What do long stay travel insurance policies cover?
Going on a gap year? Taking a sabbatical? Packing your backpack and planning a round-the-world adventure of a lifetime?
Going abroad for long periods of time can be the ultimate adventure. But when you are away from home for so long, you want to make sure that you pack everything you need. After all, if you forget something important, you may not see it again for many months.
One thing that you may want to think especially carefully about is a long stay travel insurance policy like those provided by insurers like Bengo Travel.
Why get insurance?
You want to ensure that you remember your trip for all the right reasons. Insurance is important for long trips just as it is when you go overseas for a weekend break. Essentially, it provides financial assistance for a wide range of situations, some of which can be very expensive.
Long-stay and backpacker cover – the same thing?
There can be confusion over the name when it comes to long-stay policies. Sometimes it is known as gap year cover or backpacker cover. However, sometimes these are different policies entirely.
The name can depend on the length of the cover. Whereas some insurers provide a long-stay policy for any trips lasting between one month and 18 months, others may only provide it up to six months, with anything longer being called a backpacker policy.
As always with insurance, it all depends on where you buy your policy, so just make sure you know what you are getting.
What exactly does it cover?
As with any insurance product, product features and benefits can vary. However, some of the things that may typically be included on a policy include the following:
medical expenses, which is the most important item on any policy. Look for cover that provides a few million pounds because medical costs can be very high. Check the NHS website for details of the healthcare in different countries;
medical repatriation in case you need to be sent home for continued medical treatment, which is something that an EHIC will not provide;
trip cancellation cover, should you become ill or injured and be unable to travel;
lost or stolen baggage;
cover for working abroad, which is something that many people do on extended trips overseas.
Some polices are more comprehensive than others
It’s important to know that even the same providers may let you choose from different levels of cover. For example, they may have a basic level that will typically provide medical and repatriation expenses but nothing else. But they may also provide a more comprehensive option with many other things included, so you can choose one according to your needs.
Things to look out for
Some policies may include more extreme activities as standard because people often like to do these on gap years. However, they are not always included. Always check your policy if you plan to do anything like bungee jumping because you may find you have to purchase extra cover.
As with any travel insurance policy, make sure that you are covered for any pre-existing medical conditions you may have. Not all insurance providers cover these so if you have a condition, always check with your insurer before you purchase your policy. Honesty is always the best policy, as explained in this useful Guardian article.
You may be able to pay a higher excess in return for a lower premium. However, remember this will mean you will pay more for any claims you make.
Should you get covered?
Whether you take out insurance for your long trip abroad is completely up to you. However, it is important to be aware of the risks so that you can make an informed decision. Insurance can give you peace of mind in knowing that you have financial assistance when something goes wrong, so think carefully about taking out a policy and decide if it is a suitable option for you.