Compare long stay travel insurance

Travelling for months at a time can be an amazing experience. But in far-flung locations you'll want to know you've got your medical expenses covered at the very least, not to mention your possessions. So, make sure you've got travel insurance in place before you set off.

Travelling for months at a time can be an amazing experience. But in far-flung locations you'll want to know you've got your medical expenses covered at the very least, not to mention your possessions. So, make sure you've got travel insurance in place before you set off.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
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Posted 01 MAY 2020

What exactly is long stay travel insurance?

Long trip travel insurance covers you for 3-18 months (and can be extended if you're not quite ready to come home). It's sometimes known as backpacker travel insurance. But it's also useful, if for example, you hate British winters and prefer to seek the sun and spend them abroad, or want an extended stay with relatives overseas. It can also sometimes be used for overseas stays that are clearly temporary, even if you are working – for example with a working holiday visa – but you will need to check the exclusions to make sure you're covered.

It can be really useful for anyone spending a gap year or career break abroad.


A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.

If a country is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

What does long stay travel insurance cover?

The level of cover you get can vary considerably between providers, so keep an eye on the details and check how much excess you'd need to pay if you did make a claim.

If you don't want to shell out too much but want to be confident you've got a reasonable level of cover, you might want to consider:

  • Medical expenses – on a long stay trip, it's a good idea to have the most comprehensive medical cover available. You may want to consider cover from £3 million pounds or more and make sure it can cover emergency repatriation, in case you need to be flown home. Medical treatment abroad, particularly in countries like the USA, can climb into the hundreds of thousands of pounds. This can surge even higher, if you’re required to be evacuated by air in an emergency, or require a longer period in hospital. With your medical limit, it’s best to be overly cautious, to avoid potentially crippling medical bills that will only make a bad situation worse. 
  • Holiday cancellation cover – make sure this is at least equal to the cost of your holiday.
  • Flight cancellations and missed connections – your travel insurance may also provide cancellation cover in the event that you have to cancel your holiday due to illness or jury service. This could ensure you get your money back. Just make sure the level of cover is sufficient to cover the cost of your trip. Cover for things like a missed connection isn't included in all policies, so if you want to be covered for this, make sure you check the policy T&Cs
  • Damage, loss or theft of your baggage – £1,500 could cover the cost of your suitcase or rucksack and its contents. But you may want higher cover if you're taking expensive gadgets or designer items. Make sure you've added up the cost of your belongings and include any expensive items too – check the maximum value for any single items too, so you cover your needs

Choose your voluntary excess carefully, as you need to make sure you can afford to pay it in the event of a claim. A voluntary excess is the amount you’re willing to pay for your claim, and is often on top of a compulsory excess. 

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition? 

You can still get travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition. You may just need to take out a specialist type of cover, depending on your condition. 
Some examples of common pre-existing medical conditions include: 

  • Diabetes 
  • Chronic illnesses such as cancer or stomach problems 
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol 
  • Respiratory problems including asthma 
  • Joint and bone inflammation

During your application, you may be asked for details about your medical history, as well as your existing condition(s). In some cases, you may even be asked to complete a medical exam. It’s best to be as accurate as you can during your application, as this will ensure that you get the relevant cover and reduce the likelihood of any eventual claim being denied. If you fail to disclose accurate information, you may find that your policy is invalid when you attempt to make a claim. 

Does age affect my travel insurance policy? 

Age does typically affect your travel insurance. You’re usually expected to pay more on your premiums, because you’re seen as a greater risk to insurance providers. With travel insurance in particular, the older you are, the greater medical risk you are perceived to be. With the cost of medical treatment abroad easily running into the tens of thousands of pounds, providers look to recover their costs. 
You can find policies specific to certain age groups however, which offer different benefits that may be useful for you on your trip. 
Over 50s travel insurance policies are fairly standard, but you can get specialist cover for over 50s that can include a wider range of medical conditions. 
Over 70s travel insurance is a separate type of cover, and is designed specifically for any concerns you may have while travelling, with a greater focus on medical treatments. 
You may find that some insurance providers have an upper age limit of 79, but you can still find travel insurance for over 80s. You might just have a smaller pool of providers to choose from. 

What else do I need to look out for with a long stay travel insurance policy?

Keep an eye on what's excluded with long stay cover:

  • Check the country you're going to is covered by your chosen policy. As a rule-of-thumb, the countries that probably won't be included are the ones the Foreign and Commonwealth Office considers too dangerous to visit – if in doubt, always ask your insurance provider before you take out a long stay policy. You may also want to find out what happens if the advice changes while you're on your trip and you need to change your plans
  • Check what activities are covered – if you're planning on doing nothing but sitting and meditating on a beach for three months, you probably won't need the same level of cover as you would do if you're heading to do some extreme sports like bungee jumping, white-water rafting or climbing. Again, always check in advance. You want it to be your insurance provider and not you who has to sort out the rescue helicopter bill when you twist your ankle in a remote part of the world
  • Check your gear and gadgets are covered by your policy too. If you're using super hi-tech kit, then it's probably not standard cover and additional gadget cover could be considered

Can I add extras to my cover? 

Depending on the type of trip you’re taking, you may want to consider adding a few extras to your policy. Here are some common examples: 

Can I get long stay travel insurance cover as part of an annual policy? 

Although annual multi-trip travel insurance policies cover you for a year, you’ll normally find that there’s a limit to the number of days you can travel consecutively. This is usually capped at 31 days. If you’re looking for stays longer than this, you should consider taking out separate long-stay travel insurance. 

Should I consider my home insurance while I’m away?

Yes, don't forget that if you own your own home then you'll need the right home insurance cover while you're away. Some insurance providers will have exclusions regarding how long your property can be unoccupied for. (Not something you want to worry about while you're travelling.) If you're renting out your property while you're away, you will need landlord's insurance.

Where can I compare long stay travel insurance quotes?

We've made searching for long stay travel insurance quotes quick and easy, so you can compare travel insurance policies across the board to find the one right for you, with minimal fuss.

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