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Mind the gap as students take a year out

14th September 2010 Print

Sales of backpacker insurance were more than eight times higher in August than during the same month last year as frustration over university places prompted potential students to take a year out, new figures from Virgin Money Travel Insurance show.

The insurer has seen a surge of interest in backpacker polices with two-fifths of total sales this year so far happening in July and August and they expect the rise in sales to continue.

Government figures show there could be up to 180,000 fewer University places available this year compared to the previous academic year.

And Virgin Money believes many are deciding to make the most of their year out before reapplying by going backpacking during a gap year.

Grant Bather, spokesman at Virgin Money Travel Insurance said: "Sales of backpacker policies have really taken off in the past two months as it becomes clear there are fewer university places available. The jobs market is also tough and it may be that graduates are also deciding to take a year out.

"Anyone of any age whether they are on a gap year or taking a backpacking trip needs to think carefully about insurance. Travellers need insurance that covers them for all activities and eventualities."

Virgin Money Backpacker Travel Insurance covers trips up to 18 months long and covers, as standard many adventure sports including bungee jumping and mountain biking.

Backpackers are also covered for bills, medical treatment and their journey home if they need to travel back to the UK due to illness or injury as well as access to a free 24 hour travel advice line and emergency helpline.