Travel insurance plans for backpackers are as important as the trip itself. Backpackers travel insurances are plans especially designed for backpackers, who don’t want to take any risks.
Travel disasters can happen to anyone and usually come unannounced, so it is better to be prepared than feel sorry later.
Backpackers by the very nature of their traveling style face slightly more risks than other travelers.
We present some of the best advice from industry experts on backpacker’s travel insurance plans.
There are millions of people who go on such trips where all they must do is make up their mind and hit the road.
Some backpackers decide on backpacking for the thrill it provides while some choose this type of travel to keep travel costs low. Whatever be the reason, any kind of travel can land a traveler in hospital or leave them stranded and broke.
Our advice on travel insurance for backpackers can protect you from these risks and ensure you come home physically and financially safe.
Risks of backpacking and why you need backpacker’s insurance
Backpackers face all kinds of risks during their travel. We have listed some of them below:
1. Backpacker may get injured
Backpackers try out various tourist attractions in remote areas of the world. Since most of the time they are traveling by foot, they are more susceptible to accidents and injuries.
Since they are more of explorers, they also rank high on bites from reptiles or insects which can take a toll on your health. So how will you pay when you need emergency medical care?
2. Backpacker may fall ill
Backpackers are also experimental when it comes to food and water – partly because of their approach to travel and partly because of the places they travel to. Some of this food may not agree well and he/she may fall ill.
Most of the backpacking trips also expose you to local diseases, which can force you to take refuge in a hospital.
3. Backpacker may get robbed
What if during your backpacking holiday your money, credit cards, passport etc get stolen?
However light you travel, you need to carry money, cards and your documents with you always…increasing its chances of being pinched.
If something like this happens you need some contact in the country you are vacationing in to help you replace your passport, give you some replacement money etc.
4. Backpacker’s backpack gets stolen
Backpackers like you travel light on their holiday trips, which means every item is important.
A backpack theft hurts a backpacker more than it would hurt a regular person. If everything you packed for your vacation gets stolen, how do you recover? How do you get money to purchase replacements?
5. Backpacker gets hurt and stranded
If you are grievously injured in a remote area with limited transport options, what do you do?
Backpackers get attracted to remote areas. These areas are far from good medical care, which puts them at a high risk of being stranded.
Even if you are backpacking with a group, there is little the group can do to help you. In such situations, your best bet is an emergency medical evacuation.
Now, the question arises…who can you or your buddies contact for your rescue operation?
6. Backpacker must return home suddenly
There are various situations for which the backpacking trip has to be cut short and you have to head back home.
When you book a flight ticket at the last minute they cost a bomb, not to mention the financial loss incurred on all the airfare, lodging, and other activities you may have already booked. From where do you find these cash reserves?
Will you be alright losing your remaining trip’s pre-paid cost?
7. Backpacker’s travel plans go haywire
When flights get cancelled, you end up incurring extra costs for lodging and food.
In fact, your bookings at next destination will also have to be cancelled because you have no way of being there on time.
Since most backpackers are on a budget, such unexpected delays put a spanner in the works and escalate the budget.
If your travel is delayed, how do you plan to pay for your waiting period and other collateral damages?
Who must buy backpacker travel insurance?
A back packers travel insurance is a must if you fall under any of the below given three categories.
1. Individuals, couples and groups on backpacking trips
As backpackers, you are bound to travel to remote areas of the World. You are bound to be a bit more experimental than the rest of us, which puts you at higher risk. With a back packers travel insurance policy under the belt, you know that you are always close to a medical facility and far away from a financial crunch.
2. College students on camping trips
The medical coverage you may currently have is sure to have geographic limitations and won’t apply in the place where you are going on a backpacking vacation. Why take the risk and incur extra medical expenses if you can avoid it by investing in a small backpacker’s travel insurance policy?
3. Families backpacking with children
As parents, we must always prepare for the worst. A back packers travel insurance plan can cover all kinds of emergencies wrt the kids and the parents, if the coverages are carefully studied before taking the insurance policy.
Coverage backpackers need in their travel insurance
While there are numerous coverages which a travel insurance plan offers, here are some of the most important coverages a backpacker needs. When you look at the policy document, do spend extra time reading their terms for the below given coverages.
1. Medical / dental expense coverage
This covers emergency medical care and most often some dental care in the case of an illness or injury during your backpacking vacation.
Unlike the regular health insurance which we take for the family (at home), travel medical insurance reimburses the insurer only for the medical expenses while on the trip.
Most often you will have to pay your medical bills and then claim reimbursement from the insurance company. However, in some extreme cases the insurance company can pay an advance directly to the hospital you are getting treated at.
2. Passport/Credit Card coverage
This covers reimbursement for fraudulent credit card charges, credit card replacement fee if lost, fees to replace your passports.
In case you are stranded without any money then some cash advances are also covered. Do note that the cash advances must be reimbursed by you later.
3. Baggage coverage
This covers the replacement value of your stolen backpack. You may have lost the backpack, or it could have been destroyed in some incident or the airlines may have misplaced it…in all the scenarios baggage coverage provides you the replacement value.
Each item in the bag has an upper limit on the reimbursement value.
Passports, credit cards, and other travel documents are not covered by baggage coverage and hence we always recommend you keep these documents on your person while traveling.
Useful Links on backpacker’s travel insurance:
4. Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation coverage
This covers the coordination and payment for evacuations to nearby hospital in medical cases. And once you are deemed fit to continue your travels, this coverage gets you back to your trip.
In case you prefer to head home after the medical treatment this coverage gets you home as well. This coverage is not medical coverage but a coverage for medically necessary transportation.
This insurance coverage also ensures the repatriation of mortal remains to your residence in case you die.
5. Trip interruption coverage
This covers reimbursement for unplanned abrupt end (due to a reason covered by the travel insurance plan) to your backpacking holiday. The unexpected airfare, lodging and transportation costs get covered.
There are two parts to this travel insurance cover – a) unused travel expenses that you forfeit while ending a trip abruptly gets reimbursed and b) You get reimbursed for the costs of additional tickets to come back home.
6. Travel delay coverage
This cover reimburses you for expenses such as rooms, food, and transport if your trip is delayed for a covered reason. Travel insurance plans provide a per-day upper limit on reimbursements due to travel delays.
Mind you, when a flight gets delayed the airlines are not obligated to compensate the traveler.
Exceptions of plans
Going by the coverage it offers, backpackers travel insurance is the best type of insurance for backpackers but like everything in the world it has some exceptions or exclusions too. Some of the exceptions to the backpacker’s travel insurance policy are:
# War zones are not covered by backpacker’s travel insurance plans. If you are traveling to countries where war is currently raging or there is a prospect of war, your travel insurance will become null and void.
# If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you may be refused backpackers travel insurance plan. Even if you manage to get a backpacker’s travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions, you must pay higher premium.
# Your backpackers travel insurance will cover some of the adventure sports but not all. So before buying a travel insurance policy read all the terms and conditions and list of adventure activities carefully to be sure of that your activity is covered.
More about backpacker’s travel insurance plans
On your extended backpacking trips you may want to work, and this is also covered by backpackers travel insurance. Paid, voluntary and manual works are covered by most backpackers travel insurance but be sure to read all the conditions and instructions carefully before purchasing the plan.
Do note that backpacking is for young people and if you are above a certain age, the insurance company may refuse you backpackers insurance. This age limit varies for every insurance company.