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Guide to obtaining travel insurance for gap year travels and the best options for backpackers

Millions of young people plan out a gap year during their studies to travel. Because they tend to move to different destinations, sometimes to very remote places, they must purchase a good travel insurance policy for security. For this reason, many insurance companies offer “gap year” travel insurance targeting these types of trips. 

What Is Gap Year Travel Insurance?

Gap year travel insurance is a policy tailored to the needs of those taking a gap year and traveling. A gap year is a break between educational periods (usually between high school and university), and many students travel abroad or go backpacking with friends or family. So, gap year travel insurance covers this situation.

The greatest benefit of gap year travel insurance is that it falls under “long-lasting” travel insurance. In other words, gap year travel insurance is designed to cover the policyholder for up to 24 months (depending on the policy). 

Do I Need Gap Year Travel Insurance?

Gap year travel insurance is not obligatory— unless you’re applying for a visa and need to show proof of travel insurance. Still, all gap year travelers are highly advised to purchase travel insurance. Besides, some countries require proof of purchased travel insurance policy upon entry. You can get a free quote at Insubuy.

Gap year travels tend to be unpredictable and plans often change, and you might find yourself heading out to different destinations than the ones you initially planned for. With gap year travel insurance, you can include several destinations to be flexible during your trip. Plus, because it’s a long stay policy, most insurance policies allow you to return to your home country for 21 days without invaliding the travel insurance policy. 

Even if you don’t need gap year travel insurance, the benefits of having such a policy outweigh the disadvantages; therefore, make sure one of the first things you do when you plan your travels during your gap year is to buy a travel insurance policy. 

How Much Does Gap Year Travel Insurance Cost?

Gap year travel insurance prices differ based on how long you plan to travel, where you will be traveling, and how much coverage you want. For example, let’s say you are planning a three-month trip around Europe, have no prior medical history that requires special coverage, and only opt for a basic plan— then the average price for gap year travel insurance goes between $40 to $300. 

If you were to add to your policy coverage for your gadgets or cancellation for at least $3,000 and medical coverage for $12 million, then the insurance price starts at an average of $60 and goes higher. Then, if you were to extend your trip for a year and travel worldwide (excluding the US, Canada, and the Caribbean), the insurance prices start at $200. 

So, there are many factors to consider regarding the average price of your gap year travel insurance. The overall cost will greatly depend on which insurance company you choose to buy from and what you want to be included in the policy. 

What Does Gap Year Travel Insurance Cover? 

Gap year travel insurance covers many areas depending on what activities you plan during your trip. For example, most policies will cover the following: 

  • Medical coverage. Healthcare outside of your home country can be quite expensive, especially if you visit the US. Plus, when it comes to requiring medical attention, you can never be prepared while abroad. Therefore, your gap year travel insurance should offer a wide range of medical coverage. 
  • Loss, stolen, or damaged items. Every travel policy, including gap year travel plans, should include coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged items during your travel. For example, if you have your luggage is stolen or your passport, your gap year travel insurance will cover the damages. 
  • Delayed or canceled trip. You can opt to have your gap year travel insurance cover these for you, but you may be required to pay additional fees. But, if your overall trip is expensive, it’s worth having it insured in case of cancellation or trip delay. 
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation. When traveling abroad, it’s important to have security for unexpected travel accidents. With proper insurance, you can get coverage for emergency medical evacuation. Then, you won’t have to pay high amounts of money for medical care. 
  • Activity cover. Depending on what you plan on doing on your gap year, it’s good to tailor your insurance policy according to those activities. For example, if you will be taking part in winter sports, you should get medical coverage that includes any accidents resulting from these sports. 

You can compare plans and choose the one that suits your needs through a comparison marketplace like Insubuy.

How Long Is Gap Year Travel Insurance Valid For? 

Since gap year travel insurance is a long stay insurance policy, it can be valid for 18 months. So, the same policy you take out for your trip will last for 18 months, during which you can return to your home country for a specified period and then continue your journey with the same insurance policy. If you go back to your home country beyond that specified period, your insurance policy is no longer valid, and you must buy a new plan. 

Gap Year Travel Insurance for Backpacking

Since most students who opt for a gap year tend to go backpacking during that period, insurance companies will use the terms “gap year travel insurance” and “backpacking travel insurance” to refer to the same policy. Of course, if you are planning on going backpacking but you’re not a student, and you’re not traveling during a gap year, a backpacking travel insurance policy is ideal for you. 

Travel Tips for Gap Year Travelers 

Before you head out on your travels during your gap year, make sure to keep the following things in mind: 

  1. Check with a healthcare provider. The first thing you need to do is check with your primary healthcare provider so they can give you the all-clear to travel or to see if you need to take medications while traveling. They can also give you tips on how to get prepared for your trip. 
  2. Research your destinations. Make sure you do a lot of research weeks before you head out to your destination. Check the entry requirements and whether you need a visa or vaccinations. Find out the emergency numbers, and make sure you know where the embassy or consulate of your country is. Research the culture, famous tourist places, and other spots you plan to visit. 
  3. Let your friends and family know your schedule. Before you head out, give a copy of your itinerary and plan to your friends and family so they can keep track of your movements. Also, provide them with your contact information, information about your hotels, and how they can reach you if they need to. Finally, let them know if you will visit places with no cell service or wi-fi.
  4. Plan your luggage carefully. Make a list of all the items you need at least a few weeks before traveling. Pay attention to how the weather will be in the places where you will be staying so you can pack accordingly. Make sure that you spend some money on a good pair of shoes if you plan on doing a lot of walking. And, don’t forget to pack an emergency travel kit and personal hygiene essentials. 
  5. Map out your finances. Check the prices of goods and services in places you will be visiting and map out your budget for every destination. For example, if you are going to travel around Europe some countries there are more expensive than other countries, so set aside more money to spend while you are there. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to overbudget your trip if you have enough money for something unexpected. 
  6. Be prepared for emergencies. Traveling is unpredictable, so during your adventures throughout your gap year, you may come across a few emergencies. Therefore, it’s important to keep track of the emergency contacts for each destination country and keep track of any health care centers or police stations. 
  7. Double-check your travel insurance. Double-check with your insurance provider that your gap year travel insurance is valid and will cover you while traveling. Check with your provider once more about what areas your insurance covers and ask them again for details about how you can file an insurance claim if you need to down the line. Also, keep in mind the period that your insurance is valid— you don’t want to travel after your gap year travel insurance policy expires. If you haven’t purchased travel insurance yet, you can head over to Insubuy and get a free quote.
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