Should You Buy Travel Insurance Or Not?

Travel Insurance Tips
Guide to Buying Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance Guide

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

What Is Travel Insurance?

The term travel insurance is commonly used to describe a few different types of insurance. It can sometimes be pretty confusing for new travelers.

You should know what kinds of coverage a travel insurance policy includes, because it may not include everything you think it does.

Travel Health Insurance is coverage for accidents, injuries, and hospital visits while you are away from home.

Medical Evacuation Insurance is coverage for transporting you to a major hospital for treatment.

Trip Cancelation Insurance is coverage for unexpected interruptions in your travel plans.

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

Travel Insurance Guide
This is why you need travel insurance!

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

This is the million-dollar question — and ultimately a personal decision. I’ve met plenty of people who travel without travel insurance and I’ve contemplated doing the same.

But after over 6 years of constant travel, hearing horror stories from other travelers, and getting into a few dangerous predicaments myself — if someone asks for my opinion on the subject I answer with:

YES. Everyone should carry some kind of health/property insurance when traveling.

Why? Because shit happens. 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 you contract a deadly disease? Or require medical evacuation after breaking your leg?

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

My recommendation is based on listening to countless first-hand tales of disaster from other travelers, as well as my own personal experiences.

Sick in Mexico
Catching Dengue Fever in Mexico

Real-Life Examples

I met a woman in Costa Rica who fell off a ladder, shattering the bone in her arm. She did not have health insurance, received horrible treatment at the local hospital, and was basically held hostage until she was able to pay the HUGE medical bill.

Another friend lost everything he owned when his locked guesthouse in Ecuador was broken into. Without personal property insurance, he would’ve needed to spend thousands replacing stolen computer & camera gear.

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

Yet another friend had his 5-star resort hotel room ransacked in Mexico.

These are all people I know personally.

Travel Insurance Tips
Man Using My Stolen Laptop

My Own Close Calls…

I once crashed a wooden sled while flying down a volcano, receiving lacerations all over my head. Luckily I didn’t break anything… but a girl with our group wasn’t so lucky, and tore a ligament in her ankle that required surgery.

On a trip to Panama my laptop computer was stolen literally right out from under my feet. I’d let my travel insurance lapse, and was no longer covered for the theft… Luckily I got some payback!

I’ve also contracted Dengue Fever in Mexico, which required blood tests & doctor’s visits. In more serious cases patients are hospitalized for weeks, and require blood transfusions. That stuff isn’t cheap.

My point here is you never know. Not having travel insurance when you really need it sucks big time. And you won’t understand just HOW MUCH it sucks until it happens to you.

What Kind Of Insurance?

That really depends on a lot of different factors. You’ll have to ask yourself a few questions. Are you a short-term traveler going away for a few days/weeks? Or are you a long-term traveler leaving for 6 months or more?

Do you carry tons of expensive photo/computer gear, or not?

Will your regular health insurance cover you overseas? Does it include medical evacuation? Do you have pre-existing conditions?

Are you the type of person who books hotels/flights/activities in advance? Or do you just wing it and pay for services as you use them?

Short-Term Travel Insurance

World Nomads

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

Buying insurance with World Nomads for your next vacation is quick & easy. You can even purchase a plan with little advanced notice. You can extend coverage online from anywhere too.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage At Home: No.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancelation: Yes.
Theft/Damage Insurance: Yes. ($500 per-item limit)

Long-Term Travel Insurance

Because I’m a digital nomad and travel with thousands of dollars 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 mix is more expensive than a World Nomads Policy, but works best for my long-term travel lifestyle.

TCP Photographer Insurance

TCP Insurance has been around for 40 years and has a dedicated department for professional photographers. General liability and equipment insurance begins at $500 a year with quarterly payments available. They can cover tens of thousands of dollars in photography gear, including laptops, drones, and general business liability should you injure someone else while working on location.

IMG Global

This plan specializes in long-term worldwide medical coverage, but does not cover theft or trip cancelation. Coverage inside the United States is included, but to qualify you must spend at least 6 months of the year living abroad. You can choose a deductible from $250-$10,000.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage at Home: Yes.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancelation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: No.
Example Quote: Global Gold (1 year policy) = $74/month with $1000 deductible

NOTE: I’ve never needed to file a claim with any of these companies yet.

More Insurance Options

HTH Worldwide

Full international medical insurance, including the United States. No limits as to how long you are in the US. Deductible waived for regular doctor checkups. Excellent insurance, but pricey. Sherry from is a happy customer.

Health Coverage Worldwide: Yes.
Coverage at Home: Yes.
Medical Evacuation: Yes.
Trip Cancelation: No.
Theft/Damage Insurance: No.
Example Quote: Global Citizen (1 year policy) = $269/month with $1000 deductible

Your Current Insurance

Already have regular health insurance in your home country? Check to see if they provide coverage internationally. If they do, you might not need anything else.

Homeowners/Renters Insurance

Your homeowners or renters insurance may cover your belongings when you’re traveling in foreign countries too. Call them up to verify the details.

Credit Card Insurance

Many credit card companies often include some basic travel and theft insurance for their customers. Call them up to get details on what’s covered (or not).

Making A Claim

Insurance companies are notorious for trying to avoid paying out claims. Making a claim might take some work on your part, depending on the situation. Here are a few tips for getting paid:

  • If you’re having issues filing a claim, always work your way up the corporate ladder. Talk to a supervisor. Then talk to the supervisor’s supervisor. Make your claim issues public using Social Media if needed.
  • Record conversations. At the beginning of every phone call, tell the other party you’re recording the conversation to ensure no mis-understandings later. You can easily do this with Skype and a program like Pamela for PC or Ecamm Call Recorder for Mac.
  • When filing a police report of any kind, keep the story simple. The longer and more in-depth the report, the easier it is for insurance companies to find a loophole they can use to deny your claim! You better believe they will try…

Travel Insurance Tips

  • Read the fine print first! Know what you’re covered for. For example, some policies don’t cover extreme sports or theft of unattended items.
  • Take photos of all your gear with a date stamp.
  • Save PDF copies of all gear purchase & hospital receipts. Keep originals too.
  • Write down serial numbers, policy numbers, and insurance contact information.
  • Store this information online in a secure, easy to access place. I use Evernote. Another good option is Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • File a police report immediately after any theft or accident.

Happy Traveling!

No one likes to think about theft or injury when they’re on vacation, but the threat is real, and without good travel insurance, an unexpected incident could ruin the rest of your year. Never travel without it! ★

Travel Planning Resources

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Book cheap flights on Skyscanner, my favorite airline search engine to find deals. Also read my tips for how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.


I hope you enjoyed my guide on travel insurance. Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Have any questions about travel insurance? Have you ever had something bad happen? Drop me a message in the comments below!


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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Comments (92)

  1. Ive asked so many people who travel abroad about travel insurance and most of them dont buy insurance … but youve convinced me … NOMAD insurance for me … thanx!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing the essential tips. I prefer to spend more on insurance rather than traveling. Almost every type of medical urgency is covered depending upon the plan you are buying. I use to buy that completely secures me and my family.

  3. I’ve travel for a lot of time and always have my insurance with me. Got to sleep in a hospital in Thailand, a kidney stone in Australia and lots of other experiences that had broken me if I haven’t had one!
    Really nice content!

  4. I totally recommended to buy travel insurance , but the important key is to choose the most suitable insurance plan for you that suit you , to avoid overspending on buying the plan , and to do that you need to read and be aware about the plans that available in your area and what is cover , you can use an online tool for that like which is helps you to check all the plans that available and let you compare between them to choose the suitable one for you

    • Hello. I am currently in Spain on vacation. I’m from Canada. I have travel insurance from Canada, but it expired 2 days ago. I just extended my stay here for 3 more weeks, and realized that my previous insurance expired. I called the insurance company and they confirmed that I cannot renew or extend insurance since it already expired. What are my options to get coverage for the remainder of my stay? Your help is much appreciated! Have a great day.

  5. I’ve been using World Nomads for the past 3 years while I’ve been a full-time nomad. They seemed great, until recently when I had to file a claim, and then they were awful. Not in a mean way, but in a take-way-too-long-to-respond way, and they kept asking for more documents every time I produced what they wanted. First it was the standard police report and purchase receipt (it was for my phone which was stolen when I was mugged in Mexico in broad daylight in a small village). Then passport, proof of flight from the US, and they even asked for proof I’d purchased their policy! Wouldn’t they know that since they had issued it to me? I was able to dig it up on my laptop in my bank statements. They wanted my drivers license (which was stolen in my purse) as they said my passport wasn’t proof of my address, yet they had my address on the policy. They wanted me to get the police report translated from Spanish to English and wanted me to snail mail all of this rather than do it on line, which I did decline to do – snail mail is worthless in Mexico and DHL or FedEx cost too much, especially since they kept asking for more. Finally, after over a month of this stressful situation (I was already stressed having been knocked to the ground and robbed), a friend told me about Elliot Advocates which for free will advocate for you with travel related issues if they choose to take on your complaint. Finally, I got paid a small amount for my phone, thanks to their intervention. I paid World Nomads $3150 over those 3 years, and they were not there for me when I needed them. I’m just glad it wasn’t a major medical claim! Now I need to find another, better insurance carrier, if there is one. I’ll look into the others you’ve written about. Any other recommendations?

    • Remember your choice when something eventually happens, as in all my examples above. Everyone thinks it won’t — then they wish they had insurance once the nightmare begins to unfold. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and never need it.

      • We actually made an academic research on global nomads and found that only very few of them buy insurance. One of the interviewees said: “I had treatment in the Philippines where it cost me US $150. The same would have been around US $2,200 in the United States. As long as it’s not a major thing, like a cancer when you need a million dollars, I can afford to be my own health assurance.”

        Remember your choice when you have to fight with your insurance company for pay outs. That can be very stressful waste of time. And when you claim will be denied like in most cases, you have paid them for nothing.

        Happy travels (it’s much more fun than being afraid and wishing for “safe” travels)!

  6. Hi Matthew
    I am a big fan of your blog. It inspires me to a lot and gives so many insights on travelling.

    I liked this article because I love to travel and I am a financial analyst.

    I agree that Travel Insurance is a must for every traveller as one of my friend got severly hurt in Spain and just to bring him back here to the UK costed him £30000 and unfortunately he din’t have any insurance.

    Also while taking any insurance I check the Claim settlement ratio which tells buyer what % of total claims that Insurance comapny actually paid last year. Hope this tip helps your reader.

    • Hi Magnesh! Thanks for the tip, I didn’t know about the Claim Settlement Ratio. Thanks for sharing your friend’s story too. We all like to believe we’re invincible and will never need travel insurance. Until we do.

    • Hi Mangesh, this ‘claims settlement ratio’ sounds like a good piece of info. Where to find this? Never heard of it before. Thanks.

  7. I don’t normally buy travel insurance, especially if it’s just a short trip, but recently when I learned my friend who went to Singapore had to be taken to the clinic for an infection, (she too didn’t buy travel insurance) it didn’t cost her a lot of money, but what if it’s worse that than. We can never tell what might happen to us while we’re out there, so yeah, I guess it’s better to be ready than to be sorry.
    Great tips! as always. ?

    • That’s the thing. We assume if something happens, it will be minor. But what happens when all your bags get stolen? Or a serious car crash occurs? Not worth the risk in my opinion. Get the travel insurance.

  8. I’m not a nomadic traveler, yet. But I travel to foreign countries 3-5 times per year and often dive in those places. I’ve used WorldNomads for every one of those trips and have filed two claims with them – one for a GoPro I dropped from a boat and the other for something so long ago I don’t remember.

    What I DO remember was that they processed the claims quickly and easily. I will use them till I find something better or until we leave on our RTW trip and have different requirements.

    One thing I will NOT do is travel without insurance.

  9. Travel insurance for me, is more about peace of mind for my loved one’s back at home – i.e. my mother!

    As long as the basics are covered, that will keep my mum happy.

  10. Good information on what to look out in travel insurances. i was lookin for an insurance company…….i will keep your advice in mind.

  11. Hello Matt,
    I had the most terrible experience truing to contact and then get assistance from Nomad following a CVA which had me in intensive care for 2 days in Spain. This bad, bad company did EVERYTHING to not pay and did NOTHING to help, especially after they learned I had some friends coming to my assistance!!!!!!! They did NOTHING to help me get home to Morocco and NOTHING to help pay for a companion to accompany me…Nomad made my stroke about as bad a situation as they could.. they even tried telling me that I was in the USA when I had taken out my insurance, meaning I couldn’t possibly have got to Spain ‘in time to have my stroke!!!’ Eventually I shamed them on fb and I got a minuscule amount from them. They DO NOT help get you to hospital, they DO NOT help when you are in hospital, they DO NOT help you get home. Their phone numbers are not reachable.. they are about as bad as a company could bet.. Lonely Planet couldn’t care less either, that they push such a prick of a company.

  12. was looking at Amex, I may get it for health / emergency. But for equipment it only covers if stolen from the hotel room (or cruise or airport).
    it may still be worth $20

    “Reimbursement for lost, damaged, or stolen baggage, whether checked, carried-on your flight, or on your hotel or cruise property. Also, reimbursement for essential replacement items if your baggage has been delayed.”

    • If you have a lot of expensive camera/computer gear, dedicated property insurance might be a good investment, which should cover more situations.

  13. I think one must buy travel insurance. You never know what happens with you while you travel; some kind of protection against theft and other things is good.

  14. Thanks so much for this Matt! It was exactly what I needed as I am driving down the Pan-Am highway and wanted to insure all of my belongings in my car. I just got a policy with Clements Worldwide property insurance to do that, now I can have more peace of mind on this epic journey!

    I hope you got an affiliate commission because I used your link as well. I’ll be in Yucatan area in about 2 months – hopefully I’ll bump into you so I can give you a handshake. Or, if you want a ride from Playa down the coast to Belize or anywhere else in Central America, let me know – it’s on me!

    • Hey Ford! Glad to know you got set up with Clements. Yeah for sure, let me know when you’re down this way and we can meet up for a drink.

  15. Can you insure your trip for any amount? We have a $10,000 trip but were thinking of only insuring $5000 (ie. half the total amount).

  16. Hi there,
    I know this conversation went on a few years ago, but thought I’d add perhaps some more up to date information.
    I’m travelling and teaching in South America, and am currently staying in Argentina for 10 months. I have travel insurance with Holiday Safe – they have a Longstay plus policy which was a decent policy for a reasonable price. Also, as I didn’t know how long I was travelling for, I paid for a year at first, and have recently extended it. It was easy to contact them and pay for the extension over the phone (I actually got someone at home to call on my behalf). They are very quick to respond to any emails and have been really helpful whenever I’ve had any questions.
    I had to make a claim at the beginning of my trip, as I was mugged in Ecuador. I got my camera (brand new), coat, wallet with a bit of cash and a card in. I got a police report, sent in my documents, receipts etc. and they paid out within a month. It was all very quick and efficient.
    I have my own website,, which is about my own travels, moving to South America and teaching English. There is a section about travel insurance, money etc. – please have a look if you think it could be of any use! Thanks :)

  17. This is the most informative collection of travel health insurance I’ve found! Awesome job, as always! I’ve heard that if you don’t get US insurance and you’re out of the country for 330+ days per year, then you’re not penalized with Obamacare fines. Wondering if you’ve heard that at all from any US travelers without insurance?

      • The concern brought up by Amanda regarding the Affordable Care Act requiring a person to be out of the country for 330 days is not quite correct. According to the IRS, listed under Exemptions, is a situation called a “short coverage gap” which allows one to be in the US for up to 3 months, one time a year.

        • I have the same questions. I am only traveling for 5 months. Does anyone know if Travelers Health Insurance qualify as the ‘Minimum Essential Coverage’ need to be exempted from a tax penalty under Obama Care?

  18. Solid info Matt. This is some great advice here and I wish I would have known about GMI sooner. I’ve been traveling almost 2 years now and I’ve been using World Nomads the whole time. I was happily paying for private health insurance up until December this year when my rates skyrocketed due to Obamacare. Trying to get healthcare benefits as an unemployed person through the AHC site is a nightmare when you’re purposely out of work and traveling. I’m currently trying to apply for healthcare coverage with GMI and they are asking for a residence outside the US. As a homeless nomad I don’t really have an address anywhere. What do you use as an address? Also do you you have to update the address constantly as you travel around for it to be effective?

    • Hey Dan, as a fellow homeless nomad, I’ll rent a foreign apartment for a month or two when I set this stuff up. No, I never update the address after. Usually you can provide a US mailing address along with your foreign physical address, and most correspondence is done through email anyway.

  19. Have you had to pay penalties due to the individual mandate? It seems IMG does not qualify for the minimum insurance required. Do you have suggestions for travel insurance that satisfies the individual mandate?

  20. Hi Matthew,

    I enjoyed reading your article and thank you for posting. The purpose of this message is to inform you that IMG has and still does offer Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance. It is Underwritten by iTI (I Travel Insured) which is a wholly owned subsidiary.

    OK. I need to admit that I am envious of your lifestyle and work.

  21. Hi Matt!
    Do you know an insurance where return ticket is no needed?
    I’m planning my first trip (I bought only ticket to go to Asia), but most of the companies ask me to have both the tickets flight.

    Great website!

  22. Do you know how easy or hard it is to get regular prescriptions filled while traveling in central and South America? I take daily meds and I’m not quite sure how to plan for this in prepping for a year out of the US.

    • I am from Central America, and I had travelled all over Latin America, and no one asks you for prescriptions and if they do, it is easy to get what you like, not as hard as the US.

  23. Matt, not sure if you are still using Clements or not, but I can’t seem to figure out their website. It will only give you a personal quote if you are employed by a certain list of companies. I’m trying to find a good plan to cover my camera gear and laptop

    • I have the same question as Loganbrownmedia. I emailed them and the reply was to the effect, if your traveling to multiple countries they won’t cover you. Your thoughts and experience would be appreciated.

  24. Matt, Looks like you originally posted this a couple years back. Just curious how often you update it. Are you still using IMG and Clements? And are you still happy with them? My wife and I put in our resignations and will be leaving the corporate world to join you as a vagabond starting May 1st. :) Incredibly excited, nervous, and a bit stressed. I know getting the insurance sorted out will help keep the excitement up while reducing the nervousness/stress.

  25. I really wish I came across this site for better insurance alternatives before I went with World Nomad for my last trip. Recently traveled to Jordan and Israel, there were bombings near the region I was going to visit in Israel the day before I crossed over so I made the decision to cut my trip short, before which I called World Nomad to make sure that this was covered under my policy. After weeks of paperwork, going back and forth, no response, I finally receive a “We can’t reimburse you for your flight change because the bombing in Israel was 9 miles away from your destination and you have to be within 1 mile” message. I feel as if World Nomads is saying I pretty much have to be DEAD to qualify for an insurance reimbursement – which I’m pretty sure will still not pay out even after I’m dead since there’s probably some clause in the terms in between the fine lines. Saving my money next time, it’s worst than not having gotten insurance since I’d at least not be out that money, time, and would save myself the frustration of dealing with them.

  26. I am planning to travel for the next 5 years, the first 3 will be spend in Australia and NZ, am I better off getting a private home based insurance from Australia? For at least the next 2 years or do I have to get a whole bunch of 1 yr policies with travel insurance companies?

  27. What is going on with your health insurance now due to the new Obamacare health reform?

    Example: IF you decline medical coverage you are FINED UNTIL you select a health insurance carrier and sign up.

    How do you avoid this fine when traveling? Is there a way to opt out of health insurance while traveling?

    My health insurance plan is useless outside the US, so I don’t wish to pay for something I can not use. I can only use the health insurance inside the US and no place else.

    How do you opt out without being fined?

  28. I do agree about traveling with insurance. It is important and it is needed. You might not know what will happen to you or be in an accident even of how major or minor it is. The point is as traveler you also have to search for your safety.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and the need to have an insurance.

  29. hello,

    i am going to be traveling overseas in 3 weeks going through spain and france in november then to singapore thailand and japan in december.

    i am looking for a viable option to cover my $7K+ in camera and computer gear and havent been able to find anything.

    what is your best suggestion? i got trip and medical coverage through allianz but they only cover $500 for lost or stolen goods.

    please advise. thank you!!


  30. hi, My husband and I are WWOOFING for the first time ever. We are looking in OV Europa travel insurance. They seem to be popular with woofers. Does anyone have any experience with OV Europa ?

    • Hi Kloey,

      I am leaving in a week to work on farms through Workaway for a year. I have never heard of OV Europa, but after you mentioned it I looked it up and it looks like a great plan! I am very glad I browsed through these comments :)

  31. Thanks Matt, this is awesome information! The best compilation of insurance breakdown I have found on the web. One question, will the property insurance’s you mention cover a stolen motorcycle? (Clements or State Farm?)

    Thanks for the help!

  32. Thank you so much for this article! Finding travel insurance that fit my plans/would cover camera equipment (even partially) was getting to be such a pain I was about to leave for a three week trip to Spain and Portugal without it. Then I found this and now I have insurance from World Nomads and feel a million times better!

  33. Hey Matt! I am trying to obtain Traveler’s Insurance, and so far Amex is looking good. As I’m filling out my information it asks for “Date of First Trip Payment”, which is the day when you first pay the deposit for travel or lodging as confirmed on the trips itinerary/reservation receipt(s). I haven’t bought anything yet like this for the trip, and am planning on doing hostels, camping, etc. This is a required field. Should I buy my Greyhound ticket, and put that date? Could this be an issue that I won’t have lodging receipts?

    • Hmmm. I’m actually not sure Karen. If it was me, I’d do exactly that. Buy the Greyhound ticket and use that date.

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  35. Important topic, thorough post! I’ve always had travel insurance. It might feel like wasted money, but should something happen, it’ll probably be one of the best investments you’ve ever made. My last travel insurance paid everything back in the end, but were for the longest time on an obvious mission to frustrate me to the point where I would just give up on the claims. Very annoying. But yeah, like you say: do not let them mess with you.

  36. I fell in Croatia this summer, fractured 3 teeth & needed emergency dental work. Travel insurance to the rescue! I use IMG Patriot (doesn’t have deductible), and haven’t had any issues with claim reimbursement thus far. Several close, personal friends of mine either had accidents or needed medical attention/hospitalization on the road. So I agree with you – get travel insurance.

  37. Thank you for this post man!! As I begin to plan out my extended travel, one of the things that people keep asking me about is insurance and until now I didnt really know what to tell them. Thank you for the comprehensive breakdown of the different policies as well as for including what you use yourself. Very helpful, will definitely check back when I am closer to leaving!

  38. Travel insurance, it can’t be stressed enough. For years I traveled without it and was lucky enough not to get into any trouble. But now I look back and wonder, what was I thinking?!

    My 2 tips?
    – If you travel a lot, just get a year-round worldwide travel insurance. Then it’s automatically sorted for every trip, and it’s often just a tad more expensive than covering one trip. Usually just making 2 trips in a year makes this worth your while.
    – Another good one is DogTag. It’s not the cheapest but it’s thorough and super simple to use/claim (They provide you with dogtags to wear, so if you ever need to contact them, all your info is handy for anyone to use, even if you don’t have your wits about you) so it’s especially worth it for backpacking or relatively rough travel.

  39. Wow those sound like some SERIOUS horror stories… congratulations on getting your computer back though, that is AWESOME!!! I think this is an extremely valuable post for anyone that’s interested in traveling ANYWHERE. Thanks for taking the time to pull all of this information together!

  40. Hi Matthew,

    This is a really useful post. I am working on a “travel resources” list that will be on the revamp of a site I’m relaunching next month. I’m going to link this article to the list. Thanks so much for posting such good content!

  41. I had travel insurance in Latin America but for shorter trips I admit I don’t always get it. Although when I went to Maui for a month I did get it because I thought if I broke a leg or got hurt, the flight back to Canada would be too long to bear the pain.

  42. Thanks for the link, dude, and what a great piece. Comprehensive, useful, and not written to sell text links. ;-) I’ve been contemplating Clements Property and I think it’s time I take the plunge and buy!

  43. Great post! I’m just working through finding an insurance policy now. It’s surprisingly hard to find good info on this topic. I hadn’t thought of covering my property and health separately. Good idea!

  44. What are costs if you do have a pre-existing condition? What if my life-saving medications get stolen or lost while in Southeast Asia? Thank you.

    • Hi Jo! Those would be questions you’ll have to ask the insurance companies themselves, as every person’s individual situation is different.

      These are just very basic example quotes.

  45. Lots of people say why bother but it’s one of those things that is like a seat belt, most people will never need one but if your number is up…

  46. Excellent post.
    I think it’s always a good to have travel/health insurance.
    For my last 4 trips I bought insurance from World Nomads. I usually travel short-term (max 5 weeks), their price and coverage is good. I haven’t used it, thankfully, and I hope I won’t need to.

    • Thanks Karine. I know many people who have had good results from World Nomads. If you have regular health insurance back home that will cover major illnesses/injuries, it’s a good choice.

      But if you need to fly back home for something big, they’ll cut you off. It should not be your primary health insurance, just supplemental.

  47. Hey Matt,

    Great insightful post. I was only talking to my girlfriend about this just last week! We’re planning on moving abroad full time next year and working/travelling so it’s something we want to look into more to see our options.

    We’ve been away on previous trips for 4-5 month stints and have used an Irish company here. It was only on our last trip to Asia that I ever had to get the use out of travel insurance and let me tell you….it was a real hassle. I ruptured a disc in my lower back which meant we had to cut our trip in half. I needed a lot of treatment up in Chiang mai before I was able to make it home. But long story short, it took me a full month to get home from the time I called them up until they booked me on a first class flight home here to Ireland.

    I don’t know why it took them so long but they did their check ups etc.

    However, I would strongly recommend, like yourself and everyone gets insurance as you never know what could happen. If I didn’t have it for the Asian trip it would have cost me about €2,000 of my own money to get treatment/flights etc.

    Love reading your blog dude.


    • Thanks for sharing your story Carlo! If you never need it, travel insurance seems like a waste. But when you do need it, you’ll be soooo happy you have it. Especially in a life-or-death situation.

      And as you experienced, insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying you. Keep all receipts, record conversations (with permission) whenever possible, and ask to talk to supervisors. Be persistent. Don’t let them mess with you.

    • Great info Matt! I’m kinda embarrassed to say I’ve still never got travel insurance and have been on the road for 8 months! It’s been an ongoing thing I keep putting off…very foolish I know! I was going to go with World Nomads until I read literally hundreds of awful reviews of them online so I got confused!

      Carlo, I’m also from Ireland and wondering which company it was that you got covered with for your trip to Asia, as some of the US companies listed here don’t apply to me unfortunately! I’m looking into medical insurance from Ireland but its very expensive compared to travel insurance!

  48. Solid resource piece, good sir.

    I’m a huge advocate of insurance, my house burnt down in university, I got t-boned in my BMW when I was working and I compound fractured my skull in Vietnam.

    Insurance is totally worth it, crazy not to and what I consider a “cost of doing business”.

    • I’ve been converted Rob. I used to think why bother, but I’ve heard too many horror stories from people I know. Don’t leave the country without it!

  49. My quote for a 38yo female, $3,000 trip coverage, with IMG TRIP, 26 days of travel… $120. Ouch! I lowered the price of the trip by $1000 and by the time I got to $1000, it was only $40…really, the only set cost of this trip is my airfare which is just under $800. Everything else is hostels, food and whatnot…so, what’s your opinion about how much I should insure the trip for? I’ve traveled without it before, but considering getting it this time…don’t want to tempt fate.

    • Did you pre-book all your hostels/tours and pay in advance? No need to insure that stuff if you didn’t in my opinion. Often airlines will give you a credit or refund if you need to cancel too. But that means you could have problems if you needed to cancel the day before. Personal choice I guess.

      I’m no expert (pun intended), but as a budget backpacker, I’d just worry about emergency health & personal property coverage. Did you get quotes from the others listed here? It can be a pain, but every situation is different, and obtaining quotes from multiple sources is probably best.

    • I haven’t prebooked anything other than my flights…I’ll be walking the Camino de Santiago from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. Before that I will fly to Lisbon to spend time with friends, then a train (not prebooked) to Porto and as I walk I will find pilgrim hostels to stay in. Getting back to Madrid will be either by train or plane…not sure yet. I don’t like to plan too much…

      I use to get multiple quotes….most were comparable…some were more, some were less.

      I’m also checking my health insurance at work to see if they cover out of country expenses…this was a great blog post. Very informative!

      • So this article inspired me to call my health insurance provider (insurance through my employer) to ask about coverage. After asking a few questions and building a rapport, we arrived at the bottom line. If I go to the doctor because I think I’m sick, I’m not covered. If I go to the emergency room because I think it is an emergency, I’m covered. And the representative emphasized “because I think it is an emergency”, and added. “If I think it is an emergency, it is an emergency”.

        Interesting stuff. So in this case, seeking the option that is the most cost-effective may not be the best idea.

        If you have medical insurance in the US, it makes sense to call and see what your coverage is abroad.