Club Direct has fired the first shot in a potential price war for the backpacker travel insurance market by slashing the cost of its Discovery range of policies by 20%.

This opening salvo comes just as an estimated 200,000 young people embark on a gap year of travel between school and university.

The price cut means young people can obtain six months' of worldwide cover from £119.20 and one year's worth for £223.20.

Club Direct said its Discovery range of policies which cover extended travel have been growing three times as fast as its other types of travel insurance.