Two months to go.... Hunting for insurance.

Oh my goodness – what a palaver. Why did I have to be the little backpacker going around Thailand and Australia with a DSLR, tablet, little point and shoot (which I think is better suited for the bin – it has most certainly seen better days), and an iPhone?! Looking at it I guess the whole year in Australia trip is a bit of a mash up between experiencing work and life in a new country and backpacking. I’m not going to be in a hostel every day for 365 days, at some point I do hope to be in a shared house/flat whilst I work for a little bit (or maybe I should go and work on a farm – that’d be fun?!)

So far I have exhausted comparethemarket, you little meerkats haven’t won this time, and a few other websites. I have figures going round and round my little head and I’m giving myself a royal headache. Back to comparethemarket, I’ve just looked at the cheapest policy “Go” so I could scan their policy agreement (mainly to get an idea of what I’m looking for) and I’m not impressed. For a year’s cover at nearly £300 I’d be laughing if anything was cancelled, if I was injured, or even if I died, but to cover my little list of gadgets I’d received as much protection as using a wire mesh as a cover in the rain (basically, niente). I think the maximum payout per item was only £100.

I’ve just stumbled across an insurance provider called "Outbacker" and I’m impressed so far – yes the item limits are still very small (£150 for both Silver and Gold policies) but the excess is smaller, £75 and £0 respectively. Plus – their annual fee is far nicer, coming up at just under £160 and £180.

Another one that was recommended was “True Traveller” – this one is set to £202 based on where I’m going, covers baggage loss of up to £2000, has a low excess (£70), and will replaced a single-item value of up to £250; still too low for what I need and if you read the small print it does exclude mobile phones. Bah. One thing I do quite like about this website is that you can take out additional insurance for electronic equipment for up to two items which gives them cover of up to £450! Perfect! That’ll be my tablet and camera please. Great, all seems good to go. Let’s click next… This policy automatically includes ‘the traveller pack’ which includes cover for 62 activities. Fantastic! Diving is bound to be one of them since it seems to be a standard addition to all of the others… I’m a scuba diver and, once I qualify for my PADI Advanced Open Water I will be qualified to reach depths of up to 30m. I want to make sure that my policy covers this. A quick look at the small print and it shows that diving is included – great – but only up to 18m. Hm. Brick wall, nice to meet you again.

Okay, let’s add on an extra activity pack… done. Add on basic contents insurance as I won’t have it… done. That extra electrical insurance I could’ve done? Added that too for the DSLR and tablet. Done. Done. Done… Let’s have a look at the final price.

£430 (!!!!), a hike of £228 for the sake of the necessities (diving and the like) and extra cover for the electronics.

I certainly didn’t see that one coming. Maybe I really was a little naïve to think the insurance wouldn’t cost so much. Here I was getting all excited I wouldn’t have to pay for a year’s car insurance when in reality that’ll be going straight on insurance for me, myself, and I. Yikes!

I’m certainly not a pro at insurance hunting (I know, it’s really obvious), heck up to this point I’ve been included on our house insurance (to which I can’t complain) but my one obvious bit of advice I can give you is to read the policy agreement. Pay particular attention to the bits a low price usually skimps on – the excess for one. If you’re going to have to make a claim for whatever reason, do you really want to have to fork out £125-150 when the maximum they’ll give you for loss of possessions is £750? Secondly, what activities do you expect to be doing out there? The diving (air or sky), bungee jumping, cage diving, sailing, anything you might be planning to do.  Furthermore, check the small print to see if there are any limitations regarding activities, e.g. flying after diving (since this is totally relevant to me finishing my internship in Koh Tao then flying from Phuket to Singapore). Under PADI guidelines, you should wait a minimum 12 hours before flying after a single dive or 18 hours after multiple dives but for insurance reasons you should wait 24 hours otherwise your policy may become null and void.

Insurance is certainly an area you don’t want to skimp on, something I’m coming to realise as I’m hunting for the perfect policy. Yes you might not use it but you need to plan for the worst case scenario. It would be pretty damn awful if something was to happen only to have your insurance provider turn around with a little smirk and discard your claim on account of a loophole noted in the size 6 text (they really do take the term ‘small print’ a little too literally don’t they?) 

If you have any recommendations as to which provider you used please please get in touch - this particularly goes for those who've travelled with expensive bits and bobs. It's all very much appreciated!


  1. The other insurance you should check out is World Nomads. They aren't particularly cheap but also, like True Traveller, allow you to extend your insurance, claim on the road and pay hospital expenses.
    Your camera and tablet will cost extra with pretty much any insurer. If you can't afford to insure them, don't take them.

  2. Absolutely agree with you, insurance is an absolute pain in the proverbial, but there is no getting around needing it.

    I use either STA travel or world nomads insurance when I travel, depending which suits the specific trips I am going on, and they have never let me down yet.

  3. Rache,

    Thanks for mentioning us! I hope you find a travel insurance product that suits your needs.

    We'd love to hear any feedback you have on our travel insurance. It's important for us to keep improving and building on what we offer so we can actually provide the perfect backpacker travel insurance :-)
    Feel free to send over any feedback, comments or general abuse to tom[AT]insurance-support[DOT]com and I'll reply if/when I'm not in the middle of nowhere!

    Tom (Outbacker Insurance)

  4. I have a good experience with insurance companies, most agencies offer similar travel insurance plans for roughly the same cost. Some even include your airfare automatically.

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