Travel Insurance and International Health Insurance

Contents

What is travel insurance?

Sometimes people get confused about the term "Travel Insurance". Some travelers and insurance companies describe Travel Insurance as medical insurance while you travel, while others simply describe it as insurance for cancelled flights and missing luggage. No matter what name you give it, you will probably want some or all of these things.

From missed flights to lost luggage, to stolen belongings, or injuries or sickness while on your trip, "Travel Insurance" can cover all of these things depending on which policy you purchase. Not all policies are created equal, and many different problems and issues can be covered depending on which policy you purchase.

The good news is that Travel Insurance doesn't have to be expensive. (More on that below.)

What is travel medical insurance?

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Technically speaking, and for the sake of clarity, Health Insurance (or Medical Insurance) is for medical needs, while "Travel Insurance" is a generalized term that usually describes other travel problems such as canceled flights and lost luggage. Sometimes companies use the term "Travel Insurance" as an umbrella phrase describing both international health insurance (often called "travel medical insurance") in addition to insurance that covers other travel mishaps such as flight cancellations or lost luggage.

Health insurance in the U.S. and other countries has been a hot topic lately. Make sure you check your current health insurance plan to find out what it covers when you leave your home country. Many domestic plans from the U.S. do not cover medical needs while abroad, while others have extreme limitations. Likewise, if you're traveling from another country to the U.S., your insurance is probably not valid in America. You will likely need to purchase extra insurance, especially if your trip will be long-term. You might be able to purchase international health insurance through your existing insurance company, but it will probably be much less expensive if you obtain insurance from another company that specifically sells international health insurance. In addition to providing health insurance, many of these companies also throw in extra coverage for canceled flights, missing luggage, car rental coverage, and other non-medical mishaps such as theft (thus, the phrase "Travel Insurance").

If you live in a country that has government provided healthcare (Canada, U.K., Australia, and others), make sure you investigate what your options are when traveling abroad. You may also need to purchase extra insurance because your travel destination(s) may affect whether or not you are covered. If you are traveling to the United States, your home country's insurance is most likely worthless and you will need to purchase additional special insurance. Consider this cost when adding the U.S. to your list of destinations.

Regarding "pre-existing conditions," some travelers worry that they might not be covered for travel medical insurance because of their current healthcare needs. Fear not, many of these major travel insurance policies include a waiver for pre-existing conditions in some of their policies as long as it is disclosed beforehand.

Why should you buy travel insurance?

travel insurance for budget travelers and backpackers

If you've traveled enough, you've probably heard about that "one guy" that had to be evacuated because of a freak accident. While freak accidents are rare, getting sick or injured happens to travelers all the time. And lost luggage happens quite frequently, unfortunately.

The two biggest risks when traveling abroad are car accidents and food-borne illness. Either of these situations can land you in a hospital while in a foreign country. At this point, not only will you need medical care, but you'll also need to pay those medical bills and perhaps even find a way to get home in a hurry. This is where travel insurance and international medical insurance comes in handy.

If you're traveling for a long period of time, or taking trips to adventurous and exciting destinations, then consider the risks, both medically and financially, if something goes wrong.

Other situations that often arise, which are usually covered by travel insurance, include

  • Missing a flight or cancelling a trip due to illness, a work emergency, or servere weather
  • Lost or stolen luggage
  • Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Having to return home unexpectedly due to a death in the family
Finding yourself in a tough situation without some form of travel insurance can be a disaster for your travel plans. And they will cost a great deal of money.

How much does travel insurance cost?

The costs of travel insurance can actually be quite affordable.

However, there is no set, specific cost. Costs depend on a number of factors, such as the length of your trip and where you are traveling. If you are purchasing a policy for medical coverage, costs can also depend on your age, sex, previous medical history, and so on.

Obtaining multiple quotes is very easy and necessary to finding out the price for your specific needs and travel plans.

For most companies, getting a quote is extremely fast. Simply fill out a short online form with some basic information (age, trip dates, etc.). Then you will be presented with a few price options for the various policies that a company offers.

However, it can sometimes be difficult to understand what is covered and what is not covered. Always read the fine print! For example, coverage may include "trip cancellation," but it might not be included for all of your desired reasons. If you get sick it might be covered, but if you have a work emergency, it might not be. Often, upgrading to a more expensive plan will let you get coverage for a cancellation for many more reasons, or no matter what the reason. Generally, the more you pay, the more you get.

Example prices for travel insurance

For the following example prices, we obtained quotes from various travel insurance companies. The prices depend on the length of trip, travelers' ages, and in some cases the overall cost of the trip and destinations of the trip. Your prices may vary from this depending on your trip, age, and nationality.

Prices were as follows:

Example A: A 40 year-old traveling for one week on a $2500 trip to China: $75 to $125 was the low range, while some policies went as high as $450 to cover pretty much anything.

Example B: A 25 year-old for one year on a $12,000 trip: $600 was the low range, while the higher end costs were from $1000 to $1500.

Example C: A 30 year-old for 3 months on a $7500 trip: $250 was the lowest price, with several other policies costing up to $500, and the highest price being around $1000.

Travel insurance companies for budget travellers and backpackers

Below we have listed several of the most popular travel insurance companies. These companies are all very reputable and quite well known in the travel industry.

While insurance coverage and costs depend on the company and policy that you choose, the plans offered by these companies often offer some variation of the following types of coverage. Check the individual policies and companies below to see exactly and specifically what is covered.

  • Medical
    • Medical coverage
    • Medical evacuation
    • Dental injury
    • Adventure sports and "hazardous" activities coverage (usually an extra fee)
  • Travel
    • Travel evacuation (political unrest, natural disaster, disease outbreak, etc.)
    • Trip cancellation due to sickness, work schedules, job loss, death in the family, other unexpected circumstances
    • Trip interruption or delay due to cancelled flights, weather, sickness, etc.
    • Missed connections for flights or cruises due to weather, schedule delays, etc.
    • Baggage loss, damage, and delay
    • Rental car coverage
    • Accidental death and dismemberment, handling of remains

As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from the companies below using these links. We do not represent these insurance companies. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Heymondo

Heymondo offers a variety of insurance options including medical, lost baggage, cancellations, COVID issues, and more. They also have optional add-ons for broken or lost electronic devices, high-risk adventure sports activities, rental car coverage, and others. You can get a quote for a single trip, or an annual quote for all trips over an entire year. If you're a frequent traveler, that's a great option. And as one of our readers, you'll get a 5% discount if you book with one of the links above.

World Nomads

Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.

World Nomads' mission is to support and encourage travelers to explore their boundaries. They offer simple and flexible travel insurance and safety advice to help you travel confidently, destination guides and tips to help you plan your trip, and responsible travel insights to help you travel better.

Travelex

Travelex Insurance Services is part of the larger Travelex Group. Like many other travel insurance companies, they offer a variety of plans at different prices so that any type of traveler can find affordable coverage. Children are included for free when traveling with an adult in their family-friendly plans.

The costs for the travel insurance policies from Travelex can vary because they offer many different packages. If you're after a budget-friendly and low cost policy, then you'll easliy find one. And their coverage is very good even at these low prices for most of their plans, too.

EKTA

EKTA is an affordable insurance company offering travel insurance plans which cover a variety of issues such as medical care, loss of baggage, trip disruptions due to COVID, and more. They have various tiers of policies which increase in cost as well as in coverage areas.



This article is part of our much larger Travel Planning Guide.

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