What Is Backpacker Travel Insurance?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Backpacker travel insurance is intended to give backpackers some protection from unexpected and unfortunate events while they are traveling. This type of insurance usually covers backpackers if they have to cancel or postpone their travels and stand to lose the money they have spent on reservations. It may also cover such things as lost luggage, money, and traveling credentials. Some policies provide personal liability coverage and pay claims that develop when a traveler injures another person or causes property damage. Additionally, this type of insurance usually provides coverage in the event a backpacker becomes ill or is injured or robbed while traveling.

A hiking backpack.
A hiking backpack.

When most people plan backpacking trips, they do so with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, however, the unexpected often happens, and travelers may lose money as a result. Backpacker travel insurance provides a way for travelers to recoup unexpected costs that occur while they are on a trip. For instance, it often pays fees for unplanned expenses, such as necessary medical care or helicopter rescue during a trip.

Backpacking insurance should cover all the countries you intend to visit.
Backpacking insurance should cover all the countries you intend to visit.

One of the many purposes of backpacker travel insurance is to cover an individual in the event that his planned backpacking trip is canceled or delayed. Some reservations are non-refundable, and the backpacker could lose his investment if he is unable to travel due to an emergency of some sort or even an illness that prevents him from departing on time. This type of insurance can provide compensation in such an event. It is important to note, however, that only certain reasons for cancellations and delays are covered. If an individual must cancel because of a documented medical illness or a death in the family, this will likely be covered, but if he cancels because he has to work or is no longer interested in the trip, an insurance company is unlikely to provide compensation.

Backpacker travel insurance often covers illnesses and losses as well. For example, if a traveler becomes ill or is injured while traveling, this type of insurance will likely cover the cost of treatment. Likewise, it also will typically provide coverage for lost luggage and the administrative fees related to traveling credential loss. In many cases, lost money and travelers checks may be covered, but this part of the coverage may have very low limits. Additionally, some types of backpacker travel insurance covers claims against the traveler in the event that he accidentally injures another person or causes some type of property damage.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


Do the prices of backpacker travel insurance polices change depending on which area of the world you are going to? If so, which is the cheapest area of the world to travel in?

I have been looking at travel insurance costs and was surprised to see that insurance was way more expensive if I wanted to travel in the US. I guess the healthcare here is so expensive that they want to make sure that they get decent money out of you first. It's too bad I couldn't get my grandparents cruise travel insurance, that didn't cost much at all. I suppose the way you travel has an impact on prices too.


As a new backpacker I found it tough to find the cheapest travel insurance that actually would cover some of the things I wanted to do. If you are looking at travel insurance comparisons make sure they cover you for things like flight cancellation due to weather. Also it is good to check that they have a scuba diving policy if that is your thing.

One thing I noticed about cheap worldwide travel insurance is they often tried to put as many clauses as possible into the user agreements that would make their policy practically worthless if you actually tried to collect. Make sure you find a policy that fits your lifestyle.


One of the best places to get cheap backpackers travel insurance is a student travel office located at a college or university. Even if you aren't a student yourself the travel insurance cost through these kind of tour companies is much lower than what is offered through places like banks.

What I really like about travel insurance for backpackers is that it is way more flexible than your normal travel insurance. You can choose what coverage you want and it is highly customizable. I find that the options from banks are often to restrictive and want to cover you for everything, even if you only need something like baggage insurance.

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