Travel Insurance Tips
Travel Safety Tips

Choosing travel insurance can be a very confusing part of planning your international trip. Is it worth the expense? Which insurance companies offer the best coverage?

Getting some travel insurance is an extremely important part of planning a trip to foreign countries. Many regular health insurance companies don’t cover much (if anything) when you travel. This means that you should buy a dedicated travel insurance plan.

Travel insurance plans can cover a combination of medical emergencies, accidents, theft of personal property, illness and trip cancellations or interruptions. It’s just a smart option if you want to travel safely these days.

But the best part is, the right plans can cost only a few dollars a day.

After 10-years of travel, I have had many incidents on the road (dengue fever, stolen camera, phone, etc.) so I never travel without insurance to protect me from these unexpected situations.

My goal with this travel insurance guide is to help you narrow down the overwhelming choices out there – and choose the best travel insurance whether you’re traveling for 2-weeks or 6-months.

Types of travel insurance

There are a few different types of travel insurance and some plans cover more than others.

Before choosing a plan you need to ask yourself a few questions. Are you a short-term traveler for a week or two? Or are you a long-term traveler leaving for 6-months or longer?

Do you own a lot of expensive photo/computer gear?

Will your current health insurance cover you abroad? How much will it cover? Does it include medical evacuation? Do you have any pre-existing conditions?

Are you someone who books hotels/flights/activities in advance? Or do you just wing it and pay for these services as you use them? Are you worried that your trip might be cancelled?

Travel medical insurance There is coverage for accidents, injuries, illness or hospital visits while you are away from home.

Medical Evacuation Insurance There is coverage for emergency transportation (often by air) to a major hospital for better treatment.

Trip Cancellation Insurance There is coverage for unexpected disruptions to your travel plans.

Goods/Property Insurance There is coverage for theft or damage to your gear while traveling.

Stay safe while traveling

Best travel insurance options in 2023

Short term travel insurance


SafetyWing is a fantastic budget travel insurance option for travelers. They offer the flexibility of buying plans before or after the start of your trip. Plans start at just $40 per month, and even include personal property theft!

Another big advantage is that they can also cover you in your country or a dependent child traveling with you. Which is great for digital nomads and families traveling with kids.


  • Short or long term policies
  • Very affordable plans
  • Covers people up to 69 years
  • Covers COVID-19
  • Children are covered for free
  • Online claim filing


  • Basic emergency coverage
  • Limited coverage for personal belongings
  • Limited coverage for adventure activities
  • Covers trip interruptions only
  • $250 deductible

World Nomads

World Nomads specializes in short-term travel coverage, including theft, and is very popular with travelers. I used it for years before I decided to get long term expat type insurance instead.

Buying insurance for your next vacation with World Nomads is quick and easy. You can also buy a plan with some advance notice. You can extend coverage online from anywhere.

Universal Health Coverage: Yes.
Coverage at home: No.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancellation: Yes.
Theft/Damage Insurance: Yes. ($500 per-item limit)

Long term insurance for digital nomads and expats

Because I’m a digital nomad and travel with thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment for work, I have a more long-term travel insurance mindset. I use an expat dedicated health insurance policy combined with a gear policy for professional photographers.

This combination is more expensive than the World Nomads policy, but works best for my long-term travel lifestyle.

IMG Global

The plan features long-term worldwide medical coverage, but does not cover theft or trip cancellation. Coverage within the United States is included, but you must live abroad for at least 6 months of the year to qualify. You can choose a deductible from $250-$10,000.

Universal Health Coverage: Yes.
Coverage at home: Yes.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancellation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: No.
Example quote: Global Gold (1 year policy) = $74/month with $1000 deductible

HTH worldwide

Full International Medical Insurance including United States. There is no limit to how long you can stay in the US. Deductible waived for regular doctor checkups. Excellent insurance, but expensive. to the street A happy customer.

Universal Health Coverage: Yes.
Coverage at home: Yes.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancellation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: No.
Example quote: Global Citizen (1 year policy) = $269/month with $1000 deductible

More insurance options

Your current health insurance

Already have regular health insurance in your country? Check to see if they offer coverage internationally. If they do, you don’t need anything else.

Homeowners or renters insurance

Your homeowners or renters insurance may cover your belongings when you’re traveling abroad as well. Call them to verify the details.

Credit card travel insurance

Many travel credit cards often also include some basic travel, theft and car insurance (which is great for renting a car abroad). Call your card company to get details on exactly what is (or isn’t) covered.

Do you need travel insurance?

Exploring Iceland

This is the million-dollar question – and ultimately a personal decision. I have met many people who travel without travel insurance and I have considered doing the same.

But after 10-years of continuous travel, hearing the horror stories of other travelers, and encountering some dangerous pitfalls myself – if someone asks my opinion on the subject, I answer:

Yes. Everyone should carry some form of health/property insurance when traveling.

Why? Because things happen. Whether you think it will or not. Despite your best laid plans and preventative measures. Sure, if you sprain your ankle, it might not be a big deal.

But what if your appendix bursts? Or your bus crashes? Or are you infected with a life threatening disease? Or need medical evacuation after breaking your leg?

These things certainly happen to travelers from time to time, and can cost you thousands of dollars (or hundreds). Without insurance, you’re screwed!

My recommendation is based on hearing countless first-hand stories of disaster from other travelers as well as my own personal experiences.

Real life examples

I know a woman traveling in Costa Rica who fell down the stairs and dislocated her arm. She had no health insurance, received horrible treatment at the local hospital, and was basically held hostage there until she was able to pay the huge medical bills.

Another guy I know lost everything he traveled with when his closed guesthouse in Ecuador was broken into. Without personal property insurance, he would have needed to spend thousands to replace all his gear.

Another friend contracted a flesh-eating parasite while trekking in the jungles of Peru. He required months worth of treatment from specialized doctors, and a medical evacuation flight back to the United States.

These are all people I know personally.

Making an insurance claim

Insurance companies are notorious for avoiding paying claims. Making a claim may take some work on your part, depending on the situation. Here are some tips for paying through travel insurance:

  • If you are having trouble filing a claim, always work your way up the corporate ladder. Talk to a supervisor. Then talk to the supervisor’s supervisor. Publicize your claim issues using social media if necessary.
  • Record the conversation. At the beginning of each phone call, tell the other party you are recording the conversation to ensure there are no misunderstandings later.
  • When filing any type of police report, keep the story simple. The longer and more in-depth the report, the easier it is for insurance companies to find loopholes to deny your claim.
Living as Digital Nomads in Italy

Additional travel insurance tips

  • Read the fine print first! Know what you are covered for. For example, some policies do not cover extreme sports or theft of unattended items.
  • Take photos or videos of all your travel gear with a date stamp.
  • Save PDF copies of any travel gear purchases and hospital receipts. Also keep the original.
  • Write the serial number, policy number and insurance contact information.
  • Store this information online in a secure, easy-to-access location. I use Evernote. There is another good option Dropbox Or Google Drive.
  • Report any theft or accident to the police immediately while travelling.

No one likes to think about theft or injury while on vacation, but the risk is real and without good travel insurance, an unexpected incident can ruin the rest of your year. Never travel without it! ★

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Read more travel safety tips

I hope you enjoyed my guide to the best travel insurance options for travelers. Hope you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inspiring articles I recommend you read next:

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