Worldwide travel insurance policy

Whether you’re a seasoned voyager or newly intrepid, your worldwide travel plans need a worldwide travel insurance policy to match.

Whether you’re a seasoned voyager or newly intrepid, your worldwide travel plans need a worldwide travel insurance policy to match.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Last Updated
1 JULY 2022
9 min read
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What is worldwide travel insurance? 

A worldwide travel insurance policy takes into account the higher cost of medical treatment you’ll encounter beyond Europe. In some parts of the world, people have private health insurance to cover their care, so as a visitor without this, you’ll need your travel insurance to help fill the gap.

Worldwide or “rest of the world” policies usually fall into two categories, those that include the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and those that don’t.

That’s because healthcare in the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean can be far more expensive than anywhere else in the world. A worldwide policy that includes these destinations will typically cost more.

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 any claim you make 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.

Do I need worldwide travel insurance? 

While the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) strongly advises that all travellers take out travel insurance wherever they’re going, the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a growing number of countries to make travel insurance compulsory as part of their entry requirements, such as Dubai and Israel. 

Several countries have changed their requirements and others are introducing mandatory travel cover while others have removed it, so check the rules for your destination(s) even if you’ve been there before. In some places you may have to pay for mandatory medical insurance on top of any travel insurance you have, like in Belize for example. 

Of course, even if it isn’t compulsory in the country you’re travelling to, worldwide travel insurance is well worth having. 

Need treatment in the USA for a stomach bug, and repatriation back to the UK? It could cost well over £100,000, so having the right travel insurance quickly becomes vital. Without it you’d have to find the money another way and few of us have that kind of cash kicking around just in case. 

A worldwide travel insurance policy could be a lifesaver if:

  • You have an accident and need medical treatment
  • Your baggage gets lost or stolen
  • Your flight is delayed
  • You need to cancel your trip at the last minute.

How much is worldwide travel insurance? 

A single trip worldwide travel insurance policy for one week, could cost as little as £13[1]. But the final cost of your premium will depend on factors including your age, the activities you’re planning to do and whether you have a pre-existing medical condition.

[1]Based on Compare the Market data for a worldwide travel insurance policy for a 20 year-old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling for one week. Prices correct as of April 2022.

What does worldwide travel insurance cover? 

There are many advantages to worldwide holiday insurance, including: 

  • Medical cover – if you have an accident or unexpectedly fall ill while abroad, worldwide travel insurance will cover your hospital expenses and transport back to the UK if needed.
  • Stolen, lost or damaged luggage  – this covers luggage or personal possessions that are lost or stolen. Bear in mind that most travel insurance providers put a maximum single item limit on a claim for valuables such as jewellery, cameras and laptops. You might want to think about additional cover if you carry a lot of expensive items.
  • Flight delays – the airline is always your first port of call for compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled. Policies vary around flight delays, so check yours carefully, especially if you have connecting flights or onward travel arrangements.
  • Cancellations and curtailment  – this can cover you for your hotel and transport if you have to cancel your holiday unexpectedly because of a reason listed in the policy. Check individual policies for any exclusions.
  • Personal liability cover – every country has different laws, so accident, liability and legal cover could come in handy. Check individual policies to see if you're covered for these.
  • Coronavirus cover – can cover medical care, repatriation if needed, extended stays, and cancellations as a result of Covid-19. When you compare with us, we can show you travel insurance quotes for different levels of coronavirus cover. Just choose the ‘more details’ option on the quote results page.

The level of cover and limits can vary between providers, so as always, read the terms and conditions carefully before committing to a policy.

What isn’t covered by worldwide travel insurance? 

While the right worldwide travel insurance policy will cover you across the globe, there are still several common exclusions, such as: 

  • Travelling to destinations against UK government advice.
  • Medical care and treatment for pre-existing medical conditions that haven’t been declared. Make sure you’re as honest and accurate as possible during your application, as you may find you’re not covered if you need to make a claim.
  • Treatment for an illness you should have been vaccinated for ahead of travel.
  • High-risk activities and sports – if you’re planning to take part in activities such as skydiving, white-water rafting or rock climbing, you should arrange specific cover.
  • Acts of terrorism are not usually covered but you may be able to pay extra for an add on policy if you want this kind of cover.
  • Reckless behaviour, drunkenness, or drug use – you won’t be able to claim for events that were illegal or involved drug or excessive alcohol use.

What else should I consider with worldwide travel insurance? 

If you'll be taking part in more adventurous sports or have specific needs, you should ensure you're covered for these when taking out a worldwide travel insurance policy. This includes: 

What if I'm travelling for more than 30 days?

Most standard travel insurance policies will cover you for up to 30 days.

If you're heading off on a once-in-a-lifetime round the world trip or gap year adventure in some far-flung corner of the world, you'll need to take out one of the following, depending on your circumstances:

Top tip: check your home insurance if you’re going to be away for a long period of time. Most standard policies only cover an unoccupied home for up to 30 days. Check with your insurance provider, as you may need to update your policy to cover the time you’re away.

Any other tips before travelling? 

Make sure you’re well prepared for your overseas adventure:

Check your passport and renew in time if necessary
Many countries now require you to have at least six months outstanding on your passport. If you don’t, you could be turned away at the border. At the start of the holiday season in 2022 there were long delays for passport applications and renewals – allow up to 10 weeks to receive your new passport. So make sure you apply well in advance. Check current passport processing times.

Follow FCDO advice
Check out the FCDO travel advice for the country or countries you’re visiting – the FCDO can give you the latest information and updates on travel warnings, entry requirements and Covid-19 safety and security.

Check what visas you may need
Give yourself plenty of time to get visas arranged – if you’re planning on any stopovers for a few days, you might also need visas for countries you’re passing through.

Book vaccinations 
Check whether you need any vaccinations for diseases such as yellow fever or typhoid well in advance of your trip. Some vaccinations need to be given over several weeks or months to allow your body to build up immunity, while others may need a booster. Talk to your GP and aim to get vaccinated at least eight weeks before you travel. 

Respect local laws and customs
Do a bit of research about the countries you’re visiting and be aware of local etiquette – for example, tipping, appropriate clothing and drinking alcohol. 

Local currency
If you’re given the choice, always pay with your card in the local currency - that way you’ll avoid hefty conversion fees. If you want to get favourable exchange rates and save money on cross-border transaction fees, it might be worth getting a travel credit card to use during your time abroad. 

Use a holiday checklist
We’ve devised a handy holiday checklist to help you keep track of your holiday packing essentials. Simply download and print our checklist and use it as a guide for your next trip away.

Download our holiday checklist here

Where can I compare worldwide travel insurance?

Funny you should ask! We make it quick and easy to compare worldwide travel insurance quotes, and to find the right policy to protect you on your travels.

We provide an impartial and independent comparison of a wide range of worldwide travel insurance packages, with great deals on single trip, backpacker and annual worldwide travel insurance.

Frequently asked questions

Should I get annual or single trip worldwide travel insurance?

Single trip travel insurance would be a perfectly fine level of worldwide travel cover if you're going on a two-week holiday in the sun, and aren't planning any other overseas trips. It may not set you back a fortune either.

An annual policy (also known as multi-trip cover) could be better if you're a regular traveller who takes two or more trips a year whether overseas or in the UK as well. It could save you money on worldwide travel insurance in the long run.

When should I take out worldwide travel insurance?

We recommend taking out your travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. That way if anything happens before you set off – like illness, injury or bereavement – which prevents you from travelling, you may be able to claim back the costs.

Does worldwide travel insurance cover Europe?

Yes, if you take out a worldwide travel insurance policy, you’ll be covered for Europe, as well as countries outside of Europe. 

The only exceptions would be countries the FCDO advises against travelling to. It’s always a good idea to double-check GOV.UK’s Foreign travel advice page for latest updates on the country or countries you’re planning to visit.  

Your travel insurance may not cover you if you ignore the advice and go ahead with your trip anyway.

Will the GHIC cover me worldwide?

The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) provides emergency and necessary medical for UK visitors in EU countries and Switzerland on the same basis that local people get it. It replaces the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but you can still use your EHIC until it’s expiry date. 

However, the new ‘Global’ rename can be a bit confusing. While you’ll have access to state-provided healthcare in EU countries, the GHIC is not valid outside Europe. And it won’t cover you for any other mishaps such as lost or stolen baggage, delays or cancellations.

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