All backpacking insurance is not created equal

Research conducted by the comparison website Gocompare has discovered that many backpackers are choosing travel insurance that is unsuitable for their needs.

Backpackers and gap year travellers are urged to check their policies to ensure that they have the cover they need for the duration of trip and cover for activities or work that they may be doing while they are away, rather than focusing on price.

The analysis involved more than 200 long stay travel insurance products, finding a wide variation in the cover provided by different policies, particularly in terms of the duration of a trip and whether the specific policy allowed for short trips home. Below is a quick summary of their findings:

Trip Duration: The research found that the maximum trip durations varied between policies from 31 days to 2 years. Clearly there is no point buying a travel insurance policy for 31 days if you are going to be away for 6 months. Less than 1 in 3 backpacker policies surveyed covered trips of over a year in duration. Similarly, with some policies the duration cannot be extended while you are abroad, if you decide that you want to stay for longer than previously planned.

All Responsible Travel Insurance policies will let you extend your policy while you are away with additional months of cover up to a maximum total duration of 18 months, provided that this is arranged before the original period runs out.

Return trips to the UK: Half of the policies reviewed allow a traveller to return home to the UK for short durations, for instance at Christmas to see relatives. Responsible Travel Insurance allows for an unlimited number of trips home each up to a maximum of 14 days.

It is worth noting that those policies that do not allow travellers to return home are invalidated upon re-entering the UK, according to Gocompare, and therefore backpackers would need to purchase another policy to have cover when returning after their visit home.

Baggage and Valuables: Worryingly, some 9% of policies surveyed did not cover any sort of baggage at all! The policies that did cover baggage ranged from £200 to £3,000 in terms of the cover provided. In the same vein 15% of the policies researched did not provide any cover for items considered as valuables, such as photographic equipment or smartphones, at all, just the sort of things you are likely to take away with you while travelling!

It is also worth remembering that many travel insurance policies do not replace items on a ‘new for old’ basis. The value of the item is based on its current market value.

On a standard Responsible Travel Insurance policy the total limit for baggage is £1,000 and £300 for valuables, if you need more cover for your baggage you may want to look at our Responsible Travel Plus policy which increases those limits to £2,000 and £500 respectively.

Stop-over cover: Many long stay trips will involve a stop-over at some point while travellers make their way to their final destination, however according to the research only 38% of the policies provided this stop-over cover for travellers en route to their destination.

With responsible travel insurance you only need to select the area of your final destination, any stop-overs are covered automatically by the policy.

Activities and Work: Gocompare also noted that the number and types of activities covered on policies varied hugely between policies. It is worth checking your policy to ensure that whatever activities you want to do are covered.

Responsible Travel Insurance covers over 100 activities as standard. Other activities not covered by the policy can potentially be covered on a daily basis, i.e. the times when you are doing that activity, with the payment of an additional premium. Please call 01483 562 662 for more details.

Responsible Travel Insurance is designed with the quality conscious traveller in mind for trips up to 18 months and is available to buy from

Author: Adam


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