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.
Already know the importance of travel insurance and want to skip straight to the best travel insurance recommendations? Click here to skip my life story!
Yes, I know it sounds preachy, but it’s also very true … you should never, ever, ever leave the house without solo 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 solo travel 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 solo 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.
So, how to find the best travel insurance? Don’t want to compare solo 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 recommendations for best travel insurance.
|SafetyWing||Excellent and 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.
It includes emergency quarantine indemnity due to COVID-19.
|Monthly plans start from $42*/ 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 200 adventure activities that most insurers don’t pay out for.
They have COVID-19 coverage and you may be eligible to get the following benefits: emergency medical, emergency medical evacuation, trip delay and trip interruption coverage if you contract COVID-19 while traveling.
|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.|
They have 3 plans: Select, Basic and America. You can also customize your plan with upgrades to fit your vacation. They also offer flight specific protection plans.
|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.
They have coverage for pandemics, epidemics and outbreaks of infectious illnesses
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.
Their recent plans now include an Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which provides benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic.
|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 $42 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
- Emergency quarantine indemnity due to COVID-19
- 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 traveling. SafetyWing solo 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 200 adventure activities, and are a popular choice of insurance among adventure / intrepid travelers, as many other solo 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 covers
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
- COVID-19 coverage including emergency medical, emergency medical evacuation, trip delay and trip interruption coverage if you contract COVID-19 while traveling
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
- Delayed, 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
And many more activities!
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’.
Travelex offers some of the best travel insurance plans and provides protection for many kind of trips. Depending on the plan you choose, you will can get essential basic coverage or an upgraded customize plan to fit your vacation best.
Travelex also offers Flight Insurance options, which are flight-protection specific plans.
When you choose an advanced plan, Travelex gives you the option to customize your solo travel insurance plan with upgrades, which can be: car rental collision, additional medical coverage, adventure sports coverage or cancellation for any reason.
Three plans to choose from
Travelex offers 3 insurance plans:
- Travel Basic: provides traveler with essential protection at an affordable price.
- Travel Select: provides a complete extra layer of security, ideal for families, adventurers and international travelers.
- Travel America: provides full coverage within the US.
What Travelex covers
The insurance benefits vary depending on the plan you choose. We’ll use the Travel Basic plan benefits to illustrate.
- Emergency medical expense up to $15,000
- Emergency medical evacuation up to $100,000
- Accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D) up to $10,000
- Emergency dental
- Pre-existing conditions
- Accidental death and dismemberment
- Trip cancellation coverage
- Trip interruption coverage
- Trip delay
- Missed connection
- Baggage delay
- Sporting equipment delay
- Travel assistance
Cigna is a company that focuses on global health solutions and offers international health insurance. It has a global network of more than 1.65 million hospitals and healthcare professionals, in over 200 countries.
It has 24/7 access to multilingual service centers, so you can have customer support in more than 50 languages.
Three plans to choose from
Cigna has 3 individual international health plans: Silver, Gold and Platinum.
- Silver: provides international inpatient and day patient cover, including hospital stays and treatment.
- Gold: a more comprehensive coverage with higher limits and added benefits such as inpatient maternity care.
- Platinum: the most complete package with unlimited annual limit and most benefits being paid in full.
What Cigna covers
The insurance benefits vary depending on the plan you choose. We’ll use the Silver plan benefits to illustrate.
- Annual benefit limit up to $1,000,000
- Inpatient and day patient treatment
- Private room
- Pandemics, epidemics and outbreaks of infectious illnesses
- Accident and emergency room treatment
- Local ambulance & air ambulance services
- Mental and behavioral health care
Founded in 1947, Bupa is a global healthcare company established in the UK. They focus in health insurance, health provision and aged care.
They offer domestic health insurance via their businesses in the UK, Australia, Spain, Chile, Hong Kong SAR, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico, and their associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India. Regarding travel, they have Bupa Travel, which provides special solo travel insurance plans that makes travelers have peace of mind and feel safe.
Bupa has many different plan options and the only way to know which ones fits you best is to get a quote. You can find everything from a single trip plan from $5 USD a day, to an annual trip plan from $181 USD a year.
What Bupa covers
The Bupa best travel insurance plans include medical cover and you can get the travel/non-medical cover for an additional cost.
- Worldwide medical coverage
- Free choice of accredited physicians and hospitals
- In-patient treatment
- Out-patient treatment
- Disaster and medical evacuation
- Compassionate emergency repatriation or expatriation
- Return trip
- Crisis psychologist in case of mugging and assault
- Statutory arrangements in case of death
- Most dangerous sports and occupations covered
Non-medical / travel:
- Trip cancellation cover: if you’re unable to travel due to injury, illness or death
- Personal accident: death and disability
- Baggage: theft, loss, or damage
- Baggage delay
- Theft of passport and/or cash
- Personal liability: bodily injury and property damage
- Travel delay
- Missed flight connection
- Hospital daily benefit
- Legal assistance
Allianz is an integrated financial service provide, that offers a wide range of products, services, and solutions in insurance and asset management. Also, it’s a world leader travel protection insurance.
Their benefits cover everything from trip cancellation to paying medical bills abroad. They provide a worldwide network of hospitals, as well as 24/7 customer assistance. Allianz has innovated with its app, which comes in handy when you’re traveling: it shows you safety updates of your destination, sorts out your trip planning and helps out when you need urgent medical support.
Amid this pandemic, Allianz has included in many of their plans an Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which provides benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic.
Allianz offers a wide variety of travel insurance plans, check them out here.
What Allianz covers
The insurance benefits vary depending on the plan you choose. We’ll use the OneTrip Prime benefits to illustrate.
- Epidemic coverage endorsement: adds certain epidemic-related covered reasons for emergency medical care and emergency transportation benefits
- Emergency medical up to $50,000
- Emergency medical transportation up to $500,000
- Pre-existing medical condition
- 24/7 assistance
- Epidemic coverage endorsement: adds certain epidemic-related covered reasons for trip cancellation/interruption and travel delay
- Trip cancellation up to $100,000
- Trip interruption up to $150,000
- Baggage loss/damage up to $1,000
- Baggage delay up to $300
- Travel delay up to $800
- One trip rental car protector
- Required to work: work-related emergencies while traveling