Do I need backpackers travel insurance for HelpX

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Decision made- you’re following in the footsteps of the fancy free and setting off with nothing more than a rucksack and your own imagination for company.   Just before you set off on your travels however, there is one more reality ‘check’ that you need to take care of… travel Insurance.

Whilst this is nowhere near as exciting as sifting through your travel guides and deciding which of the worlds’ wonders you will be taking in/on it is; as your travel adviser, the multitude who have gone before you and, most importantly, your mum will tell you- completely necessary.  Travel insurance is a must and whether you opt for cheap travel insurance with the basic features or a more comprehensive policy that specifically caters for backpackers,  it is really important that you ‘dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s’ before you go.  Whilst reading through your policy is not exactly at the top of your list of fun preparatory things to do before you go, it will help to save you from any potential distress and that will just add to your enjoyment if you ask me!

So, whether you are travelling for adventure, exploration, a spiritual journey or just because you want to be a part of the global community, make sure you choose a policy that will give you peace of mind that you are covered no matter what.  This is essential before you set foot off home soil.

The three key points you will want to consider when researching which travel insurance policy fits you best are;

  • What types of travel insurance are on offer?
  • What will I be covered for?- this is especially important for long-term or backpacking trips
  • What will happen if I don’t have travel insurance?

That third point is a no-brainer!  Save yourself the hassle- as I have said, travel insurance is essential.  Essential for your health, safety AND overall enjoyment.  Now that’s out of the way, on to some sensible stuff.

What types of travel insurance are there?

There are lots of different types of policy to choose from and these depend on your circumstances such as; who you are travelling with, where you are going, the length of your trip and what you plan to do whilst you are away.  Different policies include;

  • Single trip
  • Annual multi-trip
  • Worldwide
  • Backpackers Travel Insurance
  • Family
  • Group

See- lots! This is not an exhaustative list but it does highlight that your choice of policy is varied so what you should try and focus on is what exactly you need for your requirements and then find a policy which matches this.

Travel insurance- the basics

A basic policy should cover;

  • Cancellation and curtailment (you cutting your travels short!)
  • Delays
  • Baggage and belongings
  • Personal liability- if you injure or damage the property of someone else
  • Emergency assistance

After checking through the policy basics you may want to consider extras to add to tailor it to your trip such as; adventure travel insurance, cover for working abroad of volunteering in a programme such as Helpx or even cover against airline insolvency.  Some specific backpackers travel insurance policies may include these types of extras already so you should always check.

Things to remember;

  1. Limits and excesses then vary from policy to policy so make sure you pay attention to this- it could sting you!  There is no getting away from it but you can make sure the policy you choose is reasonable.
  2. Geographic regional variances
  3. Can you cover your valuables more cheaply using a specialist insurer?
  4. Make note of the company’s underwriter.  These are the money men who pay out the claims.  You need to make sure you are looking for a well-established and well known insurance house to reduce risk.

Tips for choosing the right travel insurance policy;

  1. Always check the fine print.  This may seem obvious and you will hear people telling you to do this all of the time… that’s because it really is important that you know exactly what you are covered against and what is required of you.  For example, you may decide to travel to certain countries such as those in a state of political unrest or war zones and these countries are not always covered!  Similarly, if you go for a cheaper option that should be fine for the health aspect but don’t expect any of your fancy equipment to be covered unless you made specific measures for it!
  2. Take copies of your paperwork with you and if anything goes wrong on your trip make sure you cover all bases and do everything that is required of you including contacting the company immediately.  One tip is to make lists of anything that you buy for your trip and keep receipts and cash machine/currency conversion receipts- this will make processing your claim much easier.
  3. Make a note of emergency numbers and how to make a claim
  4. If you have medical insurance such as Bupa or a household insurance policy, check the coverage as you may find that you will have certain benefits for overseas and this could save you valuable pennies to avoid duplication.

A great choice for backpacking travel insurance is WorldNomads.com.   These are one of the most competitive travel insurers on the market and offer some great benefits such as;

  • 24/7 online claim facility.  This is an especially important feature giving you help and assistance at any time of the day.
  • You can extend or add features to your policy whilst you are travelling if you change your plans.
  • World Nomads are partnered with some of the world’s best insurers including Lloyds and Bupa International to, as their motto confirms, ‘keep [you] travelling safely’.
  • Whether the purpose of your trip is to discover new things, experience the unexpected or to challenge yourself, World Nomads offers cover for all types of adventure activity.  They even offer a money back guarantee and cover the likes of surfing, diving, trekking and bikes (not normally offered as standard) and you can buy this from any country in the world.

One of the best benefits of choosing one of their policies for your Backpacking Travel Insurance (in my opinion anyway!) is not about the policy itself but how through choosing a policy through WorldNomads you will be helping your global community.

World Nomads have set up a philanthropic project called ‘The Footprints Network’ and if you purchase travel insurance through them you give a little towards a project of your choice.  Great, right! So, whether you are intending on offering your hands to a volunteer project like those arranged through Helpx, doing a bit of teaching or just getting lost to find yourself, you will also be giving back to people in need.

If my word for it isn’t enough, the guys over at Lonely Planet recommend them too!

Click here for a direct quote and a more comprehensive guide of what you should be looking for from a policy.

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