How to pick the right type of travel insurance for your trip

With the new year coming up, I always notice people around this time of year either heading out on their Gap Year/career break, or making travel related resolutions to head out on that trip of a lifetime they’ve always been dreaming of. Sometimes in the excitement of planning or thinking about your upcoming trip it can be easy to forget one of the most important things – travel insurance.

Every traveller, backpacker, or holidaymaker should have travel insurance to cover them in the event of anything bad happening. Aside from that, it just gives you peace of mind to go ahead and make your plans without having to worry about “what ifs”.

One problem a lot of people find however, is that with such an abundance of travel insurance companies and packages out there, how do you know which travel insurance policy to take out? You’ll want to get the best deal available, be covered for the entirety of your trip, but also know that you’re covered for all the things that you want and need, such as medical cover should you have a serious accident abroad.

The good thing is that with the internet these days you can get lots of travel insurance quotes online, and take the time to compare each one individually before choosing. To make it a bit easier for people to know which type of plans to look for though, I thought I’d do a brief summary of all the main one’s, and which type of policy tends to suit which type of traveller.

Single Trip Travel Insurancefor the typical holidaymaker, or those looking to cover one short trip abroad.

Single trip travel insurance typically covers you for any trip lasting from 1 to 90 days (although as with anything it can differ slightly depending on who you are purchasing with.) Usually single trip cover is the cheapest option available no matter what insurance company you go with, however as it suggests in the name, it only covers you for one trip.

Using the UK Post Office website I was quoted single trip cover in Europe, for a trip lasting 1 week in February (and as a person aged 18-.64 years of age with no known medical problems) for just 16.60. GBP.  That would cover me for basics such as £5,000,000 medical expenses, £500 cancellation etc.

If you know you are only making one trip abroad over the course of a year, and especially if it’s just a short trip like a long weekend, then this type of plan is definitely the cheapest option. If you think you will make at least one more short trip however, you may want to consider something like the next plan…

Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurancefor those people making multiple, but short trips over the course of one year

Particularly those people who have work commitments most of the year, but like to make the most of their weekends or annual leave, an annual multi-trip plan is more for you.

Typically, you’ll be able to make as many trips as you want within a year, however there is usually a cap on how many days each trip can last. It can be 30 days, 21 days, or something else. It will just depend on what plan you take out and with whom.

Sometimes there may also be a cap on how many days total you can take out in one year. For instance, a previous plan I took out a couple years ago before I was travelling continuously, allowed for up to 3 months worth of travel, with each individual trip lasting no more than 28 days. It cost around 35 GBP.

It’s important to be aware of the caps on how many days of travel you can have, as well as how long each individual trip can last too so you don’t go over them, as otherwise your insurance will be invalid.

Although usually priced at a bit more than a single trip policy, if you’re making at least 2 short trips in one year then these plans are usually value for money. However, please don’t confuse them with the type of annual insurance a typical Gap Year backpacker would want, as they do not offer cover for continuous travel over a year.

Gap Year / Long Trip Travel Insurancefor the backpacker, Gap Year student, long term traveller, or person on a career break

The insurance needed for a typical backpacker usually costs a lot more than your typical holidaymaker style plan for the simple reason that you are travelling for much longer, i.e. the more days of travel you have, the more likely an accident or reason for you to claim may occur. Hence the raise in price.

Sometimes Gap Year style plans can seem like a large expense, often being the equivalent of hundreds of pounds or dollars, but it’s an expense you really need to incur in my opinion, as you need to make sure you’re adequately covered. You can always make savings in other places, such as with your travel money, in order to put more money aside to get a good Gap Year plan.

Important things to look out for when booking these types of long trip plans is that all of the countries you are travelling to are covered, and that any adventure sports or activities you plan to take part in are also covered too. For instance, if you plan to do any winter sports like skiing, you’ll probably find that you need to add this as an extra, or will be charged a little bit more.

– A good idea before purchasing any travel insurance plan is to write down all of the things you need first. This could be necessities such as medical cover, repatriation, legal fees etc. You may also feel you need things like cancellation, and baggage cover too though. The more you are covered for, the more these things tend to cost, so write down the things you feel you must be covered for, and things which are optional if it’s fits within your budget. Then when you are browsing through plans, you’ll have in mind straight away whether this plan is good for you.

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