How to Choose the Right Travel Insurance

How to Choose the Right Travel Insurance

While you are planning your trip, it’s really likely that you will find yourself hesitating about one particular item. Should you get travel insurance? Is that really necessary? And I get why you are wondering! Getting insurance for your trip is something that will make your budget raise a lot. Sure, you are hoping that nothing will happen. And you think if that’s the case, you would have spent money on something you didn’t even use. But trust me, it’s always better to prevent than to regret. I strongly recommend you to get travel insurance, and, in this post, I will tell you exactly why.

Are you already convinced you need one? Then I will explain everything you need to know to choose the right travel insurance for you. Let’s get started!

Why should you get travel insurance?

If you are reading this post, it’s probably because you are in the planning stage of your next travel. Once you have already chosen the right destination and did some research about the requirements to visit that country, it’s time to start considering some organization items. Among them, choosing the right travel insurance.

Some countries in the world will demand insurance to its visitors as a mandatory requirement. If that’s your case, then there’s no way of avoiding it. You can skip this section and go to the next one to discover how to choose the right travel insurance for you.

But maybe your destination doesn’t require it. So you are wondering if you should get one anyway. As I said in the introduction, I strongly advise you to get one. Even if it’s not a mandatory requirement for your adventure. Why should you get travel insurance?

Mainly, because it will give you peace of mind. You will be traveling knowing that both medical coverage and travel-related costs are fully guaranteed. If you hire reliable travel insurance, eventual cancelation expenses will be covered. The same will happen if you have any kind of accident while you are at your destination.

In some countries, private health care is really expensive. It could also be that public health care is not good at all. And if you can’t afford good medical attention, you would have put your life at risk. Nobody wants that!

So, I believe it’s better to pay a good insurance service than having to deal with unexpected expenses in a foreign country. Giving the case that something happens, you would have made a smart decision, and save a lot of money at the end.

What should the right travel insurance cover?

Here I have listed the main characteristics that reliable any travel insurance should have. Make sure the one you finally get includes, at least, coverage for all these items.

insurance yes or no

Your destination

It may seem obvious, but one of the first things you have to check when planning your trip is if the travel insurance will cover you in the country you are visiting.

Us, backpackers, often plan trips that include various locations in different countries or continents. Therefore, you must be sure that the travel insurance that you are going to choose is available in all the countries that you are going to visit.

Make sure it also covers you during the journey from your country to your destination and back.

Advance payment for medical expenses

Another factor that can be crucial to choose the right travel insurance is whether they pay in advance for eventual medical expenses.

It’s a common scenario that the company simply reimburse you for medical expenses. This means if you need any kind of medical intervention, you will have to pay it out of your own pocket, and then (with times that can be really long) the insurance will reimburse you the expenses.

It’s not a good idea to hire any insurance that works this way. So make sure you have one that is willing to pay in advance any medical bills for you. This way, when you get the check, you can simply turn to the insurance for the payment and won’t need to spend a cent from your budget.

Be aware of the maximum amount

In addition to the advanced payment for medical expenses, the coverage roof is one of the things you will need to pay attention to, to hire the right travel insurance.

The roof indicates the maximum amount that the company is willing to pay in case of need. In many countries, such as the United States, the cost of hospitalization can reach exorbitant numbers. Therefore, it’s really important to rely on an insurance contract that can cover all the expenses you might incur into.

There are insurances such as World Nomads for example, that have an unlimited roof. And for countries with very high healthcare costs, it is certainly something to be taken into consideration.

What activities will you do?

If you are constantly looking for strong emotions, then you must absolutely check which types of sports and activities are covered when choosing the right travel insurance for you.

Many extreme sports, such as parachuting, mountaineering, climbing and in general, all intense sports, are not covered by average insurance companies. This is because of the risk of suffering damages or accidents increases when you are doing these kinds of activities.

Therefore, if sports or activities are included in your itinerary, make sure you have a policy that covers all types of accidents, in addition to transportation costs to the hospital.

Your valuable items

If, like us, you travel with digital devices, such as cellphones, cameras or laptops, the right travel insurance for you is one that includes them in the policy.

If you need to travel with expensive items, make sure the company covers them in case of loss. It is not uncommon for baggage to be “misplaced”, or, if you travel to areas a little more dangerous in the world, there is also a risk of being robbed.

In case of something like this, you could contact the insurance company and ask for a refund. So, even if you are forced to travel without the items that have been extracted from you, at least you will be able to get the economic value of them reimbursed.

Advantages of having travel insurance

accident traveling

Assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Yes, travel insurance is undoubtedly the best companion when you are away from home. The company will always be willing to help you, and to solve any type of doubt or question you have during your trip, but also before or after.

For example, they can provide you information on how to obtain a visa, what to do in case of illness, how to cut your credit card if it was lost, or what to do in case you lose something you own while you are abroad.

Quality health care

One of the most common concerns when traveling is getting good medical help in case you need it. This is something you can be relaxed about if you hire the right travel insurance company.

As I told you before, make sure the company is willing to pay your medical expenses in advice to avoid any kind of money related trouble.

Help in case of baggage loss

One of the worst nightmares for travelers is not finding their bags once they have reached their travel destination.

Indeed, baggage loss can create very unpleasant consequences for all travelers and it can nearly ruin your trip.

With the right travel insurance, you will be reimbursed in case of loss, theft, fire, snatch, or failure to deliver baggage from the flight or bus companies. 

Reimbursement in case of canceled flights

If the airline has canceled your flight, you would be entitled to a refund, voucher, or re-booking offer for a later date from part of the airline.

Particularly during these days, with the issue of the Covid-19, this is a very useful insurance advantage.

Check out carefully your policy to see what the insurance will cover, and also make sure to double-check that Coronavirus has not affected the current policy.

What normally does NOT cover travel insurance

accidents travel

Extreme sports

When I talk about extreme sports I’m referring to hang gliding, paragliding, bungee jumping, winter sports, etc. Basically, to any sport or activity that puts you at risk of suffering an accident.

Always try to get informed about the travel insurance policy. And, if you are planning to do these activities, choose the best coverage available.

Sometimes is better to pay a little extra money, and being absolutely certain that it will cover you in case anything happens.

Damaged vehicles

Travel insurance does not take responsibility in the event of a car accident.

So if you rent a car abroad, you will have to make sure that the company you rented it with, provides you this kind of coverage.

Alcohol and drug-related incidents

In the case of damaging persons or property, if you are under the effects of alcohol or drugs, the travel insurance will not cover any of your expenses.

If that happens, both the responsibility and the eventual costs will be completely up to you. So be smart, and try not to overdo it with alcohol or drugs abroad.

Preexisting conditions or usual checks

If you suffer from some type of disease or use medicines on a normal basis, travel insurance will not cover medical costs related to them.

Make sure you plan ahead and be well informed of any eventual cost you might incur due to your preexisting health issues.

Types of travel insurance

travel insurance yes or no

There are many different options for travel insurance arrangements. It is really important to choose the insurance that better adapts to the duration of your journey and the kind of travel you will make.

For choosing the most appropriate for you, we can distinguish two basic kinds, according to the type of trip you are planning:

You can opt for an insurance policy that covers a single trip. Or you can choose the multiple travel option, perfect for those who travel several times a year, or to several destinations.

Single Trip Travel Insurance

The single trip insurance includes coverage for a single trip. Usually, it has a cheaper price compared to more comprehensive insurance deals. For those who travel occasionally, it provides the opportunity to rely on a policy hired before departure. It allows you to protect yourself from unpleasant events that could happen. It also covers additional costs related to flight cancellations or even reimburses you in the even of the impossibility to begin the journey itself.

These policies normally provide coverage from one to 180 days and can be signed up to the day before departure.

Multi-destination Travel Insurance:

Multi-destination insurance includes coverage for an unlimited number of trips or destinations during the insured year or time period. But you must be careful and write down every country you will be visiting and for how long.

This type of policy includes multiple destinations. It is the most suitable option for those whose itineraries are planned for several countries, and/or have indefinite or long-term durations.

You can hire this kind of insurance for yourself, or for couples, families, and groups. In the end, it is cheaper than buying separate single trips insurance for your journey.

Best Travel Insurance Companies

sports travel insurance

Well, we finally got to the most important part of this article. By now, you sure have an idea of ​​what you are looking for, and which type of insurance suits you best.

Now, I want to list the best options to choose from when it comes to getting the right travel insurance for your traveling adventure.

World Nomads

I believe this is the best insurance company for long-term travel. World Nomads offers some of the most comprehensive coverages. They also provide the flexibility to extend it at will at any time during your trip.

If you are a backpacker, an adventurer, or a long-term traveler, I recommend you to consider World Nomads.

You can buy it, extend it, and request it online, even when you are already traveling. World Nomad’s travel insurance is available for people from over 140 countries. It is designed for adventurous travelers and ensures the best medical coverage abroad. They provide 24 hours of assistance a day, evacuation costs, baggage insurance, and a wide range of extreme sports and activities.

Here are the main reasons why I think World Nomad has the right travel insurance policy for you:

1. Excellent Assistance service

World Nomads support is formed by a number of specialized travel agents. You can contact them at any time of the day, any day of the week. They are available for 24-hours emergency assistance and provide maximum levels of support and claims management whenever you need them.

2. Great cost-benefit ratio

World Nomads provides coverage for what’s important for travelers to over 150 destination countries. The prices of World Nomads are among the most competitive online.

3. Flexibility when you need it most

Have you had a change of plan? You can extend your policy or request it online while you are traveling.


With more competitive prices, Columbus is especially good for short trips, but it is not as complete as World Nomads. However, it is still an excellent option that I feel comfortable recommending.

Some travel insurance companies have a separate “long-term stay” or “backpacker” policy. Most times, they offer reduced coverage for these cases. But Columbus offers a full range of benefits with insurance coverage up to 365 days a year, even for these kinds of trips. So if you choose them, you can have excellent protection during your trip.

Unfortunately, they only cover 45 destinations today. So make sure that the countries that you are visiting are on the list.

There are also many other really valid long-term insurances, but, since we haven’t tried them, I cannot give complete feedback.

I’m leaving you a short list here of other main travel insurance companies that you could consider for your journey. You can directly go consult prices and coverage deals on their websites.

STA – (up to 24 months)

STA says they are the most convenient travel insurance for travelers up to 30 years old. It has options for single and multi-trip.

GoWalkabout – Long stay ( up to 24 months)

Great value insurance for extended trips. GoWalkabaout includes coverage for adventure and sports activities.

Big Cat – Gap Year Standard (up to 24 months)

Big Cat covers more than 165 sports activities. You can request it or extend it, even when you are already traveling.

Flexicover – Gap year Gold Plus (up to 18 months)

Flexicover offers travel insurance policies for travelers up to 75 years old. Mainly for UK travelers.

LG Leisure Guard – Single journey (up to 18 months)

Leisure Guard offers coverage for many activities; including snorkeling, water skiing, cycling, golf, fishing, surfing, and more.

Direct Line – Discoverer (up to 18 months)

Direct Line promises reimbursement of travel expenses if you have to drop out after a 12-hour delay with the plane. They also offer insurance for people over 65 years old.

So, are you getting travel insurance?

backpacking travel insurance

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, travel insurance can be one of the most complex points to deal with during the planning of our trip. But it definitely becomes our rescue anchor in case of unexpected events. And it gives us more safety when facing the challenge of traveling and discovering the world.

Since the prices can be pretty high, I recommend you to take travel insurance into account when planning your budget. Make sure you read our complete article on how to plan your first backpacker trip.

So, are you getting travel insurance for your next adventure? I hope this article has been quite clear and explanatory, even if the theme is not fascinating itself. If you have any questions or suggestions, use the comment section below.

Now that you know everything about travel insurance, it’s time to focus on more exciting things. So get ready to enjoy your travel.

Have a great adventure!!

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