Choosing a long term travel insurance (or a backpacker travel insurance… it’s the same) for a long trip around the world is probably THE most annoying question during the preparation phase. Right, you have decided to set off on an adventure, to discover the world, you are hyper-motivated by this project and then someone tells you :
Yeahh cool project… but did you think about a travel insurance?
That’s when the nightmare begins! You start looking for information on the internet. You read on travel blogs or on groups and forums that you should take a long term travel insurance for your round the world trip.
The problem is that there are almost as many backpacker insurances as there are travel blogs (this is a bit exaggerated, especially because most bloggers recommend the same backpacker insurances 😉 ), that they won’t cover you for the same things, that their prices vary between 300€ and 1000€ per year (sometimes even more)… You also read that with your credit card you might have a travel insurance, that your social security and/or health insurance might be sufficient for your trip… Basically, everything gets confused and you don’t know what to think anymore!
But don’t worry, that’s where we come in!
Our goal with this guide about long term travel insurance is to take all these informations, to present them in a clear and understandable way (because the gibberish of insurance jargon is just horrible) in order to help you easily find the right backpacker insurance for you.
At the beginning of this guide, you will first find our interactive table comparing the best long term travel insurances available. Then we will review what are the best backpacker insurances in our opinion and according to different situations (solo traveler, couple, family, older traveler…). Finally you will find all the important information you need to know to choose the right travel insurance coverage. You can start where you prefer by using the table of contents.
Are you ready??? Let’s get into it!
- Comparison of the best long term travel insurance for backpackers
- Our review of the best long term travel insurances for backpackers
- A backpacker insurance? Why would you even need one?
- Most common exclusions
- Do I really need a long term travel insurance for my backpacking trip?
- Why think about the worst before leaving on a trip?
- How to choose the best long term travel insurance for backpackers?
Comparison of the best long term travel insurance for backpackers
If you already did some research online on different websites and travel blogs, you may have noticed that people recommend mostly the same long term travel insurance 😉 (usually WorldNomads and SafetyWing). However, there are many other long term / backpacker travel insurances that have a much better quality/price ratio than those coverages everyone talks about (wonder why all the blogs recommend WorldNomads even though they are one of the most expensive option out there 😉 ).
In the table below, you will find the best (and cheap) long term travel insurances for backpackers in 2023. This travel insurance comparison is the result of a lot of research (also from feedback or discussions with other travelers) and we sincerely hope that it will help you find the best cheap backpacker insurance for your long trip.
Last update: 29.12.2022
How to use the interactive backpacker insurance comparison table?
The table below is interactive and allows you to compare the long term travel insurance coverages you are most interested in. Here’s how to use it:
- Check the backpacker insurance coverages you want to compare (for better readability, check no more than 4-5 on desktop and 2-3 on mobile)
- You can remove all the lines you are not interested in by clicking on the crosses and hide some parts you don’t need by clicking on the sub-headings
- To reset the comparison table, simply refresh the page.
If you have any suggestions or remarks, do not hesitate to leave us a comment.
|Subscribe||Subscribe||Subscribe||Subscribe (-5%)||Subscribe||Subscribe (-5%)||Subscribe||Subscribe||Subscribe||Subscribe||Subscribe (-5%)|
|Price / months (less than 35-40 years old)|
|Solo traveler (Out of USA / Canada)||36€||50€ / without options||38€ for 28 days||62,5€ (35€ in Europe) / without options||52€ to 58€ (39€ à 45€ in Europe)||49€ to 53€ (39€ to 43€ in Europe) / without options||42€ to 50€ / without options||50€ to 60€ / without options||29€ to 46€ (15€ to 24€ in Europe) / without options||39€ to 58€ (20€ to 30€ in Europe) / without options||40€ to 46€|
|Solo traveler (USA / Canada included)||36€||88€ / without options||70€ for 28 days||82€ / without options||57€ to 74€ (depends on the duration of the trip to the USA)||54€ to 83€ (depends on the duration of the trip to the USA) / without options||42€ to 50€ / without options||50€ to 60€ / without options||35€ to 55€ / without options||46€ to 70€ / without options||71€ to 78€|
|Couple (Out of USA / Canada)||72€||100€ / without options||76€ pour 28 jours||125€ (70€ en Europe) / without options||99€ to 110€ (74€ to 86€ in Europe)||94€ to 98€ (75€ to 77€ in Europe) / without options||84€ to 100€ / without options||100€ to 120€ / without options||58€ to 92€ (30€ to 48€ in Europe) / without options||78€ to 116€ (40€ to 60€ in Europe) / without options||80€ to 92€|
|Couple (USA / Canada included)||72€||176€ / without options||140€ for 28 days||164€ / without options||107€ to 139€ (depends on the duration of the trip to the USA)||99€ to 128€ (depends on the duration of the trip to the USA) / without options||84€ to 100€ / without options||100€ to 120€ / without options||70€ to 110€ / without options||92€ to 140€ / without options||142€ to 156€|
|Family of 4 (out of USA / Canada)||144€||180€ / without options||76€ for 28 days / if the kids are less than 10||148€ (79€ in Europe)||176€ to 197€ (132€ to 154€ in Europe)||164€ to 168€ (131€ to 135€ in Europe) / without options||126€ to 150€ / without options||150€ to 180€ / without options||74€ to 114€ (38€ to 59€) / without options||97€ to 146€ (50€ to 76€)/ without options||160€ to 184€|
|Family of 4 (USA / Canada included)||144€||352€ / without options||140€ for 28 days / if the kids are less than 10||190€ / without options||192€ to 249€ (depends on the duration of the trip to the USA)||169€ to 198€ (depends on the duration of the trip to the USA) / without options||126€ to 150€ / without options||150€ to 180€ / without options||88€ to 137€ / without options||116€ to 175€ / without options||282€ to 312€|
|Price / months (older than 35-40 years)|
|Solo traveler (out of USA / Canada)||not available||50€ / without options||62€ to 130€ for 28 days||70€ to 101€ (44€ to 64,5€ in Europe) / without options||57,5€ to 166€ (45€ to 124€ in Europe)||73€ to 80€ (59€ to 64€) / without options||42€ to 50€ / without options||50€ to 60€ / without options||not available||42,5€ to 87,5€ (22€ to 46€ in Europe) / without options||40€ to 46€|
|Solo traveler (USA / Canada included)||not available||88€ / without options||115€ to 256€ for 28 days||91€ to 110€ / without options||64€ to 238€||81€ to 125€ / without options||42€ to 50€ / without options||50€ to 60€ / without options||not available||51€ to 105€ / without options||71€ to 78€|
|Couple (out of USA / Canada)||not available||100€ / without options||124€ to 260€ for 28 days||140€ to 202€ (88€ to 129€ in Europe) / without options||109€ to 315€ (85,5€ to 236€ in Europe)||138€ to 145€ (111€ to 116€) / without options||84€ to 100€ / without options||100€ to 120€ / without options||not available||85€ to 175€ (44€ to 91€ in Europe) / without options||80€ to 92€|
|Couple (USA / Canada included)||not available||176€ / without options||230€ to 512€ for 28 days||182€ to 220€ / without options||122€ to 452€||146€ to 175€ / without options||84€ to 100€ / without options||100€ to 120€ / without options||not available||102€ to 210€ / without options||142€ to 156€|
|Details of the insurance policy|
|Contract duration||max 12 months (renewable 1 time with the approval of the insurance company)||max 12 months||from 1 to 12 months (indefinitely extendable)||from 2 to 24 months||from 3 to 24 months||from 3 to 12 months renewable||15 months max||15 months max||18 months max||18 months max||12 months max|
|Maximum Age||less than 40 years old||less than 66 years old||less than 70 years old||no limitation||less than 80 years old||less than 50 years old||less than 50 years old||less than 50 years old||less than 40 years old||less than 65 years old||less than 50 years old|
|Country of residence for the coverage||Worldwide||Worldwide||Worldwide||Worldwide||European union||European union||European union||European union||European union||European union||Worldwide|
|Subscribe during the trip||waiting period of 8 days||waiting period of 8 days||no waiting period||waiting period of 15 days||waiting period of 12 days||waiting period of 12 days||impossible||no waiting period (but supplementary costs)||waiting period of 48h + supplementary costs||waiting period of 48h + supplementary costs||waiting period of 72h|
|Refund of unused months||not possible||not possible||pay as you go||possible||possible||in the form of a credit||not possible||not possible||not possible||not possible||pay as you go|
|Medical expenses abroad (max per person/year)||100% of the costs up to 300’000€||100% of the costs up to 150’000, 300’000 or 500’000€ depending on the option (except USA Canada 500’000€)||100% of the costs up to 225’000€||100% of the costs up to 300’000€ out of Europe / 100’000€ in Europe||100% of the costs up to 200’000€ out of USA Canada / 1’000’000 € in USA Canada||100% of the costs up to 300’000€ out of USA Canada / 1’000’000 € in USA Canada||100% of the costs up to 5’000’000€||100% of the costs up to 5’000’000€||100% of the costs up to 3’000’000€||100% of the costs up to 6’000’000€||100% of the costs up to 2’500’000€|
|Excess||no excess||no excess||225€ (over the entire policy period and not for each claim)||35€/claim||no excess (except 35€ in USA Canada)||no excess (except 30€ in USA Canada)||100€||100€||150€ (option to reduce to 0€)||90€ (option to reduce to 0€)||no excess|
|Medical expenses in case of Covid||Yes medical expenses (indicated on the insurance certificate)||Yes medical expenses (indicated on the insurance certificate)||Yes medical expenses (possibility to obtain a certificate)||Yes medical expenses (possibility to obtain a certificate)||Yes medical expenses (possibility to obtain a certificate)||Yes medical expenses (possibility to obtain a certificate)||Yes medical expenses (possibility to obtain a certificate)||Yes medical expenses (possibility to obtain a certificate)||Yes medical expenses (indicated on the insurance certificate)||Yes medical expenses (indicated on the insurance certificate)||Yes medical expenses (indicated on the insurance certificate)|
|Emergency medical expenses in your country of residence||No||No||Every 3 months, 30 days of coverage in your country of residence (15 if it is the US)||1550€ following a medical repatriation||Yes, Max 15’000€||Continued medical coverage for 1 month in your home country||No||No||No||No||No|
|Daily amount in case of hospitalization||not included||not included||90€ per night at the hospital||not included||30€/day from the 6th day (max 300€)||not included||10€/day (max 500€)||10€/day (max 500€)||12€/day (max 120€)||20€/day (max 200€)||max 1500€ in total|
|Emergency dental care||300€||300€||900€||150€||600€||300€||100€||100€||300€||420€||200€|
|Dental expenses following an accident||600€||600€||900€||500€||440€ per tooth, max 1300€||300€||100€||100€||300€||420€||200€|
|Repatriation / Assistance abroad|
|Medical Repatriation – Emergency Medical Transportation||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs||100% of actual costs (max 500’000€)|
|Medical repatriation in case of Covid||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Return of accompanying policyholders||not included||Round trip ticket||not included||Return ticket||Return ticket||Return ticket||not included||not included||Return ticket||Return ticket||Return ticket|
|Presence of a family member in case of hospitalization||Round trip ticket plus 80€/night (max 8 nights from the 7th day)||Round trip ticket plus 80€/night (max 8 nights from the 6th day)||Round trip ticket plus accommodation and food costs for max 15 days||Round trip ticket + 75€/night (max 525€)||Round trip ticket plus 80€/night (max 10 nights)||Round trip ticket plus 50€/night (max 10 nights)||not included||not included||Round trip ticket plus accommodation costs||Round trip ticket plus accommodation costs||Round trip ticket plus accommodation costs|
|Non-medical repatriation (natural disaster, terrorism, war)||not included||Transfer to a neighbouring country or home country (only in case of unstable political situation)||evacuation to the nearest safe location||not included||not included||not included||not included||not included||as an option||as an option||up to 1’000€ in the event of a natural disaster|
|Accidental death / repatriation||Repatriation of the body (100% of the actual costs) and 8’000€ accidental death benefit||Repatriation of the body (100% of the actual costs) and 10’000€ accidental death benefit||Repatriation of the body (100% of the actual costs) and 22’500€ accidental death benefit||Repatriation of the body (100% of the actual costs) and 15’000€ accidental death benefit||Repatriation of the body (100% of the actual costs) and 12’000€ accidental death benefit||Repatriation of the body (100% of the actual costs) and 8’000€ accidental death benefit||not included||up to 10’000€ in case of death, loss of limb or complete disability||Repatriation of the body (100% of the actual costs) and 6’000€ accidental death benefit||Repatriation of the body (100% of the actual costs) and 12’000€ accidental death benefit||Repatriation of the body (max 100’000€) and 5’000€ accidental death benefit|
|Early return in case of death or hospitalization of a family member||Return ticket in case of death only||Return ticket in case of death only||Return ticket||Round trip tickets||Round trip tickets||Round trip tickets||not included||not included||Return ticket (round trip as an option)||Return ticket (round trip as an option)||not included|
|Search and rescue expenses||3’000€||5’000€||not included||2’000€||3’500€||5’000€||not included||not included||not included||18’000€||not included|
|Legal expenses||3’000€ lawyer’s fee and 7000€ criminal deposit||3’000€ lawyer’s fee and 7000€ criminal deposit||not included||3’000€ lawyer’s fee and 7500€ criminal deposit||13’000€ lawyer’s fee and 7500€ criminal deposit||3’000€ lawyer’s fee and 7500€ criminal deposit||not included||7000€ (250€ of excess)||9’000€||18’000€||Included in the personal liability<|
|Excess||100€||100€||no excess||no excess||80€||80€||250€||250€||150€ (option to reduce to 0€)||90€ (option to reduce to 0€)||no excess|
|Baggage / valuables|
|Theft, loss or destruction of baggage||1’150€ (during the round journey and in addition to the carrier insurance)||2’000€||2’700€ (max 450€ per item and only for air/boat trips)||2’000€ (max 300€ per item)||2’000€||2’000€ (only during flights)||not included||1’000€||as an option (1200€)||as an option (2500€)||1’200€|
|Max refund per valuable item||1’150€||2’000€||450€||max 300€ / item||max 1’000€ / item||max 1’000€ / item||not included||150€ (possibility to increase this amount as an option)||as an option (125€)||as an option (300€)||max 600€|
|Exclusions for valuables||camera, phone and computer not covered||theft of cameras, phones and computers not covered||none||none||camera, phone and computer not covered||none||not included||none||none||none||electronic equipment as an option|
|Delayed luggage delivery||not included||150€||not included||not included||150€||not included||not included||1’000€||as an option (30€ every 12h up to 90€)||as an option (40€ every 12h up to 120€)||200€|
|Included / excluded activities|
|Motorbikes less than 125cm3||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Trekking / Hiking||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (less than 3000m)||Yes||Yes||Yes (less than 2500m)||Yes (less than 2500m)||Yes (less than 3000m, higher as an option)||Yes (less than 3000m, higher as an option)||Yes (less than 3000m, higher as an option)|
|Mountaineering||No||as an option||Yes (less than 4500m)||No||No||No||No||No||as an option||as an option||No|
|KiteSurfing||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||as an option||as an option||as an option||Yes||Yes||as an option|
|Rafting / Kayaking||Yes||Yes||No||oui (not extreme)||Yes||Yes||as an option||as an option||oui (more dangerous as an option)||oui (more dangerous as an option)||kayaking yes, rafting as an option|
|Diving||Yes||as an option||oui up to 10m||Yes||Yes up to 40m||Yes||Yes up to 30m (up to 50m as an option)||Yes up to 30m (up to 50m as an option)||Yes up to 18m (deeper as an option)||Yes up to 18m (deeper as an option)||up to 20m as an option|
|Parachute||No||Yes||No||No||No||as an option||as an option||as an option||as an option||as an option||No|
|paragliding / hang-gliding||No||as an option||No||No||No||as an option||as an option||as an option||as an option||as an option||No|
Our review of the best long term travel insurances for backpackers
As you can imagine by analyzing this comparison table, the best long term travel insurance for a long journey (or a round the world trip) will probably be different depending on your situation (solo traveler, couple, family, your age, destination…) and your needs.
You might have never heard about Chapka, GobyAVA, ACS or AVI before… It’s because they are french companies that have mostly focused on the french market till recently (but don’t worry they all offer coverages and support in english now). But as our first language is french, that’s the market we know the best. And as you can see, some of them offer some coverages with a pretty good quality/price ratio compared to some well known international players 😉
In our opinion, here are the best long term travel insurances for different situations:
Backpacker insurance with the best quality/price ratio (solo travelers and couples)
The Traveller coverage from TrueTraveller insurance (which you will see a lot of in the next few lines) is in our opinion the best value for money long term travel insurance. This coverage is already very solid from the start (without any options) with the best coverage limits for medical expenses (6’000’000€) and a good civil liability.
What we also appreciate a lot with TrueTraveller is that they only include the most important things in the base coverage (medical expenses, repatriation, personal liability…) and thus offer very attractive prices! For the rest, you can simply customize your coverage according to your needs by paying small extras (if you want to insure your luggage, your valuables, adventure sports etc… there are about ten options). And honestly, even if you add several options, they are still competitive in terms of price!
Their only con is that they only insure people from Europe.
If you’re not from Europe, the best overall coverage you can have in our opinion is the Heymondo Long Stay. They have a very decent offer with high limits for medical expenses (2’500’000€), a super easy to use app for their customers and interesting prices for solo travelers and couples (+ you get 5% discount using our link 😉 )
I would say their only weaker point is their personal liability limit that only covers you up to 60’000€. It’s better that SafetyWing already but it could be a bit higher in our opinion.
the cheapest long term travel insurance for backpackers
If you have a very tight budget but still want to be covered for the most important things (medical expenses, repatriation, civil liability), you have 2 options in our opinion;
If you come from the EU and are under 40 years old, you can choose the True Value coverage from TrueTraveller. 3’000’000€ limit for medical expenses, 1’000’000€ for civil liability from 29€ per month! It’s hard to beat that offer!
If you’re not from the EU, the cheapest coverage you can get is the Globe Partner from ACS. Their limit for medical expenses went up to 300’000€ in 2023 (really cool news) and they offer a good civil liability. So it is really the minimum you need to to have if you are backpacking for more than 3 months!
the best long term travel insurance for families
Not all insurance companies offer attractive family prices… which means that there are big price differences between different companies for families!
If you have 1 or 2 children under 10 years old, SafetyWing offers very attractive prices since each contract includes 1 child under 10 for free (on the other hand, we find that the personal liability limit at SafetyWing is a too low). Otherwise, if you live in the EU, we recommend once again TrueTraveller’s coverage which offers very good prices for families with much higher coverage limits than SafetyWing.
If you are not from the EU (and your kids are older than 10), then AVI offers the best value for money family backpacker insurance with their Marco Polo coverage. Their coverage is very good with sufficient limits for medical expenses en personal liability.
And the cool thing about AVI is that they are offering an additional 5% discount to all Novo-monde readers! Just click on the link below (or in the comparison table) and you will automatically get a 5% discount applied to your quote. Isn’t that nice?
long term travel insurance for people over 50
We received a lot of comments from older travelers who felt a little disadvantaged when it came to insurance! Indeed, many insurers don’t even cover travelers over 50 years old and with some others, the prices increase horribly fast with age! So if you’re over 50 and you’re going on a long backpacking trip (or just a long trip), here are the best options available to you:
If you are under 65-70, you will clearly find the best deals with ACS Globe Traveller (< 66 Worldwide) or TrueTraveller (< 65 and from the EU). ACS offers slightly cheaper prices but TrueTraveller has much better coverage limits.
If you are over 70, there are unfortunately few options left and only AVI international has no age limit. Their Marco Polo coverage is quite extensive and their prices do not triple with age (like SafetyWing 😉 ).
As you can see after this detailed comparison, the insurance policies that are most recommended online are not the ones that offer the best quality/price ratio according to your situation. This shows that marketing is also reflected in the price of insurance coverages lol (We did not even include WorldNomads in the table as their price is much more expensive for a similar coverage)
Please note that if you purchase any of these backpacker insurances through our links, we will earn a small commission and you will pay the same price (or even get a small discount at AVA, AVI or HeyMondo).
As you can imagine, it took us a lot of work to create this tool to help you compare the best long term travel insurance. We’ve tried to be as neutral as possible by comparing the best backpacker insurance on the market. We then recommend the ones that we feel offer the best value for money in each situation.
So if you like this free and independent tool, please do not hesitate to click on our links to buy your coverage and support the production of this kind of content! Many thanks ! (You can find more info about our mindset and how we earn money with this blog here)
A backpacker insurance? Why would you even need one?
We have started by comparing long term travel insurance and giving you our opinion about the best travel insurance for backpackers because people often look for these information first and don’t necessarily want to read a lot of blabla about insurances.
However, in the following section we’ll explain what long term travel insurance is for and when you really need it (because it’s quite a budget so you might as well understand why you’re spending the money 😉 )
Before we look further into whether you really need a backpacker insurance, let’s start by understanding in more detail what long term travel insurance is for and what types of coverage it offers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether or not you need such coverage!
Depending on the package, a long term travel insurance may include a combination of the following:
Medical expenses and hospitalization abroad
If you have a serious problem during your travels that requires urgent hospitalization, medical costs can quickly skyrocket. This is especially true in the USA / Canada where a prolonged hospitalization could put an entire family in debt for several generations!
But even if it is a less serious case, hospitalization, a visit to the doctor for an injury or medical analysis can quickly add up. In such cases, a good travel insurance policy will cover 100% of the medical costs.
Most of the good long stay travel insurance plans will also guarantee the presence of a family member in case of a serious hospitalization ( plane ticket refund + accommodation costs). You never want to be alone in this kind of situation!
Personal liability abroad
If you accidentally (i.e., unintentionally) injure someone or damage someone else’s property (e.g., you break something in your hotel room or injure someone during an activity), the costs can quickly escalate, especially with legal proceedings plus damages. For this kind of situation, a good travel insurance will take care of the repair costs, the possible treatments or the cost of the legal proceedings.
An important detail is that the personal liability of these insurances does not cover you for damages you might have done while driving a motor vehicle! Some insurances offer additional options for these cases or it is possible to take an additional insurance when renting the vehicle.
If, following an accident or illness, your health condition is such that you cannot be treated on site, you will have to be repatriated to the nearest hospital or even to your home country. Please note that a medical repatriation can cost up to 50’000$. In this type of emergency, there is usually no other option. So to avoid putting your families in trouble, it is better to have travel insurance that covers this kind of situation!
Baggage coverage (theft, loss or destruction)
A well-known case for backpackers: you arrive at your destination but unfortunately your backpack is not, or is damaged. Your belongings may also be damaged during a bus ride or worse, even stolen. For this kind of case, some travel insurance companies will reimburse you for at least part of the total amount of your gear. Be careful, however, to check carefully what is considered as luggage by the insurance company 😉 (electronic equipment for example).
Then again, the amounts and the importance of a theft or damage of baggage are in general far less important than the health related issues. So we recommend you not to be obsessed with this kind of coverage… Of course it’s annoying if your camera gets stolen but it’s not that bad either 😉
Valuables ( computers, cameras, lenses, tent, jewellery… )
Rarely included in long term travel insurance (or only for very small amounts), it can be interesting for people who travel with expensive equipment, to have a travel insurance that covers for theft or destruction of this gear.
But as we just said, don’t focus too much on that either and get a travel insurance especially for the risks that could put you in real financial difficulties!
You may have to interrupt your trip because of the death of a loved one or you could get very sick on the day of your flight to South America. You may not even be able to fly because of a natural disaster or a general strike… In such situations, it may be interesting to be insured against these cases of absolute necessity. It’s bad enough having to cancel a trip so you might as well get your money back!
The events of the last few years (i.e. Coronavirus 😉 encourages us to add that you will certainly want to be covered in case of an outbreak. In the case of Covid19, this means that with some coverages, medical expenses might not have been reimbursed if you contracted the Coronavirus during your trip
Well, now most insurance coverages have upgraded for that and cover you properly for Covid. But at the beginning of the outbreak, many travelers found themselves abandoned by their insurance 🙁
For some people, backpacking is an opportunity to get their adrenaline pumping by practicing sports such as rafting, canyoning, skydiving, mountaineering (this is the case with Ben 😉 ).
Unfortunately, being insured in case of accidents during the practice of these activities often requires paying an extra fee when buying the travel insurance. So it’s up to you depending on the activities you plan to do during your trip!
Traveling with peace of mind
This is probably THE reason why you’re going to get long term travel insurance. You will enjoy it more when you know you are covered in case you need it and that you won’t put your whole family in debt in case something happens 😉
Most common exclusions
Now that I’ve explained the purpose of travel insurance and the cases where you are covered, it is equally useful to know the cases where you will not be covered. Yes, insurance contracts contain exclusions that you must know! That’s why it’s always very important to read the general conditions of your insurance policy!
Note: this list is not meant to be exhaustive and there are differences depending on the insurance, but we have tried to highlight the most important exclusions.
- Pre-existing conditions: Most travel insurances will not cover you for medical expenses related to a pre-existing condition. TrueTraveller, unlike others, covers a fairly extensive list of pre-existing conditions. You will be able to consult this list when you purchase your insurance and if your medical condition is not on the list, you will have to declare it and truetraveller will come back to you with more details.
- Damage caused while driving a motor vehicle (damage to the vehicle itself, to what was hit or to a person injured by your vehicle). For example, if you are involved in an accident while driving a motor vehicle, your travel insurance will cover your medical expenses, but not the costs of damage to the vehicle itself, another vehicle involved or the medical expenses of another person involved in the accident. Some travel insurances offer supplementary coverage for these situations, as do car rental companies.
- Risky Sports: As you can imagine, most of the above mentioned insurances offer additional packages for risky sports, but if you do not subscribe to one of these options, you will not be covered during these “risky” activities.
- Personal liability while working or volunteering. So if you are planning to work while traveling or doing a WHV, you need to purchase specific insurance (most of the insurance companies mentioned above have offers for these situations).
- Claims resulting from the use of a motorized vehicle with 2 (or 3) wheels with a cubic capacity superior to 125cm3: This is an important case to know in South-East Asia for example where scooter/motorcycle rental is very common! You will not be covered in case of an accident if the vehicle’s cubic capacity is superior to 125cm3 (you must also have a driving license, wear a helmet etc…). As far as we know, only TrueTraveller offers an optional coverage up to 250cm3… but if not, just make sure you don’t rent a motorbike with more than 125cm3!
Do I really need a long term travel insurance for my backpacking trip?
Now that you have seen what a backpacker travel insurance can be used for, let’s analyse together the scenarios where you may already be insured for some of the points mentioned above. Travel insurance is definitely a budget budget and it would be a shame to be insured twice for the same thing 🙂 .
Travel insurance of my credit card ?
You may have heard that if you have a premium credit card, you already have travel insurance. This is indeed the case, but it is better to know a little more about what your credit card covers in case of problems.
The first thing to know is that if you have a classic Visa or Mastercard, your coverage is almost non-existent. You absolutely must have a premium credit card to have a decent coverage (like a chase sapphire reserve or any other premium card).
Now, if you have a premium credit card, you will have decent coverage for medical expenses, liability, cancellation, luggage but with some drawbacks:
- The insurance is only valid for the first 90 days of the trip.
- You must have paid for your trip with your credit card.
- The limits are lower than for a regular travel insurance.
- There are a lot of nice little exclusions depending on the cards and banks that you should be aware of (always read the general conditions).
- You will often be reimbursed in complement to your home country insurance (so you will have to pay in advance and this implies additional paperwork)
So in our opinion, for a long journey or a round the world trip, it’s not worth the headache to save between 50€ and 100€ for the first 3 months of coverage!
Your home health insurance ?
Remember that a backpacker travel insurance is not meant to replace your home health insurance. It’s more about emergencies or getting you back home quickly if you really need it! So you always need to be covered in your home country even while traveling.
That said, depending on your home country and your health coverage, you might not need to buy a third party backpacker insurance. It could be more interesting to simply buy an additional travel package to your home health insurance (for example in Switzerland that’s the solution that works the best, in France not at all).
So my advice would be that you check what covers your home health insurance when you travel abroad (usually it’s not much and not long enough for a round the world trip) and see if you could buy a travel package that covers the important criteria for a good backpacker insurance.
Of course we recommend you to check the travel coverage of your home health insurance and your credit card. But most of the time, it won’t cover you enough for very important things like medical expenses abroad and personal liability which could have dramatic financial consequences if anything happens to you while you travel. So if you’re not covered for these things, do not gamble with that and get at least a cheap backpacker insurance. It’s not worth the risk!
Why think about the worst before leaving on a trip?
Some of you might think :
Why think about the worst when we are about to experience an extraordinary adventure?
Well, yes, after all, no one is forcing you to buy a backpacker insurance for your round the world trip! (especially since it is clearly a budget) But ask yourself the question: Is it worth it?
Even if you are healthy and never had an accident until now, it does not mean you’re invulnerable. When you travel, you will surely have bad days, or you may be tired, distracted. And then you will cross countries with different rules than the ones you are used to. You might also just have bad luck one day and be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Obviously, the decision is yours, but if you are reading this, it is because our opinion is somewhat important to you.
So our recommendation is that if you’re going backpacking for a while, don’t be reckless and buy a cheap backpacker insurance at least!
How to choose the best long term travel insurance for backpackers?
We hope we have convinced you that if you are leaving for a long backpacking trip (more than 3 months), you should buy a travel insurance without hesitation. So if that’s the case, the next question is obviously the following:
Which of the many backpacker travel insurance coverage is the right for me?
And the answer is not so obvious because there is no perfect backpacker insurance! In fact, the ideal coverage will vary according to your trip, your expectations or your needs. To make it easier for you, let’s look at the points that will influence the choice of your insurance.
To choose the right backpacker insurance, evaluate your needs
- Duration of the trip : Most insurances offer decreasing prices depending on the duration of your trip. Obviously the longer the trip, the cheaper it gets per month
- Visited countries : If you travel to countries like Canada or the United States where medical expenses can be really high, you probably won’t choose the same insurance as if you were traveling in Asia.
- I’m traveling solo, as a couple or with my family : Some backpacker insurances have special prices for couples or families.
- Small budget and minimal coverage or large budget and global coverage : Do you want to put as little money as possible into your backpacker insurance and be covered for the most important points or do you want to invest a little more money and also cover your valuables for example.
- Risky sports : As mentioned earlier, it is often necessary to pay extra to be insured while doing adventure sports considered more risky.
- Valuables : Do you travel with 5000€ camera gear and a North Face tent or rather just a smartphone and a cheap tent 😉 ?
Backpacker insurance : the most important criteria
Even if you don’t have a huge budget, there are some non-negotiable points that are essential to any good long term travel insurance.
- The Essentials of any backpacker insurance:
- Medical expenses : Your coverage must absolutely cover 100% of medical expenses, whether they are emergencies or not (even if you go to the doctor for a flu, this must be covered). Obviously, the coverage limit should be as high as possible. (let’s say you need at the very least 100’000$)
- Repatriation : In case of emergency, you must have a backpacker insurance to cover the costs of any medical repatriation.
- Personal liability : Property damage or bodily injury caused unintentionally are usually very expensive and you need to be covered for this kind of situation.
- Support number 24/24, 7/7 : Because usually, when you need to contact your travel insurance for an emergency, you don’t want to wait 5 hours for the customer support to open.
- other interesting points to consider
- Excess ? Some coverages require a small amount to be paid per claim and others don’t.
- Early return: following the death of a close family member for exemple
- Legal assistance: In case of a lawsuit following an accident or an incident.
- Costs of research: if anything bad happens during a trek for example
- Visit of a family member in case of hospitalization
- Disability and death insurance
Based on all the points mentioned above and your priorities, you should now have less trouble choosing the right backpacker insurance for you… Especially by using the detailed comparison at the beginning of this guide or by reading our reviews of the best travel insurance for various situations.
And you, which backpacker insurance did you choose for your trip around the world?
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P.S. If you buy an insurance through one of our links, you will pay the same (or even get a small discount with AVI, Heymondo or GObyAVA) but we will get a small commission. This has in no way influenced the choice of the insurances presented above but will help us keep creating free and independent content on this blog.