It’s back to school season. For many American students, this means buying textbooks, finalizing their semester schedules, and getting their dorm set up just the way they want it. For others, it means taking a gap year.
Gap years are often misunderstood. Many people assume that students who take a gap year spend the entire year sleeping until noon, playing video games, and hanging out with friends. But if done responsibly, gap years are more about experiential learning.
This is why so many young adults with the opportunity to take a gap year spend it traveling. If you’re ready to make the world your classroom this fall, you don’t want to leave home without travel insurance.
Travel Insurance for All Gap Year Travelers
There are certain travel insurance plans that benefit every traveler, no matter why they’re traveling or what kind of activities they’ll be doing. Here’s a rundown of coverage that will benefit every gap year traveler.
Travel medical insurance with COVID-19 coverage
There’s no getting around it— Covid has forever changed the way we travel. Travel safety is an increasing concern. That’s why no gap year traveler should leave home without suitable travel medical insurance. This means travel health insurance that covers Covid. Fortunately, most travel insurance plans do cover Covid. When you buy travel medical insurance, you’re also covered for a number of other things like lost passports assistance, 24-hour emergency assistance, border entry protection, personal liability and more.
If you contract an illness like Covid or its more transmissible Delta variant while abroad, your insurance policy will cover quality medical care no matter how far away from home you are. Likewise, if you sustain an injury while abroad, you’ll be covered for some of the associated costs.
Remember, when you travel during a pandemic, travel insurance may not be a matter of choice. Some countries currently require travelers to have proof of travel insurance. Even if you’re fully vaccinated and traveling to a country that doesn’t require travel insurance, spending a few hundred dollars on a comprehensive policy gives you peace of mind that will last the duration of your travels.
Trip insurance with Cancel For Any Reason coverage
Trip insurance is a subset of travel insurance that helps cover costs related to various trip mishaps. If your flight’s been interrupted, delayed or canceled for a covered reason, you’ll be able to recoup some related expenses. If your baggage is lost, damaged or delayed, trip insurance helps you cover those associated costs too. Don’t let these travel blunders dampen your gap year travel experience.
When it comes to canceling your trip, your basic trip insurance offers coverage for a limited number of reasons. If there’s a death in your family, you lose your job, or an impending natural disaster threatens your destination country, you might receive some reimbursement for prepaid travel expenses.
But if you cancel your flight simply because you’re nervous about flying during a pandemic, you likely won’t be covered. That is, unless you add Cancel For Any Reason insurance (CFAR) to your standard trip insurance plan. CFAR, as you’d expect, gives you the flexibility to cancel your trip for literally any reason and still receive compensation for prepaid expenses like lodging and rental deposits and unused event tickets.
Travel Insurance for a Customized Gap Year
The beauty of a gap year is that it can be customized to each traveler. If your gap year travel plans include more specific activities, you can customize your travel insurance to suit your specific needs.
Annual travel insurance
If you’re planning on traveling in several countries throughout the year, annual trip travel insurance (also called multi trip travel insurance) is a very convenient way to stay protected for the length of your travels. You can choose either a 30-day or 45-day coverage duration. What this means is that you can take as many trips as you want within the duration you chose before having to come back to your home country. So if you opt for 45 days, on Day 46 you would no longer be covered. However, once you come back home the 45-day duration resets, so the next time you travel within the same year, you’ll be covered for another 45 days. With multi-trip insurance, you’ll only pay the premium once, so it’s also more cost-effective than buying a separate policy for a few separate trips throughout the year.
Spending your gap year volunteering is an admirable use of your time and talents. If you’re connected with a faith-based organization, you may want to consider missionary insurance. This type of coverage helps cover representatives of certain qualified faith-based organizations as they travel to remote areas to help people in need.
If you’re doing missionary work, chances are you’ll be in an area with fewer resources to treat medical emergencies. If you suffer an injury or illness while abroad in a more remote area, you’ll be glad you bought emergency medical evacuation insurance. This benefit covers the cost of not only being airlifted to a nearby hospital (a procedure that would cost you thousands of dollars without travel insurance) but also the cost for the medical treatment.
Dreaming of taking a cruise during your gap year? As you book your flight and lodging accommodations, it’s especially important to think about travel insurance. Cruise-specific travel insurance is even more important in light of the Delta variant surge.
While major cruise lines are taking Covid safety precautions, cruise ships can be especially vulnerable to a viral outbreak and they often lack the resources to handle major medical events. That’s why one of the cornerstones of cruise insurance is emergency medical evacuation. This benefit covers costs associated with an airlift to the nearest hospital and subsequent medical care.
If you miss your ship’s departure, you don’t have to let it ruin your whole trip. Cruise insurance also covers costs associated with getting you to the next port so you can reunite with the ship.
Adventure sports insurance
If you’re planning hiking or mountain-climbing, jet skiing or scuba diving, or participating in any other higher risk sports during your gap year, buying adventure sports coverage is not only smart, but it might just save your life. Your basic travel insurance might not cover these exciting-but-risky sports simply because of the danger involved. Adventure sports insurance ensures that you get the medical care you need if your fun outing takes a turn.
If you’ll be participating in high-risk activities in hard-to-reach locations, it’s a good idea to add emergency medical evacuation coverage to your travel insurance, just in case. If you suffer an injury and need to be evacuated to receive medical care, without insurance, an airlift alone would cost thousands of dollars. Paying a little extra up front for emergency medical evacuation coverage not only gives you peace of mind, it can also save you a lot of money.
Taking time between high school and college to experience the world this year will give much more context to what you’ll learn in the classroom next year. Suitable travel insurance coverage can give you peace of mind so you can focus on your real-world studies.