months, with some limiting time to 12 months and other considering single trips as less than 90 days
  • Change of plans– Should your plans change mid-way, will it be easy to extend your policy for longer?
  • Type of travelling – Some insurers will offer you the option to customise your policy with extras. This will largely depend upon the type of trip you are taking and what type of accommodation you will be staying in.
  • No go zones – Some insurers will not cover for travel in certain countries.
  • Search & Rescue – You can include cover for search and rescue. But beware if you travel away from the known and secure track it is unlikely you will be protected
  • Repatriation – In the event that you require repatriation back to your home country, make sure your insurer will cover this.
  • Activities and Sports – If you are looking to add to the excitement of your trip, make sure that your backpacking insurance policy will cover you for all of these activities
  • Affordability – although many providers offer competitive policies, cheap does not always mean comprehensive. Do your homework comparing policies before you leave to make sure that the cover you take is the best travel insurance package for you.
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