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Warning over gap year travel insurance 'apathy'

30 April 2009 06:40

Warning over gap year travel insurance 'apathy'

Too many young people are heading away overseas on a gap year underinsured or without any travel insurance at all, according to one expert.

The number of young people heading off around the world is increasing, with NatWest bank recently estimating that almost one in four people applying to university in 2006 took a gap year and deferred entry until this year.

However, Tom Griffiths, founder of year-out website, admitted he was "seriously concerned" about the level of gap year travel insurance cover people are taking out.

"Over 25 per cent of people going on gap years leave the country uninsured or underinsured," he warned, adding that the repercussions for not taking out insurance can be catastrophic should something go wrong.

"The average price to get an air ambulance out now is about £18,000 and we've heard of a case of a lad who fell ill on a mountain in Nepal and his air ambulance cost and medical treatment cost over £50,000," said Mr Griffiths.

"So there is an issue of young people leaving uninsured, and this is putting parents' homes at risk."

He said that backpackers need to be aware that they can obtain personalised, cheaper travel insurance deals if they shop around and shouldn't be put off by "one-size fits all" policies.