There is something alluring about traveling the world with everything you need on your back. You’ve got your backpack, passport, and hopefully good insurance in case the unexpected happens. But how do you choose good insurance for backpacking?
As a backpacker, your low-budget lifestyle is likely to take you off the beaten path, and you don’t always follow a fixed itinerary. You need travel insurance that fits your budget and is flexible enough to work with changing plans.
These five companies offer the best insurance for backpackers, from streamlined app-based plans to affordable monthly policies for long-term travelers. I’ll help you figure out which one is the best for you as you prepare for your backpacking adventures.
- Best Overall Travel Insurance: Heymondo
- Best Travel Insurance for Long-Term Trips: Safety Wing
- Most User-Friendly Travel Insurance: Faye
- Best Travel Insurance for International Trips: Tin Leg
- Best Medical Coverage: Seven Corners
1. Heymondo: Best Backpacker Travel Insurance Overall
The word “insurance” can be intimidating, and it’s easy to assume that buying insurance for your trip will be a frustrating process that will leave your head (and wallet) aching.
Fortunately, there are more and more companies out there trying to create a more user-friendly approach to travel insurance. Heymondo is a modern travel insurance provider that has a straightforward process to buy a plan, and their insurance policies are very affordable.
Plus, their coverage is great. The lowest level plan pays up to $100,000 for emergency medical bills and $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage. That’s better than most companies’ upper-tier plans which cost much more!
In addition to emergency evacuation and medical costs, you also get protection for trip cancellations, missed flights, lost baggage, electronic equipment, and more. Heymondo also includes several benefits that many travel insurance companies don’t cover (or charge you extra for) like coverage for adventure sports and pre-existing conditions.
I also love that Heymondo has an easy-to-use app that lets you manage your plan and submit claims straight from your phone. It’s much easier to deal with than waiting for hours to speak to an agent on the phone. I’m a big fan of anything that streamlines and simplifies my travel experience.
Heymondo also has a medical-only plan that doesn’t include coverage for canceled trips, baggage loss, flight delays, or the other trip protection benefits. This plan is extremely affordable and is a great way to get the most important protection for your health if you don’t need or want anything else.
Heymondo doesn’t offer a ton of customization options, but their base plans are great and much less expensive than most competitors. That’s awesome for us backpackers who are pinching pennies to save up for our next flight!
- Great standard coverage for medical and trip protection
- Very affordable rates
- Included protection for adventure sports and pre-existing conditions
- Plans for trips of up to six months
- Skiing and snowboarding aren’t covered activities (even with the adventure sports add-on)
- No Cancel For Any Reason coverage
- Will only cover travelers up to 68 years old
2. Safety Wing: Best Long-Term Backpacker Travel Insurance
As one of the newest names in the insurance biz, Safety Wing is an excellent option for long-term travel insurance. Safety Wing is a bit different from most backpacker insurance providers in that they don’t offer policies for single trips. Instead, they have “nomad insurance” that has no fixed start and end dates. It uses a monthly subscription model, meaning you can travel as long as you want and still have insurance for medical emergencies.
SafetyWing’s plans range from emergency medical coverage while traveling outside your home country to full-blown health insurance for remote workers and digital nomads. Their goal is to create a global financial safety net by providing affordable insurance for anyone around the world. That also makes for great backpacking travel insurance.
Plus Safety Wing is one of the most affordable companies on this list. They have budget-friendly options that still offer good coverage for medical expenses, travel delays, and more.
All of this makes Safety Wing a fantastic insurance policy for anyone looking to travel for an extended period of time. Their coverage for medical expenses is fantastic, and they also include good protection for trip delay, lost luggage, and more.
So is this a perfect option for everyone? Well, no. Safety Wing doesn’t offer single-trip policies, so it really works best for folks traveling long-term. Also, medical protection limits drop if you’re over 65, and adventure sports and pre-existing medical conditions aren’t covered. Lastly, there is no coverage for canceled trips.
- Flexible travel insurance for long-term travel
- Your plan automatically renews until you decide to cancel
- Trip delay coverage and trip interruption coverage are included
- Offers medical insurance that has you fully covered, even in your home country
- Just a single standard plan to purchase (no customization)
- No trip cancellation coverage
- No protection for electronics
- Doesn’t offer coverage for single trips
- No home country insurance for US residents
3. Faye: Most User-Friendly Backpacker Travel Insurance
When you’re out backpacking around the world, you probably don’t want to spend any extra time waiting on phone calls or filing claims. Unfortunately, many travel insurance providers aren’t known for being easy to deal with.
It doesn’t have to be that way though.
Faye is a newer insurance company on the market that offers a refreshing take on backpacker insurance policies with an app-based interface that makes it much easier to manage your plan or file claims. Sick of dealing with stuffy, difficult-to-navigate insurance? Faye might be a good option.
In addition to their easy user interface, I also love that Faye has a lot more customization options than other insurance providers. Going skydiving? You can add adventure sports coverage. Renting a car? They can insure that and will pay for rental car damage. Worried about taking care of your pet if your return home is delayed? They have an option that will pay for kennelling until you make it back.
There’s a lot to love, but (there’s always a but, isn’t there) Faye definitely isn’t the cheapest option on this list. They have great protection for medical costs, canceled flights, and more, but budget travelers will be able to get a better bang for your buck with Heymondo or SafetyWing.
- Super easy app-based system
- Included coverage for pre-existing conditions
- Covers flight cancellations
- Lots of add-ons to customize your policy, including Cancel For Any Reason
- Telemedicine feature gives you access to thousands of medical providers wherever you are
- Limited lost/damaged item coverage
- Not the cheapest option
4. Tin Leg: Best International Backpacker Travel Insurance
If you’re traveling overseas, it’s especially important to be able to rely on having your travel insurance cover anything unexpected. Tin Leg is a highly-respected travel insurance company that has a good reputation for offering high-value policies, and paying out claims when you need them.
When it comes to international travel, Tin Leg has some of the best backpacker insurance policies out there. They offer a great balance of comprehensive coverage and affordable prices.
With Tin Leg, you get all the coverage you expect. Flight delays, baggage protection, and canceled trips are all covered, though you have to cancel for a “covered reason,” like natural disasters or severe illness. This doesn’t include civil unrest, severe weather, or changing your mind. Fortunately, they offer an optional upgrade to Cancel for Any Reason coverage.
Unlike many other travel insurance providers, Tin Leg has a wide range of plans to fit your needs (9, in fact).
My top pick is their Luxury Plan, which is actually quite affordable despite the name. This plan offers great emergency medical protection and trip insurance at an impressive price.
Looking to save your pennies? Tin Leg’s Basic Plan is awesome for low-budget travelers.
They also offer an Adventure Plan, which includes high medical limits plus included coverage for extreme sports and adventure activities. This is perfect backpacking insurance for many of the adventurous travelers out there.
Tin Leg is one of the best overall backpacker insurance companies on the market. They are flexible, offer good coverage, and (most important for many of us) are very affordable.
- Lots of plans to choose from
- Travel freely for a year on an annual plan
- Great trip cancellation coverage (including optional cancel for any reason)
- Fast and reliable service
- Optional add-ons, like car rental coverage
- Lower emergency medical limits compared to other plans
5. Seven Corners: Best Medical Coverage
Insurance for medical emergencies is the most important thing you can have while traveling abroad. Sure, losing money on a canceled trip or missed flight is frustrating, but bills for a medical emergency can add up to much, much larger sums. We’re talking tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is why the best travel insurance companies have high emergency medical coverage limits.
Seven Corners offers two plans to choose from: Trip Protection Basic and Trip Protection Choice, and both have great medical emergency coverage.
With the Choice plan, you get up to $500,000 for medical care and $1,000,000 in emergency evacuation coverage. Those limits are some of the best in the business, and offer a lot of peace of mind on your travels.
However, you can forgo trip cancellation coverage and just purchase a travel medical policy instead. These customizable medical plans allow you to choose your maximum limit as well as the deductible. And, you’re covered for medical and dental treatments, emergency evacuation, and even personal liability.
- Customizable group plans are available
- Good medical cover limits
- Seven Corners has consistently positive reviews
- Solid trip cancellation and trip interruption protection
- Must pay more for pre-existing medical condition coverage
- No cancel for any reason coverage with Seven Corners
Why Backpackers Need Travel Insurance
When it comes to planning your once-in-a-lifetime backpacking trip, travel insurance may be the last thing on your mind. Honestly, isn’t it more fun to spend time picking out the right backpack or booking the coolest hostel?
Well, your health and safety is also something to consider. That’s why we believe travel insurance is the single most important thing to bring on your trip. It protects you against any unforeseen accidents or emergencies that you may encounter on your journey.
- Broken leg from a scooter crash? Your backpacker insurance policy will cover your medical bills.
- Stolen camera on the train? Backpacker insurance will reimburse the cost of your belongings.
- Tropical thunderstorms cancel your flight to Thailand? You’ll be reimbursed and scheduled on the next flight out.
It’s easy to see how insurance can protect you in a variety of unfortunate situations. It can also save you thousands of dollars in medical expenses. For this reason alone, travel insurance is absolutely worth it.
What to Look for in Backpacker Insurance
From digital nomads to adventure seekers, everyone traveling abroad needs good insurance to cover unexpected events on their backpacking trip. However, there is not a recommendation for a single plan that’s good for everyone.There are several key factors to consider when looking at backpacker insurance.
Some travel insurance providers offer specific benefits that cater to adventurous backpackers and long-term travelers, while others specialize in medical protection for folks with a pre-existing condition. Maybe good baggage cover and cancellation cover are important to you, or maybe you just want low-cost travel insurance policies that cover the basics for your backpacking trip.
Take the time to look for a plan that fits your travel plans.
Flexibility is Key
Backpackers, digital nomads, and long-term travelers often don’t stick to a fixed itinerary for their backpacking trips. Just like your plans, your backpacker insurance should be flexible.
Let’s look at an example.
You decide at the last minute to go skiing in Germany and Austria, two countries that weren’t originally on your itinerary. Or perhaps you spontaneously decide to extend your vacation by a few months.
In these situations, you’ll be thankful to have insurance that you can adjust on the go. You might look for backpacker insurance that is paid in installments, or that can be updated and changed midway through your trip.
This flexibility is great, and it lets you travel on your own terms.
Coverage for Medical Expenses
Your health is your most important asset, and it’s important to take care of it, especially when you’re traveling. The most important thing to look for in good travel insurance is solid coverage for medical emergencies. If you get sick or injured while traveling, you don’t want to be stuck with hefty hospital bills.
Most travel insurance will provide cover for up to specified benefit limits. I like to look for an insurance policy that provides at least $100,000 in medical care and $250,000 for emergency evacuation and repatriation cover. More is always better in this case.
Of course, no one expects to get severely ill or injured on their backpacking trips, but the worst can (and does) happen. Good medical coverage is an absolute essential. That way you know that if anything goes wrong, you’ll be taken care of and not have to foot the bill.
Coverage for Extreme Sports and Adventures Activities
Let’s face it; backpackers love their extreme (and sometimes reckless) activities. Did you know that most travel insurance won’t provide medical cover if you’re injured in what they deem extreme sports or other risky activities?
That’s why you should look for backpacker insurance that provides protection for whatever adventure you may encounter on your trip. From scuba diving in Indonesia to rock climbing in Morocco, you’ll want coverage for all those fun and exhilarating moments.
However, many traditional travel insurance companies don’t offer protection for these events. So if you plan on doing any extreme sports, make sure your backpacker insurance provides activity coverage.
Some quick safety advice: never participate in an activity that isn’t covered by your insurance, or you may end up paying potential hospital bills with your own money.
An Affordable Price Point
Finally, good backpacking travel insurance should be affordable. Flights, hostels, and food costs quickly add up. This can make price a big factor when choosing a plan.
Even if you’re hoping to keep your trip low-cost, you should still invest in travel insurance. Fortunately, there are several backpacker insurance companies that offer comprehensive insurance that won’t break the bank.
Final Thoughts on the Best Travel Insurance Companies for Backpackers
Besides your passport, backpacker insurance is one of the most important things to take with you on your trip. It’s there to protect you against unexpected incidents from bike accidents and food poisoning to stolen luggage and misplaced smartphones. It can save you serious money on hospital bills, legal expenses, and lost stuff.
One of my top travel tips for anyone is to buy good insurance.
And you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to protect, well, your arms and legs! There are plenty of companies and policies that offer decent coverage for just a few dollars a day.
With affordable and comprehensive coverage, World Nomads is our backpacker insurance provider of choice. However, you may find that there are other companies that are better suited for your trip.
Check out different policies, compare companies, and shop around for good deals. But at the end of the day, just make sure you purchase insurance from somewhere. Because if you can’t afford travel insurance, you really can’t afford to travel!
Travel Insurance FAQs
Which insurance is best for travel?
AXA Assistance USA offers impressive comprehensive plans at affordable prices.
What is the best travel insurance with COVID?
John Hancock is the travel insurance company that offers the best insurance for COVID expenses.
What are the 3 things travel insurance covers?
Travel insurance insures emergency healthcare, trip expenses, and personal belongings.
Is it better to buy travel insurance early or late?
It is best to buy travel insurance as soon as possible after you book your trip.