What is backpacker travel insurance?

If you’re planning a gap year or a long holiday you may need to get specialist travel cover before your go. Here’s a closer look at backpacker insurance and what it offers.

What is backpacker travel insurance?

It’s an insurance policy designed for travellers going on a long trip or holiday abroad.

Most standard travel policies only offer cover for up to 30 days per trip, but some will cover you for up to 60 days. With a backpacker policy you can get cover for up to two years.

You’ll also be able to visit multiple different countries without taking out a separate policy for each one, perfect if you’re exploring several destinations in one trip.

Who should take out backpacker travel insurance?

If you’re planning a holiday or trip that will last for more than a month then backpacker cover could be the best choice for you - it’s also well suited to specific groups including:

  • Students
  • Gap year travellers
  • Anyone on a J1 trip
  • Anyone doing a work placement

However, backpacker policies often have a lower maximum age limit than standard policies, sometimes as low as 35, so you should always check this.

What extra cover does it offer?

Backpacker insurance offers the same cover as a normal travel policy including:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • Cancellation
  • Personal liability cover
  • Baggage cover

Some Irish backpacker policies offer extras to cater to students or for long term travel, for example:

  • Working overseas cover: so if you get a temporary job you’re still protected by your policy. Always check what type of work is covered before you start a job because some high risk work, like operating machinery, may be excluded.
  • Adrenaline activities cover: including sports and activities popular with backpackers like hiking and watersports. Always check exactly what activities are included, as this varies.
  • Exam failure cover: so if you plan your trip and then need to return to Ireland to resit any exams your insurance policy will cover the cost of your flights.
  • Natural catastrophe cover: including volcanic ash insurance can offer extra protection if your trip is cut short by a natural disaster, or you’re stranded at a destination waiting for a flight.

These extras differ from one insurer to another, so always check exactly what’s included with each policy and what you have to pay extra for.

How to get the right cover

To get the best backpacker travel insurance policy for your trip think about the following:

  1. Your destination: Most backpacker policies group destinations by region, so you can choose where you’re going for example Europe, Asia or Worldwide.
  2. What cover you want: Before you start getting quotes make sure you know what cover you want. Not all insurers offer the same levels of protection or types of cover as standard.
  3. Where you can get the best price: Once you know what cover you want, get as many quotes as possible to find the cheapest backpacker policy that meets your needs.

For more help, read our guide on how to choose the best travel insurance policy for your trip.

Backpacker travel insurance FAQs

Can you get backpacker insurance when already travelling?

No, most insurers don’t offer cover once you’ve started your trip, so it’s best to arrange your travel insurance before you leave.

What is the difference between annual and backpacker travel insurance?

An annual policy lasts for a year but usually only covers holidays or overseas trips that last up to around a month. A backpacker policy is designed to cover a long term trip often covering multiple countries that could last anywhere up to two years.

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