What do you look for in a backpacker travel insurance plan? That is a very important question you should be asking!
We understand that backpackers like to travel a bit differently than others. I mean, we’re backpackers ourselves.
As a backpacker, your low-budget lifestyle is likely to take you off the beaten path. Sometimes you like to go places where you can immerse yourself in culture. Other times you might want to meet other travelers from around the world.
But just like any traveler, backpackers should also protect themselves with comprehensive backpacker insurance.
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Even if you’re short on cash, being a backpacker doesn’t mean that you have to put yourself at risk. There are plenty of cheap and affordable backpacker travel insurance options out there.
Because let’s be honest…
The last thing you want to risk on your trip is your health and safety. Not to mention, traveling without travel insurance can also leave you with thousands of dollars in medical bills and expenses.
Remember. One big medical bill can quickly turn an otherwise amazing trip into a stressful memory.
That’s why it’s crucial to always protect yourself with travel insurance. For just a few dollars a day, you can arm yourself with the tools needed to make your backpacking trip a safe and memorable one.
As travelers ourselves, we understand the protection that backpackers need while on the road. That’s why we put together this comprehensive list of our favorite backpacker travel insurance companies.
We’re here to help you figure out what to look for in a policy. Then you can decide which company is right for your trip.
Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers in 2021
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The Best Overall Travel Insurance for Backpackers
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The Best Long-Term Backpacker Insurance
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The Best Adventure Travel Backpacker Insurance
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The Best Backpacker Insurance With the Most Policy Options
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The Best Medical Backpacker Insurance
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What Is Backpacker Insurance?
Let’s start with the basics.
Backpacker insurance is travel and medical insurance created for wanderlusters and adventure seekers. It protects you against a number of travel mishaps, like canceled flights, emergency hospital visits, or even lost luggage.
And I bet you agree with me here. Anything that can protect your lost luggage is worth every penny.
Backpacker insurance is more flexible than other types of travel insurance. It covers a broader range of countries and activities. It’s also a lot cheaper than traditional travel insurance.
And look, there are dozens of policies and companies to choose from. But some travel insurance companies are better suited for backpackers than others.
Because the truth is, backpackers have different needs than other travelers. They have different travel requirements and need a travel insurance company that understands their specific lifestyle.
It doesn’t matter where you’re traveling. It’s essential to review your options for backpacker insurance.
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. Travel insurance 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 travel 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, backpacker insurance is absolutely worth it.
But travel insurance isn’t only for backpackers. No matter where you travel in the world, it’s crucial to protect your health (and your wallet) with travel insurance.
The Best Backpacker Insurance Companies
The sheer number of backpacker insurance companies on the market can be somewhat overwhelming. However, choosing the right provider for your trip doesn’t have to be complicated.
There are certain travel insurance companies that are better suited for backpackers than others.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best travel insurance companies that are made especially for backpackers.
World Nomads: The Best Overall Travel Insurance for Backpackers
World Nomads is, in our opinion, the best backpacker insurance company on the market. It’s made for travelers by travelers.
They truly understand the needs and lifestyle of backpackers.
World Nomads offers two different insurance plans:
- The Standard Plan includes $100,000 in emergency medical coverage, $300,000 in medical evacuation and repatriation, and $1,000 for stolen or lost baggage.
- The Explorer Plan includes $100,000 in emergency medical coverage, up to $500,000 for evacuation and repatriation, and higher coverage limits for trip cancellation, trip interruption, and lost or stolen baggage.
Not only do they offer comprehensive trip and medical coverage, but they also cover extreme sports and activities. Both of World Nomads’ policies come with protection for over 300 activities, like bungee jumping, scuba diving, and white-water rafting.
Best of all? Your policy can be edited or extended on the go, which is crucial for backpackers.
And when it comes to cost? World Nomads is also one of the most affordable backpacker insurance options. For the price, you’ll receive comprehensive coverage for most activities and emergencies that you’ll encounter on your trip.
If World Nomads sounds like the company for you, just fill out the form below to get a quote or click here to read our full World Nomads Travel Insurance review.
SafetyWing: The Best Long-Term Backpacker Insurance
As one of the newest names in the insurance biz, SafetyWing is an excellent option for long term travel insurance. Whether you’re going on an extended vacation or simply traveling open-ended with no return date, SafetyWing will cover you.
Unlike the other insurance companies in this list, SafetyWing lets you travel for as long as you want. You don’t even need to specify the duration of your trip — your insurance automatically extends every 28 days until you decide to end it.
Plus SafetyWing is one of the most affordable travel insurance companies on this list, with policies starting from about $40 for four weeks.
SafetyWing only offers one insurance plan. This plan comes with $250,000 in emergency medical coverage and $1,000 in dental coverage. In our opinion, this amount is sufficient for most medical emergencies or accidents.
SafetyWing also offers evacuation protection. Not only do they provide $100,000 in emergency medical evacuation, but they also cover evacuation due to political unrest.
One of the most significant differences between SafetyWing and other backpacker insurance companies is trip protection. Trip cancellation is not included in your SafetyWing insurance policy. However, they do offer $5,000 for trip interruption in case you need to return home.
And unlike other companies…
SafetyWing also offers home country coverage, including coverage in the US. So, if you return home for the holidays or summer vacation, you’ll still be protected in case you get sick or injured.
SafetyWing is an excellent option for travelers who only need medical coverage. By forgoing trip cancellation coverage, you can still protect your health while also saving a few extra bucks.
If SafetyWing sounds like the company for you, just fill out the form below to get a quote or click here to read our full SafetyWing review.
battleface: The Best Adventure Travel Backpacker Insurance
battleface is a new travel insurance company, but it has quickly become one of our favorites for its incredibly comprehensive insurance policies.
The folks behind battleface have tons of experience providing coverage for War & Terrorism journalists, NGO workers, adventure travelers, and more. They already know what’s important for high-risk travelers and thrill-seekers, so they’ve created products for all types of travelers, whether you’re a digital nomad or an extreme sports enthusiast.
battleface has two different plans, including the basic Travel Medical Insurance, which covers the usual things like emergency medical and evacuation.
battleface’s Adventure Travel Insurance also has emergency medical and evacuation, but additional Search & Rescue coverage for travel to off-grid places. This plan covers activities like skiing, snowboarding, diving, mountain climbing, white or black water rafting, snowmobiling, cycling, and sailing.
All of their travel plans include 24/7 emergency travel and medical assistance services and on-the-ground agents, which is incredibly helpful when you’re in a foreign country.
Plus you can upgrade your policy to include Crisis Response, which includes coverage for things like terrorist attacks, wrongful detention, hijacking, and violent crime.
The maximum medical coverage amount will depend on your plan. The highest amount of emergency medical coverage you’ll get is $500,000 for the Travel Medical Insurance, while Adventure Travel Insurance covers up to $100,000. This is more than enough!
For all those reasons, battleface is our top choice for adventure travel insurance.
Just fill out the form below to get a quote or click here for our full battleface travel insurance review.
Travel Guard: The Best Backpacker Insurance With the Most Policy Options
Pick and choose the right travel protection for your needs with Travel Guard. Unlike other one-size-fits-all policies, Travel Guard allows you to choose the right travel and medical coverage for your trip.
Choose between a variety of plans such as annual trip coverage, cruise protection, medical coverage, or even business travel. You can also purchase their Pack N Go plan. This plan is ideal for last-minute trips that don’t require trip cancellation coverage.
You can further customize your plan for your specific needs by adding optional upgrades. Add car rental collision, flight accident, and cancel for any reason coverage to any one of the available travel insurance plans. And if you plan on participating in high-risk activities, Travel Guard also offers optional adventure insurance.
It’s also important to note that some plans are only available to residents of certain states. Emergency medical coverage, available benefits, and policy cost will depend entirely on which state you live in.
Compared to other backpacker policies, Travel Guard prices may be a little bit higher. However, the biggest benefit to their plans is the ability to built out the right insurance policy for your trip.
TravelGuard is an excellent backpacker insurance company if you want to tailor your coverage to fit your travel needs.
Seven Corners: The Best Medical Backpacker Insurance
Seven Corners has three different backpacker insurance plans. Emergency medical coverage for the cheapest plan is $10,000, while the elite policy comes with $250,000 in protection. Trip cancellation and trip interruption are also reimbursed between 100%-150% (up to a certain amount).
But to really customize your backpacker insurance policy, you can add one of the many benefits to your plan. This includes rental car damage, cancel for any reason protection, and accidental death and dismemberment. In addition, you can also add protection for ski and golf equipment!
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.
And here’s the crazy part.
If you book a travel medical plan at least 20 days before you leave, you may be eligible for pre-existing medical condition coverage.
If you plan to take several trips in one year, then Seven Corners also offers a separate annual travel insurance plan for frequent travelers.
The Wander Frequent Traveler plan offers medical coverage inside and outside the US for short term trips throughout the year.
So, if you are looking for a policy with the highest medical protection, then Seven Corners might be the right backpacker insurance for you. (For another option that covers pre-existing medical conditions, consider Travelex.)
What to Look for in Cheap Backpacker Insurance
There are several key factors to consider when looking at backpacker insurance. Some travel insurance companies offer specific benefits that cater to adventurous backpackers and long-term travelers.
Take the time to look for a plan that fits your travel plans.
Flexibility is Key
Just like your plans, your backpacker insurance should be flexible.
Let’s look at an example.
You decide 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 travel 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 terms.
Coverage for Extreme Activities and Sports
Let’s face it; backpackers love their extreme (and sometimes reckless) 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 sky diving in Hawaii, 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.
An Affordable Price Point
Finally, good backpacker travel insurance should be affordable. Flights, hostels, and food costs quickly add up. This can make price a big factor when choosing travel insurance.
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.
Most backpacker insurance only costs a few dollars a day. There’s no excuse why you shouldn’t have it for your backpacking trip!
What’s Covered by Backpacker Insurance?
Now you have an idea of why travel insurance is important. So, what should your backpacker insurance plan cover?
The exact coverage will vary from policy to policy. But there are certain benefits you should look for when choosing a good backpacker insurance company.
Imagine dropping thousands of dollars on a backpacking trip only to cancel because you caught the debilitating flu days before.
Not fun. This has happened to me.
If you have trip cancellation coverage, then you’ll get money back for those non-refundable flights and hotel stays.
It’s important to note that you can’t cancel for any reason. Travel insurance only lets you cancel in serious situations, like family emergencies or natural disasters.
Trip interruption covers you in case you need to return home early. It covers things like a family emergency that requires you to change your plans.
The list of acceptable reasons for trip cancellation coverage also applies to trip interruption coverage.
If you miss your connection due to bad weather or an airline strike, then your travel insurance policy will kick in.
Some policies will cover your daily costs for hotels or food. Other policies might pay for the airline or train costs associated with getting you to your final destination.
Stolen, Lost, or Damaged Property
Your backpacker travel insurance might also cover stolen, lost, or damaged luggage and personal belongings.
Let’s say you lose your smartphone or break your camera lens during your trip. With travel insurance, you might get reimbursed for some of the associated costs. And with some policies, you might even be covered if an airline loses your bag during your flight.
Not only does backpacker insurance cover lost luggage, but it might also cover delayed luggage. If the airline misplaces your bag, you’ll be reimbursed for toiletries or daily expenses until your luggage arrives.
Medical Treatments and Expenses
Emergency medical coverage is one of the most important benefits to have when traveling abroad. You can never predict when you’ll get hurt, especially if you’re a thrillseeker.
Think about it like this.
Say you break your leg hiking through China or get a bad case of food poisoning. Your China travel insurance will help you pay for any medical care needed while overseas.
Without emergency medical protection, you’re stuck paying for any expensive medical bills or hospital stays entirely out of pocket. And depending on how severe the illness or injury is, those bills could be thousands and thousands of dollars.
As we like to say—traveling without medical protection is essentially like traveling without health insurance. If you don’t have protection against emergency medical treatments, then you could be putting your life at risk!
If you get into an accident on your trip, chances are, you’ll need to travel by ambulance to the hospital. And if you’re somewhere remote, like the mountains or desert, you might need to be airlifted to the nearest facility.
In these cases, you could be looking at transportation costs of around $100,000. And without medical evacuation coverage, you’ll need to pay for those expenses on your own.
Do you have $100,000 laying around?
Some policies also offer non-medical evacuation coverage. This includes protection if your destination is impacted by political unrest or natural disasters.
The best backpacker insurance will also include medical repatriation. If your injury or illness becomes too severe, then medical repatriation will cover the expenses to fly you back home. That way, you can receive medical care in your home country.
What’s NOT Covered by Backpacker Insurance?
Although backpacker travel insurance covers a variety of situations, it does have its limitations. Here are a few scenarios that will probably not have coverage under your travel insurance policy.
Alcohol and Drug-Related Accidents
Most backpacker insurance companies will not reimburse for injuries that occurred while intoxicated. If the police or the hospital breathalyze you, then you would probably be responsible for paying the medical bills yourself.
In addition, you probably can’t claim items that were lost due to neglect. That means you can’t claim your lost phone if you were out drinking and partying the night before.
If you are traveling with expensive camera equipment or gear, you should consider taking out supplemental electronic insurance. Most backpacker insurance companies only reimburse up to a certain amount per item. This means it probably won’t cover your expensive laptop or DSLR.
For separate electronic coverage, we recommend InsureMyEquipment.
Pre-Existing Conditions and Check-Ups
Pre-existing medical conditions are usually excluded from both backpacker insurance and traditional travel insurance policies. The look-back period for health coverage will vary by company. So, make sure to read the fine print in your policy.
Medical check-ups and normal doctor visits are not included in most backpacker insurance policies either. Make sure to see your doctor for a checkup before you leave for your trip.
While most backpacker insurance policies will cover the cost of lost luggage or personal property, this usually doesn’t include cash. If you get pickpocketed, you might be able to claim the value of the wallet. But it’s unlikely you can claim the money inside.
For this reason, it’s a good idea not to carry a lot of money while you go out. Leave money locked in the hotel safe, or use the ATM each time you need spare cash.
How to File a Claim on Your Backpacker Insurance
If an unexpected incident happens during your trip, you’ll be glad that you familiarized yourself with the claim filing process. This way, you can file a reimbursement claim for any expenses or costs you may have incurred.
The exact process to file a claim will vary between backpacker insurance companies. You should consult the fine print of your policy to see the precise steps you need to take.
Call the Backpacker Insurance Provider’s Hotline
A reliable travel insurance company will have a 24-hour hotline that you can contact anywhere in the world. The customer service agent can help you:
- File your claim.
- Find the nearest in-network doctor.
- Work with the local police or authorities (if needed).
If you’ve been in a serious accident or emergency, call the police or seek medical attention as soon as possible. You can always contact your insurance provider after.
Document the Incident or Accident
When you file your backpacker insurance claim, you’ll need to submit the appropriate documentation as evidence for reimbursement.
Your insurance provider will ask for copies of the medical bills and accident report for medical claims. And if someone stole your smartphone, you’ll need the filed police report and a purchase receipt.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to collect as much information as possible. The more information you submit, the more likely the insurance company will approve your claim.
File and Submit Your Claim
For backpackers, it’s crucial to have a policy that allows you to submit your claim from wherever you are in the world. That’s why the best backpacker insurance company will allow you to submit your claim online. Some companies will even allow you to file the claim on your mobile phone!
You’ll need to fill out your information and any relevant information about the incident. Then, you’ll attach your supporting documentation and bills to the claim. After you submit your information, your backpacker travel insurance company will review your claim to see if you’re eligible for reimbursement.
The processing time can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If the company requires further documentation, they will contact you for more information.
When it comes to filing a claim, the most important thing to keep in mind is the company’s timeline. In many cases, you only have a certain number of days to submit and file your claim. If you submit your claim past the date, then you won’t be eligible for reimbursement!
What You CAN’T Claim with Backpacker Insurance
Simply having backpacker travel insurance doesn’t mean you can file a reimbursement claim for every situation. Naturally, there are some circumstances you can’t claim with your insurance provider.
Incidents Outside Your Coverage Dates
This should go without saying, but your backpacker insurance only covers you for a specific amount of time.
For the full policy to take effect, some companies require that you purchase your plan before your trip starts. That means you are only able to claim incidents or accidents that occur after you have full coverage.
In a similar fashion, you need to renew your backpacker insurance if you extend your trip past the initial coverage dates. If you do not extend your insurance, then you will not be able to file a claim after your policy has ended.
Claims Filed Past the Policy’s Timeframe
If something happens on your trip, you’ll need to file a claim with your backpacker insurance company within a specific timeframe. If you wait too long to file the claim, then you might not be reimbursed.
Some companies require that you file the claim immediately, while others allow you to file within several weeks or months of the incident. Make sure you understand your company’s policy before you purchase backpacker insurance.
Trip Cancellation or Interruption for Any Reason
Under certain circumstances, you may need to leave early or cancel your trip entirely. However, it’s important to note backpacker insurance only covers you in certain situations, like illness, injury, or family emergencies.
You will probably not get reimbursed if you change your mind, or find a better price somewhere else. On the other hand, some backpacker insurance providers offer “cancel for any reason” coverage. If you add this benefit, you’ll be able to file claims for reasons outside what was listed by your backpacker insurance provider.
Accidents in High-Risk Countries
Although most places are safe to visit, there are some countries that the US government has deemed too dangerous for travelers. So if you plan to travel to a high-risk country, you might not be able to file a claim if something were to happen to you during your trip.
On the other hand, some backpacker insurance companies will provide partial coverage. For this reason, you should read the fine print to see if your insurance policy will cover your destination.
Situations Without Proper Documentation
In order to get reimbursed for your medical bills or lost items, you’ll need to provide your insurance company with evidence. Without this paper trail, you probably won’t get reimbursed.
Depending on what you are claiming, you’ll need itemized receipts, hospital bills or even police reports. The more information you have, the more likely your insurance provider will approve your claim.
Besides your passport, backpacker travel 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 poising to stolen luggage and misplaced smartphones.
And as you now know, 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 travel insurance from somewhere. Because if you can’t afford travel insurance, you really can’t afford to travel!