So you’ve been travelling for a while or are between working holiday visas. You’ve just realised your travel insurance expires soon. No problem, right? Unfortunately, yes.
As soon as you start looking for travel insurance, you’ll soon run into a few problems. This article helps explains these issues and offers possible solutions, so you can get on with your travels!
There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The problem: Travel insurance expiring while still travelling
One of the requirements for many travel insurance policies is that the policy starts when you’re still in your home country i.e. before you have started travelling.
If you’re ‘already abroad’ and buy one of these policies, then technically it is void at the time of purchase. And yes, chances are you will be caught out even if you buy one of these policies ignoring this clause. So, what to do?
Solution number one: Ask for an extension
First, double check with your current insurance company to see whether they are willing to extend your policy. The majority of backpacker/working holiday insurance companies will not usually extend your original policy beyond 12 or 24 months total coverage.
Many companies will also not let you take out another policy while already abroad. Having a return ticket home is often required.
In fact, a fair amount will require you to be resident again in your home country for a certain period of time (say, 6 months) before you can be covered again.
Of course, you could buy the policy thinking that ‘they won’t check’ but it is really worth taking the risk?
Solution number two – Find a new provider
It can sometimes be difficult to work out whether an insurance company requires the purchaser to be living in their home country to buy the policy. It will, however, be somewhere within the terms and conditions.
Often it is easier to contact the company directly and ask, rather than wading through legal documentation.
Consider emailing rather than calling, as then you will have a written statement confirming the response. The quality of the response may also help you make an easier decision.
I would also ask whether the policy can be extended (just in case!) and whether any visits to your home country are allowed without voiding the insurance, just to cover all of your bases. Remember that if you’re working abroad, this is not covered unless specifically stated.
Examples of ‘already abroad’ travel insurance
I found True Traveller insurance after an extensive search at the end of my first year of a working holiday in Canada. Policies can be started when already abroad at no extra cost.
True Traveller covers a number of outdoor sports and activities (the more risk, the higher the premium). They also offer two Winter Sports add-ons. Working holidays are also covered.
I extended my policy with True Traveller after a year’s coverage. An extension discount was given to me. They were always exceptionally fast at responding to questions concerning my policy with them. True Traveller policies are available for EU citizens, including British citizens.
Cover More offers policies for Australians as well as New Zealand citizens. Policies can be started when already abroad, though there is a three day period (at the start) without cover. Winter sports can be added for an additional premium.
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One half of the Canadian/British couple behind Off Track Travel, Gemma is happiest when hiking on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure. JR and Gemma are currently based in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada