Updated: 11/2/20 | November 3rd, 2020
Planning a trip can be a lot of fun: researching amazing bucket-list activities, daydreaming about picture-perfect beaches and epic hikes, booking the cheap flights that will take you to the world’s most amazing destinations. Planning gives you ownership of your trip and lets you imagine all the wonderful adventures you’ll have.
What is significantly less fun (yet equally important) is searching for the right travel insurance plan for your trip.
Reading through the fine print, searching out reviews you can trust, picking the best plan — it can all be a little tedious.
It can also be a little overwhelming.
There are hundreds of companies out there, all offering seemingly similar plans. But they all have different prices too. Which one is the best? Which review is right?
To help you figure it all out, I wanted to share my thoughts on the best travel insurance companies on the market. I’ve been backpacking since 2004 and researching companies for a living since 2007. I’ve spent a lot of time reading the fine print. (Have you ever read NY’s insurance compliance laws? Well, don’t.)
To save you time, I’ve compiled a list of the best travel insurance companies. Whether you’re heading south to escape from work or traveling abroad on a round-the-world trip, this list will help you find a company that works for you and your budget.
Table of Contents
OUR TOP PICK: World Nomads
I’ve been using World Nomads since I started traveling. Their plans are comprehensive and perfect for travelers visiting more than one country in a single trip.
This company is great for adventurous travelers who plan to do things like hiking, kayaking or canoeing, and even some extreme sports like rock climbing or bungee jumping. With 200 different activities covered, World Nomads is the best choice for active travelers.
Here’s a quick overview of World Nomads:
- Emergency medical and dental coverage
- Coverage for trip cancelations, delays, and interruptions
- Baggage protection
- Emergency evacuation (for medical emergencies and non-medical emergencies such as natural disasters)
- Medical transportation
- 24/7 customer assistance
- Coverage for some COVID-19 medical costs
- Comprehensive customer assistance
- Tiers for basic and premium coverage
- Can submit a claim after your trip ends
- Offers some COVID coverage
- Everything can be done via the website
- Trusted by brands like Lonely Planet, Eurail, and Intrepid Travel
- Claims paid by check
- No car rental coverage on the Standard Plan
This is my go-to insurance company and one I’ve been using for years. It was founded by backpackers, so they keep people who travel long-term in mind in their plans and customer service. They also offer the most trip cancellation, interruption, and delay coverage out there — more so than other companies we looked at.
Prices vary based on your age and country of residency, as well as where you’re going and for how long. (Due to COVID-19, you can only buy policies for up to 180 days since everything is currently in flux.) As a general rule, a one-month policy costs around $120 USD. While that is more expensive than some other companies, they also include coverage others don’t.
You can use the widget below to get a quote:
(Want to learn more? Check out my comprehensive World Nomads review!)
Safety Wing is one of the new players in the travel insurance world. It’s a Norwegian startup based out of California that is specifically focused on remote workers and digital nomads.
Here’s a quick overview of Safety Wing:
- Offers affordable monthly plans with a deductible
- Plans can be purchased at home before you go or abroad after you’ve departed
- Claims can be filed online
- Best for digital nomads and frugal travelers
Its plans are cheap but basic. It’s nice that they offer a flat monthly rate (based on coverage and age), but there is a $250 USD medical deductible you’ll have to pay. Plus, electronics such as phones, laptops, and cameras are not covered, and in this day and age, that’s just crazy.
- Super affordable
- Covers COVID-19
- Backed by a single insurance company
- Covers up to age 69
- Expensive deductible
- No trip cancellation coverage (and only minor trip delay coverage)
- Payout by check and wire transfer only (no direct deposit)
- Limited coverage for your gear and adventure activities
Safety Wing is a good option for anyone traveling on a tight budget who just needs basic coverage. If you want some medical coverage, don’t care about your electronics or robust trip cancellation or interruption, and just want an inexpensive plan, Safety Wing is probably best for you.
Monthly plans start at $40 USD per month, plus a $250 USD deductible.
Medjet is the premier membership program for medical transportation. Its extensive plans focus on crisis response and emergency transportation, and it has amazing staff on hand to help you through it all.
While many insurance companies will just evacuate you to the nearest hospital in an emergency, Medjet goes above and beyond to ensure that you’re repatriated and not stuck in a foreign medical facility away from your friends and family.
There are both short-term and annual plans, too, so no matter what your travel plans are, you’ll be able to find the affordable coverage that you need.
Here’s a quick overview of Medjet:
- Extensive medical transport coverage
- Limited time spent in foreign medical facilities
- Both short-term and annual plans
- Available for residents of the US, Canada, and Mexico
- Will get you home (not just to the nearest acceptable facility)
- Affordable annual plans
- Two tiers of coverage: basic and premium plans
- Offers some coverage for COVID-19
- Only available to North American travelers (US, Canada, Mexico)
- No trip cancellation, trip delay, or baggage coverage
Medjet is the perfect company for anyone looking to avoid time spent in foreign medical facilities should an emergency or crisis occur.
Annual plans start as low as $295 USD per person.
Insure My Trip
Insure My Trip isn’t actually an insurance company that issues its own plans. Rather, it recommends plans and helps you compare prices so you can buy the plan that’s best for you. Think of it as a Skyscanner but for travel insurance.
With Insure My Trip, you can compare plans from over 20 different insurance providers. It’s a great company for senior travelers, since many of the providers on the service offer coverage for those over 65. Moreover, they offer “cancel for any reason” insurance, so, if you cancel your trip for any reason, even ones not listed under regular policies, you’ll get a percentage of your trip back.
Here’s a quick overview of Insure My Trip:
- Guaranteed low prices
- Coverage for senior travelers over 65
- “Anytime advocates” ask the insurer to give your claim a second look if you think it was unfairly denied.
- Comparisons from 22 different companies to ensure you get the best plan
- Tons of plans available
- Options for senior travelers
- Assistance with denied claims
- Offers “cancel for any reason” plans
- Since it’s is a third-party service, you’re dealing with a middleman.
Since Insure My Trip is an aggregator, prices will vary based on your trip destination, country of residency, and travel plans.
IMGlobal provides insurance plans that are more akin to your standard US health insurance. It has comprehensive coverage for long-term travelers, plans for non-US citizens, and affordable plans for visitors to the US as well. Its plans cover single- and multi-destination trips.
I think this company is the best for digital nomads or other kinds of long-term travelers looking for a robust insurance plan that covers regular doctor visits, medication, and other routine care. Most travel insurance plans are emergency care plans, whereas IMGlobal is there for the everyday visits and the emergencies.
They offer two plans for US residents and three for non-US residents. (If you’re coming to the US, your plan also covers COVID medical care.)
- Plans for students and families
- Available for non-US citizens
- Can make claims even after your coverage ends
- Payments by wire transfer or check
- Can choose your own coverage limits
- Minimal coverage for lost/damaged baggage
- No trip cancellation coverage
- No coverage for rental cars on their main travel plans
Plan prices vary a lot, since you can choose your coverage as well as your deductible (your out-of-pocket expense before the plan covers everything). You can pick coverage from $50,000 USD to $8,000,000 and deductibles from $0 to $25,000. The lower coverage and higher the deductible, the cheaper price, but for a standard policy with $100,000 coverage and no deductible, you’re looking at about $69 USD per month.
Honorable Mention: Credit Card Coverage
While not the most comprehensive, many travel credit cards include some degree of travel insurance. Coverage is often limited and might only apply to trips or items purchased with the card. And there may be limited dates of coverage too.
However, something is better than nothing!
That said, while it can be tempting to go for a free insurance plan from your credit card company, their plans are usually not that comprehensive and have minimal coverage and/or limited compensation. These free plans are best used as supplemental coverage in addition to a plan from one of the companies above.
But it’s always great to have options (especially free ones). Be sure to learn more about the best travel credit cards before your next trip (you’ll have to read the fine print).
Note: If you’re traveling with a lot of expensive gear and electronics and want to be sure you’re covered, consider a policy from Clements. While its coverage isn’t as convenient to purchase as the companies above (you need to order a quote via email or phone), it has higher coverage available for gear and electronics if you think you’ll need it.
Nobody plans on getting hurt when they travel. And in a perfect world, we wouldn’t. But we all know that this isn’t a perfect world.
My bags were stolen when I was traveling in South Africa.
I popped my eardrum while diving in Thailand.
Obviously, I didn’t plan for any of these things to happen.
But they did.
And I was lucky I had travel insurance to help me cover the costs. So before you head out on your next trip, make sure that you’re covered. Invest in your own safety and peace of mind. I promise you, it’s worth the money!
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
My New York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will teach you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC called the “bible for budget travelers.”
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.