Family Gap Year Insurance

Princess Eugenie in the Teenage Cancer Unit at...

Mugged in Cambodia

I am not sure I should write this as Mo might change her mind but our flights are booked! Off to Google and my starter query was ‘gap year accident statistics’, top link was this gem in the Daily Mail (luckily not known for scaremongering) ‘One in three’ gap year travellers will experience medical emergency or crime. Beach parties in Koh Samui and working in a bar in Sydney must be pretty dangerous.

Luckily being sensible, well travelled and almost grown up we can be confident that nothing will go wrong on our family gap year…

… OK plenty will go pear shaped, we just hope nothing serious.

I think I have talked myself into getting some insurance. Was finding the right policy simple? Of course not, every company’s cover varies. Want to ride a horse, pretty compulsory if you go to Argentina, for one company it’s “of course no problem” while another charges £200 extra as it is an adventurous activity?!

The only way we could decide was to list the must haves and nice to haves.

Must haves

  • Confidence in insurer. Someone with a brand to protect rather than a company you had never heard of.
  • Repatriation to the UK if medical need
  • 24/7 help line
  • Most adventurous activities
  • Sensible price

Nice to haves

  • Volunteering covered
  • Longer than 12 months as 14 months was our likely minimum (3 school terms + 2 summer holidays)
  • £2k+ of baggage cover
  • USA stop overs
  • Low excess

You definitely have to shop around as on-line quotes varied from over £2k down to £600/year. In the end we paid just over £800 with American Express, their cover was similar to others in most ways but we had great confidence in their service after previous experiences. Paying was the easy bit (thanks Mo) now we have to read the policy document and extract all the do’s and don’ts. A quick skim through reveals the following gems:

Sample Exclusions

  • Self exposure to needless peril (unpasteurised cheese anyone?)
  • Climbing, jumping or moving from one balcony to another regardless of the height (must have had a lot of claims!)
  • Exposure to nuclear waste (sounds like something most people would avoid if given the choice)
  • If you have a fear of delay or fear of a computer getting the date wrong (Chronocyberphobia?!)
  • If you lose one shoe they will only replace the other one and not both?!!? (very useful)
  • Owning horse drawn vehicles (luckily I now know)

Realistically there are stacks of exclusions and unless you have original receipts (we all keep those don’t we?) and tick a load of other boxes things like the Baggage Cover is not worth trying to claim on. You can tell it’s worth as you only get a £32 discount if you don’t take Baggage Cover!

All policies have very low limits on gadgets like smart-phones, iPads and cameras so effectively most are not covered. If I find a solution I’ll let you know.

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