A simples guide

What travel insurance do you need for visiting South America?

Travelling to South America is an exciting experience. The continent has an almost bewildering list of incredible attractions. Whether you’re visiting the unique Galapagos Islands, walking the ancient Inca trail to Machu Picchu, visiting Rio, horse riding in Patagonia or visiting the magical Argentina, there is something to get the blood racing in anyone.


So we know that travel insurance may not be the most exciting thing on your list, but if you’re a sensible traveller you’ll be making essential insurance arrangements before your trip.

Is travel insurance essential for South America?

Well we think so, yes.  No matter how free spirited your trip is going to be, most people would tell you that getting appropriate travel insurance makes a lot of sense.

A trip to South America usually doesn’t come cheap so travel insurance can play a vital part in protecting your investment in the journey. It can also play an important role if things go wrong while you are there.

Cancelled flights, lost luggage, stolen cameras, illness or injury. Just some occasions where you may need some help. That’s where the insurers come in.  

Above all else perhaps, insurance gives you some peace of mind while you’re on your trip.

Nobody goes on holiday or travelling expecting the worst and nor should they! However, it pays to think what could go wrong and the consequences if uninsured. Then if you were unexpectedly ill in the Andes you’d have the peace of mind you were covered?

Of course, this doesn’t mean rushing out and buying an expensive policy either. You need to look at what you’re going to be doing and make sure your policy fits the bill. Look at limits and options you’re given to make sure they’re reasonable for your itinerary. 

south america travel insurance - Christ the redeemer

What should South American travel insurance cover?

Perhaps the most essential coverage of all is emergency medical coverage in the event that you become ill or have an accident. This isn’t because this is any more likely than it is at home but consider how far you are from home, how little you probably know of the health systems in the countries you’re visiting and how potentially remote some of the areas you’re visiting are.

Read the small print carefully to see exactly what is covered. Pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to avoid invalidating your policy in the event of a claim. Once declared the provider will advise you if they will cover this condition or if there will be an exclusion.  If you have a heart condition or terminal illness, in a few cases you may need to provide additional information before you can be offered a policy.

If you’re embarking on an activity based holiday or doing some risky activities like high altitude hiking or white water rafting, make sure the activities are covered in the dangerous sports section.

machu Picchu - south america travel insurance

What else should it cover?

  • Belongings

Check how your luggage is covered for theft or damage. Look for individual item limits to make sure valuables such as your camera are included. Are you covered if they’re stolen from a cab or a hire car too?  If it’s not obvious, check with the provider.

  • Travel issues

Cancelled flights, missed flights, delays to flights, your bag is delayed. These are just some items that your travel policy will cover you for. This can become particularly important if you’re visiting a number of destinations or travelling on a tight schedule.

Again, check the detail as all aspects will come with limits. You may be able to increase them by talking to your insurer but be prepared to pay more premium.

  • Personal Liability

If you were to inadvertently cause injury to others on your trip you might be sued for damages. Personal liability claims can be expensive and you will usually find that the limit on the policy is £1m or more.

  • Legal fees

If you’re travelling to exotic climates and the destination language isn’t your own it may be comforting to know that your travel insurance covers you for some legal expenses in the event that you need them.

South America is an amazing destination full of amazing sights, sounds and experiences. For peace of mind on your trip we can help you compare the best travel insurance deals around. 

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