Travel Insurance For Long-Term Vacations Abroad

Travel Insurance For Long-Term Vacations Abroad

Travel is a huge investment of time and money. A single canceled flight can disrupt your entire vacation and lead to costly extra expenses.

If your trip is canceled due to a family emergency, work obligations or other covered reason, a policy may reimburse prepaid, non-refundable expenses. Many policies also include primary medical coverage and can be extended to cover multiple trips.

Comprehensive Coverage

If you’re going on a long trip abroad, a comprehensive travel insurance policy might be your best option. These policies cover longer periods of time and provide broader coverage than single-trip plans, including medical and trip cancellation protections. These are ideal for digital nomads, gap year students or anyone else who’s planning to travel long-term for work or leisure.

In addition to emergency medical coverage, comprehensive plans typically include trip interruption and baggage loss/damage benefits, as well as personal liability. Many also offer lower deductibles and coinsurance percentages, which can help minimize your out-of-pocket expenses.

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You can find comprehensive travel insurance through most major travel agencies, independent travel agents and some credit card companies. You can also purchase stand-alone travel medical insurance, although these policies tend to be more limiting and have higher premiums than comprehensive plans.

Many providers offer annual multi-trip plans, which are usually less expensive than purchasing individual trips. However, some only cover trips up to a certain length or exclude specific activities (e.g., skydiving). Check the details carefully to make sure the plan you choose will work for your itinerary. Some plans also limit pre-existing condition coverage, so check the terms and conditions before purchasing. Other factors to consider include your budget, trip duration and risk tolerance. A catastrophic plan with a higher deductible may be cheaper for young, healthy travelers willing to gamble that they won’t need medical care while traveling abroad.

Cancel for Any Reason Coverage

A popular add-on to comprehensive travel insurance plans, cancel for any reason coverage (or CFAR) gives travelers maximum flexibility. Adding this option to your policy allows you to cancel for any reason and receive reimbursement of a percentage of your nonrefundable trip costs, up to the total limit of the plan.

Most travel insurers have a list of covered reasons for trip cancellation or interruption that can be reimbursed under a standard travel insurance policy. However, these can be fairly specific, and the situations travelers are concerned about don’t always fit into one of those categories. That’s why CFAR is an attractive option for many travelers.

With CFAR, you can get back up to 80% of your prepaid and nonrefundable trip expenses, depending on the provider and the policy. Generally, this type of policy is more expensive than a standard travel insurance policy with a similar benefit level.

Adding this option to your travel insurance plan typically costs 25%-50% more than a comparable comprehensive policy without CFAR. It’s worth the extra investment if you are worried about geopolitical events, a changing family or work situation, or have other uncertainties that could lead to trip cancellations. Enter your trip information and select the CFAR filter to find policies that include this coverage option. You can also request a quote with and without this add-on, so you can compare prices and decide whether or not it’s right for you.

Emergency Medical Coverage

If you’re taking an extended trip abroad, travel medical coverage is a must. Both Piper Kan and Reece Huculak-Kimmel have heartbreaking stories to share that demonstrate the value of having this type of supplemental plan.

Unlike the typical health insurance policy, travel medical policies cover only emergencies and other situations that may require immediate care, such as sudden illness or injury. These types of incidents could derail your vacation plans and require medical treatment, resulting in high out-of-pocket costs.

Some of these policies also include a 24-hour helpline that can facilitate the purchase of prescription drugs and other services. In addition, some travel medical insurance plans have foreign language assistance, which is helpful if you can’t communicate with medical personnel in a foreign country.

Most of these supplemental policies have limits, exclusions and deductibles, just like other types of insurance. For example, some travel medical plans don’t cover expenses incurred for activities deemed too risky, such as sky diving or mountain climbing.

Other common exclusions include the cost of pre-existing conditions, unless you have a waiver. Similarly, some travel medical insurance providers won’t cover you for any incidents that occur while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some specialized policies might have different limitations, however. To find the best long-term travel insurance, look for a provider that provides flexible coverage and has low prices. Heymondo, for example, offers a single plan with durations of two weeks to eight months and includes COVID coverage in all their plans, as well as an easy-to-use app that makes extending the policy fast and simple.

Emergency Travel Assistance

Many premium travel credit cards include some form of emergency medical coverage. While the amount and limits can vary, it’s generally a small portion of the total costs of a trip and isn’t as comprehensive as stand-alone travel medical insurance.

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A stand-alone travel medical insurance policy typically offers a much more turnkey experience, with a dedicated team that takes a holistic approach to solving your travel problems, says Scott Adamski, a spokesperson for AIG Travel. He adds that a robust travel assistance provider can help in the event of a disaster at your destination or a civil disturbance that overwhelms transportation resources.

In such a situation, the travel insurance company acts as liaison to arrange medevac services to get you to the nearest hospital that can treat your condition. This may be in another city within the country, in your home country or even back in the U.S. Most travel medical insurance plans require an onsite physician to order the evacuation and confirm that the injury or illness is serious enough to warrant it.

The travel insurance company will then stay in touch with your doctor to relay updates and relay messages, provide interpretation services if necessary, guarantee payment to the treatment center and handle billing. Some travel health and evacuation insurers also offer aid during treatment, such as arranging to fly you home when you’re stable or to facilities that are more familiar with treating your condition.

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