Backpacking across the world is a once in a lifetime opportunity full of new experiences, and dare devil adventures. Whether you’re going for a two month escape or planning a year trip it’s definitely advisable to buy backpackers travel insurance as soon as your trip is booked. Saving to go travelling is a timely process and you’ll need every rand you save for hostels, excursions and all the fun stuff! And not expensive hospital fees. You can plan as far as advance as you like and be extra cautious but sometimes accidents do happen, purchasing a comprehensive insurance policy might put you back over 1000 rand but without insurance hospital fees abroad could cost you 20 times that.
In This Guide:
- What’s included in backpacker insurance?
- What is excluded from backpacker insurance?
- Tips for travelling and backpacker insurance
What’s included in backpacker insurance?
Backpacker insurance is deemed a specialist type of insurance because it’s designed for backpackers and student travellers instead of standard single trip travel insurance policy. A backpacker insurance policy will normally cover you for a longer period of time, from 6 months all the way up to a year and a half. If you’re mixing your backpacking trip with work abroad this type of insurance would work for you too.
Emergency medical expenses and related bills – if you need to pay for hospital treatment or related expenses such as flying back to South Africa because you missed your flight due to illness
Cancellation or curtailment – if you have to cancel your trip altogether or cut it short due to something like a family bereavement (this is why it is important to purchase cover as soon as you have booked your trip)
Lost, stolen or damaged baggage – if you lose your baggage, a victim of theft or an item such as a camera gets damaged
Adventurous sports – this will very much dependent on your insurer but backpacker insurance can include some adventurous sport, always double check
Personal liability – legal costs for an accident to someone elese or their belongings that was your fault
Missed or delayed flights – If your flight is delayed or your miss it due to circumstances not under your control e.g extreme weather
What is excluded from backpacker insurance?
Pre-existing medical conditions – Your insurance policy may not cover you for any pre-existing medical conditions. This is a condition you have had diagnosed before you purchased your insurance policy. This is usually a chronic illness.
Insurer’s questions – if you have not answered your insurer’s questions accurately this ill invalidate your policy. For example if you did not disclose an pre-existing medical condition.
Adventurous sports - Although specialist cover like backpacker insurance may include extreme sports, this isn’t necessarily the same for all insurers, so do make sure you read the terms and conditions. You could be covered for some adventurous sports but it may be very specific cover and the excess could be quite high. It may be better idea to purchase additional cover for adventurous sports at an extra premium to get the exact cover you need.
Alcohol/drugs – if you require medical attention after an accident that has happen while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol your policy will become invalid.
Tips for travelling and backpacker insurance
Contact your insurer – call your insurer within 24 hours of anything happening for you to need to make a claim. This is particularly important if you are a victim of a crime
Crime reference number – If you are a victim of crime you will need a crime reference number to move forward with your insurance claim
Evidence – Make sure you collect as much evidence as possible, whether that’s any documents or reports, pictures of damaged items etc
Terms and conditions – always read the terms and conditions of your policy to check for an exclusions, you don’t want any nasty surprises when you go to make a claim for falling of a horse and finding out you weren’t covered for horse riding!
Phone numbers – check you taken note of all important phone numbers you may need. This includes local police and hospitals as well as a customer support number for your insurer
Excess – check you excess for single items, there may be a time you want to make claim but find the excess is more than the item itself, it’s not always worth claiming.
Compare – to ensure you get cheap travel insurance it’s always best to compare policies online. There are several insurers out there with different perks and exclusions. If you’re will to do some digging you should be able to find an insurer for you.