I plan every single detail of my trips, so nothing will go wrong.
I never have issues with flights.
I’ll keep my valuables on me 24/7.
I always take great care of my health, I hardly ever get sick.
These are all famous last words we’ve heard from fellow travelers.
But mistakes do happen. Travel isn't always pretty. Credit cards can be “misplaced”. Flights can be delayed due to weather (ahem… Minnesota snow. Or volcanoes in Bali). The one time you forget to keep your eye on your camera, it gets stolen. And let’s not forget that food poisoning happens whether you avoid street food or not. We speak from experience.
Don't believe us, check out these real life travel horror stories, including one of our own. (The first story on there is a perfect example of why you should get travel insurance NOW!)
We are firm believers that there is exponentially more good in this word than bad. There is absolutely no need to fear other people, cultures or countries. With that being said, we are realists and sleep better at night knowing our valuables are covered if something is stolen (unfortunately we’ve had to use our insurance policy for this reason). And we know that we can get medical care in an emergency (thankfully, we haven’t had to use this part of our policy yet… knock on wood).
Your mom would be pissed if you went on a trip without insurance, and for good reason. It's is something you hope you never need to use, but you get anyway. That’s why you get it for your car, your home, your teeth, and well, your health. But often times people forget that their normal insurance typically won't cover stolen items or accidents that occur overseas.
That's why one of the first things we do when planning a trip is to arrange travel insurance.
What travel insurance should I use?
Plug this phrase into Google and you’ll be overwhelmed by the choices. It seems as if there are a thousand companies with a million different policies. So how the heck do you know where to start?!
Lucky for you, we’ve done all the research so you don’t have to.
Before our first big trip to South America we used Squaremouth to find us our perfect policy at the right price. What Kayak does with flights and hotels, Squaremouth does with travel insurance.
You plug in a few details about yourself and travel plans (age, length of travel, pre-travel bookings, destinations) and it'll spit out numerous options that cater to your travel. Browse and compare different coverage to find the right one for you.
We got a policy that covered both of us for 3 months of travel within a half hour. And guess what? It cost less than my monthly phone bill! That’s right – travel insurance doesn’t have to be expensive!
Our policy was great for our basic needs, but after reading the fine print, we found that there were a few things it just didn’t cover:
Extreme sports, like paragliding and scuba diving. It also didn’t cover medical expenses if something were to happen at high altitude.
So for our next travels, we did a bit more research and found what we consider to be the very best travel insurance out there!
World Nomads Travel Insurance is a fan favorite in the backpacking realm, and for good reason. With low-cost policies and coverage specifically for travelers, you’d be hard pressed to find something comparable. Plus, what other insurance company is recommended by Lonely Planet and National Geographic?
World Nomad’s easy-to-use plug and play policy guide walks you through the different coverage options until you find the right one for your travels. They have one week to year-long policies with varies amounts of coverage. If you want to join the thousands that get insured with World Nomads, hop over to their creative site and travel worry free.
But before you start plugging in your name and birth date, read below for somethings you need to know about choosing the right travel insurance policy for you. We’ll also share which policies we've used and exactly how much they cost.
This is what we look for in travel insurance:
Coverage for lost or stolen items: Try to get enough to cover above the price of your electronics and other valuables. A typical policy states that you will receive money for stolen items only if you have a police report filed AND a receipt for the purchase of that item.
Trip cancellation or trip interruption: If something happens to you or a loved one before or after a trip has started, you typically can apply for trip cancellation or trip interruption claims. This way you'll get back the money you put down for accommodation and transportation you've already booked.
Lost baggage coverage: Remember to keep all your receipts of valuable items. Take a picture of everything you’re packing into your suitcase so you know exactly what you have with you. We have an example of a picture like this in our Packing List.
Emergency medical transportation of $500,000 to $1,000,000: Cross your fingers that you will never have to use this, but is good to know you can have that great of coverage. We met a guy who had an medical emergency and needed to be air lifted by helicopter from central Vietnam to Bangkok. This would have put him in debt nearly for life, but insurance covered it all. Phew!
Emergency medical and dental of $50,000 to $100,000: This won’t cover a doctors check-up or a dental cleaning (which are typically cheaper in most other countries than they are in the U.S.). This will only cover major issues like broken bones or severe illness. You’ll likely have to pay the initial medical fees upfront, but you’ll get reimbursed later.
Length of coverage: You'll want to be insured for your entire trip. From the day your plane takes off, until your plane lands back at home.
What travel insurance do we use?
The travel insurance company we use is Allianz Global Assistance. For our 3-month South America trip we bought an Allianz policy and we currently have a year-long policy for travels in Asia and beyond. It covers $2000 in lost or stolen items per person and has $1,000,000 in emergency medical transportation. If we ever have trip delays we can be refunded up to $1,600 or if our bags are delayed, we can claim up to $600.
And what does this policy cost us?
The entire 365 day-long travel insurance for two people is only $70. That’s right, we have better coverage than the Minnesota Vikings’ secondary (If you can tell, this Ben writing). Check out which policy at Allianz Global Assistance works best for you, I know you’re curious. Head over to their site and get insured.
We also use World Nomads Insurance
While we were trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, we purchased an additional travel insurance policy through World Nomads. Our policy through Allianz doesn’t cover medical issues at high altitude, and they don’t offer any policies that cover this. Thankfully, World Nomads had just what we needed. Our high altitude policy for 3 weeks cost $178 and had $100,000 in medical expense assistance and covered $300,000 for emergency evacuation per person. We saw at least 2 dozen helicopter evacuations during our 17-day trek, and let me tell you, those are not cheap rides. I sure hope all those people had travel insurance!
Golden Rule for Travel Insurance
Always, always, ALWAYS have a money trail. If anything happens, the insurance company will want to see proof of what you paid for. If your camera gets stolen but you have no proof of purchase, you’re outta luck.
Keep receipts for everything. For transportation, keep your tickets (at least until the transportation is completed hassle-free). If you go to the doctor, ask for a bill. Before your trip, take pictures of receipts for your valuables and upload them to the cloud. That way if something does get stolen, you can access them easily and send the copies straight to the insurance company.
Understand your coverage
Read all those fine lines! This is a biggie. Like we explained above, compensation will likely only be given for items for which you have a receipt.
Another thing to be sure you understand is how medical coverage will be dealt with. More often than not, you will have to pay the bill up front on a credit card (or with a wire transfer), then the insurance company will reimburse you after you’ve provided all necessary documentation. Many countries (in Asia, for example) have affordable fees for hospital bills, but have a game plan in case of an emergency when you need access to larger sums.
Don’t know where to start?
Plug in your information below to get an instant quote. You can’t get easier than that!
You can also head over to Squaremouth to get a price and coverage comparison. Just remember to read all the fine lines and really know what is covered and what’s not!