How to Buy Travel Insurance After Departure or When Already Abroad (With COVID Coverage)

by Travel & Adventure, Working Remotely5 comments

“I just got off my flight and I realized that I didn’t buy insurance that will cover my trip. I totally forgot about it! Is it still possible to buy travel insurance after departure?”
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– Jake D. from UK

Oh boy, been there, done that! I perfectly know how nerve-wracking this situation can be. After all, there aren’t a lot of companies that allow you to buy travel insurance when you are already traveling.

So if you’re like Jake who overlooked buying one before his departure, do NOT fret! There are actually some insurers that allow you to renew, extend, and buy travel insurance after departure. Sure, there are only a few of them, but rest assured, they are reliable and I will be sharing their full details in this post!

Do I really need travel insurance?YES. There will NEVER be a time where I would say no to this question. Besides, we cannot predict the future nor are we invincible; so if you’re on a holiday and the unexpected happens (you lose your luggage, you fell ill, you get into an accident, etc.), your travel insurance will protect you from any hefty costs and bills.
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Sure, buying travel insurance costs money and it might put a dent in your travel funds (especially if you’re traveling on a budget). HOWEVER, your trip won’t be as cheap anymore when you get yourself in trouble (medical evacuations alone can cost you hundreds of thousands!). So if you want to be a smart traveler, buy travel insurance because anything can happen — and yes, sometimes sh*t just happens!
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To learn more about travel insurance, click here.

Top photo by: Shutterstock

Travel Insurance Companies

Currently, there are three (3) popular and trusted insurance companies that allow anyone to extend or buy travel insurance after departure or when they are already abroad and they are SafetyWing (cheapest worldwide coverage), Heymondo (all-around worldwide coverage), and World Nomads (comprehensive worldwide coverage).

SafetyWing

Safety Wing Logo

“Insurance for nomads, by nomads”. SafetyWing is a reputable company built by three Norwegian friends who wanted to design insurance products that are catered specifically for location-independent digital nomads, online freelancers, and remote workers/companies. To date, all of their policies are offered through their partner, Tokio Marine HCC-MIS Group (one of the largest insurance companies in the world), and underwritten at Llyod’s.

SafetyWing’s list of products is as follows, and like I have already mentioned, you can absolutely buy travel insurance after departure with them — they have NO restriction saying that you have to buy it before you leave.

  • Nomad Insurance: SafetyWing’s basic travel medical insurance product covers travelers and nomads alike from all over the world.
    • LIMIT: Only up to $250,000~
    • COVERAGE: They offer amazing coverage perfect for those who lead a nomadic lifestyle, but they stress more focus on the medical aspects when you travel…
      • Medical — access a qualified global network of medical care for unexpected problems and accidents, covering doctors, hospitals, ambulance, emergency dental care, and emergency medical evacuation
      • Travel — includes coverage for: travel delay, travel interruption, lost checked luggage only, political evacuation, emergency response & natural disasters, and personal liability
      • Exclusions — lost tech gear, travel cancellation, high-risk sports activity done in a professional capacity, cancer treatment, pre-existing disease or injury, and others
    • OTHER PERKS: SafetyWing also offers these added benefits that are unlike other policies…
      • Limited coverage when you visit your home country (up to 30 days every 3 months).
      • 1 young child per adult or up to 2 per family, with ages between 14 days and 10 years old, can be included on your insurance without any added cost.
      • Pandemic and/or COVID-19 coronavirus coverage
    • COUNTRIES: Available for purchase in over 180 countries (Cuba, North Korea, and Iran are excluded)
    • DURATION: There is NO cap on the duration of travel.
    • CUSTOMER SERVICE: Offers 24/7 support with great response times and you can talk to a real person who is also a nomad!
    • PRICE: Starts at only $40 for every month or 4 weeks (for ages 18-39, and other ages are available at different price points). If you travel to the USA, it adds $31 per 4 weeks because medical services are a lot more expensive in that country. Nevertheless, this is 1/3rd of the price compared to other insurance companies that offer similar coverage.
      • It works like a subscription with automatic monthly payments that you can cancel at any time (it’s totally flexible and with no added fees when you suddenly cancel out of the blue!). From your chosen start date, your SafetyWing insurance automatically extends every 28 days until you pick an end-date. Rest assured, you can also get travel insurance that spans for days or weeks instead of on a per month basis.
    • For more info visit the Nomad Insurance page.
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  • Remote Health (Nomads): A more comprehensive health insurance for traveling nomads and remote workers who plan to stay in one place for a longer period of time (may it be abroad or in their own home country). If you own a business composed of remote workers, they also offer an amazing Remote Health plan for companies.
    • COVERAGE: Up to $1Million per year on additional services not normally included in Nomad Insurance…
      • Hospital charges, medical practitioner and specialists fees
      • Cancer treatment
      • Day-patient and out-patient surgery
      • Drugs and dressings
      • In-patient emergency dental treatment
      • Diagnostic procedures
      • Rehabilitation
      • Emergency ambulances
      • Evacuation and repatriation
      • Newborn coverage
    • OTHER PERKS: SafetyWing also offers these added benefits…
      • Add-on options for out-patient and prescriptions, dental, $0 deductible as well as the USA, HK, and SG coverage
      • Pandemic and/or COVID-19 coronavirus coverage
    • COUNTRIES: 175 + countries with full coverage and emergency coverage (Cuba, North Korea, and Iran are excluded)
    • CUSTOMER SERVICE: Offers 24/7 support with great response times and you can talk to a real person who is also a nomad!
    • PRICE: Starts at only $153 per month (for ages 18-39, and other ages are available at different price points).
      • It works like a subscription with automatic monthly or yearly payments that you can cancel at any time (it’s totally flexible and with no added fees when you suddenly cancel out of the blue!).
      • You can also get travel insurance that spans for a few days or weeks instead of on a per month basis, starting at about $3 for one (1) day.

Heymondo

Albeit a bit higher-priced than SafetyWing, Heymondo is a crowd favorite amongst travelers who are especially looking for travel insurance with enough coverage that is accepted by most consular embassies (especially when applying for a Schengen Area visa). It’s also well-loved for its app that has a 24/7 remote doctor service and claims management.

This means that HeyMondo is the only travel insurance company that can pay your medical expenses upfront — no need to stress yourself out about how you can make a claim to be reimbursed later on!

What’s helpful to note though is that their policies are only valid 72 hours after you purchase their travel insurance after departure. They are partnered with the AXA Group and some top perks they offer that are worth comparing to the rest in this list are as follows:

  • LIMIT: From $4M~ (Heymondo Top) to $11M~ (Heymondo Medical & Premium)
    • The coverage limit is lower for USA residents at $250,000 to $500,000 only
  • COVERAGE: Heymondo currently has 3 available plan options for single trips:
    • Medical — the most basic package that puts emphasis on medical coverage only
      • Emergency medical & dental expenses overseas
      • Medical transport and repatriation home
      • Psychological counseling services
      • Travel expenses for family member/companion (in case of hospitalization for more than 7 days)
    • Top — all of the above benefits plus…
      • Lost baggage
      • Lost electronics (up to 50% of baggage coverage)
      • Travel disruption
      • Cancellation and interruption
      • Natural disaster cover
      • Personal liability
      • Accidental death or disability
      • Basic adventure sports
    • Premium — all of the above benefits at a higher coverage value plus…
      • Search and rescue
      • Kidnapping
      • Rental car excess and key replacement
    • Optional additions — 100% baggage coverage for lost electronics, additional adventure sports, cruise coverage
    • Exclusions — Pre-existing conditions, intentional acts, wars, strikes, and others
  • OTHER PERKS:
    • A helpful Heymondo app that grants 24/7 chat service with a remote doctor
    • No out-of-pocket upfront payments; just contact their 24/7 customer service and they’ll help take care of everything
  • COUNTRIES: Worldwide
  • DURATION: There is NO cap on the duration of travel
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE: Offers 24/7 support from anywhere in the world through their site and app
  • PRICE: Starts at about $60 per month (price may change depending on the Heymondo plan you choose: Top, Premium, or Medical)
    • Heymondo has an annual travel insurance wherein all trips you take in a 12-month period are covered up to 60 days each. Or you can also avail their ‘Long Stay‘ plan that is at a great price point if you are going on a trip for 90 days.
    • You can also get travel insurance that spans for a few days or weeks instead of on a per month basis, starting at about $10 for one (1) day.
  • For more info visit Heymondo’s page, and as my reader, if you click this link, you get a 5% discount.

World Nomads

World Nomads is another company that is a favorite among a lot of travelers and nomadic workers. Launched in 2002, it has an established record that’s why I’m sure you’ve probably heard of them by now given that a lot of publications and bloggers have placed it as the ‘best travel insurance‘.

Truth be told, I have used them in the past years for most of my travels!

until I discovered SafetyWing and HeyMondo. I switched to them mainly because World Nomad’s policy for Philippine citizens has changed (they passed things over to their partner: AXA). Not to mention the fact that World Nomads is a lot more expensive than SafetyWing and HeyMondo if, let’s say, I want to avail of travel insurance for longer travel sprees.
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BUT I do admit that World Nomads’ coverage includes FAR more than the former two (especially when it comes to sports activities, health cover, and lost electronics/gear) which is great because you’ll be assured of quality service if worse comes to worst! Moreover, if your age is 60+, SafetyWing’s price becomes a lot more expensive than World Nomads.

There’s so much to love about World Nomads because apart from the fact that they allow you to buy travel insurance after departure, they also offer some items of coverage that are NOT offered by SafetyWing. Hence, it helps to crosscheck both of these policies so you can decide which one you would go for as based on the overall price and support they each give.

  • LIMIT: From $5,000,000 (Standard) to Unlimited (Explorer)
  • COVERAGE: World Nomads offers detailed coverage that is perfect for those who want something ‘more’, and they currently have product options of Standard and Explorer (the latter covers more extreme sports activities).
    • Standard
      • Emergency medical expenses overseas
      • Unlimited medical transport & repatriation home (including local funeral)
      • Accompanying person
      • Prescribed physiotherapy
      • Counseling services
      • Out-of-pocket expenses in the hospital
      • Emergency dental treatment
      • Pre-trip cancellation
      • Trip interruption
      • Travel delays
      • Trip resumption
      • Natural catastrophe
      • Lost, damaged, and delayed baggage and tech/electronics
      • Personal Liability
      • Some adventure & sport activities
      • COVID-19 Coverage (limited to USA citizens and their Explorer plan)
    • Explorer all of the above benefits plus…
      • Personal accident
      • Student loan and credit repayment
      • Missed connection
      • Hijack
      • Money theft
      • Rental car excess
      • Replacement of car rental keys
      • Most adventure & sport activities
    • Exclusions — Pandemics, acts of war, civil unrest, pre-existing medical conditions, check-ups, and others
  • COUNTRIES: Worldwide, no limit on countries (but some policies may change depending on the country you’re traveling to or on your citizenship).
  • DURATION: There is NO cap on the duration of travel.
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE: Offers 24/7 support
  • PRICE: Starts at about $110~ (standard plan) and $200~ (explorer plan) per month
    • You can also get travel insurance that spans for a few days or weeks instead of on a per month basis, starting at about $15 for one (1) day.
  • For more info visit the World Nomads’ page or read my honest review.

Comparison Table

SafetyWing*Heymondo**World Nomads***
Emergency Accidents & Sickness
Emergency Dental Treatment
Emergency Evacuation
Accidental Death & Dismemberment
Emergency Transportation
Repatriation of Remains
Pre-Existing Medical ConditionsXXX
Prescribed Physiotherapy
Counseling ServicesX
Routine Check-UpsXXX
Out-of-Pocket Expenses in HospitalXX
Cancer TreatmentXXX
COVID/[1]
Pandemics, Acts of War, etc.XX
Trip CancellationX
Trip Interruption or Curtailment
Trip ResumptionX
Trip Delay
Missed ConnectionX
Loss, Theft, and Damage of Baggage & Personal Effects
Loss, Theft, and Damage of Gear/ElectronicsX[2]
Loss or Theft of MoneyX
Baggage DelayX
Natural Catastrophe
Kidnapping & Other Related Crisis
Adventure Sports & Activities/[3][3][3]
Search & RescueXX
Rental Car DamageX
Replacement of Rental Car KeysX
Personal Liability
Family Coverage[4]
Upfront Payment of Your BillsXX
CountriesWorldwideWorldwideWorldwide[5]
USA Included?Yes, at added costYes, at added costYes, at added cost
Home Country Covered?30 Days[6]NoNo
Insurees AllowedWorldwideWorldwideWorldwide
Age Limit696970
Deductibles$250/Policy$250 only to medical expenses$100/Event[7]
Maximum Limit$250,000$4M to $11M$5M to Unlimited
PriceStarts at $40/MonthStarts at $60/MonthStarts at $110/Month
Per Day Option Available?YesYesYes
» CHECK RATE «» CHECK RATE «» CHECK RATE «

*Nomad Insurance & Remote Health (read the fine print to differentiate their coverage)
**Medical, Top & Premium (read the fine print to differentiate their coverage)
***Standard & Explorer (read the fine print to differentiate their coverage)

[1]Except for the USA and Canadian residents
[2]Covers up to 50% (or 100% as an added cost to the policy) of the baggage coverage in case of theft, as well as for total or partial loss due to the carrier, or damage as a result of fire or assault.
[3]Covers a LIMITED number of sports activities only (not covering adventurous ones; check the fine print regarding which are included in the basic plan or if there’s an option to put an add-on)
[4]1 young child per adult or up to 2 per family, with ages between 14 days and 10 years old
[5]Everywhere but North Korea, Cuba, and Iran
[6]In every 90-day period or 15 days in every 90 days if your home country is the USA
[7]Excess deducted per event claimed (except for emergency evacuation and repatriation expenses)

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COVID-19 Coverage

NOT a lot of travel insurance companies cover pandemics or epidemics so always make sure to read the fine print. Currently, the aforementioned insurers have the following policies regarding cover if in case you get infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Covid Coverage

Photo by: Shutterstock

SafetyWing Coronavirus Policy

As of August 2020, SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance and Remote Health plans cover COVID-19.

  • As long as you did NOT contract COVID before your coverage start date and that it does not fall under any other policy exclusion/limitation, ALL of SafetyWing’s plans will cover quarantine outside of your home country of $50/day for up to 10 days as long as:
    • You are covered for a minimum of 28 days
    • Your quarantine is mandated by a physician or governmental authority because you have either tested positive for COVID-19 OR you are symptomatic and waiting for your test results
    • This benefit can only be used once per 364-day period and is not subject to deductibles.
  • COVID-19 tests are only covered if deemed medically necessary by a physician. (The antibody test is NOT covered since it is deemed not medically necessary).
  • Faster turnaround times for treatment pre-authorization and claims processing. (The claim submission period is extended from 6 to 9 months for members diagnosed with COVID-19.)
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World Nomads Coronavirus Policy

As previously written above, World Nomads does NOT typically cover pandemics, but COVID cover has been recently included in their Explorer plan only (limited) for most nationalities — this is aside from World Nomads’ Travel Protection plan for USA and Canadian residents that cover COVID-19 sickness.

To double-check, read their Coronavirus FAQ.
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Heymondo Coronavirus Policy

All of the Heymondo plans cover COVID-19 medical assistance and expenses up to the limit indicated in your policy (from $100K up to $10M).

  • Medical expenses are covered in the event of infection by Coronavirus.
    • PCR expenses are covered when prescribed by a doctor.
  • In case a contagion affects your return trip, you are assisted for home repatriation.
  • In case you tested positive (symptomatic or asymptomatic) and you need to be hospitalized or quarantined…
    • Extra lodging expenses are covered for the medical quarantine.
    • Your missed return flight home will be covered and you’ll be issued new transportation to take you home.
    • Cancellation insurance applies (it also applies if a close relative gets seriously ill or dies due to COVID-19).
    • Cancellation insurance also applies before departure wherein you’ll get reimbursement for your prepaid, non-refundable trip expenses.

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» What To Look For In a Travel Insurance Plan

ALWAYS read the fine print whenever you buy travel insurance after departure — or basically, just about any type of insurance that you buy. Otherwise, you might be paying for something that doesn’t actually cover the ones that you’ll be needing. So choose wisely! To start off, here are some of the factors that you should keep in mind when buying the best travel insurance.

  • Wide coverage. Apart from country-wide coverage and medical coverage, it’s imperative to ensure that your travel insurance covers emergency care (both in public and private hospitals), emergency evacuation/repatriation (for at least $100,000), and emergency transportation.
    • Take note if evacuation includes taking you back home, or if it will just send you to the nearest medical facility.
    • You might get a cheaper rate if you pinpoint the region or country(ies) you’re traveling to. A plan is also often cheaper when the USA is excluded.
    • If you’re going to perform extreme activities, please ensure that your policy covers them. World Nomads and HeyMondo cover a lot of adventure sports, but if you go for other insurance companies, they might charge extra for any high-risk activities.
    • When your gear is comprised of a lot of expensive items, it helps to ensure that your insurance covers a part of their value in case they are lost, damaged, or stolen.
  • Home country coverage. If you travel long term as I do, there might be times wherein you want to take a breather and see your family back home. To cover this event, check if your policy covers it (SafetyWing is a great choice for this).
  • High limit. Good travel insurance always offers a high coverage limit, especially on medical expenses. As a standard, the insurer should provide up to $100,000 cover for medical care. World Nomads and HeyMondo are great, for instance, because they offer NO limits on most of their policies.
    • Traveling to the Schengen Area? No worries! HeyMondo, for example, meets the required medical coverage of the Schengen Countries which is at least 30,000 EUR (or equivalent to about $36,500~).
  • Low deductible. A deductible is basically the amount that you’re going to pay, and the rest of the balance will be the responsibility of the insurer. So let’s say you got medical treatment that cost $1,000 and the insurance company has a deductible of $200 — you’ll have to pay the latter but the insurer will pay the remaining $800.
    • Take note if the deductible is per policy (so you don’t have to pay for every event) or if it’s per event.
  • Flexible renewal. It’s always best if your insurance can be extended or renewed when you’re already traveling. Thankfully all of the companies I mentioned here will allow you to do this — which is unlike a lot of other insurers that often need you to be back in your home country to be able to do a renewal (some might even need additional documents, etc.)
  • Fast claim process and 24/7 assistance. You do NOT want to be with an insurance company that asks you to “wait” when you’re already in a dire situation. It also helps a lot if they have 24/7 customer service that can be swiftly reached online. Don’t hold back on checking reviews online to see if doing claims with a specific insurance company can be done swiftly or can be filed online, and with no hassles at all.

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» Tips Before You Go

For a complete list of travel resources:

FLIGHTS: I’ve been using Skyscanner for YEARS and it has never failed to give me rock-bottom prices across all existing airlines and flight booking sites. You can even set email alerts when the price drops for a flight route in certain time periods or even in month-long ranges!

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ACCOMMODATION: Depending on your needs, the following offer rock-bottom prices for places to stay…

  • Booking.com: For hotels all over the world
  • Agoda: Often provides cheaper prices for hotels in Asia
  • HostelWorld: For hostels all over the world
  • AirBnB: For apartments, houses, etc. (this link provides a $65 credit on your first booking!)
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PACKING: Check out my list of packing guides — or check out my carry-on packing checklist to ensure that you don’t leave without the essentials!

VISA: For all your immigration-related concerns, check my list of visa guides.

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How to Buy Travel Insurance After Departure or When Already Abroad (With COVID Coverage)

Overall

I hope this guide helped give you some peace of mind as well as show your best options on how to buy travel insurance after departure!

• • •

Have you seen my latest vlog?

How I Afford to Travel the World (Vlog)

About Me

About Aileen : Sidebar

Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid.
At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (online entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel no matter the odds — and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel hacks, guides, resources, tips, and MORE!

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CURRENTLY BASED IN: The Philippines

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5 Comments

  1. Den

    Useful article!
    I want to share with you a story that happened.
    I bought baggage insurance shortly before the flight.
    And when the luggage didn’t come
    I contacted the insurance company and was paid the same day! Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Aileen Adalid

      That’s great to hear! I’m glad everything worked out :)

      Reply
  2. Myl

    While most companies don’t allow you to buy travel insurance after departure, this is a great list to know those who do!

    Reply
    • Aileen Adalid

      I’m glad, I hope this helps!

      Reply
  3. Flora

    I think World Nomad is the best travel insurance company in general because it has a lot of features and benefits and I had a great experience with it on my previous trip, which is Highly recommended.

    Thank you for sharing, I enjoy reading

    Reply

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