Things to consider when buying longstay or backpacker travel insurance

As with any industry, travel insurance has its acronyms and specific terminology, which unless you work in the industry or are an insurance expert, can cause some headaches. To further complicate the situation, I have noticed recently that some of the companies are actually changing terminology used. An example of this is with backpacker travel insurance. This was the term used throughout the insurance industry for any travel insurance policy aimed at people going on longer duration trips. In the early days of the backpacker product the majority of people that had the ability to take twelve months off to travel were students. As such the insurance product was tailored to take into account this fact.

For example low levels of cover for personal belongings - there is after all only so much you can fit in a back pack. As times change and people have begun to look at their work-life balance, the opportunity of travel has extended beyond just students and includes a mix of people, including those that are taking sabbaticals or an extended leave of absence from the office. As the needs of these people are different from students, a second level of cover was created and called longstay travel insurance. So evolved the two travel insurance products, which to all intense and purpose were and still are effectively two different levels of cover aimed at people travelling for longer than your average holiday.

Some companies have begun to create brand naming within their offerings, or example they will have two levels of cover for their standard holiday insurance say, silver and gold and as such will call their backpacker and longstay products silver longstay and gold longstay. To quote Shakespeare… "what's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet…" The point being that they are nothing but two levels of cover aimed at people who are travelling for a longer than average duration - so therefore no different than calling the products backpacker and longstay. Lastly on the naming of longstay travel insurance - be aware that some companies still refer to it as gap year travel insurance, which again relates to the student fraternity, but I guess could now apply equally to the people taking sabbaticals. Either way this is just another name for it.

So now we understand the potential different names that longstay or backpacker travel insurance can go by, here are just a few other things to consider:

Does your backpacker insurance including repatriation?

Repatriation is the term used in respect of bringing you home in the event of a medical emergency whilst you are abroad. Very important as the cost of this can be very high!

Will your backpacker travel insurance policy allow you to return back to the UK during the period of the policy without the cover stopping?

A terminology point again, some refer to this as backpackers multiple trip insurance, but most call it the same and allow a policy option to be purchased to return home during the trip duration. This is more commonly known as a return home option.

Will your policy allow you to participate in activities whilst away?

Most insurers will allow you to partake in some activities under the standard price. Some insurers will also allow you to buy an option to extend the insurance to include some hazardous activities. You should consult the insurers in regards to the activity list and the cost of additional activities.

by Herbert Miller


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