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Choosing travel insurance for long-term journeys: Tricks from Brits

Written by Fiona

December 22 2023

Travel insurance is a safety net for tourists travelling abroad. It covers medical expenses, compensates for lost baggage or flight cancellations, and includes other options. If you prefer long-term travel lasting several months and visiting multiple countries in one trip, then specifically travel insurance for backpackers is needed. This type of insurance is designed for such tourists.

Why you need travel insurance

Not all tourists opt for insurance because the cost for a several-month journey can be £500 or more. Without it, you’ll have to pay for treatment if you fall ill or get injured. Three main reasons for getting insurance are outlined:

Trip Cancellation

Why you need it?: Tickets and hotels often cost £10-20k, so no one wants to lose this amount in an emergency that forces postponement or cancellation.

Medical Expense Compensation

Why you need it?: Overseas medical care is expensive. If your travel budget is £5000, you wouldn’t want to pay $3000 for an ambulance in the USA, and without insurance, all medical costs are on you.

Property Damage or Liability Compensation

Why you need it?: For lost baggage or damage caused to others.

Most tourists can opt out of travel insurance, but in case of an emergency, they’ll have to rely on themselves. Insurance covers costs far exceeding its price. When planning a trip, give serious attention to selecting the right insurance with all necessary options.

What’s Included in basic insurance?

Tourists can choose basic or comprehensive insurance based on their travel plans and activities. The basic option suits those confident in their health and worried only about unforeseen events. It includes:

  • Doctor’s visit for illness;
  • Outpatient treatment;
  • Hospital stay and treatment;
  • Transport to a medical clinic;
  • Transport home under optimal conditions for the patient;
  • Prescription medication costs;
  • Telephone negotiations with the service center;
  • Repatriation in case of death.

Note: Services in basic insurance can vary between companies.

Basic medical insurance is sufficient for most problems. It’s adequate for those seeking a relaxed, safe holiday, avoiding dangerous situations.

Additional options

Tourists sometimes take calculated risks. For health issues arising from these, only comprehensive insurance covers the costs. For example, traveling during pregnancy often requires an extra option for related medical expenses.

Activities like skiing, kayaking, and other extreme sports, or participating in sports competitions, pose a high risk of injury. To get compensation from the insurance company in such cases, activate the relevant option.

Note: Some companies have separate options for different sports, so only activate those related to your trip.

Injuries or other health issues due to alcohol consumption require self-payment unless you include a specific option in your policy. Not all companies offer this. If prohibited substances are found in the tourist’s system, there’s no compensation for medical help.

For exacerbations of chronic diseases during the trip, insurance often denies treatment coverage. Include the right option for chronic diseases in your insurance when arranging it.

Using the policy

To use the insurance, know your policy number and the service hotline to call for assistance. Most tourists can keep an electronic copy of their policy on a smartphone, tablet, or other device.

Additional Information: If the insurance is for visa application, print a copy.

During the trip, don’t take any insurance-related actions before calling the service hotline. It will direct you to the appropriate clinic. If you choose a hospital yourself, you might not get compensation.


When getting an insurance policy, determine its purpose. For a relaxed holiday or visa application, basic coverage is enough. For riskier trips, activate additional options. Each situation has its nuances. You can take out insurance here.

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