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Travel insurance for backpackersChoosing the right policy

If you are planning to travel abroad, you need insurance, but it is not something you should be sorting at the last minute as not all policies are the same and you should always read the small print. For example, is cash and indeed any of your valuables are covered? This is often not the case on very cheap policies. Also how much excess will you need to pay in the event of a claim? Economy type policies are fine for the important health aspect, but don’t expect to have your £500 camera covered without additional payment. Will your policy cover you if you decide to try Scuba Diving, Bungee Jumping or White Water Rafting? Before you buy the policy, do make certain that it will provide cover in case you are injured whilst participating in your favourite pastime.

What policies are available?

Policies are available for day trips to journeys of up to 18 months. Annual multi-trip cover for an unlimited number of trips with individual trip limits of up to 120 days, whereas most other insurers will allow only 45 or 60 days making them fairly useless for many trips. Good insurance with loads of protection need not be very expensive but the cover is essential, especially in case of Illness or Accidents.


The cost of repatriating a sick or injured person by air ambulance to their home country would seriously affect most families’ life style and may even mean selling the family home to cover the cost! That has to be a compelling reason for not travelling without reliable travel insurance. If you need to be returned to the UK in an emergency it could cost you or your family a fortune. Just take a look at these estimates:

£30-35,000 Air ambulance – East coast of USA

£16,000 Air ambulance Canaries

£8,000 Air ambulance Balearics

£2,000 Air taxiNorthern France

£8,500 Scheduled flight, stretcher and Doctor escort – Australia

£4,000 Scheduled flight, seated club, with a nurse escort – West coast of USA

£1,300 Scheduled flight, seated economy with a Doctor escort – Mediterranean

£300-£500 Scheduled flight, seated economy without an escort – Mediterranean

£3,000-£4,500 Scheduled flight, stretcher and Doctor escort – Mediterranean

Take travel documentation with you!

The importance of taking your travel insurance documents with you cannot be overstated as they contain very important information about what to do if things go wrong. They will provide you with an Emergency Assistance telephone number. This service is available to you 24/7 and will have multi lingual experts ready to provide immediate advice and assistance. They will arrange for medical treatment, contact relatives, ensure that you are receiving suitable hospital care, or arrange for your repatriation. They will also arrange for your early return home in the event of an unexpected situation occurring at home. It is essential that you contact the Emergency Assistance Service, Do not try to find your own solution as you may inadvertently cause your travel insurer to invalidate your claim.

Don’t fall victim to criminals

Crime is on the increase everywhere in the world. This unfortunately is a fact of life and you therefore need to keep a careful eye out for anything unusual. Beware of any stranger who tries to befriend you and do ensure that you never leave a drink unattended. Do not leave your baggage unattended at any time and be careful when falling asleep on Trains or Busses because you could wake up to discover that you bag was stolen whilst you were dreaming of the good times you have had!

If you are unlucky enough to be the victim of a theft, then it is essential that you report the crime to the police as quickly as possible and obtain a crime report for your travel insurance company. You may need to be insistent, as in some parts of the world the police prefer to keep their crime figures down by making the reporting procedure as difficult as possible and this is often not helped by the language barrier!

Report incidents immediately and comply with the rules

Make sure that you notify your Travel Insurance Company of your intention to make a claim at the earliest opportunity and make sure that you comply with their rules.

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