Going on a holiday outside of Europe? Worldwide travel insurance can give you peace of mind when it comes to your travel plans.
Whether you’re road tripping through the USA, going on safari in Africa or enjoying a well-earned break on a Caribbean beach, worldwide travel insurance can give you the much-needed cover you require.
It covers you for unexpected events that could otherwise leave you out of pocket. Things like cancellation, medical expenses and theft of your belongings.
Worldwide policies cover pretty much every destination on the globe, and you can take out single trip or annual cover.
Worldwide travel insurance covers you for trips to almost everywhere in the world:
In general, worldwide policies fall into two categories:
Healthcare in these countries is usually more expensive than elsewhere in the world, so policies that include the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean will cost more.
Be sure to check that the policy you buy covers all the countries you’ll be visiting on your trip or trips.
As with all types of travel insurance, worldwide cover can protect you in multiple ways. It could include:
If you’re unfortunate enough to fall ill, including getting COVID-19, or if you’re involved in an accident your travel insurance can cover the cost of emergency and ongoing medical treatment. The cost of receiving treatment overseas - especially in countries like the USA - can be expensive and run into tens of thousands of pounds if you’re hospitalised
Worldwide travel insurance can pay for the cost of transporting you back to the UK if your return travel plans are affected by illness or an accident abroad
If your holiday luggage, or belongings like your passport and travel tickets are lost, stolen or delayed, baggage cover can help you recoup the cost of replacement items
If you have to cancel or cut short your trip, due to something like an illness (including Covid-19), an injury, bereavement, or if it’s no longer safe to travel to a particular destination, then travel insurance may compensate you for some or all of your travel expenses
If your trip is interrupted or disrupted by something outside of your control like industrial action or if the travel company goes bust, then travel disruption insurance as part of your worldwide cover can help pay for unforeseen costs and reimburse you for the parts of the trip you can’t use, like flights and accommodation
Check your policy to see how it deals with cancellations, disruptions, emergencies or cutting short a trip due to Covid-19.
Most policies now cover emergency treatment if you catch Covid-19 when you’re away, plus cancellation cover if you can’t travel due to testing positive for Covid-19.
But it won’t pay out if you decide to cancel your trip because you don’t want to risk catching Covid-19, even if it’s still possible to travel to your chosen destination.
The most comprehensive Covid-19 cover will cover cancellation if you can’t travel because the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) changes its advice for your destination or because of local lockdown restrictions in the UK. But only a small handful of policies offer this type of cover.
Worldwide travel insurance policies differ, so check carefully what yours covers.
Typical exclusions include:
If you travel to a destination against FCDO advice, your policy will be invalid
You probably won’t be covered for accidents that happen when you’re under the influence of alcohol or non-prescription drugs that impair your judgement or physical ability
You can’t make a claim if it’s the result of taking part in anything that goes against local laws
You must tell your insurer if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, otherwise any medical treatment you need might not be covered
If you fall ill from a tropical disease without the recommended inoculations or medication, any claims can be rejected
Trying your hand at something like bungee jumping, canyoning, shark diving or any other hazardous activity on your worldwide trip probably won’t be covered by a standard travel insurance policy. You’ll need to take out extra cover for these kinds of risky sports
Some insurers don’t accept claims that are the result of natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis
In insurance terms, this is called disinclination to travel. Insurers won’t pay out if you simply decide you no longer want to go on your trip
It’s best to buy your travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday.
That way, if anything unexpected happens before your departure which means you can’t travel - such as if you or a family member suffer an illness, injury or if there’s a bereavement - you may be able to claim for costs. Check the wording on your policy carefully.
It depends on how many trips you’re planning to do in a year.
If you intend to take just one trip in the next 12 months, a single trip policy will be your best option. It begins from the day you travel and ends when you arrive home.
You can travel to multiple destinations on a single trip travel insurance policy, as long as the full trip doesn’t last longer than the time period stipulated in the policy.
Sometimes called a multi-trip insurance policy, annual travel insurance could be your best option if you’re going on two or more trips in one year or are a regular traveler. If you also take a few staycations a year, then most worldwide annual travel policies will also cover these as standard.
There’s usually no cap on the number of trips you can take in one year, but there’ll be a limit on the duration of each trip. And there may be a limit on the total number of days you can be away in the year.
Backpacker insurance - sometimes called gap-year or long-stay insurance - is designed for people travelling for long periods, often visiting various countries on their trip.
Policies typically last anything from a few months to a year, 18 months or even two years.
As well as the usual benefits of travel insurance, backpacker policies can also cover you to do some types of work and even volunteering on your trip.
Here are some things you might like to consider before taking your trip:
The FCDO can provide you with up-to-date information on Covid-19, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings for the country or countries you’ll be staying in or travelling through
Allow plenty of time to obtain a visa if it’s required for your destination
Depending on where you’re travelling you may need to be vaccinated against serious diseases like yellow fever or typhoid. Aim to get your vaccinations at least eight weeks before your departure - some vaccinations require multiple doses spread out over several weeks.
You can find out what vaccinations are needed for the country or countries you’re heading to on the NHS Fit for Travel website.
Make yourself aware of local customs so that you can avoid causing offence - things like wearing appropriate clothing and removing shoes before entering a place of worship
Some insurers may refuse to provide cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition such as a neurodegenerative disorder, like Parkinson’s Disease. But there are plenty of insurers that will cover you, though premiums will probably be more expensive.
You’ll need to declare any pre-existing conditions to your insurer, because they’ll be unlikely to pay out for medical expenses, or for cancelling or cutting short a trip because of something related to your medical condition if you haven’t informed them.
For people with a serious medical condition who can’t find cover, the government’s MoneyHelper service has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to give you a quote.
There are a few factors that your insurer will take into consideration, including:
Some pre-existing medical conditions hike up the cost of cover
Older people tend to have to pay higher premiums because they’re more likely to need health treatment while they’re away
Expensive cameras, laptops and sporting equipment can increase the cost of cover
Taking part in adventurous activities like winter sports and watersports may require additional cover
The longer you’re away, the higher the possibility that you’ll need to make a claim, so the cost of your policy will reflect this
Currently, the best worldwide travel insurance policies are those that - as well as offering the usual important cover - also include comprehensive cover for all sorts of eventualities related to Covid-19.
This may include cancellation due to contracting Covid-19, medical expenses and repatriation, and cover for cancellation if you’re prevented from travelling because of local lockdown restrictions in the UK.
Yes, a worldwide policy covers you for trips to European countries as well as to countries outside of Europe.
Worldwide travel insurance policies are divided into two main types: those including and those excluding the Caribbean, USA and Canada.
It varies between providers whether Mexico is classed as part of the Caribbean or not. Some popular areas on the East coast - for example Cancun - are considered the Caribbean by insurers.
Some travel insurance providers impose age limits on their policies. But there are plenty of companies - including specialist providers - that cover people over the age of 65.
Travel insurance for seniors can be more expensive because of the higher risk that an older person will need medical treatment while abroad.
No, it’s not regarded as a medical condition, so you wouldn’t need to tell your insurer you’re pregnant. You would need to disclose any medical conditions you have as a result of your pregnancy though - such as gestational diabetes.
Check your policy, too, because some providers won’t provide cover late into the pregnancy.
You can compare worldwide travel insurance policies with us.
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