You probably think exploring a new country sounds magical. Learning new languages. Trying exotic food. Taking in epic scenery.
And you’re right!
However, you should also remember that being overseas can become a nightmare if you should get the flu—or worse.
But illness isn’t the only thing that can go wrong on a trip. Sometimes you arrive in another country, but your luggage doesn’t. Or you have to book an earlier flight back home due to a family emergency.
Well, the unexpected can be expected—and taken care of.
That’s where travel insurance comes in.
Most people buy travel insurance while still in their home country, but sometimes we’re so focused on all the fun details of our trip that we just forget.
Not all travel insurance providers allow you to purchase their services when your trip has already started. But thankfully, there are a few companies that do!
Maybe you’re abroad right now and kicking yourself for not buying insurance earlier. Don’t worry, there’s still time to choose a provider before something goes wrong.
What to Keep in Mind Before Buying Travel Insurance Already Abroad
Depending on which insurer you choose, your coverage might not kick in the second you confirm your purchase. Some insurers have a waiting period until they approve your request and your policy starts running.
In some cases, the waiting period can take up to 36 hours. Before purchasing travel insurance when you’re already overseas, make sure you understand all the policy wording on the contract and how long it will take to receive coverage. You won’t be able to make a claim before this period starts.
What Your Policy Covers
You must thoroughly understand a company’s policy before purchasing any sort of travel insurance.
Some travel insurance policies don’t cover any pre-existing conditions. Those conditions include any types of injury, illness or disease that happened prior to your trip, such as a broken bone or infection you still need treatment for.
Travel insurance policies usually only last for 12 months. If you think you might need to extend your policy while abroad, ask the insurer if doing so is possible before you purchase anything.
Full Coverage When Already Overseas—Is It Possible?
If you select the right travel insurance, you can absolutely receive full coverage. In theory, all travel insurers that allow people who are already overseas to purchase their services offer the same level of coverage from their other plans—unless stated otherwise.
The most important things to keep in mind are the following:
Overseas Medical Assistance and Hospital Expenses
This includes medical costs, ambulance fees, repatriation to your home country and other things you’d need in case of an emergency.
These expenses vary by country, so check that the amount they’re covering is enough for the country you’re traveling to.
Hospitalization or Death
I know it’s not the most pleasant thought, but make sure everything will be covered by your travel insurance if unforeseen circumstances end your trip, either to you or a family member you’re traveling with.
Coverage of Valuable Belongings
When it comes to travel insurance, one of the most essential things to cover is… well, your stuff.
You want to be covered if your personal items or luggage are stolen, lost or damaged. It also comes in handy if someone steals your cash or credit card.
There’s nothing worse than losing everything you own with nothing to rely on. That’s when your travel insurance needs to step up.
If you need to cut your trip short for any reason, your policy should be able to cover pre-paid travel expenses and accommodation. This coverage will make cancelling your trip a little less upsetting.
Getting a Refund
If you’re purchasing your travel insurance abroad, don’t expect to get the option to cancel it afterward. Make sure you’re purchasing the best travel insurance before clicking “confirm”—because it’s usually non-refundable.
Already Abroad? 3 Companies That Will Still Provide Travel Insurance
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These days, World Nomads might be the most famous travel insurance company out there. And for good reason!
Not only do they provide instant confirmation of your policy, they also cover 150 different activities among their various plans. Aerial safari? Sailing? Tobogganing? Hot air ballooning? They’ve got you covered.
World Nomads has 24/7 customer support online and will be able to help you with any emergency assistance.
This insurance company is highly popular among long-term travelers and digital nomads. I’ve personally used World Nomads ever since I started traveling the world, because they’re one of the few companies that allow me to renew my insurance on the road. Many other providers require you to purchase insurance in your home country, which means you have to spend money on a ticket home just to renew a policy.
World Nomads also gives you the option to cover your gadgets up to a certain limit. Even though you’re purchasing your travel insurance a bit later than expected, you might feel safer by just covering as much as you can through them.
Atlas Travel® Insurance
Atlas Travel® Insurance is perfect for those who want to purchase or renew their policy while abroad, because their process is even easier than most. No hassle!
The company also covers emergency medical evacuation, lost checked baggage, emergency dental and all the basic requirements for your peace of mind—including translation assistance during treatment and hospital referrals.
The only downside of using Atlas is that it isn’t available to people in New York, Washington or Maryland. You also can’t buy it while in Canada or Australia. Remember, folks, always read the fine print!
True Traveller is an insurance provider specifically for Europeans.
True Traveller started out as a travel company, not an insurance company. Little by little, they became interested in the safety aspect of travel. And here they are today, offering travel insurance for Europeans traveling all over the world.
Their maxim is something every traveler should keep in mind: “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.”
Maybe you wish someone had told you that before you went abroad. Oh well, it’s still not too late!
True Traveller offers medical cover, optional baggage cover and four different activity packs to choose from: Traveller, Adventure, Extreme and Ultimate Activity, depending on how you plan to spend your free time on your trip.
The company doesn’t require a return ticket, and your coverage kicks in immediately after you purchase it.
Their staff in London is multilingual and on duty 24/7, which brings me—and probably all of us—a sense of comfort.
To fully enjoy your time overseas, you should make sure the most important thing is covered: your health. And it’s not too late!
So buy the best insurance package for your needs, don’t take too many risks and have some fun!
Debbie Corrano is a digital strategist and writer. She works remotely while traveling the world full-time with her two dogs. Over the past few years, Debbie has lived in more than 10 countries, learned a few languages and worked with dozens of agencies and brands.