The real truth about gap year travel insurance

Whether you should get travel insurance for your gap year is a question many families ponder as they start planning long-term travel. Gap year travel insurance is expensive. Will I lose a bag? Will I get sick? Will my plans be interrupted? These are all things that need to be considered when planning family travel over a long period.

The short and correct answer is yes, you do need the best gap year travel insurance, you do need to research what you want out of your insurance, and you do need to shop around for the best price. A great rule to travel by is “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel”. Do not even consider travelling without the best gap year insurance, there are just so many variables that can happen on the road.

Do I need comprehensive gap year travel insurance?

The answer is yes, if you can afford it, comprehensive is the best travel insurance for a gap year. It will cover you for everything from cancellations, 24/7 medical care, lost or damaged luggage costs, personal liability, family emergencies, additional cover for travel delays, and alternative transport expenses.

Make sure you read the fine print and definitions, as travel insurance companies will always do their best to get out of payment for claims if they can. Saying the right thing on the phone when reporting the incident can help with your claim when doing gap year travel.

Many insurance companies have a hotline you can call on your gap year world travel, which will direct you to their preferred medical professionals in that country. We had a situation in Battambang, Cambodia, where our insurance company wanted to evacuate us to Siem Reap because the standard of care was much better in that city.

This type of advice is invaluable when you are sick in a foreign country, you don’t know where to go, what to do, and you do not speak the language.

Can i get away with just medical insurance for my families gap year travel?

Yes, you can. Medical insurance is the most important aspect of any travel insurance. You never know when a child might fall over and a scratch turns into an infection, or when a pain in the stomach for an adult could be appendicitis or kidney stones. The quality of medical treatment varies the world over, and a good insurance policy will help you get the best treatment available.

Lying on a hospital bed in Battambang Cambodia i was glad we had gap year travel insurance
Waiting for treatment at a hospital in Cambodia on our gap year holiday

Many Asian countries have private international standard hospitals that your travel insurance will know about and suggest for you. These types of facilities provide the best care possible. Many of these hospitals require payment upfront, with reimbursement from your gap year health insurance at a later date. We went to Royal Phnom Penh hospital in Cambodia when I had kidney stones. I had to have some scans and tests, and it cost $1500 USD, which I had to pay upfront.

Do i need theft insurance included in gap year travel insurance

Families who travel long-term typically pack light, with a small suitcase containing mostly clothes and a few electronic essentials. What you need to ask yourself is, can I afford to replace my clothes, charging cables, etc. if they get stolen? Remember, it will take a few weeks to get compensation from your gap year travel insurance company for this.

You will have to go to the police and report it, then provide that report to the insurance company. You will have to prove a duty of care for your belongings, such as that you did not leave your room unlocked or that your bag never left your sight, etc. Likewise, you will have to be able to prove that you owned the goods, which may require receipts.

On our gap year, travels we had a bag stolen on a train in Italy and the insurance company were not going to pay out because the bag was not within eyesight the whole time. Fighting with insurance companies can be a long and tiresome process, especially if you are on the road travelling.

We recommend you search Travel Insurance Masters and Cover-more for the best travel insurance for a gap year prices and options

Do i need cancellation insurance on a traveling gap year?

This depends on your style of travel. Many families on a gap year are travelling on a budget that requires them to move between spots via budget airlines, buses, etc. The cost of your cancellation may be less than the cost of your excess for your gap year insurance policy.

If there is one thing you can go without to save money on your travelling budget, it is cancellation insurance. They very rarely happen, and when they do, you can most likely just buy another ticket and continue on without much hassle.

So what do i need for best gap year travel insurance ?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. It depends on your budget and what you feel travel insurance basic you will need. At a minimum, you require medical insurance on your gap year world travel, all things after that are just add-ons. Some companies will have a policy where you can get medical only and a small amount of theft coverage

Checking the flights boards for departures and cancellation at Bali airport
Checking for delays and cancellations at the airport on our gap year trip

Just remember, the price of your travel insurance for gap year policy will be dependent on what excess you have. The higher the excess, the lower the price of the policy. Don’t expect your travel insurance gap year policy to perform magic, there will be things that are not covered such as extreme sports, riding scooters in Asia without a license, and so on.

What qualifies us to talk about long term travel and gap year travel insurance?

We travelled long-term for 14 months through Europe and Asia with our two daughters. We have had to seek out doctors in Indonesia and Germany and have received hospital treatments in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Germany. Furthermore, we have made claims for theft, had them denied, fought the insurance company, and won in the end with gap year insurance.

We hope this article from Wyld Family Travel helps with your planning for long term travel. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. Long term travel is daunting for anyone planning travel. If you are planning long term travel with kids or even couples, there are so many things you need to consider.


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Author bio:

Father, husband, traveller, and chief destination manager here at Wyld Family Travel. When Mark is not talking about travel or planning travel you will find him working in disability support. Mark is a family travel advocate, having travelled to over 45 countries with his kids from 10 months old, through to their teenage years. You will find his work here and on other popular websites.

Having a beer in Pilsen Czech
Mark Wyld

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