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Insurance Claims from Gap Year Travellers are Rising

Thursday 3rd February 2011

Backpackers and gap year traveller’s insurance claims are increasing.

The Guardian reports that insurance companies say the number of claims on their gap year backpacker insurance policies rose by 61.4% from December 2009 to May 2010, compared to the same time period the year before. Medical claims, by gap year travellers, were to blame for 52% of the total, and the rest was made up of claims for either lost or stolen personal items. The average value of each insurance claim has also risen dramatically from £77 per claim to £584 per claim, an increase of 658%.

Stuart Bensusan, of Essential Travel spoke about gap year travellers: "It’s logical that medical expenses would account for a high proportion of claims from backpackers when you consider the growth in popularity of adventure sports activities among gappers, such as bungee jumping, sky diving, skiing and white-water rafting.” Plus he added that many backpackers, or students on their gap year, took more expensive items along with them such as digital cameras, laptops and mobile phones.

The rise in insurance claims for medical expenses can be attributed to the popularity of extreme sports in certain countries that have weaker safety regulations than the UK. This is particularly worrying for parents of young gap year students who intend to travel alone, or with friends, for the very first time. It also highlights the importance of taking out proper gap year insurance cover before they leave.

Research conducted last summer by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office still found that travelling Britons went abroad with inadequate insurance cover.