Do you need backpacker/travel insurance?

Yes, you do.

End post.

Just kidding 😉

In all seriousness though, why wouldn’t you? This week, I’ve been looking into insurance for my upcoming trip and man, it can be a bit of a minefield. And, it can be pricey, but if you’re thinking about shirking, don’t do it! Let’s imagine, you’re in Mexico, or Sydney, or Bali. You’re having a total blast, meeting new people, getting drunk, going around exploring – the usual. You think to yourself, I wanna swim with dolphins. Why not? Everyone knows how human friendly they are and anyway, it’ll look beyond cool for your Facebook photos. You sign up, get in the pool and:

ac52i

Sound extreme? The fact is, people get hurt on holiday all the time. It has to happen to someone and as much as you won’t want it to, it could happen to you. We’re lucky in the UK, we have the NHS to look after us after a mishap, but Belize? Cape Town? When you travel, you will no doubt hear about people who’ve fallen off their scooter (have witnessed that and it’s nasty), lost their bag thanks to the airline, got caught up in an earthquake, spent 10 days straight on the toilet (why is it that travellers bond over dodgy tums but you wouldn’t dream of having that conversation back home) – shit, sometimes literally, happens.

The day I arrived in Goa, I met one one of the girls who’d travelled from France with my friends. She was a lovely 19 year old German girl, travelling for the first time. She’d been in hospital and was STILL sick with some kind of stomach problem. Think about how much scans cost, consultant fees – it’s insane but it’s better to pay a little upfront instead of blowing your whole budget on medical care.

So. Comparison sites are a good place to start and there are a great many – moneysupermarket.com, comparethemarket.com etc etc etc. Or, you can go via a recommendation from a friend, Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor – my point is, there’s a lot out there. They often come in tiers. Bronze, silver, gold, black etc, and each level will have varying amounts of cover. It definitely isn’t an idea to just go with the cheapest.

You have to consider what you’ll be doing. Will you be going to one country, two, or do you not know yet? Will you be doing ‘activities’ like kayaking, mountaineering or board sports? Will you be taking camera equipment, a laptop, a mobile phone? All of these things could well end up being add ons you need because the maximum cover amount might not stretch to it. Lets say you’re taking a laptop, mobile phone and camera, and lets say they’re top of the range. Your laptop might be a Macbook, that’s around £900. Your smartphone, let’s say £400. Your camera maybe £100. That’s £1,400. Now, they might not be brand new, but is your maximum cover of £500 going to stretch if you get robbed?

What’s that you say? You won’t get robbed? Well no, you hope not but shit happens. You need to weigh up what’s important to you, and how much you’re prepared to shell out just in case. In some cases, an upgrade for valuables might only cost an extra £10-20 but the cover difference is immense.

So, my advice – don’t be cheap. Shop around and READ THE SMALL PRINT. And take care 🙂

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