An essential part to factor into a long-term travel plan is long-term travel insurance.
You have to keep in mind that you will be travelling for 3 months maybe 6 or even an entire year.
Therefore the chances of lost luggage, delayed flights or the need for medical care increase significantly when travelling long term compared to a standard 1-week vacation.
But 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.
Actually, some of the most reliable travel health insurance policies won’t even set you back the price of a coffee per day.
Think of travel insurance coverage as a way to manage your risks.
Where in the worst case of events, as needing medical treatment while abroad, your potential loss of having to pay medical bills that often run in the 4 or 5 digits, is transferred onto the travel insurance provider.
In this blog post, we cover all you need to know about long term travel insurance and the best international travel medical insurance plans.
This post contains links to products and services that we may be compensated for, at no extra cost to you.
IS LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE WORTH BUYING?
Yes, without a doubt!
When you think about it, there are a number of things that can go wrong while travelling around the world.
You could have your bags lost or stolen, have your flights cancelled or worst of all need to be hospitalised.
In the event of damaged or lost luggage during transit flights, your airline will usually cover the cost.
And although you can opt to insure specific valuables against theft or damage, the increase in your travel insurance policy price, isn’t usually worth it.
The main reason to purchase a good travel medical insurance plan isn’t to cover easily replaced travel items.
But to cover unfortunate events when you’re abroad. Such as accidents or health issues when hospitalisation is needed and medical bills can run into the thousands.
To be honest, I think 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.
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 World Nomads, SafetyWing and *Insure My Trip.
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 Insure My Trip works is that it gives you a number of different travel insurance options to choose from depending on the information you provide.
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 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 Insure My Trip.
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 are including coverage for Covid-19 related issues and treating Covid 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, others do not, and you are not covered if you travel to a country with a Covid-19 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.
Some travel insurance plans do not include repatriation to the home country for further medical treatment.
So in the highly unlikely situation where long-term medical treatment is required, there’s no option to continue the medical treatment in your home country particularly if you’re not fit to fly with a commercial flight.
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 had 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
- Routine medical examinations & annual checkups
- Dental treatment except for emergency dental treatment
- Non emergency medical treatments
- Hospitalisation in case of injuries caused while driving without the right paperwork
- Activities without the right gear, example, driving a scooter without a helmet
- Risky activities like rock climbing, high elevation hiking, water rafting, etc
COMPARING LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE PLANS
There are quite a few different long-term travel insurance companies. But here we will take a look at 3 of the best travel insurance providers.
Each insurance company varies in price and what benefit is included in the travel insurance policy. Therefore I have included the pros and cons of each to simplify the process of choosing the best travel health insurance provider for you.
SafetyWing is a popular option with long-term travelers since it provides flexibility and is very affordable.
The premium is payable every 4 weeks in advance so if your travel plans change you can easily stop paying the insurance fee.
What we like about SafetyWing:
- Price fixed at $40 for 4 weeks, if travelling to the US, the price is $73 for 4 weeks
- Deductible amount is $250 and is only payable once per insurance period
- Works on pay as you go basis, no contracts that lock you in for a number of months
- Treats Covid related issues just like any other illness
- Covers certain pre-existing conditions that are not chronic or congenital
- For every 90 days of coverage, trips to home country are covered for maximum of 30 days (15 days for the United States)
What could be better:
- Medical expenses coverage is capped at $250,000
- No repatriation to home country
- No coverage if personal items are stolen and no option to add specific valuables to insurance coverage
- Limitation on sports or activities covered, activities not covered include, white water rafting, cliff jumping, quad biking
- No coverage for pre-trip cancellation
INSURE MY TRIP
Insure My Trip 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.
What we like about Insure My Trip:
- The process of finding the best travel insurance is made easier
- More travel insurance options for over 65
What could be better:
- The total travel insurance premium is payable in advance
World Nomads provides a high medical expenses limit, covers situations that are typically covered by traditional travel insurance policies such as theft of personal items while abroad, and coverage for pre-trip cancellations but comes at a higher price.
What we like about World Nomads:
- High medical expenses limit but it is highly unlikely this limit will be required
- Include home repatriation
- Option to add a sport or activity at an extra cost
- Option to insure specific valuables at an extra cost
- Coverage for pre-trip cancellation
What could be better:
- Relatively more expensive compared to the other options **
- The excess is payable more than once over the insured period
- No covid coverage if travelling to a country with a Covid-19 travel ban
- Payment of the total travel insurance price is paid in advance
- No coverage in your home country if you travel back home during the insured period
** The quoted price for World Nomads standard plan for 4 weeks is 3 times as much as that for SafetyWing.
TIP: If you need medical treatment while abroad, call your travel insurance provider as soon as possible and before you arrive at the hospital.
CAN YOU BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE WHEN ALREADY ABROAD?
Since the insurance providers listed in this post are online, they all 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.
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 and Insure My Trip 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 prices increase.
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 Insure My Trip.
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, 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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