4 Travel Insurance Tips for Backpackers

Allianz Travel - Backpackers

Have you spent a lot of time and money planning your perfect backpacking trip of a lifetime? How exciting!

Many people see travel insurance as an unnecessary expense that they know they need to take out, often going for the cheapest cover they can find, but this is a big mistake and could mean that you pay out money unnecessarily for any unforeseen circumstances.

You may be fit and healthy and have never needed hospital treatment, but that doesn’t stop you getting a nasty tummy bug in an unfamiliar location. It also doesn’t stop an airline losing your baggage or cancelling your flight all together, all of which could see you out of pocket!

We know travel insurance and we want you to be safe, protected and informed, so we have put together these really important tips for you.


  1.Think about what activities you will likely be doing

Whilst you are travelling the world you will no doubt be trying out new activities and experiences that you either could not do at home or have never done before.


You may not always know exactly what you are going to be doing in advance, but you must make sure you are aware of what your travel insurance covers and, where possible, add on extras for things that you might be trying out.


Most travel insurances will not cover for extreme activities such as most watersports, rock climbing, bungee jumping and so on. However, there are many add on options that you can purchase to cover many of these activities including winter sports cover and hazardous activity cover.


It is important to take this seriously before you travel as, for instance, if you hurt yourself whilst doing one of these activities that are not covered for, and you need medical/hospital treatment, that will come with a cost. When your insurer is contacted, they will decline on paying out, leaving you with a large bill to deal with!


Medical treatment abroad can cost anything from hundreds, to thousands, and in some countries tens of thousands!


Review any exclusions properly and amend it before you travel.


 2. Have the correct cover for out of pocket expenses

You are no doubt going to be back packing on a budget, so making sure that you have the right level of travel insurance cover for out of pocket expenses will be important.


The following list are the items that you should make sure are covered, so that should you need to spend money on them, you will be able to get it back:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost or stolen baggage
  • Trip interruption or cancellation
  • Passport/credit card cover
  • Emergency cover (including medical and evacuation)


As listed above, travel insurance from us at Allianz also covers you for emergencies such as emergency medical treatment plus evacuation if injured or in danger. This is a great piece of mind should you be planning on travelling to more remote areas, as these things could be very costly.


  3.Understand your excess

Travel insurances will include an ‘excess’ figure for some of the individual items covered within your policy.


It is most important to check which items have an excess charge, and if you can afford these excesses when you are travelling.


If you need to claim for that item, can you afford to pay the excess?


Do not be tempted to take out a policy with high excesses just to keep the overall premium down by a small amount.


You must also make sure that the excess does not exceed the cost of what you are claiming for. For instance, if you flight cancellation excess is £300, but the cost of booking a new flight is less than £300, it does not make sense, not does it help your situation.


Check your excesses and make sure they are right for both the trip you are going on and can you afford.

   4. You will be covered BEFORE you travel

It is unlikely that you have booked your expedition just days before you leave, therefore you must book your insurance as soon as you have paid out for your trip.


Why should you buy cover weeks or months before you travel? Because anything could happen in this time that could prevent you from travelling, maybe even needing to cancel, and getting your money back is not that simple from holiday providers. They do not always HAVE to return it back to you.


With cancellation cover as part of your policy, should you need to cancel, you will be able to get certain costs back.



Here at Allianz Global Assistance we have a team of people who can help you should you be planning a backpacking trip. Find out more information on our website or, if you need more help, give us a call.


How can we help?

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Travel Insurance, Underwritten and administered by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty South Africa Limited, an Authorised Financial Services Provider FSP NO: 16722 (AGCS SA), The Firs, 2 nd Floor, 32A Cradock Avenue, Rosebank 2196 South Africa.