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Gap Year Calamities On The Rise, Warns Essential Travel

Travel insurance specialist sees alarming increase in claims from backpackers

As thousands of British students set off on their post A-level, pre-university gap years, leading travel essentials provider,, is urging young backpackers to get the right insurance before they leave and to stay safe as they travel the world.

Recent analysis of claims from customers who have purchased the insurance specialist's "Backpacker Travel Insurance" policy revealed that, year on year, the number of claims has risen by a staggering 61.4 per cent.¹

Medical expenses generated the most claims² followed by personal effects, which includes personal property taken or purchased on the trip which is accidentally lost, stolen or damaged.

The average value per claim also rose dramatically in the space of a year, from £77 per claim to almost £600³ per claim and in the same period there was a 33 per cent increase⁴ in claims for personal effects.

"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. Backpackers are also becoming flashier and we attribute the spike the number of claims for personal effects and the hike in the average value per claim to the fact that they are travelling with substantially higher value items nowadays, for example laptops, iPods and smart phones," says Stuart Bensusan,

"It is unnerving, particularly for parents, to hear that claims from backpackers encountering mishaps abroad are on the rise but it goes to show how important it is for them to take out adequate insurance before they leave."

"Preparing for a gap year abroad is arguably the most exciting time in a young person's life and nobody wants to think about the potential pitfalls. However, it's crucial that backpackers spend time making sure that they have the right travel insurance for the type of work and leisure activities they plan to undertake in their year out. As long gappers do their homework and are vigilant when they travel, their trip of a lifetime will be exactly that."'s Backpacker Travel Insurance starts from £108.58 per person and is, on average, 34 per cent cheaper than the company's competitors.⁵

¹ - The number of claims that's underwriters, White Horse Ireland DAC, received in the period December 2009 - May 2010, from customers holding its Backpacker Travel Insurance policy, was up 61.4 per cent, relative to the increase in sales for that period, compared with the period December 2008 - May 2009

² - 52.4 per cent of the claims received by's Backpacker Travel Insurance policy underwriters, White Horse Ireland DAC between December 2008 and May 2010 were for medical expenses and 18.4 per cent were for personal effects

³ - The average cost per claim to White Horse Ireland DAC, underwriters of's Backpacker Travel Insurance policy, in the period June 2009 - November 2009 was £77.00. The average cost per claim in the period December 2009 to May 2010 was £584.00, representing an increase in value of 658 per cent

- In the period June 2009 - November 2009, claims for personal effects received by White Horse Ireland DAC, underwriters of's Backpacker Travel Insurance policy, accounted for 15 per cent of all claims. In the period December 2009 - May 2010 claims for personal effects accounted for 20 per cent of all claims. Representing a relative increase of 33 per cent

- Based on research conducted by among several travel insurance providers including Insure & Go, Columbus and Go Travel Insurance

About Essential Travel

Established in 2001, Essential Travel is one of the UK's leading online travel essentials companies. Since 2002, we've protected over 5 million holidaymakers with our fully-comprehensive, competitively-priced travel insurance, as well as providing priority access to the most sought after car parks, hotels and lounges at all major airports across the UK.

Essential Travel is now part of Holiday Extras.