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Get the right travel insurance for you
When travelling for an extended period of time you will need to opt for long-stay travel insurance - not to be confused with backpacker cover...
Long-stay travel insurance policies are often for terms from around one month up to six months.
However, those taking trips of a year - perhaps on a gap year adventure, for example - will need to look for 'backpacker insurance'. This applies even if you are looking to stay in luxury.
As with standard policies, a long-stay travel insurance policy will cover you for medical expenses, cancellation, and baggage, etc. However, long-term travel insurance may include other cover, given the various activities people undertake on extended trips, such as working abroad.
Reading the terms and conditions of your policy is vital to ensuring you don't fall foul of any clause that you were not aware of...
There are a number of things to consider.
For a start, you need to check that the countries you plan to visit aren't excluded on the policy you pick. Some policies, for example, only offer European cover, while others are worldwide. However, countries that are excluded from worldwide policies will also typically be the countries that the Foreign Office considers dangerous to visit. As with any aspects of cover, if in doubt, ask the insurer.
As with standard policies, you'll find you're not usually covered for pre-existing medical conditions - but be sure to disclose these when you apply for cover.
You should also look out for activities that may not be covered on your policy. Many people taking extended trips use the opportunity to try out something new and exciting. However, the last thing you want is to discover your insurance doesn't cover you after you've been involved in an accident.
You should also check that all of your gadgets and possessions will be covered under your policy. Don't forget that you could be travelling away with more baggage than normal or with high-tech kit that's too valuable to lose.
Make sure you compare both the level of cover you will have under your policy and how much excess you will need to pay...
It's important to consider all the activities you might take part in on an extended trip, and check the level of cover for these. While you can't cover for every situation, as plans can and do change - particularly on a long trip - you want to make sure your insurer is aware of your general plans. This way, you'll get the right level of cover for you.
As with standard travel insurance policies, the level of cover you'll get will vary significantly between providers, so make sure you read the small print. For example, are you planning on indulging in adrenalin activities while away, such as bungee jumping, or white water rafting?
These are considered to be 'adventurous sports' that are higher risk for an insurer, so while some will cover a wide range, others won't.
Also, check whether the policy offers single or family cover depending on whether you're travelling with kids or solo - or perhaps as a couple. Different insurers offer various options.
At TravelSupermarket, we recommend the following as the minimum level of cover you should look for in a policy:
Medical expenses - Medical cover should be around £2million, and should also cover the cost of emergency repatriation.
Personal liability - Cover for personal liability should amount to around £1million.
Cancellation Cover - Cancellation cover should be either £3,000 or enough to cover the total cost of your holiday, including the cost of any prepaid excursions.
Baggage Cover - Minimum level of baggage and possessions cover should be £1,500.
Holiday Money - Minimum cover will usually allow for £250 worth of cash - if you plan to carry more with you ensure your policy reflects that.
Policy Excess - This should ideally be under £100.
Scheduled Airline Failure - Cover for this should be included, along with end supplier failure if you are not travelling on an ATOL backed package holiday.
Delay Cover - For example, this could be £20/hour for first 12 hours.
Search and rescue cover can also be included in a long-term policy. However, be aware that if you are planning on becoming an intrepid explorer and venture far off the beaten track, you may find you're not covered.
While a cheap policy might appear the preferable option, it isn't always the wisest if you don't buy a policy that fits your needs...
So make sure you compare the policies for your situation, and check the cover details carefully.
If you are over 65, and planning on an extended trip, you will find policies are much more expensive than for young age groups - making it even more important to compare to find not only the best price, but the right cover for you.
TravelSupermarket's free and independent travel insurance quotation service is designed to help you find the right policy at the best possible price so you can have peace of mind while you embark on your extended trip.