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Top 10 check list for ​your gap year insurance

Written by Jenny McWhirter on 24 / 11 / 2021

Gap Year Advice

Gap year insurance is more important now than ever before especially after/during the pandemic. Long gone are the days of carelessly buying the cheapest policy you find on line without so much as a glance at what it covers you for. It’s time to get switched on and find a gap year insurance policy that works in this current COVID climate to protect you and your bags whilst you are on your gap year journey.

As experts in gap year travel we can impart our top tips to help get you organised so you travel around the world safely and responsibly. So buckle up and listen up, these are the main issues to check up on.

1. Follow the FCDO travel advice

This caught so many travellers out pre-pandemic - the golden rule being - if the foreign office tells you it is currently not advisable to travel to a certain country ( or part of ) then then most regular insurance policies will be null and void. Also - pandemics are often excluded - check the small print. Thankfully we have moved on from this, as the FCDO has lifted most of their advisory bans BUT it is crutial to play the 'what if' game with your insure, asking, for example, if the FCDO changes its advice about a country you are IN, then are you insured as you arrived before it changed? We know a number of insurance companies who do cover regardless of FCDO advise,so solutions at hand - just get in touch to find out more.

2. Buy your gap year insurance when you purchase your flights or trip

As soon as you’ve bought your flight or put down a payment towards a volunteering or adventure gap year activity you need to buy insurance. Why? well quite simply if you can't go due to some unforseen nightmare (covid, accident etc) and you are not insured - you will loose all your money.

3. Check what activities are included in your gap year insurance

I know what you’re thinking, there are endless reams of small print to read. Our advice, if it’s the only part you read, check the activities and what's included. Rooky error for many as most policies do not cover bungy jumping, kayaking or scuba diving. Please check before you do any adrenaline based activity as you can always buy an add on policy on the ground. Our gap year policies will cover a range of typical gap year favourites including scuba
and volunteering, but most don't, so if you come stuck, get in contact.

4. Budget for your gap year insurance

Many gap year students forget to budget for insurance. Along with your flight ticket,insurance is the other big-ticket item you’ll purchase.

The price is purely dependent on where you are going and for how long. An average 'guestimate' would be around £250 for 3 or 4 months. There really is no benefit in skimping and as we do all the hard work for you in terms of working out what insurance you need, there is no excuse.

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5. Insure your gadgets

We all travel with our phones, iPads, go-pros and the like. Many policies will limit how much you can claim per item and some will have an overall item limit too. If your limit is £250 then that iPhone you treated yourself to will definitely not be covered. Similarly, if your overall limit is £1000 and your valuables equate to more than this….

It’s always worth checking home insurance policies as many policies cover valuable items abroad, so it may not necessarily need to be covered by your gap year travel insurance.

6. Make sure your gap year insurance policy includes curtailment cover

Another small print question to dig into. This kicks in if you have to cut your trip short for medical reasons - the curtailment cover will cover the part of the trip you miss. For example if you were on our 5 week plastic ocean gap year adventure in Costa Rica - which costs about £3000 and you had an accident in week one - they will not only get you home but pay for the trip missed. Make sure this curtailment cover is enough to cover the cost of your adventures.

Do you need help with your Gap Year planning?

If you need our help with your gap year planning, then we have built an area called Leap VIP especially for you. Leap VIP gives you advice on all of the above plus:

  • Latest travel updates
  • Access to our global network of contacts
  • Gap year zoom consultations
  • Insurance and incident support team
  • Access to our corporate flight team

Join Leap VIP

7. Check the rules for single trip gap year insurance

This has caught so many people out before - basically if you nip home, mid travel on a single trip that is the end of your policy. You will have to buy another so best get a multi trip policy.

8. Do not be under the influence of alcohol

We all do it, and yes enjoying the nightlife of the places you visit should be part of all gap years.

However, be careful and know your limits. Most insurance policies will invalidate a claim if you were under the influence of alcohol. A couple of glasses of wine no problem but stumbling out of a club, falling off the pavement and smashing your face will not be insurable.

9. Find out the insurance claims procedure

All gap year insurance policies have a claims procedure. If this is not followed they can easily reject your claim. So, find this out before you go away, then you’ll know what you need to do if something were to happen.

We recommend you notify your insurance as soon as an issue arises and definitely within 24 hours of any incident. Keeping them in the loop and up-to-date will help you ensure any claim goes through as smoothly as possible.

10. Declare all previous medical conditions

If you have any form of medical condition or are on any treatment this must be declared to your insurance. Some insurers will still cover you but they need to know all the details before you head away.

The Foreign Office quotes £35-45,000 for air ambulance to return to the UK from the US east coast, £12-16,000 for an air ambulance from the Canary Islands, and £15-20,000 for a scheduled flight, stretcher and doctor escort from Australia.

The chances of having to use these services are not high, but the costs are so substantial that it would cause a major issue – if not bankruptcy – were they to happen to you.

Check out the NHS Fit For Travel website which has lots of advice on traveling abroad and how to prepare before you go.

We recommend you take a paper copy of your insurance with you and leave one at home, so your parents have the contacts should they need to act on your behalf.


So there you have our ten top tips for purchasing insurance – we know it isn’t the most riveting part of your gap year but it is essential and no gap year planning can start without it. Rest assured that if you book a Leap program or Join Leap VIP we will direct you to the right policy to purchase which will take a weight off your mind leaving you more time to focus on what to pack. It's a win win solution.

Get in touch

Do you need help with your Gap Year planning?

If you need our help with your gap year planning, then we have built an area called Leap VIP especially for you. Leap VIP gives you advice on all of the above plus:

  • Latest travel updates
  • Access to our global network of contacts
  • Gap year zoom consultations
  • Insurance and incident support team
  • Access to our corporate flight team

Join Leap VIP

Get in contact

With the covid travel experts

Worried about how to travel and plan your gap year through this pandemic?

We can help. We have sent lots of gappers away through the last 12 months and can confidently call ourselves Covid Travel Experts. Get in contact to start the ball rolling.

Or give us a call on +44 1672 519 922

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