It’s important that you stay safe on your travels.

In the excitement of getting away it’s easy to forget about taking out the required level of insurance.

When you’re travelling for long periods of time and visiting a number of different countries in the same trip, it’s vital that you are covered for every eventuality. It doesn’t matter if you’re just an adventurous type, backpacker, gap year traveller or a student studying abroad – you need adequately insurance to cover all the types of activities you intend to be involved in.

Remember that in many foreign countries Health and Safety standards are not always to the same standard we have in the UK.

The good news is that a huge number of providers now cater specifically for students, especially those travelling on their gap year, and offer very discounted rates for single travellers. What this means is that there are quite a few companies out there who offer good policies at cheap prices – the trick is trying to find them. Although looking for the right travel insurance used to be boring and laborious, these days it can be done very quickly through online price comparison websites.

Choosing the right policy
Some Insurance companies will try to sell you costly packages, however you should only upgrade your policy to a more expensive one if you absolutely need to. You may believe it but student travel insurance is probably one of the most important things you will be buying for you trip abroad – its imperative that you get it right.

Before you look for an insurance quote decide on the following:

  • Which countries you plan to travel to.
  • The length of your trip.
  • What possessions you are going to take with you.

Student travel insurance should cover:

  • Emergency medical costs.
  • Mobile phones and laptops.
  • A wide range of sports and adventure activities.
  • Lost, or stolen wallets that include cash.
  • Accidental Death of a Parent or Guardian
  • Landlords Property – Tenants Liability

Do not hide any medical conditions
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions then it’s vital that you tell your insurer. If you don’t then any policy you take out may be invalid.

Take your travel insurance documents with you
You will need these if you have to make a claim. It’s also a good idea to take photocopies of the paperwork and leave one copy with a family member or friend (just in case you lose the original).

When should you take out travel insurance?
Ideally as soon as you have paid for any costs associated with your trip. Airline tickets and accommodation costs can be quiet large and it’s advisable to get them covered as soon as you can.

Search and rescue insurance cover
Travelling is all about adventure and there is a temptation for many students to go off the beaten track. If you do plan on going into remote areas then just in case you get lost consider taking out ‘Search & Rescue’ insurance cover. Bear in mind though that many companies may not offer this level of cover.

Extending your insurance period
Once abroad you may decide to extend your holiday period. If you think this may happen to you then ask prospective insurance providers if you will later on have the option to extend your student travel insurance.

Questions to ask an insurance company

  • How long are you covered for on a single trip abroad?
  • Does the policy cover ‘Walk in theft’?
  • If you decide to extend your holiday can you also extend your insurance police to cover the extra time you are going to be abroad?
  • Is there a 24 hour English speaking helpline? (this is important when you are in a different time zone to that of your home country).
  • Ask if you are covered for unlimited trips home whilst you are on your travels (if not then how many times can you come home).
  • Ask if you are covered if you have to cancel your trip because of unforeseen circumstances i.e. injury or illness.
  • Does the policy cover cash.

Taking reasonable care
Your insurer will expect you to take reasonable care of your possessions whilst you are travelling. If you have to ever make a claim for say lost luggage then you will be required to show that it was not your fault i.e. you did not leave it unattended or give it to a stranger to look after.

Also note that have had a drink, lose something and then make a claim for it, your insurance may not cover you.

Medical screening
Depending on how you fill in the insurance application form, you may be required to undergo medical screening.

Types of adventurous sports that a student travel insurance policy should cover:

  • Abseiling
  • Aerobics
  • Bridge swinging
  • Bungee jumping
  • Camping
  • Climbing
  • Diving
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Fencing
  • Gliding
  • Gymnastics
  • Jet skiing
  • Mountain biking
  • Pony trekking
  • Rafting
  • Rowing
  • Safari trekking
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Snowboarding
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Team games
  • Volleyball
  • Water skiing
  • Windsurfing

Taking more than one trip in a year?
If this is you then you then consider taking a multi trip insurance package, it can prove to be much cheaper than taking out numerous separate policies.

Check what you are NOT covered for
Read the small print and identify policy exclusions and excesses, remember that these can vary quite widely between insurers.

Check what counts as Europe / Asia / North America or Worldwide
Insurers interpretations of the geographical location of countries differ from what you think. It’s always best to double check their interpretation of where a country lies.

Insurance may NOT cover you if…

  • You enter organised competitions.
  • You take part in sports or other activities against local authorised warnings.
  • You do not tell them about any pre-existing medical conditions.

What is The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
This is free and entitles the holder to medical treatment in state-run hospitals in any EU country – plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

  • The card can last up to five years.
  • You should vever see the EHIC as a substitute for travel insurance.

Insurance limits
Many travel insurance policies have single article limits (set amounts they are willing to pay for individual items).

Cancelling your trip
If you voluntarily and for no valid reason cancel your trip then you will almost certainly not be able to claim for money spent on tickets etc.

If you are taking just one trip abroad
In this case there is no need to take out expensive lengthy multiple trip packages.

Things to do before you travel

  • Check to see that your passport, visas, permits, vaccinations and other health requirements are up to date.
  • Find out what vaccinations you need to take for the country you’re visiting.
  • Make a note of your family and friends email addresses so that you can keep in touch with them.
  • Give someone at home, a friend or relative, or both, copies of your travel itinerary wherever possible, details of any flight plans, copies of ticket, insurance policies and other documents.

Things to take with you

  • Make a note of the international emergency numbers of your credit cards (just in case your cards are lost or stolen and you have to quickly cancel them).
  • An appropriate electrical adaptor for the country you’re travelling too, these are essential to power any electrical items you have with you.
  • A small First Aid tool kit.
  • Your insurance documents (including your policy number along with the company’s emergency international telephone number).

Tips when travelling

  • Keep your baggage to a minimum.
  • When going through airports keep all valuables, passports and money on you.
  • Never leave belongings unattended or with strangers.
  • When catching a plane always allow plenty of time to check in.

Do not take
Large amounts of cash.

The best way to stay in touch with people when your abroad
Internet cafe are a great way of keeping in touch and for people to get in touch with you when you are out on your travels. Therefore make sure to take the email addresses of close family and friends with you. Apart from this having a mobile phone is the quickest way of being contacted by people back home.

Cheap insurance – what to watch out for
Low priced packaged may be tempting for the budget conscious traveller, however you should remember that they could be cheap for any of the following reasons:

  • You could be charged a higher excess.
  • It could cover only a few countries.
  • It may not cover your expensive possessions like mobile phones or laptops.

Cancelling your trip
Find out of you are covered if you have to cancel the trip because of an illness, accident or family bereavement.


Relevant links
Backpackers travel insurance
Gap year travel insurance
Student travel
Study abroad insurance

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Graduate internships

Student resource links
Mature student courses
Student accommodation
Student accounts
Student cover letter
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Student discount cards
Student loan company
Student loans

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