The Best Travel Insurance Advice for Long Term Travellers

Travel Insurance for Long Term Travellers


It’s yet again that time when I need to try and extend my travel insurance.

And it’s yet again a time when this proves rather more difficult and frustrating than I had hoped!

Everyone’s circumstances are different when it comes to travel insurance and mine in particular, always seem to present a number of hurdles when it comes to making sure I’m covered.

Yes, getting travel insurance as a long term traveller can prove a somewhat interesting, if not tiresome endeavour – especially when you’ve been out of your home country for a while like I have.

There’s often a number of quirks and clauses involved that most other travellers don’t need to bother about and making sure you get the right cover and read all the small print therefore becomes even more important.

This post about the best travel insurance advice for long term travellers was inspired to help those who, like me, might in a similarly confusing position either now or in the future, so here goes …

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#1 Buy Initial Insurance for as Long as Possible

Namibia, Sossusvlei, Petrified Tree Forest

One of the best travel insurance advice tips I could give to long term travellers is to, first of all, buy travel insurance while you are still at home i.e. before you set off for your trip and to, second of all, buy it for as long as possible.

If you think you’re going to be jetting off round the world for a while, then definitely start by getting as much time out of your initial travel insurance policy as possible.

Usually, companies will offer you up to 18 months straight off the bat, so take this if you can.

Not only will this mean you are covered for a good while, but also it will lower the time you have to muck around trying to extend or get new travel insurance while you’re still abroad.

Travelling is a time for enjoying yourself, not doing boring life admin, so do yourself a favour and try to get the longest travel insurance policy as possible sorted before you leave home.


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#2 Get Long Stay / Gap Year / Backpacker Policy

The way you’re going to get somewhere around this 18 month length of cover is by looking for a certain sort of travel insurance.

Different firms call different sorts of cover different things, but generally, you’re looking for a long stay, backpacker policy or gap insurance.

Compared to annual or multi-trip policies, these other sorts of insurance are going to give you the longest amount of time for one trip possible.

This is going to reduce the need to deal with the whole issue a lot less while you’re away.


#3 Find Out If You Can Extend from Abroad?

Cambodia, Koh Rong Sanloem, M'Pai Bay

If you can’t get 18 months worth of cover upfront, or you think you’ll be away for longer than this, then it’s definitely worth checking to see if the company you want to get your travel insurance with offer extensions from abroad.

This is definitely on the best travel insurance advice tips I can give long term travellers, because the ability to extend your travel insurance abroad is such a quick and easy way to make sure you’re covered for as much of your trip as you can be.

Extending with the same insurers also means a lot less stress and paperwork while you are away, which is why I’m such a big fan of it!

The company already have all your details on file, so generally you just agree to some terms and conditions, pay once more and then you’re all set to travel nice and insured on your merry way again.



#4 Find Out If You Need a Return Ticket?

South Africa, Cape Town, Cape Wheel

One thing to watch out for however when it comes to buying long term travel insurance, or to extending or renewing it abroad for that matter, is finding out if you need a return ticket.

Many long term travellers understandably only buy one-way tickets – which allow them to be more flexible – but many travel insurance companies will stipulate you need a return ticket (normally a return plane ticket) in order to get insurance cover from them.

This is one good reason why you must read the small print of any long term travel insurance policy you intend to buy.

If you can’t find the information anywhere, then definitely call the insurance company or message them on social media to find out.

There’s nothing worse than paying for travel insurance and then discovering you’re not covered due to only having a one-way flight.

Checking the details of your policy around this issue is definitely some of the best travel insurance advice I have for long term travellers.


#5 Find Out If You Can Amend Details Whilst Travelling?

Ukraine, Lviv, Bike and Doorway

If you’ve long-term travelled before, then you’ll definitely know even the best-made plans are subject to change.

Once you get out there, meet amazing people and hear about amazing places, the road can lead you in weird and wonderful directions and you want to make sure your travel insurance will allow for this.

As such, checking whether you can amend your policy details whilst travelling is certainly one of the best travel insurance tips I can give to long term travellers.

Such details might include your intended countries of travel, extreme or winter sports, your return date and / or your insured possessions.

Whatever they are, being able to amend details – even if you have to pay a little more – is a facility well worth having when it comes to long term travel insurance.


#6 Is it Easy to Claim?

Indonesia, Jakarta, Woman

Because long term travelling is, by its very definition, a rather vague and open-ended affair, it’s possible that you might want to claim under your travel insurance policy while you’re still abroad.

Indeed rather than waiting until you get home, you may wish to get some compensation sooner rather than later – in which case, it’s great to check if your travel insurance policy will allow you to claim online.

This means you’ll be able to start the claims process from wherever you are in the world and as soon as possible – a godsend if you’re a budget traveller on a shoestring!

The other best travel insurance advice I have for long term travellers is to check how long after an incident you are still allowed to make a claim.

Some policies have open-ended dates, while others are a lot stricter.

As a long term traveller, you want to get the insurance that allows you to make a claim for the longest time possible after the event.

This is especially important if you can’t claim online, as you may have to wait until you get home to lodge a claim.

If the claim period is shorter than your intended length of travel, or close to it, you risk being stuck, without a leg to stand on, when it comes to getting some money back.


#7 Find Travel insurance You Can Buy From Abroad

Cyprus, Nicosia, Window

Ok, so you’ve bought the longest possible travel insurance cover before you left home, you’ve extended this whilst you’re away and you’ve amended as many details as you can.

You’ve also checked the claims process and found out you’re still covered without a return flight.

Despite all this however, you’ve finally reached the limit and can no longer renew your policy.

Well then, the final point in the best travel insurance advice I can give to long term travellers is to find a company that will insure you whilst you’re abroad.

This really is the only option left and luckily there are a few companies that will give you grant you cover even though you are already overseas.


#8 Choose a Great Insurer

Romania, Timisoara, Statue

One such company is Globelink Insurance – who actually specialise in long term, expat and working holiday insurance. As such, they are a very useful company travel insurance for long term travellers.

Brilliantly, Globelink also offer customers the opportunity for insurance cover once they have already left their home country.

Such cover is calculated on an individual basis, so you have to contact them directly via email, but the form is simple and easy to use.

The second company that I know offer travel insurance for those already abroad is World Nomads.

Recommended by Lonely Planet and offered to people from over 150 countries these guys allow you to both extend, renew and buy travel insurance while you are already on the road.

A godsend for long term travellers everywhere, these guys are backpacker and adventure travel specialists.


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So there you have it, best travel insurance advice for long term travellers.

Are you a long term traveller?

What’s your advice when it comes to buying travel insurance?

Do you know of any other companies that offer travel insurance cover to people already abroad?


16 thoughts on “The Best Travel Insurance Advice for Long Term Travellers

  1. Faith says:

    Good information, we never took out insurance from our home country because we were actually ‘moving’ to another country where the medical coverage was excellent and cheap. But now we are housesitting and traveling, luckily we are UK citizens so we are covered whilst traveling in the EU. But I was curious about the insurance aspect of things and in trying to determine whether we need travel or expat insurance. I haven’t yet dug into it…sigh…but I anticipate a slog through all that information.

  2. Paul says:

    Hi Steph, great article. I really like your writing style, and the info of course.

    How do you compare Globelink an d World Nomads? Do you prefer one over the other? And if so, why?

    I read some not so great things about World Nomads, hence why I’m asking.

    • Steph says:

      Hi Paul, thanks for your comments and delighted you are enjoying the blog. I personally have found World Nomads to be excellent and generally use them on all my longer, overseas and active trips (their sports and activity cover is quite generous). I tend to use Globelink for within Europe as their policies are more designed to suit this part of the world and provide Europeans with cover, which means they may not be suitable for all my readers.

  3. MA says:

    Very helpful! Great questions to ask when I call carrier tomorrow. Glad I had this bookmarked and read before I made my call!

    • Steph says:

      So great to hear you found the advice useful! Fingers crossed your call was fruitful and you got some good insurance to cover your long trip.

  4. Amal says:

    Hi Steph , thanks for writing about this great article about travel insurance , it is pretty interesting and simple to read ! keep up with the good job!

  5. mobile phone insurance says:

    Finding the right insurance company for your travel could be some headache work but if you follow it in the right way it could become simple and easy and once you have get the policy done you can easily renew it by asking your company to renew it.

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