Finding backpackers insurance has been the most difficult travel planning task so far. Actually, we thought we had everything sorted out weeks ago; I left Andrew the task of researching and buying our insurance while he was on autumn school holidays and I was at work. He found a great deal – a £253 year-long policy, for two people – a bargain! That’s one more task crossed off the list, or so I thought…
Always Read the Small Print
It was only when I sat down to write this post that I actually started reading the small print of our contract, which said: ‘This policy is not valid for one way trips’. Considering that we don’t have return tickets to the UK – that means ours wouldn’t be covered. To make matters worse, by the time I discovered this it was already long past the cooling-off period during which we could get a full refund, so it was looking like we stood to lose that £253 of our hard-earned travel savings. Fortunately, after much scolding from me about not bothering to read the small print, Andrew managed to get a hold of the company and after some begging, he miraculously wrangled a full refund. Lucky for him is all I can say.
What to look for in Long Term Travel Insurance
So, back to square one and hours of searching online, comparing policies, calling companies and slowly loosing our minds. Here’s the thing about backpacking travel insurance:
- Most policies don’t allow you to make claims when you’re actually travelling, you have to wait until you return home to do that
- Even so called ‘long-term’ travel insurance policies require that you have a return ticket home booked, or you at least need to be able to prove that you intend to return to your home country (with a letter of employment, for example).
- Most policies don’t cover many of your valuables. Typically, insurance policies offer around £1,500 baggage cover, with a single item value limit of around £150 and a total valuable limit of around £200.
So, what’s the Best Backpacker Travel Insurance for us?
In the end we only found two companies which would allow us to make claims while abroad and to travel without intending to return home at the end of the policy – here are the details based on 12 months’ cover:
|World Nomads||Globelink International|
|Medical cover (excess)||£3,000,000 (£100)||£5,000,000 (£40)|
|Baggage cover (excess)||£1,250 (£75)||£1,000 (£40)|
|Single item limit||£100||£150|
|Policy cost per person||£462.39|
|Policy cost for a couple||£923||£441|
*Figures are sourced from the respective companies
Although we’ve heard rave reviews about World Nomads, which is the only real nomad travel insurance company out there, we decided not to go with them. While we don’t expect to get extremely cheap backpacker travel insurance, we think that they’re just too expensive, especially considering their policy wouldn’t even cover our electronics.
Globelink insurance, on the other hand, isn’t as well known but costs less than half the price of World Nomads. In fact, the Globelink excess is also much cheaper and they actually offer more medical cover. The only problem we can foresee is that they can only cover us for a total time period of 18 months, after which time we’ll be classed as permanent travellers and will need private travel insurance. World Nomads, in comparison, allow you to continue extending your policy.
In the end, we chose to go for 15 months’ cover (the most you can get online) with Globelink – we’ll extend this to 18 when we’re on the road. So, the total cost of our travel insurance, for two people for 15 months is £576.
Travel Insurance for our Electronics
All sorted now? Not quite. We still needed additional insurance to cover our travel laptop, camera, phones and Kindles while we’re travelling. We took out additional gadget insurance to cover our electronics for 12 months with PhotoGuard – this cost us £48.