5 most important things to have in your travel insurance

Choosing travel insurance for long term travels can be tricky. To help you out, here are 5 important things to have in your travel insurance so you know what to look for!


You probably already know the importance of travel insurance for traveling long term overseas.

What you may not know, however, is what the most important things to have in your travel insurance plan are.

For years, every time I went away I would just grab the first plan I came across. I would never really check the finer details of what I was actually being covered for.

Luckily, nothing ever went wrong… although I shudder to think about what could have happened if it did. However, I’ve wised up since then, and there are now certain things I always check before taking out a plan.

Here are five things I always check when choosing a travel insurance plan to fit my needs.

Important things to have in your travel insurance - Alex in a clinic in Kabul, Afghanistan - Lost With Purpose travel blog

You never know when an emergency will arise. I went months without any issue, then was struck down by a parasite in Kabul, Afghanistan… the one place where I wasn’t covered by my travel insurance!

Does my plan have good medical coverage?

Medical coverage is probably the most important part of your plan, as this is where costs can really build up should things go wrong.

When taking out a backpacker insurance plan, you should always ensure that there is a high amount of coverage for medical treatments, as well as a good amount for repatriation costs.

The exact amount of medical coverage you should go for will vary, and you will need to take into account things such as where you are going, the likely cost of medical treatment in the location you are traveling, and any existing coverage you already have.

Repatriation costs are separate, but they can be particularly important. However, the cost of getting you home can go far beyond the price of a plane ticket. You may need specialist equipment, nurse escorts, and more. The US Government Centre of Disease Control site indicates that the cost of evacuation can exceed $100,000.

Things to have in your travel insurance - Hiking to the Royal Highlander Festival in Bhutan - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Epic as it was, visiting Bhutan wouldn’t necessarily be covered by all basic travel insurance plans, as most it included high altitude hiking!

Are all my planned activities covered?

So, you’ve bought your travel insurance with plenty of medical coverage. This means that you can now do all the fun activities you had planned for your trip without worrying… right?

Well, unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case.

Activities covered is where things often start to get tricky with travel insurance. Often, standard travel insurance simply won’t cover you for certain activities. Instead, you may have to pay a little bit more to get the coverage you need.

Things sometimes not covered by standard insurance include:

  • Activities like skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, scuba diving, kayaking and rafting
  • Work or volunteering
  • Certain types of camping and hiking
  • Bungee jumping

Basically, anything exciting may not be covered!

When I take out long-term travel insurance, I always think about any activities I’m planning to take part in, and ensure that my plan covers me for these activities.

Important things to have in your travel insurance - Alex hanging out of train in India - Lost With Purpose travel blog

If only all of my delays on Indian trains were covered by insurance…

Does my plan cover me for delays and cancellations?

Trip delay and trip cancellation coverage can help you out if things go wrong while traveling to and from your destination.

Trip delay coverage will generally give you a certain amount of money if your flight is delayed over a certain amount of time. You can put this money towards things like hotels and the costs of meals while waiting for your next flight.

Trip cancellation will cover you if you need to cancel a trip before you leave. However, this will generally only cover things that are outside of your control, such as sudden illness or travel warnings related to the place you will be going.

Trip cancellation will generally cover you for the price of your transportation, as well as things like accommodation costs.

Do I have personal liability coverage?

Personal liability coverage refers to the money that gets paid to third parties if you are responsible for damage to them or their property. It may not be the first thing you think of when buying travel insurance, but it is nonetheless important as you can be vulnerable if you don’t have it.

Even if you aren’t the type to cause damage to others (hopefully, you aren’t!), unavoidable accidents can leave you liable. Something as simple as hitting someone while riding a bike could leave you with a large bill. Best make sure your insurance has you covered.

Important things to have in your travel insurance - Insure your camera - Lost With Purpose travel blog

Cameras are precious, make sure yours is insured!

Are all my valuables covered? Even high-value items?

Now, whether or not you need high-value item coverage will obviously depend on whether or not you plan to bring high-value items with you on your trip!

However, it is worth remembering that insurance plans don’t always cover items over a certain price. If you are planning to bring a camera, laptop, or expensive sporting equipment on your trip, you should make sure that your plan covers these items.

Sometimes there will be an extra option to add coverage for high-value items, and you will often be required to inform your insurance provider about the items before you set off. Still, paying a little bit extra for insurance could be a big help in the long-run if you are planning to bring something expensive on your trip.

In conclusion

Hopefully, you now have a pretty good idea of some of the things you should look for when choosing an insurance plan for backpacking or long term travel overseas. Of course, each trip differs, and as such you should take your own circumstances into account when buying insurance.

As well as this, different insurance providers will have different terms and conditions when it comes to each of the sections on the list. Before buying, make sure you know the terms of coverage of the provider you choose.

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Alex Reynolds

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

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2 thoughts on “5 most important things to have in your travel insurance

    Patrycja says:

    Could you recommend some good insurance for a one year trip? I will start my journey from Georgia via Central Asia (Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran, Pakistan), India and Southeast Asia.
    Thank you for your help!

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