Whether you’re planning a sightseeing getaway to New York or a beach vacation in the Maldives, if you’re traveling beyond Europe, global travel insurance should be a staple of your trip.
Having a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place will give you the peace of mind that you are financially protected in the event of an unexpected problem during or near your trip.
Here’s what you need to know when purchasing worldwide travel insurance.
What is Global Travel Insurance?
When you purchase travel insurance, you are asked where you are traveling and whether you want UK, Global or EU policy.
If you are traveling outside of Europe, you will probably need a global policy, but always check the Europe definition of an insurer. Some countries, like Egypt, could be included in a European policy.
Generally speaking, there are two types of travel insurance in the world:
- Policies that include coverage for travel to the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
- Policies that exclude travel to the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
As with European policies, always check the geographic coverage of a global policy as some insurers may have different exclusions. For example, as part of its “Region 3” global travel insurance provider Staysure excludes travel to: Bermuda; Canada; the Caribbean islands; China; Hong Kong; Mexico; Thailand; and the United States.
Policies that cover travel to the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean are likely to be more expensive due to the cost of health care in those destinations.
Worldwide travel insurance can be purchased as a single travel policy or as an annual policy, depending on your travel plans over the next 12 months. If you are going on an extended trip, you can also purchase a Global Backpacker Policy.
You can purchase travel insurance policies around the world to cover single travelers, couples, or an entire family.
Do I Really Need Worldwide Travel Insurance?
No one likes to imagine that things are going wrong while they are away, but unfortunately they can. Purchasing travel insurance is not a legal requirement, but having a comprehensive policy in place will eliminate financial worries in the event of an accident, theft of personal belongings, or unforeseen cancellation.
Medical costs can run into the thousands abroad, so it is essential that you purchase a global policy with adequate medical protection. On its overseas travel insurance page, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) estimates a potential cost of £ 100,000 for a gastric bug or infection treated in the United States with return flights.
What does travel insurance cover worldwide?
Although individual travel insurance policies vary, a comprehensive global policy should cover you for:
- Medical expenses – if you get sick, have a medical emergency or have an accident while you are away.
- Repatriation – to bring you back to the UK.
- Cancellation, interruption and missed departure.
- Travel delays – your insurer may stipulate a certain period of time after which this will apply.
- Personal effects, baggage and money – if lost, stolen or destroyed.
- Personal Liability – to cover you if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property.
You should pay attention to the financial limits in each area of a policy, making sure that they are tailored to your needs. For medical expenses worldwide, it is wise to seek coverage of at least £ 5million.
If you’re not traveling as part of an ATOL-protected package tour, consider looking for a policy that also includes end-supplier default coverage. This will protect you financially if one of your travel agencies stops trading. Alternatively, the planned airline failure covers the airline collapse. Both can be offered as a supplement that you could add to a policy.
What about coverage for Covid-19?
Many travel insurance providers now offer some level of coverage for disruptions and emergencies as a result of Covid-19. However, policies vary, so carefully read the terms and conditions or dedicated web pages for the coverage offered.
- Medical coverage for the duration of your absence – specifically concerning Covid-19.
- Cancellation. For example, if you catch Covid-19 before a trip (or a family member does) or if you are asked to self-isolate before you go on a trip
- Interruption, if you catch Covid-19 or test positive while traveling
- Being unable to travel due to local, regional or local lockdowns. Be aware that this is unlikely to be covered as it is a “known risk”.
- A change of FCDO board. Again, because this is a known risk, it is unlikely to be covered.
- Any exclusion regarding Covid-19. For example, if you purchase a policy after testing positive for Covid-19 on the approach to travel, you are unlikely to be covered.
To learn more about travel insurance and Covid-19, read this article.
What does world travel insurance not cover?
When purchasing travel insurance around the world, you should be careful of policy exclusions so that you don’t have any unpleasant surprises if you need to make a claim.
Some common travel insurance exclusions include:
- Travel against the advice of the FCDO. If you travel to a destination for which FCDO advises against all but essential travel, your policy is likely to be void unless you have purchased a specialized policy.
- Not looking after your belongings. A claim may be rejected if it turns out that you did not take sufficient care of your belongings, such as leaving cash by your bed in a hotel room, rather than putting it in. the room safe.
- Accidents under the influence of alcohol or over-the-counter drugs.
- Accidents resulting from an activity not included in your policy, such as winter or adventure sports.
- Undeclared pre-existing medical conditions. If it turns out that you have withheld medical information, a claim may be dismissed. Some insurers may also classify Covid-19 as a pre-existing medical condition, if you’ve been hospitalized with or are still suffering from symptoms.
- Disinclination to travel. Your insurer will not pay for the cancellation if you simply change your mind about a trip.
Some insurers may also exclude claims due to natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and future pandemics and epidemics as declared by the World Health Organization.
Will worldwide travel insurance cover me for travel to the UK?
Some annual travel insurance policies around the world will also cover travel to the UK, but always check the terms and conditions of your individual policy. Your insurer can offer you a definition of what it classifies as “stay” in order to be protected. This may include having to be away for a number of nights during your break, staying in paid accommodation, or staying some distance from home.
When should I purchase travel insurance worldwide?
The best time to purchase a travel insurance policy is as soon as you have booked a trip. This means that you will be covered for unforeseen cancellations in the run-up to a trip as well as for events while you are away. Always read the terms and conditions relating to cancellation coverage before purchasing a policy to make sure you are comfortable with them.
How much does travel insurance cost around the world?
Insurers set travel insurance premiums based on a number of factors. These include:
- Where you are traveling. The cost of health care is higher in some destinations, so policies that include travel to the United States, for example, will generally cost more.
- Your age. Insurers generally consider older travelers to be more likely to make a medical claim, so premiums are likely to be higher if you’re over 65.
- How long you are going to be away. The longer you need a policy to last, the more likely it will cost you.
- Choice of activities. Some hobbies and sports, such as skiing, have a higher risk of injury. You may have to pay more for this coverage.
- Any pre-existing medical condition you have. Before receiving a quote, you will be asked a number of medical screening questions. It’s important to be honest when answering them, even if it drives up the price of your insurance, or you may not be covered in the event of a loss.
Is Cheap Global Travel Insurance a Good Idea?
With travel insurance, the cheapest policy will rarely be the best for you, and choosing a policy purely on price could prove to be a false economy if you had to make a claim.
Instead, shop around and review a number of policies from different companies side by side to find a policy that meets your travel needs at the most competitive price.
When you compare policies, carefully consider the financial limits for each level of coverage as well as the level of deductible. The excess is how much you will have to pay for a claim, so think carefully about whether you can afford to pay it if you need to.