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Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?

The beauty of travel is that anything can happen. One day you’re on a beach in Thailand, the next you’re skiing in Canada but sometimes, disaster strikes. Perhaps your backpack gets lost on a Vietnamese bus, you get pick pocketed in Prague, or have a snowboarding accident in New Zealand. Dealing with these situations could cost you thousands of pounds unless you have travel insurance.

“The chances of needing insurance abroad are higher than you might think,” says Tom Dean from Outbacker, which specialises in backpacker insurance. “Overall, between five and 10 percent of travellers make a claim whilst abroad.” Despite this, when Travamigos surveyed students from Loughborough University, only 12 percent said they thought travel insurance was important.

So, why do you need travel insurance?
If you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel, here’s why:

How much does travel insurance cost?
According to Outbacker, the average cost of a six-month backpacker policy for someone with no pre-existing medical conditions is between £150 and £175. That’s less than £1 per day, which is a pretty small price to pay for the peace of mind that insurance offers. Put it this way, if the worst happens, travel insurance will seem like the best money you’ve ever spent.

How to choose travel insurance
Select a backpacker policy – these have been specifically designed for travellers who are away for longer periods of time and plan to visit multiple countries. Backpacker policies are often more cost-effective for trips that are longer than a month and can cover additional activities like adventure sports and trekking. Shop around for incentives and discounts, Outbacker are offering Travamigos users a free Amazon voucher when they take out a policy.

Check the policy length – bear in mind that most insurance policies require you to have a return ticket booked or proof that you will be returning to the UK. Check the small print to see what kind of proof is needed, this could include a rental agreement, work contract, or confirmation of being enrolled in a university course in the UK.

Understand what’s covered – check the fine print to make sure you understand exactly what’s covered in your policy. If you intend to trek at high altitude, go bungee jumping, skiing or ride a motorbike abroad for instance, make sure you’re insured for that. See exactly how much you’re covered for and know the excess limits. Always make sure the policy includes repatriation, you don’t want your family to be responsible for the cost of flying you home in the worst-case scenario.

Know how to make claims – before you take out a policy, find out what the claim process is like. Can you make a claim while you’re on the road, or do you have to wait until you return home? Most policies will expect you to pay up front to a certain value, such as £500, and then claim this back when you return. Anything over this amount will usually be paid for directly by the insurer, minus the excess fees.

Top travel insurance tips

Once you’ve booked your insurance, make sure you’ve had the relevant travel vaccinations and book a hostel for the first night of your trip, then you’re all set for the adventure of a lifetime.

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