LONDON, October 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
- Columbus direct provides advice for gap year travellers
Travel insurance specialist Columbus Direct has found that the average cost of backpacker medical claims has soared to £1,640 per claim - a rise of over 150% in the last two years. The findings, from Columbus' own claims data, come as many young people take a 'gap year' before heading to university or into full-time work.
A recent report from ABTA found that one in five people travel abroad without travel insurance and that a third (33%) of those are in the 16-24 age bracket. Previous research conducted by ABTA and the FCO has also highlighted that many travellers incorrectly assume they can turn to the UK government for help if they fall ill overseas. If British travellers do get into trouble while out of the country, the British embassy will help them contact family or friends but will not fly them home or pay for hospital bills.
Columbus is taking the opportunity to urge travellers who are going away for extended periods to be clear on cover. Data provided to Columbus by MoneySupermarket reveals that 30-40% of backpacker policies sold by them are purchased within one to three days of travelling, with a further 10-15% buying it on the same day*. Purchasing at the last minute means travellers are not protected against cancellation of the trip and could risk overlooking much-needed cover for things such as any adventure sports or other certain activities they plan to do on their travels.
Alison Wild, Head of Travel at Columbus Direct, said: "Gap years should be about having fun, exploring the world and different cultures and in some cases gaining invaluable work experience. But it is important to be prepared for any eventuality before you go away.
"The number of young people still travelling without insurance remains a concern, especially if travelling on gap years as they are exposed for longer durations. In the excitement of planning for the trip of a lifetime we understand that insurance may not be the first concern but it is important that you arrange cover that accommodates any activities you think you may undertake and the destinations you are visiting."
Wild continued: "At Columbus, we have seen a rise in the cost and amount of medical claims but there have also been a number of backpacker claims that are not covered.
"With adventure sports such as quad biking, jet boating and white water rafting becoming increasingly popular, it is vital that travellers are sufficiently covered for these more high-risk activities.
"Volunteering and working holidays are also rising in popularity with many travellers taking the opportunity to gain some worldly experience. While this is a fantastic thing to do, people need to be aware of what kinds of work they will be taking part in."
Columbus advises that as a basic rule of thumb, clerical and general domestic duties (bar work, waiting at tables, house cleaning etc.) are likely to be covered by most providers although there may still be restrictions. If there is any aspect of a job that seems unusual or higher risk, such as using any form of motorised vehicle, working with non-domestic animals, using machinery in a factory, climbing ladders or using ropes, there is a strong likelihood that this is not covered as standard and Columbus advises travellers to contact their insurance company for confirmation.
Columbus Direct provides tips for gap year students
- Check that all the destinations that you are travelling to, or through, are covered
- Ensure you allow extra time on your policy duration in the event of unexpected delays
- Ensure that the policy covers any planned sports and activities but also make sure you know how to get in contact with insurers if you suddenly decide to go bungee jumping
- Always disclose any current or pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer. If you don't, it could affect your claim
- Check the valuables limit and ensure you have adequate cover for any valuable items you are taking with you such as watches, cameras or tablets etc.
- If you're travelling within Europe, apply for a free EHIC or if you are travelling to Australia ensure you enroll with MEDICARE, both entitle you to some reduced or free emergency care - but you will still need travel insurance.
- Always keep a copy of your insurance policy details with you and saved in your secure email account as back-up. Keep any paperwork, such as tickets, receipts, medical bills, police reports in case anything goes wrong
- Check the FCO website http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel for country-specific advice. If you go to an area which the FCO advises against travel to, your travel insurance is unlikely to be valid.
Notes to editors
*Data based on policies purchased for backpacker insurance on moneysupermarket.com between January 2014 and August 2015
Columbus Direct is a leading travel insurance specialist which was established in 1988 selling both online via http://www.columbusdirect.com and offline via call centre channels. We have a history of innovation in the industry, including being the first company to sell travel insurance direct to the consumer in the UK and also the first to fully sell a policy online.
Customer satisfaction and value for money are the driving forces behind Columbus Direct and we pride ourselves on providing a quick, efficient and hassle-free service.
We have covered over 15 million holidaymakers since 1988 and our latest customer surveys show that over 95% of customers would recommend us to their friends and family.
Columbus has won multiple awards including Best Direct Travel Insurance Provider in the 2012 Your Money awards, the 2012 ITIJ Travel Insurance Intermediary of the year, 13 Which? Best Buy awards, The Best Customer Focus Award from the Best Business awards, Best Travel Insurance provider from Your Money and also the Best Travel Insurance Provider award from the Personal Finance Awards 2011 and 2012.
Columbus Direct is a specialist travel insurance intermediary which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
SOURCE Columbus Direct