What travel insurance do I need for South America?

It doesn’t get much more inspiring. Whether you’re visiting the Galapagos Islands, taking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, visiting vibrant Rio, horse riding in Patagonia, or touring Argentina, your South America holiday will be hard to top. But before the fun truly starts, it’s time to get the less exciting stuff out the way, starting with travel insurance…

It doesn’t get much more inspiring. Whether you’re visiting the Galapagos Islands, taking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, visiting vibrant Rio, horse riding in Patagonia, or touring Argentina, your South America holiday will be hard to top. But before the fun truly starts, it’s time to get the less exciting stuff out the way, starting with travel insurance…

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
2
minute read
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Posted 28 OCTOBER 2019

Why do I need travel insurance for travelling to South America?

Did you know you’re joining a fairly exclusive group? While 91% of UK adults have travelled internationally, only 8% of us have so far made it to South America.

So why do we need cover? Well, while it may not be the first thing that comes to mind as you daydream about carnivals and coastlines, Inca and Mayan remains or peaks in the Andes, just imagine if:

  • your flights are cancelled
  • your luggage is lost
  • your camera is stolen
  • you become ill, or injured

From covering medical costs, to helping replace lost items – if something goes wrong, travel insurance means you can still enjoy your holiday.

These are just some of the main reasons why people compare the best South America travel insurance options before jetting off.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

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 travel insurance do I need for backpacking in South America?

If you’re planning on backpacking in South America, it’s a good idea to have backpackers insurance, which is aimed at people who want to travel for long periods of time, often to several different countries. If your trip is likely to include adventure sports and activities, you might also need extreme sports or winter sports cover.

What should my South America travel insurance cover?

How you plan to spend your time in South America will determine whether you need to add to your policy’s existing features.

Fancy trying your hand at some extreme sports? It’s easy to arrange additional cover for especially adventurous activities, just make sure you’re covered for everything from high-altitude hiking to white water rafting.

As far as the basics go, a good South America holiday insurance policy should include:

Medical coverage – most policies include medical coverage, so if you get ill or injured while on your trip to South America, your policy will cover the cost of your care. What’s more if you have any pre-existing conditions, you can easily get coverage that’s specific to your needs.

Your belongings – always check that your luggage is covered for theft or damage, and also what the individual item limits are on the policy. This is especially crucial if you’re bringing expensive equipment with you, like a laptop or specialist camera. More on baggage cover.

Travel problemscancelled, delayed, or missed flights can all be covered by travel insurance, which is handy if you plan on hopping from destination to destination. Delayed bags are typically covered in your policy too, but it’s always good to double-check.

Personal liability – if you have an accident that inadvertently affects others on your trip, personal liability cover helps should you get sued for damages.

Legal fees – you shouldn’t need this, but it’s great peace of mind to know your travel insurance covers you for legal expenses, should you need them.

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