Studies conducted on behalf of UK comparison site, Compare Cover, show 21% of people aged 18-24 never buy travel insurance and a further 28% only purchase it sometimes*. With this in mind, Compare Cover is working to raise awareness of the risks involved in not securing appropriate cover, especially if they are preparing to embark on gap year adventures following their exams.
A recent survey concluded that around 230,000 people aged 18-25 will be taking some form of gap year ahead of their university studies**, and with 20% of parents funding this for their children and spending us much as £995 million a year collectively, it's important that travel insurance is factored into this cost.
Those embarking on gap year travels could be putting themselves at risk by not having the right level of travel insurance in place before they leave, industry experts have warned.
Simon Williams, Head of Travel at Compare Cover, said, "Our research shows that almost half of all those students looking to travel during their gap year could be doing so without appropriate levels of travel insurance in place. This means thousands of young backpackers could be putting themselves at risk should they fall ill or have an accident abroad.
"Young people and gap year travellers who do buy insurance will likely be doing so on their own for the first time, so they need to ensure that they are buying the right cover for the right kind of adventure.
"Travelling without the right insurance in place is a gamble which can never be under estimated, and we feel duty bound to ensure travellers in the post-exam travel season are aware of this," Simon added.
Most family policies cover minors aged 18, or up to 23 provided they are in full time education – a status which can be difficult to define when young people are officially taking a year out before university.
Students who are exploring foreign climes during their travels may therefore want to bear the following mind:
- Taking out travel insurance as an individual is always advisable, regardless of whether you are travelling solo or with friends.
- Make sure your policy covers all regions you plan to visit, and for the designated period you intend to be away. A basic single trip policy usually covers travel up to a certain number of days and may restrict the countries you can visit. A specific backpacker policy may be more suitable if you are planning a trip spanning several months across multiple countries.
- Make sure your policy covers all activities you plan to take part in. Extreme sports like bungee jumping, for example, may only be covered by some providers by purchasing an 'add-on' option.
Simon added, "Compare Cover ultimately wants young people heading out on their travels, especially during their gap year, to feel satisfied in the knowledge that should they need medical assistance, or a key possession gets lost during transit for example, they are covered regardless of where they are or what they are doing.
"Taking the right precautions and knowing what you are covered for before departure leaves those planning to travel the globe, ahead of a return to their university studies, free to enjoy the experience without concern for their welfare - and gives any loved ones left behind peace of mind too."