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The Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers

The Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers
Allianz - The Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers

Whether your boots are carrying you along back roads in Ireland or mountain trails in Nepal, backpacking is one of the best — and cheapest — ways to explore a foreign country.

Backpacking also presents a few travel challenges, however. When you’re traveling in remote and rural areas, who will help you in a medical emergency? When your flight to Cuzco gets canceled, what are you supposed to do? And when everything you own is in one pack, baggage theft becomes serious business.

Travel insurance can help backpackers deal with many common travel crises. And insurance won’t break your budget, either; cheap plans are available for every type of trip, from long rambles to carefully planned getaways.

What to Look for in the Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers

Every plan differs in its benefits, coverage limits, covered reasons, and exclusions. In general, the key benefits to look for are:

    • Emergency medical benefits, which provide benefits for losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies that occur during your trip. For example, if you’re infected with malaria while trekking in Assam, emergency medical benefits can reimburse the cost of your medical care.
    • Emergency medical transportation benefits, which provide medically necessary transportation to the nearest hospital or appropriate facility following a serious covered illness or injury during your trip. For example, if you’re struck by a car while backpacking in rural Nicaragua, emergency medical transportation benefits can pay to transport you to the nearest hospital.
    • Trip delay benefits, which can reimburse you for additional accommodation/travel expenses and lost prepaid expenses due to a covered departure delay of six or more hours. For example, if you’re about to fly to Norway when a blizzard grounds all planes, trip delay benefits can pay for your hotel and meals.
    • Baggage loss/damage benefits, which cover loss, damage or theft of baggage and personal effects. For example, if you set your backpack down in the Warsaw train station and someone grabs it, baggage benefits can reimburse you for the contents (up to a set limit).
    • Baggage delay benefits, which reimburse the reasonable additional purchase of essential items during your trip if your baggage is delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for 24 hours or more. For example, if your backpack shows up in Austria as you arrive in Australia, you could be reimbursed for the toiletries and clothing you need.
    • 24-hour hotline assistance, which gives you access to a multilingual assistance team to help with travel emergencies. For example, if your passport disappears while you’re backpacking through Peru, the assistance team can help connect you with local embassy staff to get a replacement as quickly as possible.

The Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers on a Budget

Most travel insurance plans require you to submit precise travel dates and trip costs. What if you’re playing it by ear, as many backpackers do, and you don’t have a lot of prepaid costs? The OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan is a different kind of plan: simple, flexible and affordable travel insurance that includes only post-departure benefits.

What does that mean? The OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan keeps costs low because it doesn’t include trip cancellation/interruption benefits. If you have to cancel your trip, this plan won’t reimburse your nonrefundable, prepaid trip costs.

The OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan does include important benefits to protect you when you’re traveling, such as:

  • Emergency medical benefits up to $50,000 for accidents and $50,000 for illness ($750 maximum for dental emergencies)
  • Emergency medical transportation benefits up to $250,000
  • Baggage loss/damage up to $2,000 ($50 deductible/$500 limit per article)
  • Baggage delay up to $750
  • Trip delay benefits up to $1,000
  • 24-hour hotline assistance

These aren’t the only benefits included; read your policy documents to understand all the benefits and exclusions. Another reason the OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan may be a good fit for backpackers: If you decide to extend your trip, you may be able to extend your coverage dates as well.

The Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers Who Like to Plan Ahead

Not all backpackers are footloose and fancy-free. If you like having a set itinerary, with hotel reservations and train tickets, then you need travel insurance that can reimburse you for those pre-paid, nonrefundable costs when your trip has to be canceled or cut short due to a covered reason. Our most popular travel insurance product with trip cancellation/interruption benefits is the OneTrip Prime Plan, which includes:   

  • Trip cancellation up to the amount purchased
  • Trip interruption up to 150% of the amount purchased
  • Emergency medical benefits up to $25,000
  • Emergency medical transportation benefits up to $500,000
  • Baggage loss/damage up to $1,000
  • Baggage delay up to $300
  • Trip delay benefits up to $800
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • And more

The Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers Who Travel Frequently

If you’re happiest with a pack on your back, exploring unknown territory, then the AllTrips Basic may be the ideal travel companion. It’s an affordable travel insurance plan that offers protection for all your trips in a 365-day span. It also includes a bonus: up to $45,000 in collision/loss damage insurance for rental cars. The AllTrips Basic includes:

  • Emergency medical benefits up to $20,000
  • Emergency medical transportation benefits up to $100,000
  • Baggage loss/damage up to $1,000
  • Baggage delay up to $200
  • Trip delay benefits up to $500
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • And more

As always, make sure you read your plan documents carefully so you understand what’s covered. If you're not completely satisfied, you have 10 days (or more, depending on your state of residence) to request a refund, provided you haven't started your trip or initiated a claim. After this review period, your premium is nonrefundable. Please contact us with any questions. Happy backpacking!

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Feb 28, 2018