If you’re heading away on your gap year, you may be confused about what sort of travel insurance you need to buy. Gap year travel insurance is likely to be different to the travel insurance you’ve had in the past for shorter trips, as it is covering one long period of time away from the UK, and there may also be additional cover benefits offered, to reflect the types of activities that are typically included in gap years.
The cover offered, varies by the scope of the benefits and monetary values covered, usually according to the cost of your policy. Really basic and low-cost policies will offer essential cover for emergency medical expenses, and low-level cover for your personal belongings, but often won’t include additional useful benefits, such as cover if your passport is lost or stolen or if your flight away from the UK is delayed. Gap year travel insurance may cover a wide variety of sports and adventurous activities as standard (with the option to add extra cover for more hazardous ones), and it will often include cover for a limited range of paid or voluntary job roles such as bar or cafe work.
Policies vary in what they will cover, and it’s always advisable to check policy wordings of a policy that you’re considering buying, carefully. You need to make sure that your travel insurance covers everything that you have planned, to avoid any ‘holes’ in the cover that you have in place. As mentioned, you may need to add extra cover for any sports or adventurous activities not covered as standard e.g. sky-diving or trekking to altitude. Also, if your work plans are different to what is covered as standard, then you may need to look for a specialist policy that covers a wider range of paid or voluntary work. We offer a Working Holiday travel insurance policy which categorises jobs into Work Packs, according to the risks and responsibilities involved and this then means that cover is extended to your work time, so that if you are injured in the workplace, treatment would be covered by your policy (including repatriation back to the UK if necessary).
Most gap year travel insurance policies will only have limited cover for your personal belongings and gadgets - and you may find that your mobile phone isn’t covered at all. Investigate whether you can add on gadget cover directly with your insurance provider, or you can often get bolt-on gadget cover from a separate provider.
Policies vary in this respect. Our Walkabout Plus or Working Holiday policies can be taken out for a maximum of two years away from the UK, but the total time can vary by policy and insurance provider. If you’re going for longer than a year, or are there’s a possibility that you could choose to extend your policy at a later date, then it’s best to check the maximum allowable trip duration. In order to set up a valid policy, you are usually expected to take out cover for the entire duration of time that you expect to be away.
It’s definitely possible, and there are specialist travel insurance providers who are happy to do this - but this is not the norm. Usually, UK travel insurance providers, will ask that your trip be starting (and ending) in the UK, for a policy to be valid. It makes sense to take out cover before your trip starts, for the entire duration, to ensure that there aren’t any periods of time that you are left without cover. You also have ‘cancellation’ cover in place, before you travel, as soon as you buy. Also, if you do elect to take out cover with one of the few providers who offer this added flexibility, you will generally find that your policy will be more expensive. You may also find that there is a delay between the time that you take the policy out, and for cover to start, because of the fact that you’re already away and a claim situation could have already arisen.
As you’re heading away from the UK for an extended period of time,Gap Year Travel Insurance policies often do allow a traveller one or more return trips back to the UK for less than a specified amount of time. The policy benefits are suspended whilst you’re back in the UK, and they resume when you are away again. You need to be careful not to overstay the maximum amount of time that you can temporarily come back, as your policy may automatically expire if you exceed this. Our Walkabout Plus and Working Holiday policies for example, allow a traveller to make a maximum of 2 return journeys back to the UK (for up to 21 days at a time), and the latter policy also allows you to add an optional 2 extra return trips, to your policy. Return trips are useful to co-incide with any commitments back in the UK, or simply to visit family and friends for a while before recommencing your trip.
There can sometimes be confusion between an Annual Multi Trip policy and a single-trip Gap Year Travel Insurance policy, but there are important differences between the two. An Annual Multi Trip policy offers cover for multiple trips away from the UK, during a year (and there is a limit of a maximum number of days for each trip - this can vary, but is typically a maximum of 31 days per trip) A single-trip Gap Year Travel insurance policy covers one extended period of time away from the UK, and although there are sometimes a limited number of return trips back to the UK that are covered, it is generally one long trip (albeit a number of countries and destinations can be included).
This very much depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the condition, any medications taken and also, whether the condition is still under investigation, and not fully diagnosed. Take a look at your chosen travel insurers ‘medical screening questions’ and you will see whether you need to undertake the medical screening process in relation to a condition or illness that you either have currently, or have had in the past. Medical screening can be done either over the phone talking to an advisor, or you can often opt to answer the questions online. You will then be informed whether cover can be extended to cover the condition/s with/out extra cost, or more unusually, you will find out that cover can’t be extended to cover the pre-existing condition/s either because the condition isn’t fully diagnosed and there are too many unknown variables, or that the condition is too severe to be covered. If an insurer has let you know that they can’t cover a condition, there is still the possibility that a specialist insurer will be able to offer cover, and the insurer that you’ve spoken to, should be able to explain your options. As the most important element of travel insurance is getting cover for emergency medical expenses and potential repatriation back to the UK, it’s always best to make sure that your cover is as all-encompassing as possible, to try and avoid any problems if you become ill whilst away.
There are lots of Gap Year Travel Insurance policies to choose from, and it can be hard to find one that is both cost-effective and covers everything you need it to whilst you’re away. Personal recommendations or taking a look in relevant forums can be useful for pointers on where to seek suitable cover. Another option is to take a look at a travel insurance aggregator site such as Money Supermarket, who will ask you the details of your trip, and then offer you a selection of insurance providers to choose from. Whilst a low-price is obviously an appealing factor, you also need to look at the levels of cover offered, and take a look at the policy excess (the amount you would be asked to pay if a claim arose) as this can vary a great deal. Once you have a few potential insurers in mind, it’s always a good idea to take a look at their own websites too. There can often be a lot more information about the policies available, and potential additions such as gadget cover or additional cover for more hazardous sporting activities, than you will find displayed on insurance comparison sites. If you have any questions about the suitability of the cover or you’d like to make sure that your quote is accurate, you can usually either ring the insurer, talk to them on Live Chat or send them an email, and they can answer specific queries that you have. Another interesting and informative way to find out a little more about an insurance company, is to take a look at their online reviews, and see what past and present customers have to say.
You’ll be able to find a travel insurance policy to cover you, but you may need to look at a more niche travel insurer, if you really aren’t sure of how long you’re going to be away. Most UK travel insurance providers will ask you to take out cover for the total time that you plan to be away, and also that you have an acceptable form of ‘proof of your intention to return to the UK’ by your chosen policy end-date. This will vary by insurer but will typically include things such as a booked return flight back to the UK, a visa expiry date or a confirmed work/study commitment back in the UK. If you require greater flexibility, there are specialist insurers who can offer this, but they will typically be more expensive than those who ask you to name a specific date that you plan to be back in the UK.
It’s important to choose the right area of cover to include all of the places that you plan to visit whilst you’re away. Prices quoted for cover, vary by the region selected, so you need to make sure that you’ve chosen correctly, to avoid potential problems if a claim situation crops up. If you’re only spending time in a different region of cover on a short stopover, or you’re only there for a very limited period e.g. up to 48 hours, you could find that you don’t need to upgrade to a higher region of cover, just for that period. Check with your insurer to see what their stance is on this, as it can vary. You may think that you only need to select the region where you will be spending the majority of your time whilst away, but even if you only have a short trip to a different region, you will still need to factor this in to your chosen area of cover. Also, some destinations such as Egypt, and Spain, can be classed as belonging to different regions, by different insurers, so again - this is worth checking. Sometimes, you may not anticipate travelling to a different region prior to setting up your policy, but you decide to head elsewhere during your trip. In this case, you would need to contact your insurer as soon as you make the decision to travel outside of the area that you chose originally, and they may be able to provide the option to upgrade your policy as required.
There is often an upper age-limit on Gap Year Travel Insurance -type policies as people doing gap years have traditionally tended to be at the younger end of the age-spectrum. That’s not to say that older people can’t take out a long-term policy, but the policies available may vary according to your age. This may seem unfair to older travellers making the most of extended travel opportunities, but the statistics from travel insurance Underwriters who process traveller claims, confirm that more-senior travellers typically make more expensive claims for emergency medical expenses. By limiting Gap Year Travel Insurance policies to younger travellers, they can be offered at a more competitive price than those policies aimed specifically at older travellers.
Whilst it’s advisable to cover everything that you know will need to be covered, from the outset, it is often possible to add elements of cover whilst you’re away, such as changing your area of cover or adding cover for a leisure activity that isn’t covered as standard. Plans can obviously change once you’re away, and it’s useful if your chosen Gap Year Travel Insurance policy offers a degree of flexibility in this area. Ask your potential insurer if this is possible, and also, the process that you need to complete to make a change e.g. it would be easier to communicate by email once you’re away. If you do need to make a change, such as changing the area of cover, you would need to make sure that the upgrade is completed before you travel to the new area, otherwise, there would be problems if a claim arose.
We offer a range of comprehensive and competitively-priced Gap Year Travel Insurance policies that can be tailored to meet your Gap Year travel plans.
Depending on your work plans, the levels of cover that you desire and the length of time that you’ll be away, either our Walkabout, Walkabout Plus or Working Holiday policy will fit the bill.
Take a look here, to find the right policy for you, and get a quote.
We’re also very happy to talk to you on the phone and provide you with a quote for your individual plans. Our number is 01424 223964 and we’re available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
If you’d prefer, simply complete a quote request form to let us know your plans, and we’ll email you a quote over.