The Very Best Long Term Travel Insurance | Complete Guide For Digital Nomads 2021

Ahhh, good old travel insurance. 

 

One of those annoying, additional spends that adds to the endless cost of travelling! 

 

Often, insurance is one of the last things you pay for before embarking on a trip. 

 

Annoying as is, for a standard short trip you simply buy a policy that covers the time you’re away. Easy, job done. 

 

However, when you travel over a period of 6 months + or a few years, things are a little different. As many companies don’t even provide this sort of ongoing cover, full stop. 

 

If you plan to travel full time as a digital nomad, you need to buy insurance from your home country, for when things do go to sh*t. (And trust me, on a long term trip, it inevitably will). 

 

In this post were going to learn everything you need to know when it comes to choosing long term travel insurance.

Table of Contents

What is Long Stay Travel Insurance?

Long stay insurance is cover that protects you in the same way as short term cover, just for longer. 

 

Well, there’s a little more to it than that. 

 

With a cover that’s ongoing, you need a policy that allows;

Many insurance companies don’t even cover travellers who plan to be away for more than 6 months and there are only a select few companies that offer this type of cover.(More on them later).

Why Do You Need Long Term Travel Insurance?

I know, it’s easy to think – Ah yeah it’ll be alright. I’ll just leave it… 

 

And yes, you would be ok, until you’re not.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always one for saving money and travelling cheap, but insurance really is one of the necessary ‘evils’. 

 

When you’re on the road for a long time, things go wrong.

 

For example; you might have an injury, your stuff stolen, your bank card hacked (this happened to me in Indonesia) or even have a family-related emergency you need to fly back for. 

 

The list of potential ‘disaster moments’ really is surprisingly long and having a good policy that covers such events, is essential for any long term traveller. 

The Difference Between Normal/Long Term Insurance?

The main difference between the two is that a short term policy covers you for the weeks you’re away, then stops upon return and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. 

 

With long term travel, It’s more of an ongoing process. 

 

You purchase a policy for 1-2 years that can then be extended. (This is super important). 

 

For example, Safety Wings offers a monthly subscription policy, as ongoing cover, while World Nomads (My personal favourite) offers a yearly policy that you can keep extending.

What To Consider Before Choosing a Policy?

Before we jump into checking out the best long term policies, let’s take a look at some of the factors you need to consider before taking out a policy.

Planned Time Away

Long term travel, means different things to different people. 

 

For example, long term might mean a 6-month trip whereas another person may want to travel endlessly with no planned returned date. 

 

If you already know the date you’re returning, you won’t need a long term policy as you can just buy insurance that covers the time you’re away. That said, an ongoing plan would be great if you plan to do more travelling in the same year. 

Countries You’ll Visit

Insurance companies rate countries based on how ‘risky’ they are to visit. 

 

This can be based upon economic factors, crime rates, natural disaster potential and basically, how likely it is for something to go wrong in a particular country… 

 

The US throws another spanner in the works when it comes to insurance, with many policies excluding the US and costs increasing significantly if you wish to include it in your policy. 

 

This is because medical costs are a lot higher in the USA than in the rest of the world, and according to Nimble FIns.co.uk, 31% of all travel insurance claims are medical-related. So really, it’s unsurprising.

Activities You’ll Do & What’s Included

It’s very important to consider EXACTLY what you’ll be doing when you’re away travelling. 

 

What activities will you take part in? 

 

Once, I went on a trip to South Africa and planned to do bungee jumping, so I needed to make sure the policy I chose, included this. 

 

Come to think of it, If something ‘went wrong’ bungee jumping, I don’t think an insurance policy would do too much to solve it. 

 

For example, if you’re doing a ski season, plan to do some hiking, go surfing, scuba diving or mountain biking or any sort of activity that imposes additional risk, you need to tell your insurance company and include it in your policy. 

 

Be sure to include everything you plan to do while you’re away.

Coverage Limits

Always take coverage limits into account. 

 

This is the exact amount an insurance company covers you for the different things within your policy. 

 

For example, medical costs, dental expenses, natural disaster cover, liability cover, lost or stolen luggage, death/disability cover and any expenses due to cancellations, delays or trip curtailments. 

 

It’s important to know the exact amount you’re covered for in each part of your policy.

Deductibles

A deductible is an amount you pay upfront if you were to make a claim and is usually associated with medical costs. 

 

The lower your deductible, the higher the price of your cover will be. (And vice versa). 

 

Be careful to weigh this up before buying any policy. 

 

For me personally, it’s usually worth having a low deductible and paying more if I was to get injured.

Flight Requirements

Another sneaky thing to note is that many policies actually require you to have a ticket home booked. 

 

Which, if you’re travelling long term you won’t always know. 

 

Be sure to check the small print of the policy (before you buy) to make sure you meet (or don’t meet) the flight requirements.

Tax Residency

Many insurance companies will require you to be a tax resident of the country from which you take out the policy. 

 

Often, this information will be required when filling out your details before purchase.  

 

This will usually be your passport country.

Age

Your age has a huge effect on your policy and although there isn’t much you can do about it, will determine the amount you pay for cover. 

 

If you’re a brand new 18-year-old traveller looking to go backpacking, your policy is going to cost more, than someone 35 years old (with little to no claims history).

Med History

Going back to an insurance companies ’Risk Assessment’ process, they will look at your medical history as an important factor to determine how ‘risky’ you are as a policyholder.

 

For example, if you have a long history of injuries and ongoing medical problems, your policy is going to be significantly higher than someone who is completely healthy. 

 

Yep, seems unfair right? 

 

But in the eyes of the insurer, they are simply covering themselves for anyone more likely to make a claim.

Claims History

Like with the medical history, your claims history is also going to be noted, when a company decides how ‘risky’ you are. 

 

Basically, if you’ve made lots of claims in the past, the insurance company will look at this to determine how likely you are to make a claim in the future. 

 

This is why it’s very important to decide carefully whether to submit an insurance claim or not, especially for the little things. 

 

If you claim for every tiny little mishap that occurs on your trip, in the future you’ll be paying a higher premium ( a premium is an amount you pay for a policy).

Going Home

Unfortunately, many insurance policies include an annoying catch for long term travellers. 

 

And that is, the policy discontinuing if you were to go home, even for a short period of time. 

 

This is extremely annoying, especially if you haven’t seen your family for a long time and want to visit them for a few weeks.

How To Find The Best Long Term Insurance?

Although in this post, we’re about to check out some of the best long term travel insurance companies it is well worth checking out the main insurance comparison sites. 

 

You may not find an exact policy, but it will give you a good idea of what to look for and what’s included in a standard policy.  Check out Compare The Market & Go Compare.

The Best Long Term Travel Insurance Companies

Ok, let’s get down to it. 

 

Here are the very best companies for long term travellers…

World Nomads

Starting with my personal favourite and the company I still use today is World Nomads. 

 

World Nomads are extremely popular with many long term travellers and were the originals for insuring digital nomads and nay long term travellers. 

 

The company was also the very first to offer people the option to buy a policy, even if you were already travelling. 

 

However, this is becoming the standard now, as more and more people are becoming digital nomads, working remotely and living all over the world.

 

I currently hold a policy with World Nomads and have made two ‘renewals’ while living away in New Zealand and Australia over the past few years.

Safety Wing

Safety Wing are an insurance company that caters specifically for digital nomads! 

 

You can buy a policy with Safety Wing as a resident from any country and just like with World Nomads, you can take out insurance wherever you are in the world. 

 

Prices run on a weekly/monthly basis and start from around $40 USD per week. 

 

Safety Wing also allows you to visit your home country (for 30 days or less) if you wanted to visit your family between travels. 

 

In addition to this, the deductible you pay is per policy and paid annually and not per claim, which is a great plus to taking out a policy with them.

True Traveller

True Traveller is a company that claims to be created by travellers and offers the chance to purchase if you’re already away on the road. 

 

There are a few different policies you can choose here as a long term traveller. They offer both backpacker insurance and a multi-trip annual policy. 

 

For example, their backpacker policy can be taken out for up to 2 years and be extended if you’re still away. 

IMG

IMG are one of the most affordable options as they only offer medical cover. 

 

This means they can’t cover you for anything else other than medical costs. This is both a little risky, but great if you’re not travelling with many things. 

 

IMG offer coverage for people from all over the globe, and like Safety Wing, their deductible is per policy, not per claim. 

 

The best ‘bare minimum budget’ option.

Sports Cover Direct

While not strictly tailored to long term travel, I have used Sports Cover Direct to cover myself for trips where I’ve been doing more extreme sports. 

 

Great if you’re going on a trip of just a few weeks/months where you’ll be doing things such as; skiing, surfing, scuba diving and climbing.

Globelink INT

Despite the name Globelink International, they only offer policies to residents of the UK and EU. 

 

A great thing about Globelink however, is that you can choose a plan, without having to name the countries you’re going to. This is great as most of the time if you’re like me, you won’t even know where I’m going to be in the next few months. 

 

Like True Traveller, Globelink offers backpacker policies and the ability to buy coverage when you’re already on the road. 

Summary of Best Long Term Travel Insurance

So there we have it, a post including everything you need to know when it comes to deciding on a long term travel insurance policy. 

 

A few final words to summarise this post; 

 

Be completely transparent with your insurance company. Yep, I know it’s easy to ‘leave out some information, but disclosing information such as any medical history and previous claims will only help you in the long run or when it comes to making a claim. 

 

After providing all the necessary information, make sure you choose a policy that’s specific to you. One that covers everything you’ll be doing and where you’ll be going. 

 

As tempting as it is sometimes (as with booking flights) please don’t always choose the cheapest option! The cheapest insurance policies will likely only come back to haunt you should you need to claim. 

 

The better the policy, the easier it will be for you when making a claim. 

 

Hopefully won’t need to make any claims but travelling long term, always throws up a few unexpected events…So make sure you’re prepared.  

 

Happy travelling…