Backpacker Travel Insurance

Planning a backpacking trip? Compare a range of travel insurance policies with Savvy.

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, updated on September 4th, 2023       

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Compare Travel Insurance Quotes in 30 Seconds

Whether you're backpacking through Peru or planning to explore parts of Asia on foot, having the right travel insurance behind you can be a real lifesaver if you suffer from a claimable event. If you're looking for coverage to suit your needs as a backpacker, you can compare a range of offers right here with Savvy.

We're partnered with some of Australia's leading travel insurance providers to give you high-quality options to compare before you purchase your policy. You can start the comparison process with us today by filling out our simple, no-obligation quote form.

What types of travel insurance can I take out if I’m a backpacker?

Travel insurance is as important as choosing the right sleeping bag or hiking boots when planning a backpacking trip. However, when you go about comparing policies, you'll get several unique options which include:


Basic coverage, as the name suggests, is designed to cover the bare essentials when travelling. Depending on your insurer, it can cover you for emergency medical, evacuation and repatriation expenses, as well as personal liability if you're found liable for an injury to someone else or damage to their property. There may also be further coverage included under this type of policy with some insurers, such as cancellation, disruption and personal effects cover, though these will generally come with lower claim limits than comprehensive travel insurance.


Comprehensive insurance can offer a broader range of benefits and higher claim limits than basic travel cover. While the insurance premium on this type of coverage tends to cost more, it can cover you for a more extensive range of benefits. This includes unlimited emergency medical expense cover, up to an unlimited cost (which may be the same as basic cover) as well as all the other benefits listed above at higher claim limits (subject to your insurer's terms and conditions). Furthermore, you may also be offered cover for eligible claims such as permanent disability, accidental death, delay of luggage and theft of cash up to your insurer's set limit (provided the circumstances qualify for coverage).


There are plenty of risks to consider when exploring overseas, whether you're backpacking through Ireland or travelling through France on a budget, so travel insurance should be on the top of your checklist if you're heading abroad. Your coverage under this type of policy will depend on your profile, your insurer's terms and conditions and whether you decide to purchase a basic or comprehensive policy.


Looking to soak up Uluru in a swag or explore the Sunshine State on two feet? Domestic travel insurance can cover you for most of the same areas as international insurance, though medical expense cover won't be included in these policies due to Medicare and private health insurance being in place in Australia.


Annual, or multi-trip, travel insurance is designed for travellers who are planning multiple trips over a 12-month period, acting as a single policy which can cover you for all your trips within this period. This type of insurance will come with a set maximum individual trip duration, with some insurers setting this at no more than 90 days per single trip taken.


A single-trip policy is different from an annual one, as it can cover you for the entire duration of one round trip, starting and ending in Australia. There are some insurers which can offer cover for trips as long as 12 months in total.


If your lengthy backpacking trip has no set end date, some travel insurance companies offer ‘one-way' policies which cover you if you have no return flight booked. These policies can come with basic and comprehensive options, with some insurers offering protection for up to 12 months after you depart Australia. They may also provide you with the ability to extend your coverage while overseas up to a maximum of two years in total, though this won't always be the case, so it's worth comparing insurers to help determine what you can be covered for in this area.

What benefits can be included in my backpacker travel insurance?

If you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy as a backpacker, some of the benefits you may receive (subject to your insurer's terms and conditions) include:

  1. Medical and hospital coverage: if you fall sick or are injured while you’re sightseeing overseas, the cost of your treatment or surgery may be covered by your insurance. If you’re travelling to a country which has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia, you can use your Medicare card to receive treatment free of charge.
  2. 24/7 emergency assistance: some insurers offer a 24/7 helpline for emergency assistance worldwide to help you out if you’re in an emergency situation which is deemed claimable.
  3. Cancellation: it can be unfortunate if plans change just before you head off on the trip of a lifetime. If this does happen, your provider may be able to partially or fully reimburse you the cost of your flights, hostels and other non-refundable bookings, provided the circumstances leading to your cancellation are covered under its terms and conditions.
  4. Lost luggage and personal items: when your backpack or personal items are lost, stolen or damaged due to a covered event, your insurance company can cover the cost of their repair or replacement up to a pre-determined limit, which will be outlined in your policy documents and will vary depending on which items were lost or damaged.
  5. Lost passport: if you lose your passport on your travels and your insurer deems the circumstances claimable, it may be able to cover the cost of replacing it up to its pre-determined limit.
  6. Evacuations: if you need to be flown back to Australia because of injury or illness, your insurance company may cover the cost of your evacuation and repatriation (depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident and whether they qualify for coverage).
  7. Coverage up to two years: Some insurers allow you to purchase a 12-month policy and extend it by a further 12 months if you’re already abroad and don’t want to come home.
  8. Pre-existing medical conditions: some insurers will provide a list of pre-existing medical conditions which can be automatically rolled into your travel insurance coverage (subject to meeting their terms and conditions), which may include asthma and sleep apnoea. However, not all conditions will be covered, so it's important to compare different offers to see if your condition can be included in your policy.
  9. Added extras: planning on carving up the ski slopes in Sweden or just want to get around on a scooter from time to time? You can purchase optional extras which may offer cover for potentially risky activities not included in your main coverage.

However, travel insurance can’t provide you protection from absolutely everything that goes wrong. As such, the following are some of the most common exclusions:

  1. Breaking the law
  2. Events related to you being intoxicated
  3. Your belongings are stolen while left unsupervised
  4. Undisclosed pre-existing conditions
  5. Change your mind about travelling
  6. Travel to a country listed on Smartraveller’s ‘do not travel’ list

Why should I take out travel insurance if I’m a backpacker?

You may be asking yourself why you need travel insurance if you’re travelling light and your trip doesn’t really cost that much. While it may not seem important at the time, travel insurance can save you a great deal of money and hassle if you end up experiencing unexpected circumstances which are included under your policy. As well as you’re able to plan your trip, you can’t always anticipate unforeseen inconveniences such as losing your luggage or falling ill and requiring hospital treatment.

A major reason to take out travel insurance when travelling overseas is to cover the cost of eligible medical treatment you may need on your trip. Accidents and illnesses happen and paying medical bills out of pocket can be potentially costly if you require urgent medical assistance on your holiday.

It’s widely known that healthcare in America comes with a hefty price tag. Australia's Foreign Affairs Department reports some travellers have reported paying up to $300,000 for hospitalisation and medical treatment while on holiday in the USA. If you're travelling to Nepal, arranging a medivac if you suffer a medical emergency can top $9,000. This is just one key reason to take out travel insurance when travelling overseas, so you can compare your options with Savvy today.

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How to compare backpacking travel insurance policies

Commonly asked backpacker travel insurance questions

Does backpacker travel insurance cover COVID-19?

There are insurers which can offer protection for certain COVID-19-related incidents and expenses, such as if you contract the virus and either have to cancel your trip or require medical treatment overseas. However, not all incidents will qualify for coverage. For instance, if the incident you're claiming for occurred within the first 72 hours after you purchase your policy, some insurers won't provide you with any protection. As such, it's important to consider different offers to help you work out what you can and can't be covered for.

Does my travel insurance cover me for items in a hostel?

If your valuables are stolen from your hostel, they may be covered by your insurance. This will depend on the nature of their theft, though; for instance, if you leave your passport on your bed and it's stolen while you're out for the day, you're unlikely to be covered. You'll typically need to have had your items secured in a locker or within your line of sight to be covered for theft. However, it’s best to check your insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement to triple-check if you’re unsure, as this may vary between policies.

Am I covered if I’m volunteering abroad?

If you’re heading overseas to volunteer your time for the Olympic Games or a foreign aid agency as part of your backpacking trip, you may be eligible to take out travel insurance. However, your coverage will be subject to the terms and conditions, limits and exclusions of your policy. For instance, if your volunteer work involves dangerous activities not included in your PDS, you're unlikely to be covered if you have to make a claim related to your work.

Does my coverage extend to AirBnB’s?

Some insurers can offer cover for AirBnB-related expenses, such as cancellations, theft and personal liability. However, as always, this will be subject to your insurer's qualification criteria.

What is a cooling-off period in travel insurance?

A travel insurance policy's cooling-off period is the time after purchasing the policy during which you may decide to cancel it and receive a full refund (provided you haven't made any claims during that time). This period may also be cut shorter if your scheduled departure date falls within the cooling-off period. This may vary between insurers, with some providing you with up to two weeks, while others may set this at 25 days, so it's important to compare between different providers if you're unsure about the terms relating to this clause.

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We do not compare all travel insurance brands currently operating in the market. Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and does not consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.

Savvy earns a commission from our partners each time a customer buys a travel insurance policy via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased from these brands directly, as all purchases are conducted via their websites.

Before purchasing your policy, we recommend you refer to the provider’s PDS for any further information on the terms, inclusions and exclusions.