"If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel"
This is the firm stance of many people and websites (including smartraveller.gov.au) Now it's all good and well for someone else to state that but they're not the one saving up for the ultimate experience travelling the world on a working holiday! Here's my take on travel insurance, you as always, should make up your own mind.
Well first of all let me say that if you can afford it, I would definitely recommend taking out travel insurance whilst abroad. That being said I will tell you that I have never had insurance and nothing has ever happened to me. For the most part, being Australian I can count on most countries operating reciprocal health care agreements - in fact I can ride in an ambulance for free in the UK but in my own country it would cost me $500!
Lets not forget the cost of personal comprehensive travel insurance is expensive in anyone's opinion. (absolute basic cover from $400 for 12months plus premiums) It's a lot of money to spend on something you don't want to use. Conversely the associated costs involved in having an accident or contracting a horrible disease or illness are probably going to cost more than travel insurance...
Don't forget that although you will be treated for free in the Accident & Emergency department in the United Kingdom in the event you are injured, you will also be spending time in other foreign countries where you may not be covered for anything. Every now and then you will come across a horror story of what happened to someone who didn't have travel insurance - and thanks to a friend of mine I now have a story to share too.
click here for my painful and nasty 'it could happen to you' travel insurance story
"Safety is a cheap and effective insurance policy"
Now you could argue (like I do) that some people are more likely to be in need of insurance than others. Those that enjoy more than a few drinks or those that participate in extreme sports for example.
However the truth of the matter is that accidents can happen to anyone at any time and if you choose to run the risk of not obtaining even the most basic (and most affordable) form of insurance whilst travelling and get hit by a car and break your legs - then don't come running to me.
It's not just your health that will be covered. Under a comprehensive policy, your luggage, your flights, your cash and documents and a heap of other things will be covered too.
One more thing on Travel Insurance
You don't have to take the 'All or Nothing' approach to travel insurance.
Comprehensive cover is expensive, no cover is dangerous, and basic cover probably wont cover you for the particular accident you become involved in.
If you are going to be spending a large majority of your time in the United Kingdom interspersed with trips to Europe then you may decide to take out travel insurance just for those trips. Trips where you are more than likely going to be participating in more eventful activities ie. Skiing, hiking, pub crawling, scuba diving etc. rather than standing in a pub pouring drinks.
These are precisely the activities that wont be covered under the most basic of policies, which means if you do decide on basic cover before you leave home, you may find yourself having to take out another policy just for the smaller trip to cover for further riskier eventualities (how annoyed will you be if you get back safe and sound!) The bonus of insuring small trips is that the price is much smaller which makes it much more likely that you'll purchase it.
For Australians and New Zealanders the cheapest basic
policy for about $400 is available through
Every insurance policy is slightly different so make sure you know what you are and aren't covered for. This will entail you actually reading the documents.
Lastly, I would say 'be careful' but you're young and having the time of your life so I can understand if being careful isn't that high a priority. So instead, how about a loose promise to try and not and get hit by a car or stray too close to any cliffs? Think you can manage that?