Backpacker Travel Insurance – Do You Really Need It?

Backpacker Travel Insurance – Do You Really Need It?

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October 12, 2021
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Traveling the world can be a time of uncertainty, and it’s also when you’re most hopeful that nothing is going to go wrong.

Travel insurance is nothing new and it hopes to absolve some of this risk, but if you’re a backpacker, what are the options all about?

What is backpacker travel insurance?

Backpacker travel insurance is a special product designed for budget-conscious travelers that can assist with coverage for health, lost luggage, theft, and a change of travel plans.

It’s usually simpler than the more comprehensive travel insurance options but offers less coverage, and is worth considering before your next adventure.

There’s no way to know for sure what’s going to happen when you’re backpacking around the world, but having insurance to rely on can ease some of the burdens.

If you’re planning a backpacking trip and want to know what this coverage is all about, we’ve got the guide that can answer your questions.

What is Backpacker Travel Insurance?

What is Backpacker Travel Insurance?

Backpacker travel insurance is much the same as regular travel insurance, but without the frills and higher price tag.

Many of these policies are underwritten by the same travel companies that offer the other policies, but just not as comprehensive, and they’re designed for backpackers looking for a budget-friendly alternative.

The point of having travel insurance is to protect you against things that can go wrong while you’re traveling.

For a backpacker, this could mean losing your luggage on a flight or becoming severely ill while traveling in a foreign country and having to pay for medical assistance.

A good backpacker travel insurance policy should have just enough coverage for emergencies without being as expensive as comprehensive cover.

It allows you to set a specific period that you’ll be covered for, and excess limits, so you can often tailor it to your needs and travel plans.

Travel Insurance Benefits

Travel Insurance Benefits

If you’ve never traveled with the protection of this type of insurance before, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.

The truth is, nobody can be prepared for some of the disastrous things that go wrong when you travel, but with travel insurance, you’ll get these benefits:

  • Nil or reduced costs: They say if you can’t afford the cost of a travel insurance premium, you can’t afford to pay for an emergency situation when you’re overseas. With one of these insurance policies, you won’t pay a thing for events like having to replace your luggage, changing a flight at the last moment, or receiving urgent medical attention in another country.
  • Peace of mind: The mere thought that you’re covered with backpacker travel insurance is enough to relax most people. When you’re not worrying about the worst that can happen, you’re more likely to enjoy your vacation.
  • Flexibility: Most of backpacker travel insurance policies allow for flexibility, giving you room to change flights and cities whenever you want or extend and shorten the length of your coverage. Just because you’re locked into a policy, it doesn’t mean there’s no flexibility to do what you need to.
  • Freedom to travel: With the world slowly starting to open up, it’s common practice for many countries to stipulate that visitors to their country must have a set amount of coverage from a travel insurance medical policy.

The General Coverage

The General Coverage

Backpacker’s travel insurance will differ for each provider and their policies, so you need to find one that aligns with your plans.

These are the basic things you can expect travel insurance to cover, and those they won’t.

What It Covers

  • Theft or damage to belongings: Losses from baggage that’s lost during transit, items being stolen from your hotel room, or electronic devices smashed during a flight can all be recouped with your travel insurance.
  • Illness and injury: Most travel insurance policies will cover general illness and injury, including the cost of medical treatment, medicines, hospital and ambulance bills, and other costs that are incurred. The cause of injury or illness will be examined though, to make sure it is covered by that policy.
  • Cancellation costs: If you flight is suddenly canceled or another one has been delayed and it means you’re going to have to book another at an exuberant cost, travel insurance should be able to cover this cost for you. This feature is sometimes found on popular credit cards but you’ll want the extra protection that a travel insurance policy can provide.

What It Doesn’t Cover

  • Personal financial losses: Anything that you’ve done personally to lose money on your vacation, like gambling or buying expensive jewelry, will not be covered by your insurance policy. It is also your responsibility to not buy fraudulent or imitation goods from anyone.
  • Injury or illness from risky/illegal activity: Most travel policies will have a long list of behavior that is prohibited, and state that any injury or illness resulting from them will not qualify for coverage. This includes driving over the speed limit, taking illegal substances, skydiving off the side of a cliff, or being reckless.
  • Traveling against government advice: If you’ve deliberately ignored government advice and chosen to travel somewhere unsafe or prohibited, you will not be covered for any incidents that occur there. If an insurer can prove you were in one of these areas, your entire policy might even be canceled.
  • Pre-existing conditions: A pre-existing condition is something that you already had at the time of booking your trip and organizing travel insurance, and these conditions won’t be covered if they’re the cause of any issues. Common exclusions in this area include pregnancy, heart disease, cancer, bone, and joint conditions, and mental health conditions. This is to prevent anyone from claiming for something they already had when they arrived.

How to Make an Insurance Claim

How to Make an Insurance Claim

All insurance providers operate differently when it comes to making claims, but those with backpacker-friendly policies will try to make it easy to do on the go.

Usually, there’ll be an option for some sort of online self-service that allows you to make a claim from anywhere in the world, otherwise, you can speak to their customer service team to lodge one.

There are many kinds of stipulations in place about what’s required to start a claim and what proof you may need to supply to the insurer.

Before signing up for a new policy, make sure you understand their claim process, wait times, and excess or deductible, so you’re not stung with any surprises while you’re traveling overseas.

Once the claim has been lodged and the insurer has approved it, they will make the payment to either you or whoever performed the service.

As they’re dealing specifically with people who are away from home and may be in urgent need of money, you’ll find that backpacker travel insurance providers are quite prompt in completing the process.

Peace of Mind for a Small Price

To truly relish in the worry-free life of a backpacker, getting some simple coverage with travel insurance is the best thing you can do.

With this type of protection made specifically for backpacking enthusiasts, you’ll know that you’re prepared should the worst happen, so you can get on with enjoying your holiday.

Related Questions

Travel insurance is a boring but necessary part of overseas travel, and it’s saved countless people from heartache and an empty bank account over the years.

If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of travel insurance, we’ve answered some FAQs that can give you a push in the right direction.

What is Travel Insurance Excess?

The excess of your travel insurance is the amount that you’ll be liable to pay should you make a claim on your travel insurance policy.

You can adjust the excess or deductible amount to reduce the cost of the insurance premiums, but this will mean a higher cost to pay if you ever make a claim.

Does Travel Insurance Cover Covid?

Does Travel Insurance Cover Covid?

There are some travel insurance providers that cover for illness, including Covid-19, but not all of them.

Those that do will usually stipulate what exactly it covers for, including quarantine or medical costs, but it’s not common that they’ll provide cover for any flights or bookings that were canceled because of a Covid-19 related travel ban.

What is the Average Cost of Travel Insurance?

There are many providers and plans available for travel insurance with differing costs, but you can expect to pay between 4 to 12% of the total cost of your trip for this type of coverage.

Although it can seem excessive, the types of financial emergencies it’s protecting you from make it well worth it.

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