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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.

Read our guide to find out what’s covered by worldwide travel insurance and compare quotes to find the right policy for you.

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

Read our guide to find out what’s covered by worldwide travel insurance and compare quotes to find the right policy for you.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
15 MAY 2023
9 min read
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What is worldwide travel insurance? 

A worldwide travel insurance policy gives you cover in destinations beyond Europe. It also takes into account the higher costs of medical treatment you may encounter.

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 holiday insurance 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 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.

Do I need worldwide travel insurance? 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) strongly advises that all travellers take out travel insurance wherever they’re going.

And a growing number of countries have made travel insurance compulsory as part of their entry requirements, including Cuba and Israel. Check the rules for your destination(s) on the FCDO website before you travel.

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

Here’s an eye-watering example: if you need treatment in the USA for a stomach bug, and repatriation back to the UK, it could cost over £100,000. Without the right travel insurance, you’d have to find the money another way and few of us have that kind of cash kicking around.

A worldwide travel insurance policy could be a lifesaver if:

  • You have an accident or fall ill 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 £16[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 March 2023.

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. It can also cover repatriation to get you home to the UK if needed.
  • Stolen, lost or damaged luggage – this covers the cost of replacing 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.
  • Travel disruption – you may be covered if you miss a flight or connection due to circumstances out of your control, like severe weather or public transport delays. Check how much you can claim for related expenses, such as accommodation costs.
  • Flight delays – 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 what you’ve paid for your accommodation, transport and pre-booked excursions 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, you can filter your results for the level of covid cover you want.

Levels 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 global travel insurance policy will cover you all around the world, there are still several circumstances it typically won’t cover:

  • Travelling to destinations against UK government advice. If the FCDO has advised against all but essential travel, you won’t be covered by travel insurance.
  • 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 involved drug or excessive alcohol use.
  • You won’t be covered for claims related to you breaking the law. Be aware that laws vary greatly between countries. Check local laws and customs before you travel to avoid inadvertently committing a crime.
  • Natural disasters – for travel disruption related to natural catastrophes including volcanic ash, earthquakes and floods. If you’re travelling to a high-risk destination, check your policy carefully to see what it covers. Depending on your level of cover, you may not be covered against natural disasters.
  • Changing your mind – you won’t be covered for holiday cancellation if you simply decide you don’t want to go on holiday after all. Similarly, you won’t be covered if you cancel for a reason that was known to you when you booked your trip.

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 make sure 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. Depending on your insurance provider, you may be able to extend this for an extra fee.

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 could alternatively take out one of the following:

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.

The HM Passport Office advises that it could take up to 10 weeks to receive your new passport. So make sure you apply well in advance and keep an eye on 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 and entry requirements, including COVID-19 related requirements.

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 travel 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 around tipping, appropriate clothing and drinking alcohol. For country specific tips, check out our travel destination guides

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.

Use a holiday checklist
Our handy holiday checklist will help you keep track of your holiday packing essentials. Simply download and use it as a guide for your next trip away.

Download the holiday checklist

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.

Will the GHIC cover me worldwide?

The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is not valid outside Europe. And it won’t cover you for non-medical mishaps such as lost or stolen baggage, delays or cancellations.

The GHIC provides emergency and necessary medical for UK visitors in EU countries and Switzerland on the same basis that local people get it.

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Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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