Everything you need to know about travel insurance for a gap year

Make sure you're covered while travelling the world, whether you're skiing in the Alps or volunteering in Asia


The world’s your oyster whether you’re taking a year out before or after studies or planning a work sabbatical, find out all you need to know about gap year travel insurance.

The rise in popularity of gap years, both for students travelling for fun and ‘gappers’ looking to work abroad, is undeniable. What’s not to like about the prospect of global discovery?

But before you start your ski season in France, island hoping in Asia, volunteering in Nepal or work at a summer camp in America, make sure you’ve got the right travel insurance and visas.

What is gap year travel insurance?

Gap year travel insurance aims to provide cover to travellers who are lucky enough to be planning an extended trip away.

How is gap year insurance different to standard travel insurance?

Gap year travel is much longer than your standard holiday. So while gap year travel insurance shares some features with your standard travel insurance policy – loss of baggage, medical cover, emergency repatriation – it should also cover some of the activities commonly associated with gap years and work sabbaticals.

Common differences include variety in the trip duration, age limits, acceptance of return to the UK between trips, activities covered and working or volunteering.

Trip duration

The period of coverage offered by insurers can vary between 31 days and two years.

Admiral’s single trip policy is unique in its offer of coverage for one continuous trip for up to 365 days, providing you don’t return to the UK in between. This means that you may not even need to buy a specialist gap year policy, depending on what you’re doing while travelling.

Age limits

If you are a traveller over the age of 35 then you may not be eligible for gap year travel insurance with some providers. But fear not, as extended stay annual policies could also be suitable for your needs.

Returning to the UK

While policies which allow return to the UK between trips can be found, others are voided no matter how fleeting your homecoming may be. This is something you must consider when choosing your policy.

 If you do plan to return to the UK between trips than an annual multi-trip policy may be better for you depending on the duration of your trips and activities you plan to participate in.

Activities covered

Insurers will differ in the adventure activities they cover. They may also want to know the frequency of your planned participation in hazardous sports, is it a one off or the main purpose of your trip?

With Admiral Adventure Sports Travel Insurance, activities such as surfing and safari are included as standard but if you want to go shark diving or gorge walking, you’ll need to tell us in advance.

Working or volunteering abroad

Working or volunteering abroad is not covered by all insurers. If this is something you plan to do then you may need to seek out a more specialised policy.

Admiral offers cover if you wait on tables or undertake office work, but not if you do manual work on a farm for example.

Where are you travelling on your gap year?

If you’re planning to stay in Europe for the duration of your year out, then you may be able to save money by opting for a Europe only policy.

Alternatively, if you’re travelling to further corners of the globe then see our worldwide travel guide for advice.

What are you doing on your gap year?

What activities are you likely to engage in while travelling? Whether you’re volunteering or doing any extreme activities, you need to make sure your activities are included in your policy. Make sure you read the small print as exclusions can apply. Details down to the height of the mountain you plan to hike up while on your trip in Bali are all significant.

Additional cover may also be required if you plan to ski or go on a cruise.

What isn't covered under gap year travel insurance?

As with other travel insurance policies, gap year travel will have a list of things it doesn’t cover. These exclusions may not differ greatly, but you might be more concerned about some of them depending on your activities.

Some policies include work exclusions, which will not cover you in the event of anything happening while doing manual work and work involving machinery.

 Insurers won’t pay out in situations where the policy holder can be considered to have behaved irresponsibly. Acts such as drinking excessive alcohol directly linked to injury or illness, contracting a sexually transmitted disease, or failing to wear necessary safety gear i.e. helmet, would fall under this category.

Things to consider when buying a gap year travel insurance policy

Preparing to go away can be stressful, especially for trips as long as a gap year. Follow these tips to ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible.

Stop over cover

Thinking about taking in the local area while you’re waiting for your connecting flight? Make sure your insurance covers you while visiting stop-over destinations.

Get covered early

Getting covered as soon as you book your trip means you’re covered if you’re forced to cancel your trip before departure. Most insurers won’t allow you to take out cover after you’re trip has started, so make sure you’re protected before you set out.

Are you travelling alone, in a pair, or in a group?

The range of policies available means you can tailor your policy depending on if you’re going away alone or with others.

Vaccinations and malaria tablets

Some policies are subject to you receiving the relevant vaccines and agreeing to take malaria tablets depending on your destination. Take a look at our ultimate guide to travel vaccinations for more information.


If you’re travelling to a country where a visa is required, apply for yours well in advance as the process can take longer than you may think. Find out what visas you need when travelling abroad in our guide.

Take your paperwork

Make sure you take your gap year travel insurance paperwork with you, in case the unexpected happens. It’s also wise to leave a copy with a family member or friend back home.

Admiral Travel Insurance

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