If you’re planning to travel long term, the common travel insurance companies won’t be any good because most of them only cover trips that are no longer than 6 months. In order to cover yourself for an entire year (or more), what you need is a reliable company that offers flexible plans and covers trips that are longer than 6 months.
In this article, we will compare 3 of the best long term travel insurance companies that cover any length of trip.
Whatever the length of a trip, it is always essential to have a good travel insurance plan.
You have to keep in mind that as you travel longer, the chances of lost luggage, delayed flights or something getting stolen inevitably increase.
And in the worst case [this is very important], you may need medical attention or end up in a hospital where bills are often in the 4 or even 5 digits.
In order to manage your financial risks, a long term travel insurance plan is inevitable.
You may wonder how much does long term travel health insurance costs? The truth is, an annual travel insurance coverage doesn’t cost a ton of money.
Some of the most reliable travel health insurance policies won’t even set you back the price of a coffee a day.
In this article, there is everything you need to know before purchasing your long term travel insurance. And we’ll compare 3 of the best travel insurance to help you make an informative decision. Also, we have made sure to include tips to help you speed up the claims process for when you need to make a claim.
This post contains links to products and services that we may be compensated for, at no extra cost to you.
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR LONG TERM TRAVEL
Let me tell you, we never travel without good travel health insurance coverage.
And it’s not because we learned the lesson the hard way. In fact, we are fortunate enough to have only ever needed to use our travel health insurance plan for small claims.
We believe that if we cannot afford to buy travel insurance, then it is better not to travel at all. Having peace of mind and knowing that we are covered in case of injury or illness when abroad is very important to us. Therefore, we never skimp on travel health insurance even though we are budget travellers.
So, one of the first things we did when we were planning our one-year trip was research a long term travel insurance policy.
We first searched for long term travel insurance plans locally. And although we found a few options, all required that a single trip couldn’t be any longer than 6 months.
Since we were traveling for a whole year, they weren’t good for us.
So we checked online and in this article we include the best options we have found.
Sifting through all the available options is not an easy task so we will include what we have learned in the process in order to make it easier for you to choose an insurance policy right for you.
This article is not a substitute for reading the policy terms. You should make sure you know what is covered by going through the policy wording. And like us, contact your insurance service provider in case you have any questions or concerns.
COMPARING LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE PLANS
1. SAFETYWING TRAVEL MEDICAL INSURANCE
BEST BUDGET TRAVEL INSURANCE OPTION THAT COVERS COVID-19
SafetyWing is a popular option with long term travelers since it’s very affordable and flexible.
You can buy travel insurance for a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of one year. The best part of SafetyWing’s travel medical insurance is that it works like a monthly subscription plan. Instead of paying the full premium upfront, you only pay every 4 weeks in advance. If your travel plans change, you can stop your travel insurance coverage and avoid paying for coverage that you will not use.
If you need travel insurance coverage beyond one year, you can enter into a new travel insurance contract which is automatically renewed every month for the next 12 months (unless terminated by you).
SafetyWing medical expenses coverage is capped at $250,000 (for those under 65 of age) per certificate.
Here’s what we like about SafetyWing.
- Price is fixed at $1.43 per day (for those in the 10 – 39 age bracket).
The premium is payable every 4 weeks and is $40 no matter the countries you will be visiting. The only exception is the US and if traveling to the US, the premium increases to $73.
- The deductible of $250 applies for certain claims only and is due once per insurance period.
The deductible is the amount paid by you before the insurance provider pays the rest of the bill. If for example, you keep on renewing the travel health insurance every 4 weeks for 1 year, the deductible will be paid only once per year.
- Works on a pay as you go basis.
Most travel health insurance providers ask for a trip end date and require payment in full in advance. With SafetyWing’s travel medical insurance there’s no need to include an end date when buying travel insurance. And you only need to pay for the next 4 weeks in advance.
- Treats Covid-19 related issues just like any other illness.
Safetywing’s travel medical insurance covers Covid-19 hospitalisations no matter the country you are in. Unlike other travel health insurance providers which either do not cover Covid-19 hospitalisation or only cover hospitalisation in countries for which there is no Covid-19 related travel ban.
In addition, an allowance of $50 per day is payable for 10 days if you test positive for Covid-19 or are symptomatic and need to quarantine, subject to having a minimum of 28 days coverage.
- Emergency Medical Evacuation is included.
If you are in a remote area and need urgent medical treatment, SafetyWing’s travel medical insurance will cover the cost of evacuation to the nearest hospital.
- For every 90 days of coverage, trips to the home country are covered for a maximum of 30 days (15 days for the United States).
Travel medical insurance policies usually do not provide coverage when you’re in your home country. But SafetyWing’s travel medical insurance provides a 30-day (for US 15 days) coverage for every 90 days of coverage bought. That comes in handy if you intend to travel back home for a short period of time and then resume travel after.
TIP: For remote workers and nomads, who do not have primary health insurance in their home country or those that need a truly global health insurance policy, SafetyWing has developed a new product, the Remote Health. The Remote Health coverage is much more extensive compared to travel medical insurance and includes coverage in your home country.
Check price and get more information on Remote Health here.
- SafetyWing travel insurance can be bought even if your trip has already started.
- SafetyWing’s Travel Medical Insurance is available to everyone except for very few exceptions.
SafetyWing’s Travel Medical Insurance is not available to residents of Cuba, Iran and North Korea. And if your address is in Canada, Australia, Washington, Maryland or New York, you can’t physically be located there while buying. But you can buy travel insurance with SafetyWing the moment you’ve crossed the border.
- Covers certain pre-existing conditions that are not chronic or congenital.
SafetyWing’s travel medical insurance covers certain pre-existing conditions which are non-chronic and non-congenital. These are the definitions obtained from the travel insurance company for chronic and congenital conditions.
Chronic is a health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. May require ongoing medical attention. Some examples would be heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis. One definition of Congenital disease is one that is present at birth. Although a person is born with such a disease, it may not appear until later in life. Examples are congenital heart disease, spina bifida.
Pre-existing conditions are conditions existing within 2 years (timeframe may change with different insurance policies) before the start of the travel insurance policy.
Here is a list of things that aren’t included.
- Repatriation to home country is not included.
SafetyWing does not cover the cost of repatriation to your home country. The only exception is for foreigners travelling to the United States. In this case, non-US residents can be repatriated to their home country.
With SafetyWing, you can be returned to your home country under the trip interruption clause which is capped at $10,000. Trip interruption does not have medical transport.
- No coverage for lost or stolen valuables.
This could be an issue if you’re carrying expensive equipment such as a laptop, camera or drone. Other travel insurance providers that cover the loss or theft of valuables include a limit per item and a total maximum benefit. Which makes the recoverable amount not representative of the true cost to replace the item.
If you have a home insurance policy, you should speak to your insurance provider to check whether your valuables such as laptop or camera are already covered or can be added to the policy.
Another option is to find an insurance provider that insures valuable items. But up to now, we weren’t so lucky.
If you choose a travel insurance policy that does not cover valuables, be extra careful. Here are some tips to keep your valuables safe. Carry the items in your carry-on instead of the checked-in luggage, put them in the hotel safe before leaving the room or if there’s no safe, lock them in your bag and then secure the bag. If you’re out with your camera, sling bags or belt bags are a good way to keep it as close to you as possible.
For more travel safety tips, check out our guide including 27 tips to stay safe when travelling.
- Limitation on sports or activities covered, activities not covered include, white water rafting, quad biking, parasailing, cliff jumping, etc.
Make sure you know what activities are covered and plan your activities around this information.
- No coverage for Pre-Trip Cancellation.
SafetyWing travel insurance focuses more on the ‘medical’ aspect of travel insurance (which is the most important part) and less on the ‘travel’ part and excludes clauses such as pre-trip cancellation.
If you have paid for most of your trip expenses upfront and amounts paid are not refundable, you should consider a travel insurance plan with pre-trip cancellation. In this case, buy travel insurance at the same time as you start making payments against your trip.
But if you bought a changeable or refundable flight ticket and booked only the first couple of days’ accommodation, then trip-cancellation might be less important to you.
2. WORLD NOMADS TRAVEL INSURANCE
BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR ADVENTUROUS TRAVELLERS
World Nomads provides a high limit coverage for medical expenses (this might not be true for everyone as coverage changes with residency), covers more adventurous activities compared to other travel insurance providers and includes coverage for theft of personal items and pre-trip cancellation.
What we like about World Nomads Travel Insurance:
- High medical expenses limit but it is highly unlikely this limit will be required.
At World Nomads, the travel insurance coverage changes according to where you are from so your medical expense limit might be different than mine.
My medical expense limit was much higher when compared to SafteyWing. In fact, I don’t think that this limit will ever be required or used.
Don’t forget that with all travel health insurance policies only necessary and urgent medical treatments are covered. If you can wait until your return to your home country then that medical treatment is not necessary and will not be covered under your travel insurance policy.
- Include Medical Evacuation and Repatriation.
With World Nomads travel insurance you are covered if you need medical evacuation and transportation to the nearest hospital. Transportation can also include transfer to your home country by air ambulance.
TIP: Always contact the travel insurance emergency team as soon as possible, especially if you need to be hospitalized or medically evacuated. It’s always better to have their pre-approval and they can also provide you with the necessary guidance when you need it.
- Covers more sports and adventurous activities plus includes an option to add specific sport or activity if not covered, at an extra cost.
With World Nomad’s you have an option to choose between two plans, the Standard or Explorer. They both cover a huge list of adventure sports and activities. The Explorer plan, which is more expensive, provides more coverage and covers more activities. There is also the option to insure a specific activity if not covered, at an extra cost.
- Covers loss, theft or damage to personal items plus provides an option to insure specific valuables, at an extra cost.
World Nomads travel insurance covers the loss, theft or accidental damage of your belongings during your trip.
But coverage is subject to a limit per item and total maximum benefit which is not always representative of the true cost of the items.
If you’ll be carrying an expensive item, you can insure that specific item at an extra cost which is usually not cheap.
- Coverage for Pre-Trip Cancellation.
World Nomads travel insurance covers pre-trip cancellation subject to a maximum limit that changes according to the chosen plan (Standard or Explorer). Pre-trip cancellation does not capture all the situations that can result in wanting to cancel your trip. Covered situations include illness or injury, extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, etc.
What could be better with World Nomads Travel Insurance:
- More expensive compared to SafetyWing’s travel medical insurance.
World Nomads quoted price for the standard plan for 4 weeks was 3 times as much as that for SafetyWing’s travel insurance. Since World Nomads’ travel insurance coverage changes with residency, the price will also change with residency. Price is also affected by your destination & trip duration.
- No Covid-19 coverage if travelling to a country with a Covid-19 travel ban.
Covid-19 hospitalisation and quarantine are not covered if you travel to a country with a travel ban. Covid-19 coverage also changes with residency. For Americans, Covid-19 is covered just like any other illness.
- Payment of the total travel insurance price is paid in advance.
Apart from paying the total travel insurance fee in advance, you also need to provide details of all the countries you intend to visit and the start and end date of your trip. Which can be anything from one week up to one year.
There is also the possibility to buy a new travel insurance policy for another year. But whenever you buy a new travel insurance policy (even from the same insurance provider) anything which happened during your first year will be treated as pre-existing conditions for the second year and therefore these conditions will not be covered under the new travel insurance policy.
- No coverage in your home country if you travel back home during the insured period.
Most travel health insurance policies rely on you having a primary health insurance plan in your home country. Therefore, travel health insurance coverage will cease once you’re back home. World Nomads limits the number of times you can return home during the covered period.
- The excess of €70 is payable more than once over the insured period.
The World Nomads’ travel insurance policy includes a €70 excess which is payable for some claims each time a claim is made. Payment of access changes with residency so this might be different for you. The €70 excess will add up if you need to make multiple claims.
World Nomads is temporarily not selling travel insurance to those with an EU residency as they’re making some changing to the travel insurance coverage.
3. INSURE MY TRIP
MAKES PROCESS OF FINDING TRAVEL INSURANCE EASIER
InsureMyTrip works like a search engine. You provide some basic information such as your residency, any travel costs already paid for and it provides you with the best travel insurance options based on the information provided.
The website also includes a feature that compares the travel insurance options recommended to you.
InsureMyTrip will also help you with any claim you might have with the travel insurance service provider.
What we like about InsureMyTrip:
- The process of finding the best travel insurance is made easier
- More travel insurance options for over 65
What could be better with InsureMyTrip:
- The total travel insurance premium is payable in advance
IS LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE WORTH BUYING?
Yes, without a doubt!
We were very lucky that over the course of our travels we only filed a few small claims!
But we do have some very unlucky travel experiences to share. Of when a close relative was brought back home with an air ambulance or when another had to cancel her dream (expensive) trip to New York because she broke her leg.
So travel insurance, although rarely used, is something you can’t do without. You shouldn’t even consider travelling without it. Especially without good travel medical insurance including adequate medical expense coverage and emergency medical evacuation (this one is especially useful if travelling to a less developed country).
Replacing a stolen laptop or buying another flight is painful but not a huge financial burden.
Paying for the medical cost of treatment abroad or worse needing medical evacuation and medical treatment while abroad are a huge financial loss probably not worth the risk for a small amount of dollars per day.
Booking a long term trip and paying thousands on flights, accommodation and food but not getting yourself a good international travel medical insurance plan, is probably one of the worst things you could do.
Besides being a travel necessity, travel health insurance is also a requirement for entry into certain countries.
WHAT IS NOT COVERED IN TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICIES?
As a rule of thumb, you should always read the fine print and policy wording of your travel insurance policy.
Don’t rely on what someone else told you. After all, you should always know what you are paying for and what is or isn’t included in your travel policy.
Keep in mind that ANY insurance company will always opt out if possible. Therefore, it is good to read your insurance policy fine print and abide by the terms and conditions.
So if anything has to happen, you will have everything in order and this also helps in speeding up your claim.
Here is a list of things that are generally not covered by travel insurance policies:
- Pre-existing conditions – Are there an recurring medical condition that might affect your trip?
- Routine medical examinationa & annual checkups
- Dental treatment except for emergency dental treatment
- Non emergency medical treatments
- Hospitalisation in case of injuries caused while drunk, driving without the right paperwork or drunk driving
- Activities without the right gear, example, driving a scooter without a helmet
- Travelling to a destination with a travel ban even if you weren’t aware of the travel ban when you booked the flight. Before buying a flight ticket or book accommodation, always do a quick search on your destination.
- Risky activities like skydiving, free diving, etc.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY
MEDICAL EXPENSES COVERAGE
This is the maximum amount of medical costs covered under the travel health insurance policy for the necessary medical treatment of an illness or injury while abroad.
Medical expenses include the cost of hospitalisation, visits to a doctor, prescribed drugs and medical supplies and ambulance transport.
Medical expenses coverage is one of the most important aspects of travel insurance. And you should check that the medical expenses maximum limit is adequate to cover any medical cost you might have to pay in the country you will travel to.
When we were researching travel insurance for our long term travel plans, we liked the flexibility of the insurance policy suggested to us by InsureMyTrip.
With the recommended option, we could choose the medical expense maximum limit ourselves.
Increasing the limit will obviously increase the insurance policy price.
DEDUCTIBLE OR EXCESS
The deductible or excess is a portion of covered costs that should be paid by you.
You should check whether the deductible of your travel insurance policy is payable only once over the insured period or each time a claim is made.
Having to pay multiple deductibles will add up, so it is usually better to choose a travel insurance cover where you only pay the deductible once over the insured period.
More travel insurance policies now cover Covid-19 related issues and are treating Covid-19 like any other illness.
And some policies also pay an allowance per day during required quarantine.
But whereas some policies cover Covid-19 related issues irrespective of the country you are in when tested positive, others do not, and you are not covered if you travel to a country with a Covid-19 related travel ban.
SPORTS & ACTIVITIES COVERED
Always check the sports and activities covered under the insurance policy and never assume that a particular sport or activity is covered automatically.
Some insurance policies provide an option to add a particular sport or activity if not automatically covered, at an extra charge.
MEDICAL EVACUATION & HOME REPATRIATION
Medical evacuation is important to have in your travel insurance if visiting a developing country or remote area.
Some travel insurance plans do not include repatriation to the home country for further medical treatment.
TRAVEL INSURANCE PROVIDERS’ REVIEWS
Before buying travel insurance, read the reviews from customers that filed a claim with the provider.
Was it easy to speak to an agent? Is communicating with the insurance provider made easy? How long did it take for a claim to be processed?
In order to get a good feel of the claims process, we recommend reading some reviews, and not just the first 2 or 3.
TRAVEL INSURANCE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
CAN YOU BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE WHEN ALREADY ABROAD?
All travel insurance providers listed in this post are online and have the benefit of being more flexible than standard travel health insurance plans.
One of the best perks is that there is no need to be in your home country to purchase insurance coverage.
So if you left your home country without an insurance policy or forgot to get yourself covered, each of the sites listed offers the option of buying a policy when already abroad.
DO I ALWAYS NEED TO BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE?
If you have private health insurance or a credit card with travel insurance, you might not need to buy travel insurance.
Contact your health insurance provider and check whether the policy covers you when abroad. Read the credit card travel insurance policy and understand the extent of coverage.
DOES LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE COVER MULTIPLE COUNTRIES?
If you are planning a trip where you will visit multiple countries, then the international long term travel medical insurance websites recommended in this post, all offer the advantage of combining multiple destinations into your insurance policy.
For World Nomads, you will need to list down the countries you intend to visit when getting a quote. And although most countries around the world are covered, those with a travel ban are not.
For SafetyWing there is no need to list all the countries you intend to visit.
One thing common in all insurance policies is when you include the United States, policy price increase.
HOW LONG IS TRAVEL INSURANCE GOOD FOR?
Year-long travel insurance coverage can be easily purchased from standard insurance companies in your home country.
However, these traditional 12-month travel insurance policies usually have a requirement that a single trip can’t be longer than 6 months.
Therefore, if you are planning to travel long term, the best option is to purchase a travel insurance plan from one of the reliable online travel insurance sites.
The most frequently used and recommended long term travel insurance websites are SafetyWing, World Nomads and *InsureMyTrip.
Each site has its own advantages. But in the end, each serves the purpose of covering your trip for up to 12 months without the need of flying back home.
And usually, new travel insurance contracts can be made for another year without the need to return back home.
*Insure My Trip is slightly different from the other travel insurance websites. How InsureMyTrip works is that it gives you a number of different travel insurance options to choose from depending on the information you provide.
CAN YOU GET LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR OVER 65?
Yes, there are options to get yourself covered if you are over 65.
SafetyWing offers coverage up to 69 of age.
But the best options for coverage for over 65, are found with InsureMyTrip.
TRAVEL INSURANCE TIPS
- As soon as you buy travel insurance, save your policy number and emergency number on your mobile phone. Share this information with a family member in case you will need some help communicating with the insurance provider. And always carry with you the insurance card.
- Save photos of receipts for all items you’ll bring on your travels. Store them somewhere where you can easily find – google drive?
- If you’re sick or you had an accident, contact the emergency team as soon as possible. They’ll help you locate a doctor or the nearest hospital and it’s good for your eventual claim to have them in the loop as early as possible. If you need urgent medical help, call for an ambulance and then call (or ask a friend) to call the provider’s emergency team.
- If you’re visiting a doctor or you’re hospitalised, always get original copies of invoices / receipts / medical reports.
- Depending on the medical bill and diagnosis, you might have to pay the medical cost yourself and then get a reimbursement after (this can take anywhere from days to months). That’s why it’s very important to get in contact with your insurance provider at the earliest. The insurance provider might arrange a direct payment and pay for the medical bill directly.
If you are planning a trip, make your travel insurance plan a priority. Although it seems like an extra cost that is usually never used (and we hope that this always will be the case), it will serve its purpose in any unfortunate event.
Think of your travel insurance as a way to manage your risks. After all, insurance policies don’t necessarily have to cost a ton of money.
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