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Is Longterm Travel Insurance Right for You?
First off, I have to tell you that I am a big fan of travel insurance, whether for a single trip or longterm travel insurance. I had to have my wisdom teeth removed in China, and I was so grateful that my travel insurance covered the costs of surgery in a Western-style hospital.
While China might have been an extreme example, medical care in Europe can also be quite different from what you are used to back at home. Being sick in a foreign country is already bad enough, the last thing you want is a culture shock experience when it comes to your medical treatment.
And remember: Your medical insurance from back home will most likely not cover you abroad, some not even in a different state. And they are even less likely to pay for things like flight cancelation, lost luggage, medical transport back to your home country and other things (but make sure you read the fine print of what your existing insurance covers as well as the insurance you plan to buy!).
Here is my motto: If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
So now that we established that travel insurance is a must, let’s focus on what kind of travel insurance.
Is Long Stay Travel Insurance Worth It For Me?
You might think that long term travel insurance is only something for people who travel all the time, like frequent business travelers, world travelers, or digital nomads. But even if you only travel a few times a year, for example, 1 big international trip per year and 1-2 domestic trips, long stay travel insurance will most likely be cheaper than buying it for each trip separately. Now you can even do a monthly subscription (4 weeks) for your travel insurance, how convenient is that?
There are three major models for travel insurance. Depending on your travel duration and frequency, one might make more sense for you than others.
1 Trip Travel Insurance
This is the most common one, but usually also the most expensive option, unless you travel very infrequently. You buy insurance for each trip you take.
- You don’t have to worry about canceling your subscription
- It is a smaller lump sum
- Higher cost, if you travel frequently
- If you book independent travel, it can be hard to find insurance to cover everything
- Hassle of buying travel insurance for every single trip
- What if you forget?
Get your single trip travel insurance quote here!
Longterm Travel Insurance Subscription
This is a pretty cool option, especially if your travel is clustered within a few months each year. For example, if you are a teacher and have a few different trips planned during the summer, this might be the perfect option for you. You subscribe for a few months and don’t have to worry about getting insurance for every single trip. You still get the advantage of saving money, but more flexibility.
- Longterm travel insurance covers you for multiple trips
- Cheaper than individual travel insurance
- Great, if you like to go on multiple trips in a certain period
- Easy to cancel during the times you don’t travel
- Easy to budget for and lower, monthly cost
- Not a great choice, if you mainly do short weekend trips every couple of months
- Must remember to cancel during your non-travel periods
Get your travel insurance subscription quote here!
1 Year Multi-Trip Travel Insurance
This option is great if you don’t want to deal with travel insurance. You sign up once, it is valid for one year, and it usually auto-renews or sends you a reminder to renew. Set it and forget it and don’t worry about travel insurance for a full year.
This is what I signed up for last year, with Allianz, because I was traveling for 4 weeks, home for 3, gone for 7, home for 4, pretty much the whole year. It was the cheapest and easiest solution for me. But this year, I have fewer, but longer trips coming up, so I am most likely going to try the subscription model, once my Allianz insurance expires.
- It is easy. Sign up once and it covers you for ALL trips for 1 year
- You most likely start saving if you do more than 2-3 trips per year
- Great if you do a lot of impromptu travel and don’t want risk forgetting to buy travel insurance
- Your travel plans might change and you might not travel as much as you had thought
- Higher upfront cost
Get your Allianz longterm travel insurance quote here!
Can Long Stay Travel Insurance Save Money?
I just did a search for myself: I went through a flight reservation for a domestic round-trip ticket from Los Angeles to New York for $300. The recommended trip insurance was quoted for $21. For an international flight from Los Angeles to Frankfurt for just over $ 1000, I was quoted $69 for flight insurance. However, it only covers my ticket if I or my travel companion are too sick to travel and we have documentation from a doctor. Nothing else.
With SafetyWing, 1-month travel insurance (including health insurance) starts at $36.96. In my eyes, that is a no-brainer!
With Allianz, the cheapest plan starts at only $ 125/year, but I recommend the Prime Plan for $ 249/year for regular travelers, while business travelers or frequent travelers should consider the Executive Plan starting at $ 459. On the Prime Plan, you don’t just get a full year of trip cancellation coverage (up to $2000/year and a variety of reasons, not just sickness), but also a whole list of additional benefits, including Medical insurance abroad, lost baggage and more (please read the fine print before buying).
Tips for Picking the Right Short or Long StayTravel Insurance
1. Anticipate how much you will be traveling this year and make a list.
Include regular trips to visit family, wedding invitation, business travel, personal travel. Most people travel more than they think, but they only think about the “big” trips. If you have family scattered around the country, you might be doing 2-3 trips a year just to see them.
Also see if something might prevent you from traveling, such as health issues for yourself or family members, pets, financial situation, etc. Of course, you don’t know the future, but some of those things are foreseeable.
2. Don’t just think about yourself
It is one thing to think that you won’t get sick when you travel. But what about family members back home? Recently, I almost had to interrupt my trip, because a close family member ended up in the hospital. So also keep your immediate family in mind as well, when you buy travel insurance and make sure it covers costs in case of emergencies back home.
3. Remember that Pre-existing Conditions are usually NOT covered
This can be quite a problem, especially if you have a chronic condition. If you do, make sure that your travel insurance covers you in case you have any issues related to your illness during your travels. Plan ahead and get a stockpile of your medication and try to avoid your usual triggers (if applicable).
4. Most “regular” travel insurance policies exclude “risky” behavior
If you are planning to go skydiving, cliff jumping or to areas/countries with high-risk travel warnings, check with your policy if you are covered. Also see if medical evacuations are included in your policy if you go to remote places or do outdoor activities that might require that. Some even exclude travel within the US, as medical costs are much higher than in most other countries.
5. READ the Fine Print
Your insurance policy is one of the documents you really want to read carefully – from top to bottom – including the fine print. With those contracts, the devil is in the details and you want to make sure that there aren’t any loopholes or excuses that the insurance company can use to not pay.
6. No, you can’t buy travel insurance after you get sick
I have come across this question so many times on various online forums that I want to make this clear. If you have already seen a doctor or are in the hospital, you can’t buy health insurance to cover your costs.
Most travel insurance policies will have a waiting period before your policy becomes active and you can submit your first claim. Lying on your insurance application or while filing a claim is not a good idea. This is insurance fraud and is considered a felony in most countries.
My Top Travel Insurance Companies
1. Allianz Travel Insurance
I am currently on the yearly plan All Trips Prime with Allianz and have (luckily) not had any claims to file in the past couple of years. However, when I reached out a few times to confirm if certain things were covered and customer service was incredibly helpful and got me answers right away.
Allianz has various insurance models, from one trip to multi-trip insurance policies, but they don’t offer a subscription policy, so I am tempted to try SafetyWing out next.
I have not been insured by SafetyWing, but a friend of mine works for them and made me aware of their subscription model. I like that I am not paying for the months that I am not traveling, but I don’t have to insure every single trip separately during my high travel season time. Another big plus is that travel within the US is easy to add (for non-US residents only and with time limits – read the fine print).
I think the SafetyWing travel insurance subscription model is a great option and perfect hybrid of long stay travel insurance that offers flexibility and savings. Sign up when you travel and don’t pay extra when you are at home. Get your SafetyWing subscription here.
They also have “regular” travel insurance starting at $6:60 for 5 days and soon they plan to offer adventure travel insurance, electronics coverage and more.
But no matter which plan or company you go with, just don’t go without!
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