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Compare Long Stay Travel Insurance

Sometimes a week or two away just isn’t enough. Travelling for months at a time can be an amazing experience, but what does that mean for your travel insurance needs? Especially if that long trip means you end up in far-flung locations? Here’s our guide to finding the right cover for that fantastic long stay.

Sometimes a week or two away just isn’t enough. Travelling for months at a time can be an amazing experience, but what does that mean for your travel insurance needs? Especially if that long trip means you end up in far-flung locations? Here’s our guide to finding the right cover for that fantastic long stay.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
4 JULY 2022
7 min read
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What is long stay travel insurance?

Long stay travel insurance covers you for longer trips away from the UK, typically between three and 18 months (and can potentially 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 you prefer to spend whole seasons in the sun abroad or are planning an extended stay with relatives overseas.

This kind of cover is especially useful for anyone taking a gap year or career break abroad, as it’s designed for those longer trips where you might move between different countries.

It can sometimes be used for overseas stays that are clearly temporary too, even if you’re working – for example with a working holiday visa. Check the exclusions to make sure you’re covered while working.

What’s the difference between long stay and annual travel insurance?

Long stay travel insurance is designed to cover you for longer trips away from home. While annual travel insurance, also called multi-trip travel insurance, is designed to cover travellers for two or more shorter holidays within the same year. There will normally be a limit on the amount of time you can travel consecutively. This can vary from around 17 to 90 days.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

What does long stay travel insurance cover?

Like most types of insurance, the level of cover you get can vary greatly between providers and policies, so keep an eye on your policy documents and all the finer details, and remember to check the level of excess you'd need to pay towards a claim.

Most travel insurance policies will include cover for:

  • Medical expenses – medical treatment abroad, particularly in countries like the USA, can rapidly create bills worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. So when you choose your medical cover limit, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if you’re travelling to countries where medical treatment is very expensive. Also look for insurance that covers the cost of emergency repatriation to bring you home for treatment if necessary.
  • Holiday cancellation cover – make sure this is at least equal to the cost of your holiday and any non-refundable trips.
  • Flight cancellations and missed connections – again, make sure you have enough cover for the cost of your trip. Sometimes missed connections aren't included in all policies, so check your T&Cs carefully.
  • Damage, loss or theft of your baggage – add up the value of your belongings including any expensive items. And be aware of the single item limit – the most a policy will pay out for any one item. Most of us underestimate the value of our belongings when it comes to insuring them, so go through everything systematically, totting up the cost of replacing them, to be sure you don’t fall into that trap.

Long stay travel insurance may also cover:

What affects the cost of long stay travel insurance?

Several things can affect the cost of long stay travel insurance, including:

  • Your age
  • Your health
  • Where you’ll be travelling
  • How long you’ll be there
  • What you’ll be doing while away.

Unfortunately, older travellers, those with pre-existing medical conditions and people who’ll be taking part in extreme sports are seen as a higher risk to insurance providers, which means you should expect to pay more for cover. Likewise, if you’re travelling to a destination with particularly high medical costs, you can expect to pay more.

Can you get long stay travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition?

You can still get travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition. But it may cost you more and you may need to take out a specialist policy depending on your condition.

When you’re applying for long stay travel insurance, you may be asked for details about your medical history, including any existing condition(s). Make sure that you're honest. If you fail to give accurate information, your insurance provider might decide that your policy is invalid when you attempt to make a claim.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re pregnant or become pregnant while you’re away, especially if you’re going to be overseas during pregnancy or childbirth, you should let your insurer know.

Does age affect my travel insurance policy? 

Yes. It might not seem very fair if you’re having a post-retirement ‘gap year’, but if you’re an older traveller you’re usually expected to pay more for your insurance as you’re considered more at risk of needing medical treatment.

However, there are policies for specific age groups out there, which could be worth looking into as they cover a wider range of medical conditions than standard travel insurance. Check out:

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

Although annual multi-trip travel insurance covers you for a year, you’ll normally find a limit on the number of days you can travel consecutively. This can vary from around 17 days up to 90 days. Check the limit, and if you’re looking to be away for longer than that, you should consider taking out separate long-stay travel insurance.

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

Keep an eye on what long stay travel insurance won’t cover.

  • Check the country you're going to is covered by your policy. Countries the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against travelling to will not be covered. 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 relaxing on a beach for three months, you probably won't need the same level of cover as someone wanting to do extreme sports such as bungee jumping, white-water rafting or climbing.
  • Check your gear and gadgets are covered too. If you're taking valuable tech with you, you may want to look at gadget travel insurance.

Do I need to think about my home insurance while I’m away?

Yes. Some insurance providers will have rules on how long your property can be unoccupied for, usually 30 days, and it’s just not something you want to worry about while you’re on a long trip. If you’re renting out your property while you’re away, you may need landlord insurance.

Where can I compare long stay travel insurance quotes?

We've made searching for long stay travel insurance quotes quick and easy. Compare travel insurance policies lasting up to 18 months to find the right one for you.

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Frequently asked questions

Can I add extras to my cover?

Planning an active trip? You might want to add:

Can I visit several countries with long stay travel insurance?

Yes, you can get long stay travel insurance that covers you for more than one country. When you compare with us, you can choose from:

Can I extend my insurance while I am away?

Some travel insurance providers will allow you to extend your policy while you’re away. Just make sure you get in touch with them before your existing policy runs out, otherwise you’ll need to take out a new one.

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