Best Travel Insurance 2019: Is Travel Medical Insurance Worth It?

Why You Should Get a Travel Insurance for Your Next Adventure featured

Are you going to travel somewhere soon is wondering if getting a travel medical insurance is necessary? Well, truthfully, you shouldn’t even be questioning this because if you’re traveling abroad (or even anywhere further than 100km from your home’s doorsteps) getting local or international travel insurance is necessary.

In this post, we’ll be comparing two of the most well-reviewed and best travel insurance out there SafetyWing and WorldNomads. Both have great coverage and are in a good price range for shorter and longer trips.

To know more about each one, please read our detailed comparison guide below and make sure to check the charts to have a clear view of what each travel insurance offer and as well their price range for short and long trips.

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Best Travel Insurance 2019: Is Travel Medical Insurance Worth It?

best travel insurance

What is travel insurance?

It is insurance that covers losses and accidents incurred while traveling. This includes flight cancellation, injuries, loss of luggage, loss of passport and other accidents that may occur before, during, and sometimes even shortly after your trip. It guarantees that you will not pay for losses for which you have insured during your travel if they occur.

The best travel insurance can be arranged at the time of booking to cover you during the duration of that trip. It may also be arranged to cover many trips over time. If you travel to many countries over a long period of time, a backpacker travel insurance or a nomad travel insurance cover would be ideal.

What is included in travel insurance?

Not all international travel insurance have the same policy, some have more some have less but normally they all have the basic coverage a person needs in case of an emergency. Needless to say, it is important to make sure that whatever insurance you buy for your trip covers the following:

✔ Trip cancellations

This is covered in the event that you become ill, if your travel partner is unfit to travel or if a close relative dies. Acceptable reasons vary from policy to policy with some offering “cancel for any reason” cover. Also, as a side note, make sure that whatever travel insurance you get also covers trip delays (trip was canceled because of an airport strike) and interruptions (you got sick), that way you’ll be on the safe side.

✔ Emergency medical coverage

If you get sick or injured during your trip because let’s face it, accidents do happen, you might face a hefty bill if you do not have travel insurance. In this case, you must thoroughly check each travel insurance companies how much they would cover in any case of medically related accidents because you’ll never know exactly how much it will cost you. Some international travel insurance covers 100,000USD but some covers more for a higher price.

✔ Emergency medical transportation and evacuation

If something happens and you need to get to the hospital, you’ll get there real quick with this cover. Also, if a certain natural disaster happens in the area or some other unfortunate events that you need to flee the place as soon as possible, make sure that whatever insurance you decide to buy also covers this!

✔ Luggage and gear protection

If your passport or gear goes missing or your bags get delayed then normally travel insurance can reimburse you for this. However, you must read how much the company will cover for lost or stolen goods because sometimes they only cover peanuts. On an alternative note, if you own professional gears that cost thousands of dollars, then it would be smarter to buy separate insurance solely for your these.

Note: depending on what best travel insurance you decide to purchase, please carefully read through what they will cover so you know your rights and which ones you can claim. It is always smarter to have the list with you or bookmarked in your browser for easy access.

What worldwide travel insurance doesn’t cover

It is imperative to understand what is covered by your insurance for travel and what is not. This eliminates the chances of feeling disappointed or “cheated”. Also, purchasing travel insurance does not mean you can go to the doctor whenever you please because I can assure you if it is not accidental or an emergency, your travel insurance won’t cover it.

Always remember that the idea of having travel insurance is so that you are protected in any case of unfortunate events that you might be rushed to the hospital for medical assistance.

Also, self-inflicted accidents can’t be covered and that includes injuries from voluntarily jumping off a plane (there’s another insurance for high-risk activities), getting drunk and passing out on the streets, and anything along the lines of being reckless and stupid.

✘ Certain trip cancellation reasons not included in the cover:

Although the cancellation of trips and flights are covered, not all reasons for the cancellation are. Reasons outside the following are not covered for trip cancellation; Reasons covered for trip cancellation

  • If a natural disaster strikes the destination
  • Terrorist attacks in the destination area
  • If the person insured, their travel companion, family member or business partner gets sick. (Although this may be considered a good enough reason, a physician must examine you before cancellation or within72 hours of cancellation)
  • If the travel company is declared bankrupt
  • If the destination host is sick or dies
  • If a traffic accident occurs prior to the trip
  • If you lose your passport or visa before the trip
  • If your school year is extended
  • If a divorce or a legal separation occurs
  • If you are required to work, transferred or are terminated
  • If you are deployed in the military or required to make a court appearance
  • If your home or business is vandalized or burglarized
  • Reasons that are on this list are not covered during your travel. However, to be on the safer side, you can purchase a special “cancel for any reason” coverage.

✘ High-risk sporting activities

As mentioned above already, high-risk sporting activities are somewhat like opening the door for death and welcoming him with a plate of oven fresh cookies thus considering this “self-inflicted” if ever an accident occurs. Nevertheless, there are insurance meant for such sports so if you’re into this kind of things, you must look for insurance that covers this.

✘ Pre-existing medical conditions

If you have medical conditions, it is best to speak to your personal physician the risks you’re putting yourself into before traveling abroad. With that said, there are some companies who also sell pre-existing condition coverage meaning if you purchase this insurance and something happens to you while you are abroad and the cause is your medical conditions then you will be covered.

Note: For pre-existing medical conditions, you must check with the travel insurance first what sort of occurrences they cover before purchasing.

you get your travel insurance

When should you get your travel insurance?

The best time is prior to your travel adventure as soon as you are done with the booking. However, most travel covers require you to purchase your plan 10-14 days of making the initial trip deposit. This allows you to enjoy coverage benefits even a week before you decide to travel should something happen and you cancel your trip.

Why you need to buy travel insurance

  • To be covered when traveling to destinations that predispose you to certain risks. This includes areas where terrorism is high or natural disasters e.g hurricanes and earthquakes.
  • To protect you from incurring expenses for luggage loss. You should consider a cover for luggage loss if you are carrying expensive designer clothes. If your bags are stolen or the airline loses them, you get compensated for your clothes worth.
  • Sometimes tragic things happen just when you are about to go for the adventure of your life. You lose a close family member and you have to cancel the trip. Without a travel cover, you end up losing the money you had spent on booking for flights and hotel accommodation if they are non-refundable.
  • You or your child that you had traveled with might get food poisoning and require emergency transportation to the hospital. Without insurance to cover the medical expenses, it will cost you a fortune to have your family member flown back home for emergency medical treatment. Having emergency transportation and medical expenses cover takes care of your health in a land away from home.
  • A robbery encounter may leave you badly banged up and the thieves will most probably take all your money, credit cards, your cell, and other valuables. Without a travel cover, your trip may not be a smooth one. You may end up calling friends and family from home to wire you money to cover hospital and hotel expenses.

buy travel insurance

What travel insurance should you get?

As mentioned earlier, in this post we’ll tackle two popular travel medical insurance you can buy online: SafetyWing and WorldNomads. Both have similar coverage but we’ll learn more about each one and by the end of this post, you’ll know yourself which one is for you.

International Travel Insurance Comparison: SafetyWing vs WorldNomads Coverage Chart

SafetyWing

SafetyWing website front page Relatively new in the travel insurance market but already making a name for itself. SafetyWing prides itself as the best travel insurance for digital nomads as it is made by nomads themselves. So, what makes SafetyWing great?

  • Unlike most travel insurance which requires you to buy their policy before you leave, with SafetyWing, you can buy yourpolicy even if you’re traveling already (as the case for most digital nomads)
  • They offer automatic payments so you do not travel uninsured
  • If you visit your home country, you’ll still be covered!
  • Children under 10 years of age are covered without additional cost (1 child per parent)

→ Learn more about SafetyWing and their policy.

COVERAGESAFETYWING
Unexpected injury or illness.
Ambulance and hospitalization.
Emergency room and urgent care centers.
Emergency dental treatment up to the benefit limit.
Outpatient care.
Complications of pregnancy during the first 26 weeks of
gestation.
Injury or illness due to terrorism up to the benefit limit.
Prescription drugs for treatment of a covered injury or
illness.
Emergency medical evacuation up to the benefit limit.
Personal liability up to the benefit limit.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment up to the benefit
limit.
Crisis response associated with kidnapping, such as
ransom, crisis response expenses, and loss of personal
belongings up to the benefit limit.
Emergency reunion and bedside visit up to the benefit
limits.
Trip interruption up to the benefit limit.
Political evacuation up to the benefit limit.
Repatriation of remains or local burial or cremation up to
the benefit limit.
Travel delay up to the benefit limit for 2 days.
Lost checked luggage up to the benefit limit.
Natural disaster up to the benefit limit for 5 days for
replacement accommodations.

WorldNomads

WorldNomads website front page A popular choice amongst travelers and backpackers, WorldNomads has been recommended by many over and over again for many years now (this blog included). So, what makes WorldNomads great?

  • They have two different plans for two different travelers:
    • Standard – cheaper but the coverage limit is lower; best for short-term travels and people who do not have a lot of expensive gears with them
    • Explorer – for a more advanced traveler thus the coverage limit is higher; best for adrenaline junkies and digital nomads and professionals who bring expensive gears with them
  • Tried and tested by many travelers (both short and long term)
  • You can buy and modify your travel insurance even if you’re already on your trip
  • WorldNomads is catered to travelers who move a lot and do a lot of adventure trips and outdoor excursions

→ Learn more about WorldNomads and their policy.

WORDNOMADS COVERAGESTANDARD PLANEXPLORER PLAN
Emergency medical expenses overseas
Medical transport & repatriation home
Accompanying person (for the person who will accompany you)
Prescribed physiotherapy
Counseling services
Out-of-pocket expenses in hospital
Emergency dental treatment
Local funeral expenses or repatriation
Pre-trip cancellation
Trip interruption or Curtailment
Additional expenses (after trip interruption)
Trip resumption
Personal accident
Student loan & credit repayment (after death)
Travel disruption
Missed connection
Natural catastrophe
Hijack (if you're a victim)
Baggage (incase it is lost, damaged, etc.)
Money (incase of theft, etc.)
Personal liability
Rental car excess (incase of theft, damages, etc.)
Replacement of rental car keys (incase of theft, damages, etc.)
GET A QUOTEGET A QUOTE

Traveling insurance: SafetyWing vs WorldNomads Price Quotes (1 month)

Let’s check the prices between these two best travel insurance and see which one is for you. We’ll put this in a scenario and let’s say I’m looking at buying insurance for myself and below are few details about myself and my trip:

  • Residence & Nationality: Finland
  • Age: 28 (as of 2019)
  • Female
  • Traveling duration: 1 month
  • Travel destination: Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia
  • Occupation: Digital Nomad (meaning I have expensive gears with me)

I’ll use this information to get a quote from both insurance providers and get you guys an idea how much it will cost me to be covered for a month from each one.

SafetyWing

Here’s how much it will cost me to have SafetyWing cover my month’s worth of travels:

SafetyWing 1 month quote

→ Click here to get your quote from SafetyWing!

As mentioned above, SafetyWing is more for digital nomads who are on the road full-time but it doesn’t mean those who are looking to be covered for short-term can’t use this insurance provider. To give you an idea about their policy, here’s a chart of up to how much they cover:

PLAN DETAILS 
Overall Maximum Limit $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000
Maximum per Injury / Illness $250,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000
Deductibles$0, $250, or $500 per certificate period
Coinsurance They will pay 100% of eligible expenses after the deductible up to the
overall maximum limit
DESCRIPTION OF COVERAGE

WorldNomads

Here’s how much it will cost me to have WordNomads cover my month’s worth of travels:

WorldNomads 1 month quote

→ Click here to get your quote from WorldNomads!

You probably know by now that WorldNomads isn’t the cheapest travel insurance out there but they do cover a wide variety of coverages that a lot of travel insurances don’t. That said, WorldNomads certainly is more for those who seek adrenaline. Below is a chart to give you further ideas about their policy and maximum coverages for both standard and explorer packages:

WORDNOMADS COVERAGE PLANSTANDARD PLANEXPLORER PLAN
GET A QUOTEGET A QUOTE
Emergency medical expenses overseas€3,500,000Unlimited
Medical transport & repatriation home€350,000€350,000
Accompanying person (for the person who will accompany you)€3,500€3,500
Prescribed physiotherapy€185€1,500
Counseling services€200€200
Out-of-pocket expenses in hospital€1,500€2,000
Emergency dental treatment€250€350
Local funeral expenses or repatriation€10,000€10,000
Pre-trip cancellation€3,500€7,000
Trip interruption or Curtailment€2,500€3,500
Additional expenses (after trip interruption)€2,500€2,500
Trip resumption€1,000€2,000
Personal accident€15,000
Student loan & credit repayment (after death)€3,750
Travel disruptionIncludedIncluded
Missed connection€700
Natural catastrophe€1,250€1,250
Hijack (if you're a victim)€2,500
Baggage (incase it is lost, damaged, etc.)€1,700€2,500
Money (incase of theft, etc.)€200
Personal liability€700,000€1,750,000
Rental car excess (incase of theft, damages, etc.)€1,500
Replacement of rental car keys (incase of theft, damages, etc.)€500

 

Conclusion

If I would be looking for insurance right now, I’ll certainly go for SafetyWing and here are my reasons:

  • I am a digital nomad meaning I stay put in one place for a long time (less risk of losing baggage, getting things stolen, etc.)
  • I do minimal outdoor activities (this probably should change soon)
  • SafetyWing is inexpensive meaning I could afford its month-by-month coverage without creating a dent in my finances

That said, I have personally used WorldNomads from the past and I’ll most likely get it again if my travel style changes. Here are a few reasons why I would reconsider WorldNomadsin the future:

  • If I’ll be traveling for a short period of time (1 week to 1 month)
  • If I’ll be doing more adventure excursions
  • If I’ll be traveling to a bit more remote places (WorldNomads is known to have helped travelers who got sick or injured in lesser known places in the world)

Clearly, WorldNomads have a bit more detailed and higher coverage plan but SafetyWing is relatively new and considering the price you pay, you still get quite a good deal when it comes to as to the maximum coverage they’ll pay.

By the end of the day, the choice is yours but regardless of what you choose, the most important thing is to travel with insurance.

Why is it important to have travel insurance?

First of all, you do not know what is going to happen so it is always best to be prepared for the worse than face an unfortunate situation without any assurance.

What are the benefits of travel insurance?

All best travel insurance you’ll find online (and from your own country) have similar coverage with little to no difference from each other except for the maximum amount they’ll cover and few tidbits that makes each one different from each other. Otherwise, the basics such as:

  • Medical treatments (from injuries or unexpected illnesses)
  • Medical evacuation due to terrorism or natural disasters
  • Accidental death (they’ll cover your transport back home)
  • Trip interruption (cancellations, delays, etc.)
  • Lost baggage

These are the basic coverage you’ll often see offered byinternational health insurance companies out there.

Is travel insurance a good idea?

Simply put, yes. Absolutely. It is best adviced not to travel without one even for short trips!

Is travel insurance worth getting?

Yes. In Finland, banks offer and advice people to get travel insurance even if you’re traveling no further than 50km from their home. Why? Because once you’re outside, the risk of getting hurt or getting into an accident is high regardless of how safe we think our destination will be.

For example, I was sick in Hanoi for almost a week because of food poisoning and I had to fly to Thailand for medical help. It is my choice to fly to Thailand thus the flight is not covered but the treatment I received can be claimed.

The medical help didn’t cost a lot, it was less than €30 but if it would be a more serious accident, I would easily be billed over thousands of euros and that’s where traveling insurance comes in handy to have at any times.

Can you buy trip insurance after booking?

Ideally, you should buy your insurance before you book your trip but in most cases, you can get your insurance up until the day you actually begin your trip (i.e, the day before your actual flight).

When should I buy travel insurance?

You can buy it anytime you already decide when your trip starts and when it ends. It is best to buy it the moment you finalize the “when’s” and “where’s” and ideally before you book the flights (perhaps 10-14 days before your initial flight) or right after booking.

Accidents most travel insurance do not cover

Right, so we have gone through a lot of questions about but not everything is rainbows if you do get coverage. Meaning, you can’t do reckless things and get away with it just because you have traveling insurance. Here are few of the things that any reputable international travel health insurance won’t cover (even though they said they will):

  • Medical treatments for pre-existing illnesses (they will only cover accidents or unexpected illness during your travels)
  • Medical treatments for accidents because you were intoxicated (drugs and alcohol)
  • Motorbike or car accidents because you do not have the correct license to drive (assuming you’re driving) – this is crucial in Asian countries as a lot of foreigners drive motorcycles without the correct motorbike (class B) license!
  • Non-emergency treatments that can wait until you get home
  • Ongoing treatment from home
  • Missed flight (because you were late or in general, you missed it because it is your fault)

There are more but you have to check these with the traveling insurance and read the policy carefully before buying.

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34 thoughts on “Best Travel Insurance 2019: Is Travel Medical Insurance Worth It?

  1. Jirah says:

    I don’t usually buy travel insurance when I travel locally. This is because there almost no coverage of the travel insurance and most of the time I travel light so loss of baggage is not really a problem I face. But this tip is very good especially for international travels.

  2. oyom says:

    Taking a travel insurance is very important for tourists to guard against imminent and unforeseen risks like loss of luggage or other losses.No one can predict safety, so there’s must be a safety net like taking travel insurance

  3. Kei says:

    Nobody wants to get into an accident or any other circumstances, but sometimes we cannot prevent it. That’s why it’s good to have a travel insurance.

  4. Scott Summers says:

    I have heard a lot of insurance types but this is the first time that I heard something like this. Anyway, will I get this? sure if it is not too hefty.

  5. Glad says:

    It is very necessary to have an insurance cover when traveling, locally or abroad because you can never know when something will go wrong.i hope the insurance cover at world nomards is affordable?

  6. Anisha says:

    I have never read the travel insurance document closely when I have travelled abroad. Next time I will definitely read the fine print to ensure I cover all bases. This is good information on what kind of travel insurance is available.

  7. Glad says:

    It is very necessary to get a travel insurance when traveling because you can never know when something would go wrong. But I hope it won’t be so expensive to get an Insurance cover at world nomards?

  8. Angela Rose says:

    I get the point but I don’t see the need for a travel insurance because I can get the same benefits of it with my current life insurance.

  9. oswaldo says:

    Traveling is a great experience in everyone life but definitely, whenever we go out from our home limits we should always have a plan b and travel insurance is the solution to those inconveniences that could arise when we are on the road to the adventure.

  10. Troy says:

    If we think that not paying for a travel insurance will save us from spending our money, well it’s not. Paying for a travel insurance, especially when you always travel or you’re a businessman who always has business trips, will save you from spending if any accidents occur.

  11. odimdavid says:

    I think travel insurance is necessary for frequent travelers. I take a vacation once in every 5 years so I would not consider this. But your article was really interesting.

  12. Marco Bennett says:

    It’s really important to have a travel insurance. It’s worth it especially for frequent travelers like me, be it for leisure or business

  13. Chris Smith says:

    I have already worked for an insurance company which also dealt with travel insurance and I can guarantee it is 100% worth it in case of an emergency. I have seen people who had accidents or faced other unfortunate events and were literally saved by the insurance, without having to pay any extra buck for it. I think you stressed very well the importance of this insurance, and it was also great that you addressed the nature of this service as something for emergencies, sometimes people don’t get that. Also, really nice heads up on preexisting conditions, as people must know exactly what they need and sign for the best option, so as not to have any unpleasant surprise in a bad moment.

  14. Joseph richards says:

    a really good advice. life happens, but if you dont have some type of back up, coverage in this instant than your going to be in more trouble then you planned

  15. Ryan says:

    I’m actually anxious when traveling because of the unexpected events that might happen. I’ll be sure to get a travel insurance the next time I fly.

  16. Chona says:

    It’s always better be safe than sorry. I always make sure that I have travel insurance. It gives me a sense of security and peace of mind.

  17. Mauro Villamil says:

    Very informative as always and I agree with every single pointer. It is very important, if not imperative, to get a travel insurance even if nothing bad happens to you. You never know when the back luck turns your way and you need to be prepared and all covered. For some people, it feels like the money they can use in their travel and is a waste to use it to buy an insurance. But until you have an accident you will know how important it is to have it next to your passport.

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