Even if you’re embarking on your first backpacking trip ever, you’ll know: Purchasing travel insurance is an absolute must. Unfortunately, not every travel insurance policy is made equal, especially for backpackers with a growing sense of adventure!
Nearly any good travel insurance policy will cover the usual suspects like trip cancellation, lost or stolen baggage, medical expenses. But when you’re looking to undertake something a little adventurous, you’ll need to dig deeper to make sure you’re protected on all bases.
Fortunately, the travel insurance industry has come a LONG way in the past several years. No longer are travellers stuck with purchasing overpriced policies from banks or traditional insurance companies that refuse to cover you as soon as your travels inch outside of the ordinary.
Need a little guidance? Here are a some quick tips for shopping for adventure travel insurance…
Do I even need adventure travel insurance?
Whether you need a special adventure travel insurance policy depends completely on how you envision your travel plans.
For typical city-hopping travel itineraries, standard travel insurance will often provide enough coverage for your needs. If you’re planning to undertake outdoor activities, however—even something as simple as hiking on a small mountain just outside the city!)—you’ll want to read the fine print to ensure that you’ll be covered for any injuries resulting from the activity.
In cases where you KNOW you’ll be embarking on riskier activities—trekking, scuba diving, paragliding, bungee jumping, skiing, etc.—it goes without saying that you’ll need a policy that’ll specifically cover the activities.
How to choose an adventure travel insurance policy
It’s SUPER important to check each activity you’re planning to undertake specifically BEFORE buying travel insurance. Not every policy is created equal. Some less expensive policies, for example, may exclude riskier activities such as mountain climbing or skiing.
Even if you’re unsure whether you’ll undertake a specific activity, it’s always smart to check that your policy covers it anyway. (You never know when adventure calls!)
Specify your destinations wisely
One of the most important things about buying adventure travel insurance is to ensure that it specifically covers the destinations you’re visiting. Certain policies may only cover you in certain countries.
The most obvious example is the United States. As you’re shopping for travel insurance, you’ll notice that many policies exclude coverage in the U.S. unless specified. Even if you’re just passing through an American airport, you’ll need to ensure you are covered.
(Trust me here: You don’t want to pay for health care costs out-of-pocket in the United States!)
Buying adventure travel insurance on-the-go
Did you forget to purchase a policy before you embarked on your trip? No worries! Gone are the days when you had to plan your entire trip in advance.
Popular companies like World Nomads offer you the chance to purchase your travel insurance when you’re already out on the road. You can also look into buying an annual travel insurance policy that’ll cover you for multiple trips over a 12-month period. If you travel frequently throughout the year, this will often be the most cost-effective and convenient option to stay protected.