Let’s not pull any punches – travel insurance has saved my a** as a solo female traveler, on many, many, occasions.
From having a monkey steal my passport (I wish I was kidding), to being stranded for 5 days on a tropical island (I know – life’s tough), the vast amount of money I’ve saved from having travel insurance is crazy.
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Yes, I know it sounds preachy, but it’s also very true … you should never, ever, ever leave the house without travel insurance. If anything happened to you, you could easily end up bankrupt or not get the help you need. It’s simply not worth it, and this is one of the most important parts of travel planning.
Though I almost feel hypocritical in saying this. Because I used to be one of those travelers who traveled without insurance *gasp*.
I know, rookie move.
I was young, I was invincible, I never got sick, and I only ever worried about things as they happened.
Until I had an asthma attack in Budapest, and in-between coughing fits was yelling at my Contiki tour leader not to call an ambulance. (I hadn’t had asthma in 18 years. And yes, I’m the girl who joined a Contiki tour solo!).
Stupidly, this still didn’t convince me to take out travel insurance, and I traveled without it for the next 3 years.
I was hell lucky.
In 2010 I was in the Solomon Islands when a volcano went off in Iceland. For anyone who remembers this eruption, it sent ash flying everywhere. Like, armageddon style skies as far away as the Pacific. We were stranded on our tropical island 5 days past the point of our original departure, and oh lord, the bills!
Perhaps it was because I was older and wiser (questionable), or perhaps it was because I had finally felt the direct impact upon my wallet.
But I’ve never traveled without insurance since.
And it’s actually saved my a** on multiple occasions, from being confined to my cruise ship cabin for having gastro (we’re friends, I feel like that’s not too much information), and getting my money back, to insurance covering my shopping spree in Venice when Turkish Airlines lost my bags (note to airlines: you can lose my bags any day if you’re going to outfit me with a brand new Italian wardrobe!).
Fortunately, I’ve never broken any bones, or needed to be hospitalized, but ask Mar, who broke her arm in South Africa and ended with a plate on her left shoulder and a bill that exceeded $20,000.
Thankfully she also knows that travel insurance can save your a** and her very comprehensive premium Allianz insurance covered the whole bill directly for her.
Travel is freaking awesome, but it’s not worth going broke!
Pst! If you join one of our Solo Female Travelers trips, travel insurance is mandatory.
Best Travel Insurance Companies
There are plenty of companies out there for buying travel insurance, and we recently had a good discussion in the group, when Xol asked if members traveled with or without.
It’s worth noting that the best travel insurance will differ for each traveler, depending on the nature, style, and length of their trip. It is also different if you work and travel, you have a remote or online job and choose to do it outside of your home country (so you are technically and expat), your job requires you to travel or if you are in the travel industry.
Additionally, there are varying levels of cover for what you want to be covered for, but at the very least, if you don’t care about baggage and trip cancellations etc, definitely get insurance that covers you for medical emergencies.
Don’t want to compare travel insurance providers yourself and prefer to let a smart algorithm work its magic and figure out the best value for money based on your age, residence, type and length of trip, etc. go straight to Travel Insurance Master, enter the details of your trip and let the system match you to the best insurance provider.
Here are our best recommendations for travel insurance.
|SafetyWing||Excellent and uber affordable choice for long term travelers and nomads who are continuously moving. |
Insurance works as a monthly subscription, and you can buy while you’re abroad.
Provides specific travel medical coverage at an affordable price point.
|Monthly plans start from $37*/ 4 weeks.|
You can pick your coverage and duration and set up monthly payment methods so you never forget.
Click here to sign up.
|World Nomads||The most common, reliable, and highly recommended insurers for an affordable and well rounded travel insurance policy. |
A popular choice among adventure / intrepid travelers, covering 150 adventure activities that most insurers don’t pay out for.
|Varies depending on nationality, how long you are traveling, where you are traveling and what you are planning to do.|
Click here to get a quote.
|Travelex||One of the most experienced insurers in the industry, having offered their product for 55 years.|
3 products to choose from, including simple flight insurance, basic travel coverage, or customizable options.
|Varies depending on your choice of plan, and trip details. |
Click here to get a quote.
|Cigna||A global health services company that offers premium international medical insurance. |
They offer access to a global network of over 1.65 million trusted hospitals, clinics and doctors. The specialize in expatriate health insurance.
Mar uses them now to cover for medical care in Singapore and across the world.
|Custom plans with full flexibility on optional modules, allowing you to build a plan that’s right for you.|
Click here to get a quote.
|Bupa||Their plans cover all the basics like overseas medical care, and lost and stolen belongings, though their international plans additionally offer automatic cover for 44 pre-existing medical conditions. |
Mar has used them from 2014-18 when she worked at Google.
|Four varying plans to choose from; platinum, premium, essentials, or annual multi-trip policies. |
Click here to get a quote.
|Allianz||Highly regarded and with high customer satisfaction, German Allianz is ranked largest insurer outside of China by Forbes.|
They offer comprehensive travel insurance with additional options to increase your cover for particular holiday activities like snow sports, adventure activities, and cruising.
You can increase your cover limits if you’re planning on taking higher value items on your trip.
Mar used them from 2006-2014 when she was a consultant working in Africa and the Middle East and oftentimes in conflict zones and highly recommends them.
|Varies depending on optional extras and policy chosen. |
Click here to get a quote.
Pst even if you have travel and medical insurance, it pays to travel with your own first aid kid for minor injuries that can ruin a trip like monumental blisters or cuts from hiking in the forest.
In the following sections we will be going into detail on each of the above recommendations.
Note that our below write up is not a full list of what’s covered and what’s not covered. There are limits and conditions that apply to every insurance policy, so make sure you fully read the fine print of a policy on the company website directly before buying. It’s super important to know what you are covered for and what not.
If you’re interested in getting really good value travel medical insurance, SafetyWing is the company I use (it’s $37 a month, and you wouldn’t even be able to see a doctor for that, so there’s absolutely no excuse).
Fortunately, I haven’t needed to make a claim yet, but they’re backed by Tokio Marine, which is a solid insurance company, which is why I use them. AND they’re the only insurance company we know of who developed a product which has no exclusions for pandemics (for this you need their Remote Health plan, which is separate from their standard monthly subscriptions and had to be a customer of them before the pandemic started).
They evacuated a lot of our friends back home for free (paying their flights) when the pandemic broke out so they would not be stranded alone.
SafetyWing is a company specifically set up to insure nomads and full-time travelers, and their policies cover hospital expenses, intensive care, ambulance, urgent care, and physical therapy, as well as all the typical travel related stuff. It works as a monthly subscription, where you can choose your start date and cancel at any time.
There’s no cap on the duration of the trip, and no need to know how long you’ll be traveling in advance, which is the main issue with other companies. You can sign up for SafetyWing insurance even if your journey has already started, and visits to your home country are also covered.
You can set up monthly auto-renewal payments to avoid having your coverage expire and forgetting to renew on time. AND because it’s set up to specifically cater to full-time travelers and digital nomads, you can buy it while you’re actually traveling (again, most insurance companies don’t allow for that).
For families, 1 young child per adult, up to 2 per family, age between 14 days and 10 years old, can be included on your insurance without added cost.
What SafetyWing Covers
SafetyWing covers you if you are suddenly in an accident or fall sick while you are outside your home country and need medical assistance.
- Hospital (room and nursing services)
- Intensive care
- Urgent care
- Physical therapy and chiropractic care
- Emergency dental up to $1,000. Not subject to deductible.
- All Other Eligible Medical Expenses up to the overall maximum limit.
Notable exclusions to the travel medical insurance offered by SafetyWing are high risk sports activities, pre-existing disease or injury, and cancer treatment.
Unforeseen things can happen when you’re travelling. Safetywing travel insurance includes coverage for travel delay, lost checked luggage, emergency response, natural disasters and personal liability, and in many cases offer the below without being subject to a deductible (meaning you don’t have to pay anything before the insurance money kicks in).
- Trip interruption, up to $5,000.
- Travel delay, up to $100 a day after a 12-hour delay period requiring an unplanned overnight stay.
- Lost checked luggage up to $3,000 per certificate period; $500 per item (notable exclusions are electronics such as phones, laptops, and cameras)
- Natural disaster — a new place to stay up to $100 a day for 5 days.
- Political evacuation up to $10,000 lifetime maximum.
- Emergency medical evacuation up to $100,000 lifetime maximum.
- Personal Liability
- Accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D)
While SafetyWing really specialize in excellent travel medical insurance, if you’re wanting a full level of coverage that is more general, and offers a range of other things like gear protection and coverage for extreme sports, etc, we recommend World Nomads.
World Nomads is one of the most common, reliable, and highly recommended insurers for a well rounded travel insurance policy. They don’t specialize in a niche aspect like medical, but they do offer a really great balance to cover all of the basic travel essentials: medical, baggage loss, equipment, etc.
Like SafetyWing, World Nomads allows you to buy cover while you’re traveling, and they also have 24/7 emergency assistance, so you can contact someone no matter which time zone you’re in.
They cover you for over 150 adventure activities, and are a popular choice of insurance among adventure / intrepid travelers, as many other travel insurance companies will exclude a ton of risky activities (it’s so important to read the fine print!).
World Nomads cover things like Bungee jumping (did it in Costa Rica!), hot air ballooning (Mar did it in Kenya, US and Cambodia), caving, skiing, motorbiking – pretty much everything most insurers don’t pay out for.
Two Plans to Choose From
World Nomads offers two plans – a Standard Plan and an Explorer Plan – each with different benefits, limits and sub-limits of cover. It’s important to choose the plan for your trip, as you can’t upgrade from a Standard Plan to an Explorer Plan once you’ve departed.
- Standard Plan: Includes a your basic benefits such as overseas medical, cover for your belongings, pre-trip cancellation and certain adventure activities.
- Explorer Plan: Has all the benefits of a Standard Plan and a few more, and is more expensive to buy.
You can compare the full set of differences between the plans in the benefit summary when you get an instant online quote. The quote page will also tell you how much each plan costs and has links to the policy wording, which details the coverage in full.
What World Nomads Cover
If you’re injured in an accident or suddenly become ill while traveling, World Nomads will cover you for overseas emergency medical treatment including:
- Day surgery and out-patient treatment
- Visits to registered medical practitioners
- Prescribed medicines
- Extra expenses to get you home, if medically necessary
They also have 24 hour multi-lingual assistance teams who can guide you to the nearest hospital, arrange medical transport, set up direct payments to the medical facility, give support to your family, and help you navigate local customs.
Notable exceptions include if you’ve taken drugs or alcohol, that rash you picked up while having hostel sex (their words, not ours!), where you’ve been acting like an idiot, non-emergency treatment that can wait until you return home, or pre-existing medical conditions. They only cover travelers below the age of 70.
Levels of coverage for the following will vary between the two plans, i.e. on their Explorer Plan your trip cancellation cover is unlimited, on their standard plan, it is capped at $3500. So do make sure you read the fine print, and choose the right plan for your needs. In general though, a basic plan will cover:
- Trip cancellation
- Gear coverage
- Stolen passports
- Lost, stolen, and damaged luggage
- Natural disasters – as long as you’ve bought your policy before the disaster was known
What sets World Nomads apart from other insurers is that they offer coverage for a range of adventure sports and activities. Depending on your country of residence, adventure activities may need to be added to your quote as a cover upgrade. They include (but aren’t limited to):
- Ice Hockey
- Ice Skating
- Kite Wing
- Snow kiting
- Paddle Boarding
- Scuba Diving
- Aerial Safari
- Bungee Jumping
- Hang Gliding
- High Diving
- Hot Air Ballooning
- Tandem Skydiving
- Zip Line
- Camel Riding
- Mountain Biking
- Go Karting
- Childcare work
- General farm work
- Fruit Picking
- Admin work
- Ski instructor
Get a Quote Right Now
Here’s a quick quote calculator for insurance with World Nomads … fill in your travel details, and hit ‘Get a Quote’.