Best Travel Insurance Companies For Travelers & Digital Nomads

Best Travel Insurance Options
Travel Insurance Tips
Travel Safety Tips

Picking travel insurance can be a very confusing part of planning your international trip. Is it worth the expense? Which insurance companies offer the best coverage?

Getting some travel insurance is an extremely important part of planning a trip to foreign countries. Many regular health insurance companies don’t cover much (if anything) when you travel. This means you should purchase a dedicated travel insurance plan.

Travel insurance plans can cover a mix of medical emergencies, accidents, theft of personal property, illness, and even trip cancellation or interruptions. It’s just a smart option if you want to travel safely these days.

But the best part is, decent plans can cost only a few dollars a day.

After 10-years of travel, I’ve had quite a few incidents happen on the road (Dengue Fever, a stolen camera, phone, etc.) So I never travel without insurance to protect me from these unexpected situations.

My goal with this travel insurance guide is to help you narrow down the overwhelming choices out there — and pick some good travel insurance whether you’re traveling for 2-weeks or 6-months.

Matthew Karsten
Why listen to me? Experience! I’ve been traveling around the world for ten years as a digital nomad, while visiting over 50 countries.
Matthew KarstenThe Expert Vagabond

Types Of Travel Insurance

There are a few different kinds of travel insurance, and some plans cover more than others.

You’ll have to ask yourself a few questions before picking a plan. Are you a short-term traveler going away for a week or two? Or are you a long-term traveler leaving for 6-months or more?

Do you carry a lot of expensive photo/computer gear, or not?

Will your current health insurance cover you overseas? How much will it cover? Does it include medical evacuation? Do you have any pre-existing conditions?

Are you the type of person who books hotels/flights/activities in advance? Or do you just wing it and pay for these services as you use them? Are you worried your trip might get canceled?

Travel Medical Insurance is coverage for accidents, injuries, illness, or hospital visits while you are away from home.

Medical Evacuation Insurance is coverage for emergency transportation (often via airplane) to a major hospital for better treatment.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is coverage for unexpected interruptions in your travel plans.

Baggage/Property Insurance is coverage for theft or damage to your gear while traveling.

Travel Safety
Staying Safe while Traveling

Best Travel Insurance Options In 2021

Short-Term Travel Insurance

Safety Wing

Safety Wing

Safety Wing is a fantastic budget travel insurance option for travelers. They offer the flexibility to purchase a plan before or after your trip has already started. Plans start at only $40 per month, and they include theft of personal property too!

Another big perk is that they can also cover you in your home country, or a dependent child who is traveling with you. Which is nice for digital nomads and families traveling with kids.

Pros

  • Short or long-term policies
  • Very affordable plans
  • Covers people up to 69 years old
  • Covers COVID-19
  • Covers children for free
  • Online claim filing

Cons

  • Basic emergency coverage
  • Limited coverage for personal belongings
  • Limited coverage for adventure activities
  • Only covers trip interruptions
  • $250 deductible

World Nomads

World Nomads Insurance

World Nomads specializes in short-term travel coverage, including theft, and are very popular among travelers. I used them for years before I decided to get long-term expat type insurance instead.

Buying insurance with World Nomads for your next vacation is quick & easy. You can even purchase a plan with little advanced notice. You can extend coverage online from anywhere too.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage At Home: No.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancellation: Yes.
Theft/Damage Insurance: Yes. ($500 per-item limit)

Long-Term Insurance For Digital Nomads & Expats

Because I’m a digital nomad and travel with thousands of dollars of camera equipment for work, I have a more long-term travel insurance mindset. I use an expat dedicated health insurance policy, combined with a gear policy for professional photographers.

This mix is more expensive than a World Nomads Policy, but works best for my long-term travel lifestyle.

IMG Global

This plan specializes in long-term worldwide medical coverage, but does not cover theft or trip cancelation. Coverage inside the United States is included, but to qualify you must spend at least 6 months of the year living abroad. You can choose a deductible from $250-$10,000.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage at Home: Yes.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancellation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: No.
Example Quote: Global Gold (1 year policy) = $74/month with $1000 deductible

HTH Worldwide

Full international medical insurance, including the United States. No limits as to how long you are in the US. Deductible waived for regular doctor checkups. Excellent insurance, but pricey. Sherry from OttsWorld.com is a happy customer.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage at Home: Yes.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancellation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: No.
Example Quote: Global Citizen (1 year policy) = $269/month with $1000 deductible

More Insurance Options

Your Current Health Insurance

Already have regular health insurance in your home country? Check to see if they provide coverage internationally. If they do, you might not need anything else.

Homeowners Or Renters Insurance

Your homeowners or renters insurance may cover your belongings when you’re traveling in foreign countries too. Call them up to verify the details.

Credit Card Travel Insurance

Many travel credit cards often include some basic travel, theft, and even car insurance for their customers. Call your card company up to get details on what is exactly covered (or not).

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

Traveling In Iceland
Exploring Iceland

This is the million-dollar question — and ultimately a personal decision. I’ve met plenty of people who travel without travel insurance and I’ve contemplated doing the same.

But after over 10-years of constant travel, hearing horror stories from other travelers, and getting into a few dangerous predicaments myself — if someone asks for my opinion on the subject I answer with:

YES. Everyone should carry some kind of health/property insurance when traveling.

Why? Because stuff happens. Whether you think it will or not. Despite your best-laid plans and preventative measures. Sure, if you sprain your ankle, it might not be a big deal.

But what if your appendix bursts? Or your bus crashes? Or you contract a deadly disease? Or require medical evacuation after breaking your leg?

These things definitely happen to travelers from time to time, and could cost you tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars. Without insurance, you’re screwed!

My recommendation is based on listening to countless first-hand tales of disaster from other travelers, as well as my own personal experiences.

Real-Life Examples

I know a woman traveling in Costa Rica who fell off a ladder, shattering her arm. She did not have health insurance, received horrible treatment at the local hospital, and was basically held hostage there until she was able to pay the HUGE medical bill.

Another person I know lost everything he was traveling with when his locked guesthouse in Ecuador was broken into. Without personal property insurance, he would have needed to spend thousands replacing all his gear.

Another friend contracted a flesh-eating parasite while trekking through the jungles of Peru. He required months worth of treatment from specialized doctors, and a medical evacuation flight back to the United States.

These are all people I know personally.

Making An Insurance Claim

Insurance companies are notorious for trying to avoid paying out claims. Making a claim might take some work on your part, depending on the situation. Here are a few tips for getting paid through travel insurance:

  • If you’re having issues filing a claim, always work your way up the corporate ladder. Talk to a supervisor. Then talk to the supervisor’s supervisor. Make your claim issues public using Social Media if needed.
  • Record conversations. At the beginning of every phone call, tell the other party you’re recording the conversation to ensure no misunderstandings later.
  • When filing a police report of any kind, keep the story simple. The longer and more in-depth the report, the easier it is for insurance companies to find a loophole to deny your claim.

Additional Travel Insurance Tips

  • Read the fine print first! Know what you’re covered for. For example, some policies don’t cover extreme sports or theft of unattended items.
  • Take photos or a video of all your travel gear with a date stamp.
  • Save PDF copies of any travel gear purchases & hospital receipts. Keep originals too.
  • Write down serial numbers, policy numbers, and insurance contact information.
  • Store this information online in a secure, easy to access place. I use Evernote. Another good option is Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • File a police report immediately after any theft or accident while traveling.

No one likes to think about theft or injury when they’re on vacation, but the threat is real, and without good travel insurance, an unexpected incident could ruin the rest of your year. Never travel without it! ★

READ MORE TRAVEL SAFETY TIPS

I hope you enjoyed my guide to the best travel insurance options in 2021 Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:


Have any questions about getting travel insurance? What about other suggestions? Drop me a message in the comments below!

This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.

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