The choices for travel insurance can make the whole issue quite confusing and when faced with decisions about multi trip, annual, family, single trip and all the other types of cover and the add ons, this can almost be one of the most confusing things to sort out when planning to go backpacking. The good news though is that special policies designed specifically for this form of travel do exist.
Backpackers insurance is specialist insurance designed specifically for individuals who are travelling for extended periods of time and visiting a number of different places. With this in mind, do consider the fact that this type of cover can go by a whole range of titles including gap year insurance, traveller insurance, discoverer, career break, and extended stay insurance.
Although predominantly aimed at students travelling during their studies or gap years, backpacker style insurance is available to anyone who may be travelling the world due to work, volunteering and overseas school trips. The one thing that they have in common is that these types of policy cover a prolonged period of time. This can be anything from 3 months to a year, with some companies offering up to 18 months of cover. In comparison, single trip travel insurance plans only cover 90 days as a maximum and multi-trip policies only cover individual trips that last less than a month in duration.
This type of policy is often categorised by the areas travelling to, with specific plans for Australia & New Zealand, Europe, Canada & USA and also worldwide options, with the policy being tailored specifically to the areas travelling to. This level of customisation is also shown in the different types of cover that are offered to people travelling with options to remove money and belongings cover as well as offering lower premium costs, with higher excess. This is important as many people who are travelling do so on a budget and therefore may not have the money pay for an entire package to insure everything.
However levels of insurance need to be carefully considered as there are many potential risks involved, including using hostels and communal lodgings where there may be an increased chance of theft. It is also important to consider the activities you may be taking part in during your travels. Many people take part in dangerous activities such as bungee jumping or winter or extreme sports and its vital that if you are considering these types of activities
Many companies also base their policies on the individual age of the person travelling, with some only offering plans to people who are under 40 years of age. However there are others who offer this type of insurance to people who are up to 65 years old. Age is often taken in to account as insurance for older travellers is more expensive; however the policies usually have greater levels of coverage.
Even with this specialists backpackers cover, DO take care and attention to read the small print because when travelling randomly and taking things literally as they come, you might decide as the opportunities come up, to try activities still not covered on your policy. Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, bungee jumping and any activity that can be considered dangerous by insurers, might need an extra additional insurance protection. Try and plan when booking your cover to be protected for all places and activities you will likely need.
You might also be interested in learning about the hidden costs of travel insurance on an interesting BBC article. Also for some ideas on places for travelling this summer, read about backpacking Spain and travelling around Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.