A gap year can be an exciting adventure, but unfamiliar countries and a long stay abroad can present problems. However, a few simple measures can go a long way towards ensuring a problem free trip.
Travelling to exotic climates and coming into contact with unfamiliar illnesses can result in delay, curtailment or unplanned medical expenses. Indeed, illness and medical costs can be responsible for over half of claims on long term insurance policies. Ensuring you have the correct vaccinations and take appropriate medication such as anti-malaria pills is vital to minimising this risk.
2Take care of your belongings
Just over half of claims by gap year travellers are for personal effects and money (primarily, for theft and for lost luggage), highlighting the importance of looking after your possessions.
3Do your research
Getting all the important information on the countries you intend to visit will not only make sure you go to the best places and have the best experiences, it will also help you choose the right level of insurance cover. For example, if you are heading to New Zealand, you may want to do something adventurous, but activities such as bungee jumping and white water rafting are not covered by all policies.
It is also important to keep up to date with the current situation in any countries you are travelling to, in case this affects your trip. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website is a good source of information for the latest developments.
4Don’t overdo the partying or take unnecessary risks
While no-one is expected to live like a monk on their gap year, it is important to bear in mind the implications of overindulgence. Policies will exclude claims resulting from alcohol and drug related incidents. Claim costs over £10,000 are not uncommon and can sometimes be in excess of £100,000.
5Get a specific policy
It is vital to get a travel insurance policy that is specific to the needs of your trip. Tailored gap year cover includes cover for activities such as extreme sports and manual work and covers a longer period than standard travel insurance, reflecting the unique requirements of this type of trip.
One insurance company specialising in gap year is Chapka Insurance. Their Cap Adventure policy is specifically aimed at European travellers, travelling overseas for tourism for more than three months. They cover 100% of medical expenses up to €200000 with no excess (€1m in US/Canada with €35 excess) and for expenses under €300 all that is necessary is to send the bill by email to get an immediate refund. The insurance also covers civil liability abroad, search and rescue expenses, early return, legal assistance, full repatriation assistance 24/7, and luggage insurance up to €2,000 during transport and for the duration of the trip in case of theft (breaking & entry or assault). While they are little known outside of France, in France Cap Adventure is chosen by 46% of backpackers!
Disclaimer: this article is sponsored by Chapka Insurance