What is the best backpacker travel insurance!? Do I really need it??

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Drunkenpom contains affiliate links. This means if you click on one of the links and make any purchase I will receive a small piece of the pie at no extra cost to you!!.

Whenever I’m planning my next adventure, I’m sure to spend hours on my laptop researching where to go? When to go? How much is it going to cost? Hell! I might even have a wonder down to the travel agents pick up a couple of brochures, there’s just something about being able to flick through a brochure and fold over the page of the places you’d like to see for comparison later. In all the excitement there’s always one thing I forget…. To find the best backpacker travel insurance!!

Bloody pesky travel insurance! Blowing a hole right into my travel budget, do I really need it? Can I just go without it and “wing it”? Adopt the attitude of the laidback ozzy “she’ll be rite”?

In all fairness I’d love to just forget about it and have a few extra quid for my travels but to be honest if you do your research and shop around it doesn’t have to cost the earth. I say “do research” because there are a few things to look out for and pitfalls to avoid. 

So what makes the best backpacker travel insurance? And what do you need to look out for?



First point and maybe the most important point. Always read the small print! You can pay for the best backpacker travel insurance in the world but if you overlook or make assumptions on the contents of the small print it could be deemed worthless! 

Don’t fall victim to what I can only describe as, one of the most vile, dishonest and down right disgusting cons I’ve ever come across. Probably the most important part to this whole article:

So there you are, surfing the net for the best backpacker travel insurance. You might go to a few of the brands you’ve heard of before, maybe some of the ones you’ve used for on short breaks or summer holidays in the past.

If like me, you’ll want to get the most policy quotes for your time spent and therefore hit up one of the comparison sites.

6 months for less than £100!? Get in! where do I sign!?

This is what I thought as I found a policy from “Boots”. Not really your usual insurance company but hey ho, that’s a lot of beer money saved! Now, me being the typical bloke who sees everything in black and white, I expect everything to be transparent and why shouldn’t it be? I wouldn’t normally read the small print but for some strange reason, this time I did.

This is what I found:

Travel insuranc scam

As you can see from the image above, buried in the depths of the t&c’s, on the 9th page in fact I found this little get out of paying clause. It states that if you don’t have PROOF of the intention to return to your home country within the dates then your policy is void. You may as well not bother with any insurance at all.

What constitutes proof of intention to return home?

After digging a little deeper into what exactly constitutes proof of intention to return home, this is the proof you’ll need:

  • A mortgage: Yeah, all 20 year old backpackers have mortgages. Don’t they?
  • A return flight: An open ended ticket will not suffice, it has to be dated within the dates of your policy.
  • A job offer: A job offer for 6 months time!? Aye, alright then! 

Surely they’re not all the same, are they?

After seeing this, I started trawling through many of the other insurance companies thinking it was just Boots being a bunch of rip offs! How wrong was I? It seems the vast majority are the same.

What’s the point of marketing travel insurance aimed at backpackers with this clause in the small print? To receive premiums from unsuspecting backpackers and then when the worst happens and we need a little help, completely shit on us!! Shocking!!

After all, isn’t backpacking all about not knowing where you are going to be and not knowing when you’ll be back!?

I got lucky, nearly two years in Australia with this type of crappy/scam insurance. If anything had gone wrong, I would have been up that creek that starts with “S”.

Don’t fall victim to this scam. USE WORLD NOMADS TRAVEL INSURANCE!!! 



Can I just not get normal travel insurance?

In a word, NO! Most normal travel insurance policies only last upto a maximum of 60 days and then your not covered for anything. Yes maybe you could either try and extend the period of cover or just start a new policy every 60 days but this would prove to be major hassle and quite expensive.

Plus there’s not many policies out there that’ll let you extend or start a new policy while you’re already travelling. You may think, “f**k it! How are they going to know when I set off on my travels?”.

As with any insurance, you start calling them up, saying you need to make a claim/cost them money then pretty quickly they’re going to try and worm their way out of it.

Can you prove when you left your home country? If not, you might as well use your policy printout as toilet paper. DON’T GIVE THEM AN EXCUSE!!

As soon as you know you will be travelling for over 60 days in one stint, you must opt for a policy that is specialised for backpacker insurance. The best backpacker travel insurance normally lasts up to 18 months, (some policies vary so read that small print) so you can get it all sorted and then your good to go 18 months worry free.



A few things to think about when buying backpacker travel insurance.

As with anything in the world, nothing is as straight forward as it may first seem. Let’s be serious, insurance companies are only too keen to get out of paying a claim if they can, so here are a few things you should bear in mind when finding the best backpacker travel insurance.

Be upfront with health issues: 

As with any insurance it is always best to be upfront with everything otherwise when it comes to a claim, you could find yourself on your own.

When buying travel insurance, the odds are the insurer will ask if you have any existing health concerns. You should always be upfront and disclose any existing issues, otherwise if you fall ill while travelling due to a pre-existing health issue, you may not be insured and have to foot a very hefty hospital bill. Potentially ending your travels early!!

Most of the time any health issues will raise your premium a little bit but an extra £20 is better than an extra £4000 if you tried to hide something.

Some extreme sports are not covered:

This is another reason to read the small print. Certain extreme sports like white water rafting, quad biking and skiing/snowboarding may not be covered under your policy. In the event of an accident leaving you without insurance.

Motorcycles may not be covered:

One of the best ways to get around any given city in South East Asia is by motorcycle. At less than $5 a day hire its very tempting.

Just understand that if you don’t have a motorbike license in your home country then travel insurance will not cover it in any country. Consider this before tackling the Ha Giang Loop…

motorbike on a twist vietnamese road
Yon need insurance on these roads….

Will you be trekking at considerable altitude?

A lot of insurance companies won’t cover you or ask for an extra premium once you head off high into the mountains. Something to think about before heading out on the Annapurna circuit.

man resting in the himalayas
Getting to hospital from here ain’t cheap…

What countries do you want to visit?:

With certain insurers, some countries are deemed to high a risk and not covered under their policy. Again read that small print!

Over 65?:

For anyone over 65 you’ll need a slightly different policy. Really it’s just the same thing but a little more expensive, made on assumptions that the older traveller will have more health issues than a young whipper-snapper.

Cover up to 10 million:

Some insurers offer (at an inflated cost) cover up to £10 million, whereas most are between £1-5 million. So is this really necessary?

Well according to the Association of British Insurers the average claim on travel insurance in 2015, was £1200.

So yeah, in my opinion it’s just a gimmic to squeeze more money out of us.


When should I buy my travel insurance?

As soon as you book anything i.e flights, tours accomodation.

What if I book my flight 3 months in advance, am I not just wasting money?

Well, thats a matter of perspective. Say you book a flight from the UK to New Zealand for say, £1000 for 2 months time, anything could happen in that 3 months.

Your travel buddy could falls ill, you could fall ill, change of circumstance etc. In the event you’ve got to cancel for what ever reason, most insurers will refund money you’ve already spent on your prospective travels.

In a nut shell if you don’t cancel your trip, you may loose out on a few £’s worth of insurance. On the other hand if you do need to cancel, then that £1200 on a flight to New Zealand is not wasted. I know what I’d choose.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, so you have to decide for yourself.



Making a claim – What you need to do!

In the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim, there are certain things that you must do in order to make sure that your claim is accepted:

  • Medical treatment: If you get injured or fall ill then you should get intouch with your insurers immediately and ideally get them to accept claimbefore any treatment takes place.
  • Don’t delay: You try ringing your insurer and tell them you had your phone stolen 3 months ago, you’ve no chance!
  • Theft or loss: Must be reported to the local police within 24 hours if you wish to make a claim. Keep a note of the crime reference number and don’t loose any paperwork you may be given.
  • Claim money back: For instance you had you backpack stolen and had to buy everything again, keep all of your receipts as you’ll be able claim it back as expenses when your claim is processed.

The above is a generalisation of what you’ll need to do in order to make a successful claim, some insurers may differ. Again read that small print!!



Who I use and recommend….

Right so that’s the ins and outs of backpacker travel insurance, now who to go with!?

Luckily so far I’ve never needed to make a claim, but whenever I travel I always have the best backpacker travel insurance so I don’t need to worry about anything. I’m free to enjoy where I am and what I’m doing!

After trawling the internet for hours reading reviews, getting quotes and of course reading the small print. Some policies don’t cover extreme sports or are just outrageously expensive. Then I stumbled across World Nomads.

Why not fill in the form below to get a quick no obligation quote. It takes less than 5 minutes…


So whats different about World Nomads?

  • Price: Well this will vary for everyone, depending on your home country and where you wish to travel to but I found them very competitive!
  • No need for return flight: As explained above, an absolute must have!
  • Extreme sports: World Nomads cater for adernaline junkies with up to 150 extreme sports that they’ll cover you for.
  • Extend cover while travelling: Not all insurers will let you take out/extend a policy while you’re already travelling but World Nomads will.
  • Charity: Part of your premium goes to charity. Who doesn’t like that!?
  • 24/7 emergency line: A multi-lingual assistant team on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Endorsements: Endorsed by Lonely Planet and Nomadic Matt.
  • Trustpilot: World Nomads was reviewed by Trustpilot on 1st Aug 2017 and received 4*.

There’s just a few reasons why I get my travel insurance from World Nomads. As I said before I’ve been lucky enough not to need to call it into action as of yet but looking around the net this is what other travellers have said:

JohnB said “They looked after me when I needed to fly home for surgery. Top quality service and care”

Stephen Radley said “My claim was handled promptly, efficiently and courteously. I thoroughly recommend this company”


So to summarise…

As with all insurance READ THE SMALL PRINT!!! Understand what your paying for and most of all, make sure your insurance is up to date and be safe. It’s always good to shop around for the best deal on any insurance but in my opinion the best backpacker travel insurance has got to be World Nomads!

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10 thoughts on “What is the best backpacker travel insurance!? Do I really need it??

  • July 16, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    What an informative article! I would have thought that once you bought the travel insurance, you’ll be good to go and I probably would not have read the fine print. They know damn well that its unlikely to use a mortgage and having a job lined up was unreasonable.

    I’m curious, does it mean you have to have a job lined up, or is having an existing job fine? The way the content was worded seemed intentionally vague. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for fine prints like this in the future, not only for this type of insurance, but any and all, thanks!

    • July 16, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Ibrahim, first off thanks for reading.

      Yeah I found that on page 9 of 25. I just don’t understand why it would make any difference if you know what day you will be back. I’ve paid for 12 months insurance so if I hurt myself or get robbed within this time frame then the insurance should pay out. I can’t help but think that this get out clause is a deliberate way to get out of paying for a claim.

      I believe having an existing job is ok but would you need something in writing to say your job will still be open in 9 months time. I just don’t know. Yes Ibrahim definitely keep you eye out for this one. Its astonishing how may people are travelling without realising their travel insurance is void.

  • July 20, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Wow, I like many other people rarely ever read the small print because you think that they are honest people. Thanks for opening my eyes to this information. It is sad how they try to scam honest hardworking people out of their money. Great looking out man.

    • July 24, 2019 at 9:17 pm

      Hi Conrad, Yes I didn’t think that I would have to have a return flight for my backpacker insurance to be valid. If they take our money to pay for 6 month insurance then it should be for 6 months regardless of when in that six months you’ll be back home.

  • July 21, 2019 at 12:28 am

    This is very informative and I probably would have been one of those that did not read the fine print. I am glad you showed the importance of doing so because some policies can be down right scams.

    I like your recommendation of World Nomads. I am sure that took some time and research to find. Very informative article and I learned a lot today about a topic that interests me as I am a Nomad myself.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • July 27, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Nate I’m glad you found the article useful, yes World Nomads are really good. I used them on my last trip to Asia and they offer excellent coverage at a reasonable price.

  • July 21, 2019 at 8:47 am

    I have experience with Health insurance because I did not bother myself to read and trusted them, when I needed it I fell in the trap!

    I agree with you that we need to pay attention and I guess travel insurance or any other type is no different. Your post is so informative with good details that cover all the information anyone needs regarding travel insurance. Backpacker insurance seems promising and with your honest post, I trust that! However, I want to take your advice and read the small print!! haha

    Thank you again for this awesome post!

    • July 21, 2019 at 10:40 am

      Hi Mohammad, I’m sorry to hear that you had fallen into this trap. For some people this would never happen because they always read the small print. For many people like me and you, it can and does happen. I just wished insurance companies would be upfront so we know what we are paying for.

      I’m glad you found the article useful and yes, read that small print haha.

  • August 12, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    I have never had any travel insurance, I never need it. But, I was reading the other day that now scammers are everywhere. Sometimes, it is very hard to see which one is legit and which one is spam.
    Your article is full of useful information about this. We should be careful before we pay for any insurance, and doing some research it is the best way to avoid scammers.

    • August 12, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      Yes you are quite right. ALWAYS READ THE SMALL PRINT!! Or just use world nomads and have peace of mind that you’re not getting gripped off 😉


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