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It’s foolhardy to travel without insurance to cover theft, loss and medical problems. Start by seeing what your own insurance covers; you may find that many aspects of travel in the Caribbean are covered, but there may be gaping holes.

There’s a wide variety of policies – check the small print. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’, which can include scuba diving, motorcycling, adventure sports or even hiking. Some pay doctors or hospitals directly, but most require you to pay upfront, save the documentation and then claim later. Some policies also ask you to call back (reverse charges) to a center in your home country, where an immediate assessment of your problem is made. Check that the policy covers ambulances or an emergency flight home.

The policies handled by STA Travel and other student travel agencies are usually good value. In the UK, the website Money Supermarket does an automated comparison of 450 partner policies and comes up with the best for your needs.

Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel_ser vices. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.