Taking a gap year can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but the best laid plans could be wrecked if you lose your luggage or require medical treatment. It’s important to take the time to organise gap year insurance to ensure that you are covered for any potential mishaps. Read this article to learn more about gap year insurance.
Gap year insurance should be in force for the entire period of your planned trip and include cover for all the countries that you intend to visit.
If you are visiting any European Union countries, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles travellers within the EU to medical treatment at the same cost paid by locals. EHIC cards are free and although they don’t replace travel insurance, they can supplement it.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office From time to time, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to certain countries, for example if there is civil unrest. Some insurers will not cover travellers who visit those countries. If you're unsure of the situation while you're away, you can contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or access information on a holiday forum.
Any backpacker insurance policy should contain cover for medical expenses. You should also ensure that the policy includes medical evacuation in the event of suffering a serious illness or injury. Make sure that you inform your insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions. Failure to do so could invalidate the policy for the whole of your gap travel period.
Adventure sports Many people who are travelling the world take part in adventure sports such as bungee jumping, skiing or white water rafting. Some insurers exclude liability for these activities in their standard travel insurance cover. If you’re planning to engage in any adventure sports, check that you’re covered under your insurance policy.
Once upon a time, gap year travellers would take a small rucksack with a change of clothes, a sleeping bag and a disposable camera. Now, most also carry mobile phones and often other expensive items such as iPod, cameras or laptops. If you intend to carry high value items, declare these to the insurer when you take out the policy and arrange separate cover.
Policy documents In case of theft, leave copies of all insurance documents with a friend or relative at home. Alternatively, you can back up the documents online so that you can access them if necessary.