Post A Level students taking a break from their studies and heading for a gap year abroad should have a travel policy that provides hazardous sports and search and rescue cover, says Brian Wright, Managing Director of Karmainsurance.com.
Karma insures 255 sports, including those termed as hazardous or extreme, without charging extra to do so. It also offers a search and rescue facility, either via the local emergency services or funded privately through the insurance.
Managing Director Brian Wright comments: “Traditional gap year providers offer cover for cancellation, missed departure, curtailment, medical expenses, personal liability, cash and baggage, but this is outdated and not enough. Policies should reflect the growth in popularity of hazardous and extreme sports and cover accordingly. Equally, they should recognise that people may be visiting remote regions and provide search and rescue assistance. South America is a popular destination, yet it’s one of the most dangerous, so why not offer students a service that offers a helping hand should problems arise? It would give them and their parents peace of mind.”
In recognition of the increasing popularity of trips that are independently arranged, Karma offers complete traveller protection against failure of an airline or transport provider, hotel or accommodation supplier or car hire firm to honour a pre-booked agreement. Vital if there are no bonded travel agreements in place which is the norm for gap year students.
Hazardous or extreme sports covered include; trekking in remote or mountainous areas, white water rafting, canoeing or kayaking, trail running and riding, snow surfing, tobogganing, bungee jumping, go-karting, quad biking and the latest water sport, wakeboarding.
Karma recently sourced worldwide travel insurance costs for a 19 year-old (leaving in August and returning July 2009) and found the difference between its quote of £160.25 and the highest, £455 from specialist student travel agent STA Travel, was a staggering £294.75, nearly three times more expensive.
Brian concludes: “The long-held theory ‘pay more and you get better quality’ no longer rings true and our research proves this. These policies should be accessible to all and we will only do this by making premiums more affordable. The average cost of a gap year is around £12,000 and studies from banks show only one in five students saves to fund their trip. Parents are left to foot the bill for the remainder and I worry, that in the current economic climate, insurance could fall off their radar with so many other financial commitments.”
Travel insurance: News update: August 2008