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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Long-Term Travel Insurance

    Posted Date: March 15, 2021

    Finding the right insurance for your trip is overwhelming. There are seemingly endless options to choose from, and it’s hard to know which company to go with and what plan is best.

    Before we set off on our 12-month trip around the world, the biggest hurdle was finding a long-term travel insurance that fit our needs. I spent weeks doing research, reading all of the fine print, and I finally found one that I felt good about.

    To help you avoid the stress of choosing the right insurance, I have created a guide to help you easily choose the best plan for your trip.

    In this post, I share 4 different insurance companies that I would recommend for long-term travelers. These plans work well for digital nomads, expats, and international travelers.

    Why You Should Get Long-term Travel Insurance

    A lot of people travel without travel insurance and question whether or not it’s actually worth it. Trust me, it’s worth it. Here’s why.

    In 2016, just one month after returning home from 4 months in Europe, I had appendicitis. I had questioned whether or not to get travel insurance on that trip and thank goodness I did. That appendicitis could have happened one month earlier in Greece.

    Here’s another example. On our last day in Bali, after spending 6 weeks there, we walked by a man who had just been pulled out of a ditch and was unconscious. We were one of the first people to the scene. This man had run his scooter into the ditch, hit his head (wasn’t wearing a helmet), and he was completely out of it.

    When he woke up, he didn’t know where he was, what happened, or where he was staying. He also didn’t have any documents on him. A local helped to call an ambulance and off he went.

    I have no idea if this Canadian man had travel insurance, but I sure hope he did because his injuries were pretty serious.

    Without insurance, the cost of medical care for this man could have added up to more than the cost of his trip to Bali alone.

    This is why I always get travel insurance. At the end of the day, you never know. Even if you are the healthiest person, some fluke accident or illness could happen, and you don’t want to have to cover thousands of dollars worth of medical care out of pocket.

    Now that I’m done convincing you – just plan on budgeting for travel insurance, and you’ll be good to go.

    Travel Medical Insurance vs. International Health Insurance

    I cover two types of insurance in this article. They both work for long-term travelers, but there are some key differences worth noting before we dive into the plan details.

    Travel Medical insurance

    Travel medical insurance mainly covers emergency illness and injury. For example, if you get Dengue Fever and need to go to the hospital, then this type of insurance would cover that.

    It also covers travel-related incidents like lost baggage, trip delay, trip cancellation, lost luggage reimbursement, etc.

    This type of insurance does not cover preventative care or regular check ups or cancer treatment. It is solely meant to cover you in case of emergencies while you are traveling.

    International Health Insurance

    International health insurance offers more comprehensive coverage. It is like your typical insurance that you will find in the United States.

    With this type of insurance, you are covered for preventative care, routine check ups, any necessary surgeries, prescriptions, physical therapy, etc. You often do not get coverage for travel related incidents like lost baggage, trip delay, and trip cancellation, which is covered with travel medical insurance.

    International health insurance costs more than travel medical insurance because it is more comprehensive and includes a lot more benefits.

    I have personally used both types of insurances for long-term trips. What you get just depends on what coverage you want.

    Let’s look at a few different plan options.

    Travel Medical Insurance

    World Nomads

    World Nomads Travel Insurance

    World Nomads is one of the most popular travel medical insurance companies on the market. They offer affordable travel insurance with extensive coverage – from medical emergencies to lost baggage – they got you covered.

    I have used World Nomads twice – once for a 4 month trip around Europe and another time for a 10 day trip to Israel and Jordan. I was happy with my experience both times.

    World Nomads offers insurance for people around the world – you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to apply. You can get plans for multiple regions and countries at a time, but you can only purchase coverage for up to 180 days at a time.

    If you are traveling longer than 180 days, you can re-apply for another 180 days before your initial coverage is up.

    One of the main benefits of World Nomads is that it covers high-adventure and sports activities. From biking to diving to cliff jumping, they will cover you if anything happens while you are participating in one of these activities.

    Overall, I would recommend World Nomads for anyone traveling long-term and are looking for a solid emergency medical and travel insurance plan.

    Pricing starts at ~$115/month for the standard plan and ~$205/month for the explorer plan.

    Here’s some more details about the insurance coverage:

    Pros:
    • Non-medical emergency transportation
    • Emergency illness and injury
    • Emergency dental
    • Trip cancellation
    • Trip interruption
    • Trip delay
    • Lost baggage reimbursement
    • Baggage delay
    • Rental car damage (explorer plan)
    • Emergency evacuation
    • Plans for both U.S. and non-U.S. residents
    • High-risk/adventure sports covered
    • Covers people up to 70 years old
    Cons:
    • Only covers up to 180 days at a time
    • Preventative care not covered
    • Routine check ups not covered

    Safety Wing

    Safety Wing Travel Insurance

    Safety Wing is a newer insurance on the market. I have read a lot of positive reviews from other travelers about this company, so I think it’s worth looking into.

    Safety Wing offers basic but very affordable travel medical insurance. Plans start as low as $40/month, and you can sign for up to 364 days at a time (minimum is 5 days).

    I would recommend this company for travelers looking for basic and affordable emergency medical and travel coverage.

    Here’s some more details about the insurance coverage:

    Pros:
    • Emergency illness and injury
    • Lost checked luggage reimbursement
    • Emergency dental
    • Trip delay
    • Affordable
    • Emergency medical evacuation
    • Covers people up to 69 years old (higher plan price the older the age group)
    • Available for both U.S. and non-U.S. residents
    Cons:
    • $250 deductible
    • $50 urgent care co-payment
    • Does not cover as many high-risk sports activities as World Nomads
    • Does not cover as many travel-related emergencies (trip cancellation, non-medical emergency transportation not included)

    International Health Insurance

    GeoBlue

    GeoBlue Travel Insurance

    GeoBlue offers international health insurance for U.S. citizens only. This is the plan we ended up choosing for our 12-month trip around the world.

    We chose this plan because of its worldwide coverage, unlimited medical limit, and comprehensive medical coverage.

    This insurance works more like a typical insurance, so we were covered for preventative care. Basically, we could go to the doctor whenever we needed and be covered for care (unless the care didn’t meet deductible requirements) – not just for emergencies.

    I had to go to the doctor a few times on our trip abroad and GeoBlue was easy to work with. Filing claims was a breeze and they even helped me set up a doctor’s appointment in Australia. Overall, I was very happy with our experience.

    This insurance is meant for long-term travelers – most of their plans require a 6-month minimum sign up. However, one perk is that you aren’t actually locked into any contract. You can cancel your coverage at any time without any fees.

    Plans with GeoBlue cost more than travel medical insurance because they offer more coverage. We payed around $272/month for the two of us with a $5,000 deductible and no U.S. coverage.

    You can opt to pay more and get healthcare coverage in the U.S. for a few weeks/months per year if you plan to go home during your trip. This will cost more though.

    Overall, GeoBlue is best for expats, long-term travelers, and digital nomads looking for more comprehensive health insurance.

    Here’s some more details about the insurance coverage:

    Pros:
    • Long-term coverage – up to one year at a time
    • Preventative care covered
    • Emergency care covered
    • Emergency medical transportation
    • Accidental dental
    • Available up to the age of 74
    • Deductibles range from $0 – $5,000
    • Unlimited medical care limit
    • Option to add on U.S. coverage
    Cons:
    • More expensive
    • Have to pay deductible before insurance covers certain care
    • Travel-related emergencies that are not covered:
      • Non-medical emergency transportation
      • Trip cancellation
      • Trip interruption
      • Trip delay
      • Lost baggage & delay
      • Rental car damage
    • Only U.S. citizens can apply
    • Minimum 6-month enrollment depending on plan

    IMG Global

    IMG Global Travel Insurance

    IMG Global offers several long-term and short-term health insurance plans for both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. These plans range from basic travel medical insurance to long-term international health insurance. I would recommend IMG Global for their long-term (1+year) coverage for expats and long-term travelers

    IMG Global plans are a bit on the pricey end – you’re looking at around $178 per month (per person) for the cheapest long-term plan.

    Here’s some more details about the insurance coverage:

    Pros:
    • Coverage for people up to 74 years old
    • Optional U.S. Coverage
    • Long-term coverage – up to one year at a time
    • Preventative care covered
    • Emergency care covered
    • Emergency medical transportation
    • Accidental dental
    • Deductibles range from $250 – $25,000
    • Medical care limit ranges from $1 million – $8 million
    Cons:
    • More expensive
    • Have to pay deductible before insurance covers certain care
    • Travel-related emergencies that are not covered:
      • Non-medical emergency transportation
      • Trip cancellation
      • Trip interruption
      • Trip delay
      • Lost baggage & delay
      • Rental car damage

    Health Is International

    Health Is International Travel Insurance

    If you still aren’t sure what plan is best for you, then I recommend visiting the site Health is International. This is not an insurance company – it’s an insurance brokerage that helps you find the right insurance for your trip.

    We found our insurance (GeoBlue) through Arno, the owner of Health is International. He has a wealth of knowledge on long-term travel insurance, and he can help you find the best plan if you still aren’t sure what to get.

    Credit Cards

    Since our international health insurance with GeoBlue did not offer coverage for travel-related emergencies, we made sure to get a credit card that did cover those. We used the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card for all of our purchases. This credit card covers trip delay, trip cancellation/interruption, baggage delay, lost luggage, and rental car damage, so we were covered through our card.

    Check your credit card(s) and see what type of travel insurance you get with the card. You may be surprised to find that it might cover certain travel-related emergencies.

    If you don’t have a credit card with this coverage, then you can learn more about the best travel credit cards here.

    Let us know if you have any other questions about travel insurance! And don’t forget to purchase insurance before your trip!

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