Gap year travel insurance is what you need if you’ve just finished your studies, and you’re taking a break before your next move. It could also be used if you’re taking a career break to travel.

The important thing to remember is that although it’s not a legal requirement, it’s necessary to have gap year insurance, UK wide, if you’re taking a gap year. Having it will give you peace of mind and financial security.

Can I use regular travel insurance or do I need gap year insurance, UK wide?

Generally, you’ll need gap year insurance. There are some important differences between standard and gap year travel insurance. These differences include:

  • Gap year insurance, UK wide, lasts for longer. You’ll usually get around a year’s worth of cover, or even up to 18 months.

  • You’ll be covered for more consecutive days away. This is always over 60 days.

  • You’ll be able to travel to a range of countries, rather than just one.

  • You can come home in between visits to different countries if you like.

  • Some activities and sports that aren’t covered by standard travel insurance are included on gap year travel insurance.

  • You’re covered for working holidays.

How to find the best gap year travel insurance, UK wide

There are a few things you can do to help you find the best gap year travel insurance, UK wide, for your needs. Before you take out an insurance policy, you'll need to:

  • Decide what you need to cover

  • Work out how long you’re going to be travelling for

  • Compare quotes from different insurers.

There are some common types of cover you’ll see when comparing gap year travel insurance. These include:

  • Baggage loss: Your insurer can reimburse you if you need to replace lost or stolen items. Make sure you have enough cover to replace everything you’re taking with you in case the worst happened.

  • Medical bills: Your policy can cover the cost of medical treatment if you fall ill or have an accident while you’re abroad. Medical treatment abroad can be extremely costly, running into the hundreds of thousands. So having gap year health insurance as part of your policy is a must.

  • Trip cancellation and delays: You can make a claim if you have to cancel or cut your trip short due to emergency medical treatment. You can also claim if your trip is significantly delayed.

  • Personal liability: Your insurer would pay out for damage or injury caused by you while you were away.

  • Repatriation: Your insurer would pay out to bring you home if you fell ill or became injured while abroad.

When you get travel insurance quotes, the cover you get will be shown. Check this carefully to make sure the cover you need is included. Check the amounts you’re covered for too.

When it comes to gap year health insurance, you’re best off choosing the largest amount of cover you can get – often around £10 million.

If you don’t get the cover you need, and then something goes wrong, you could find yourself in a tricky financial situation.

How long will you be abroad?

It's important to know exactly how many days you’ll be overseas. Most insurers will cover you for 365 days but others can cover longer durations.

Work out how many days you’ll be abroad for, and then check which quotes will cover you for the full length of your trip.

The EHIC is excellent, but we’d recommend having that as well as gap year health insurance. With the EHIC, you can access necessary state-provided healthcare in the same way as a local resident would. This could mean it’s free or it could mean it’s for a reduced price.

While Brexit negotiations are ongoing, UK residents are still able to use their EHICs when they travel to Europe. It is unknown what the situation will be once the UK leaves the European Union.

But, even with this, the costs of medical treatment can still be extremely high. Plus, there are things the EHIC won’t cover you for – such as private hospital treatment, repatriation and mountain rescues. So having the best gap year health insurance you can afford is crucial. It gives you important extra protection so you can be sure you won’t have to pay more than your excess even if the worst happens while you’re in Europe.

Read the small print of your gap year travel insurance policy

Check the terms and conditions and look for any policy exclusions, including:

  • Age limits – Age limits can be low as gap year travel insurance is aimed at younger people, so find a policy that covers your age group

  • Pre-existing medical conditions – Tell your insurer about these so they can quote you accordingly

  • Trips over a certain duration– Check the maximum length allowed on the gap year travel insurance policy

  • Restricted countries – Some policies won’t cover you for places like the USA, Caribbean and Canada. That’s because medical treatment is so expensive there

  • Extreme sports – Check what sports and activities are covered

  • Working abroad – Some policies don’t cover manual labour

  • Return visits home – Some gap year travel insurance policies allow you to travel home in between countries, and others don’t.

When getting quotes, make sure you choose an excess you can afford, as you'll need to pay this when you make a claim. The higher the excess you agree to, the cheaper your policy will be. But, if you can’t afford to pay it, it’s likely your claim will be rejected.

Some insurers have a compulsory excess you need to pay in addition to the voluntary excess you chooseCompare several quotes to find the right policy for your circumstances.