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5 Best Travel Insurance Options (For Expats and Travelers)

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How do I choose good travel insurance? This is a question we get asked all the time. Which provider is best? How can I get coverage as a resident of Ecuador? Who covers Ecuador? In this post, you'll learn about the best travel insurance for travelers and expats traveling abroad.

Expat travel insurance
Update (November 4, 2019): After publishing countless updates showing the flip and flop of the Ministry of Tourism, we can confidently say that the requirement is: uncertain.

There have been numerous announcements that all tourists entering Ecuador will require health insurance. But this has yet to become law. Of course, while it might not be a requirement during your planned trip, it's hard to argue against purchasing a decent insurance policy while traveling.

When we moved to Ecuador we lost eligibility to buy travel insurance from Canada.

The providers we contacted all stipulated that we must be Canadian residents. In researching other providers, this seems to be pretty common. Like all expats, we lost residency in our home country when we settled in our new one.

In this post, we share providers that will insure expats living abroad. We've written about travel insurance in the past – but only featuring World Nomads (because they are our favorite).

Since then, we've learned that the age restriction (there are maximum ages depending on country of residence) is an issue for many travelers and expats in Ecuador. So for the past two days, I've been researching travel insurance for expats.

Here's what I discovered.

Expat travel insurance for Ecuador


3 Best Options for Expat Travel Insurance

If you want to save the time of reading the full post, you can check out these top three providers – in order of flexibility and preference:

  1. Atlas Travel Insurance They accept residents of over 180 countries, and the only age restriction is that children must be at least 14 days old to be covered. Based in United States (Indianapolis, Indiana).
  2. World Nomads They also accept residents from more than 150 countries but they do have some age restrictions. American residents must be under the age of 70) and Canadian residents must be under 60 years of age. If you are an Ecuadorian resident you qualify if you are under 66 years of age.
  3. SafetyWing: Valid for travels from 15 days old to 69 years old. This insurer is different than the others – you don't have to pre purchase the full policy before traveling. Just setup the subscription – renewable in 4 week increments. This is popular with digital nomads – traveling to multiple countries.

Below the large image is a detailed breakdown of each of the 3 expat insurance options.

Expat travel insurance


1. Atlas Travel Insurance

Open to residents of over 180 countries.

This is a great provider for expats!

Requirements: you must be at least 14 days old and traveling outside of your home country.

What is your country of residence? If you are a US citizen, your home country is always the United States (regardless of residency issues). For all non-US citizens, your home country is where you principally reside and receive regular mail.

Insures all ages. Maximum per injury is broken into 3 categories:

  • Age 80 or older
  • Age 70 to 79
  • All others

6 Benefits of Insuring with Atlas Travel

  1. Adventure Sports: Most travel insurance policies exclude adventure and sport activities from coverage. Things like zip-lining and scuba diving aren't covered with most policies. With Atlas Travel you are covered for a wide variety adventure sports. Find the list of excluded sports here.
  2. Global Coverage: Receive medical care in a foreign country. This can reduce / eliminate paying out-of-pocket while abroad.
  3. Emergency Medical Evacuation / Emergency Reunion: For return to your home country in the case of potential loss of life or limb. Emergency Reunion will bring an immediate family member to you – to either stay with you or help you return home.
  4. Return of Minors: In case of your hospitalization, your children are covered to return back to your home country.
  5. Common features such as: Accidental death and dismemberment, repatriation of remains, natural disaster, and terrorism coverage.
  6. Online Account Management: Gone are the days of paper policies. Purchase your policy, manage your account and submit claims online.

Get a quote from Atlas Travel insurance


2. World Nomads

World Nomads is our insurance of choice. Each time we've left Ecuador in the past five years we were covered by them.

We like how easy it is to get a quote and purchase. Our online account is easy to manage and print papers. And they cover us as residents of Ecuador.

 

 

5 Things You Should Know About World Nomads

  1. They offer some of the most flexible insurance available. Their policies are available to residents of more than 150 countries. If you have trouble finding travel insurance then you should check them out.
  2. Make claims online
  3. Extend coverage on the go. Because it is purchased online, you can add (or extend) your insurance as soon as you realized that you need more.
  4. Adventure sports are covered. Things like bungee jumping and white water rafting are covered.
  5. Policies are only available with credit card purchase. Country of residence is an important factor.

Drawback: They have specific age limits, depending on the country of origin. Here are some common countries of residence.

  • United States: under 70 years of age
  • Canada: under 60 years of age
  • Ecuador: under 66 years of age
  • United Kingdom: under 60 years of age
  • Australia: under 70 years of age
  • New Zealand: under 70 years of age
  • Costa Rica: under 66 years of age
  • Belize: under 66 years of age
  • Dominican Republic: under 66 years of age
  • Spain: under 66 years of age
  • More than 140 other countries of residence available. Check yours here.

Get a quote from World Nomads travel insurance.


3. SafetyWing

safetywing logoSafetyWing is different than the traditional travel insurance. It is an insurer created by digital nomads – for, you guessed it, other digital nomads.

Once you purchase your policy, you can auto-renew in 4 week increments while you travel. Of course, you can also purchase for a specific number of days (minimum of 5).

There is good coverage for medical and travel – including lost luggage, trip interruption and delay, emergency medical evacuation. Medical coverage includes hospital, ICU, ambulance, emergency dental, and more. See details below.safetywing travel insurance

  • Medical Coverage includes hospital, intensive care, ambulance, urgent care (with $50 co-payment), physical therapy and chiropractic care, emergency dental. Other eligible medical expenses are covered to the overall maximum limit. With SafetyWing, you pay just $250 deductible with a $250,000 maximum limit. Of course, any of these details are subject to change. Please check directly with SafetyWing to confirm their current coverage and limitations. 
  • Travel Coverage includes trip interruption, trip delay, lost checked luggage, emergency medical evacuation (up to $100,000 lifetime), political evacuation, natural disaster coverage, and more. Please check directly with SafetyWing to confirm their current coverage and limitations. 

As with most travel insurance, they exclude high risk sports, pre-existing disease and injury, and cancer treatment.
Get a quote with SafetyWing.

Rates start at under $40 for four weeks. Just choose your age, if you'll be traveling to the US, and then add family members. It's that simple.

I haven't traveled with them yet, but I'm planning to give them a try on my next trip. I like the subscription model. And it looks less expensive than other companies I've gotten quotes from.


Travel Insurance: Make Sure You Have Something

travel-insurance-options-expats

So there you have it. A number of these options apply to everyone and the rest apply only to American citizens. I think that there should be an option for everyone.

The most important thing is to buy it. Buy something – even if it is a basic policy. When you are traveling abroad there is an increased risk of a fall or another easy injury. Without insurance you could be looking at a very large bill.

Please note: This post is not an offer to sell insurance but a listing of the possible options. Please confirm all details with the insurance company before making any purchase or travel decisions. Details and specifics can (and do) change quickly and without notice. If you notice an error in this post, please comment below and I'll update it. 

Your Turn

What insurance provider have you used? What company/policy do you recommend?

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Bob

Tuesday 11th of June 2019

Thanks for the information about travel insurance. Does it cover routine doctor visits and medications that would relate to what would be called a pre existing condition? ie high blood pressure, diabetes for example? Thank you

Rosalind

Tuesday 13th of November 2018

Thanks for this detailed write up! I just purchased a policy from Atlas Travel using your referral link. All the best, Goats. Oh, and I really like your YouTube videos! :)

Bob Shearer

Saturday 15th of September 2018

Help! I am not the dumbest pooch in the pound, but the req for health insurance for tourists of less than 90 days (3 Weeks) has me confused. Some posts say 'all', others say after 90 days. I am 74 and some companies won't insure. Do you know if VA and Med part B are good enough.? If not, which can you recommend. See that some have age cutoff. Thanks. Bob

Tony Tyler

Wednesday 8th of August 2018

Hi Bryan, Off the topic a bit, but how do Expats get their social security payments transferred to hem as Ecuadorian Banks are not on the ACH network? As i understand it, and I could be wrong, credit cards are not as generally accepted as in N.America, with there being a preference for cash as a mechanism for purchasing goods.

JL in Ecuador

Wednesday 8th of August 2018

An easy solution is to have SS transferred to a US bank, then access it via a credit card &ATM. Works for me! JL in Ecuador

Henry Ewen

Friday 27th of April 2018

For Americans at least, another alternative is squaremouth. They are an online travel insurance brokers selling annual and single trip coverage from a variety of carriers including some listed here and others that are not listed here.

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