How to Buy Travel Insurance When You Are Already Travelling

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Travel insurance when you’re already travelling is a tricky issue for digital nomads. We started out with a one year long term travel insurance policy like many round the world travellers, but unlike them, after a year we carried on travelling.

We discovered that we couldn’t extend our insurance and new policies required us to be living in the UK at the time of purchase. As we were overseas, we didn’t know what to do and went uninsured for months—not a good idea. 

Thankfully, we discovered it is possible to get travel insurance whilst already abroad—whether you forgot to buy insurance before departure or you want to travel for more than a year. 

While most companies don’t allow you to buy travel insurance after departure, there are a few reliable insurers that do. The best we’ve found are True Traveller (UK and EU residents) and World Nomads (available worldwide).  

We now always make sure we’re insured because if anything went wrong it could cost us thousands to be evacuated in a medical emergency. 

What to Look For In Your Travel Insurance Policy

  • Read the small print before buying a policy or you could be wasting your money if they don’t pay out.
  • When you are starting out in your home country you can buy any long term travel insurance policy for the first year. Just check they don’t require you to have a return ticket home.
  • When you need to renew make sure you are allowed to buy the policy when already travelling.
  • Medical coverage is the most important—make sure it includes emergency evacuation and repatriation.
  • Check which activities the policy includes if you are going to be doing things like scuba diving, white water rafting, and horse riding. You often need to pay extra to include high risk activities.
  • Most policies charge extra for skiing and snowboarding. You might just want to purchase a winter sports policy for the time you are in the mountains.
  • It’s unlikely that it will cover valuables like cameras and laptops (or the limit will be low) so you may need to get extra insurance for these (see below).
  • We don’t worry about baggage cover (our clothes and toiletries are hardly valuable) or cancellation cover.
  • Choose a worldwide policy if you don’t know where you’ll be travelling to. Otherwise it’ll be cheaper to exclude the US or to focus on one region like Europe.
  • Check the excess (the contribution you’ll have to pay towards a claim). The higher the excess the cheaper the policy, but make sure you can afford it.

True Traveller 

The Best Travel Insurance When Already Abroad for UK and EU residents. 

We have used True Traveller for five years now and it’s the best value, most digital nomad and backpacker friendly policy we’ve found for UK and European residents.

True Traveller allows you to buy travel insurance when already travelling and they don’t require a return ticket, so it’s ideal for digital nomads, long term travellers, or anyone who has forgotten to buy insurance before leaving. 

They really understand the needs of long term travellers and you can tailor the policy to suit you, choosing the most basic medical insurance or adding extras like baggage, electronics, cancellation, activities, and winter sports cover. This helps keep costs down as you only buy what you really need. 

Their site is user friendly and easy to understand. True Traveller were originally an adventure travel company, not an insurance company. Their policies are designed by travellers for travellers and it shows.

How Much Does a True Traveller Policy Cost? 

The most recent policy we purchased was in 2017. We bought a one year True Value worldwide (excluding North America) policy without baggage for £204 each. It was the cheapest policy I found.

Although our current policy excludes the US and Canada (as we’re not planning to visit this year), we would be covered for 14 days there without any additional cost. 

We buy the most basic policy to keep costs down and as we’re only interested in the medical coverage (£2,500,000 is covered). We have a £125 excess (deductible) but you can pay slightly more to reduce this to 0. 

91 activities are included as standard so we didn’t need to purchase the Adventure or Extreme pack to include high risk activities like scuba diving at lower depths or black water rafting. Check their list to see what activities you are likely to be doing.

Click here to go to True Traveller for a quote.

World Nomads

The Best Travel Insurance When Already Abroad for the USA, Australia, and Worldwide. 

World Nomads is a well respected travel insurance company that we used on our round the world trip in 2007-8. They allow you to get travel insurance while abroad so are popular with many digital nomads and long term travellers we know.

The only reason we no longer use them is that they are more expensive than True Traveller. In 2017 a one year standard worldwide policy costs £420, over double the price we paid. The World Nomads policy is more comprehensive and includes baggage and cancellation, but these aren’t things we really need.

World Nomads covers most nationalities so if you aren’t from the UK or Europe, this is the policy we recommend.

Click here to go to World Nomads for a quote.

Camera and Laptop Insurance

Most travel insurance policies don’t cover valuables or have a low limit, so we used to have a separate policy with Photoguard that covered our cameras and laptops for accidental damage and theft. 

They only cover UK citizens and the cost depends on the value of your items—when we last renewed ours was £263 a year. 

In 2017 we stopped using Photoguard as they no longer cover long term travellers, so it’s only a good option for shorter trips. We struggled to find an electronics insurance policy that would cover us for a whole year, so we no longer have insurance for our camera and electronics. We make sure we have savings to cover their replacement if necessary. 

Another option we’ve heard of is to get your electronics added to a family member’s home insurance policy.

Click here to go to Photoguard.co.uk for a quote.

USA Insurance Options

In addition to World Nomads we also know US citizens who have used these policies:

  • IMG Global—Medical insurance if you spend less than six months a year in the US. It also provides cover when you are in the US which most travel insurance policies don’t.
  • Clements—An option for covering your electronics.

The true test of any insurance policy is when you make a claim. Fortunately, we haven’t had to make a claim during over seven years of travelling so we can’t say how these companies are to deal with. We’ll be sure to report back if we ever have to, and we’d love to know your experiences.

Whatever you decide, make sure you do buy travel insurance. If the worst happens you’ll want to be covered or it could end up costing you more than you can afford.

Let us know if you’ve heard of other companies that allow you to buy travel insurance whilst already abroad. 

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Learn how to choose travel insurance and the best travel insurance when already abroad for long-term travellers and digital nomads.

Please note this post includes affiliate links to True Traveller and World Nomads which means we receive a small commission if you buy policies through these links. These are both insurance companies that we have used ourselves and paid for. Thanks for your support.

Are you planning a trip? See our Travel Resources page for our favourite tools and gear to help you plan the perfect trip. 

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26 thoughts on How to Buy Travel Insurance When You Are Already Travelling

  1. hi guys, i used your link to buy my insurance as traveller via True traveller . thank you so much you literally saved my life and also gave me so much good tips for ubud thanks a lot

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  6. Also, with World Nomads you can just type in a continent, like “Africa”, so you don’t have to type in specific countries.

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  8. We’re just in the process of having to renew with World Nomads and things have changed so it’s looking like a new nightmare. It looks like you now have to state all the countries you’ll be travelling in…. what long term travellers knows that in advance! And we can’t use true traveller as we’re Australian.
    Definitely the not-so-fun part of travelling!

    • That’s really strange. Perhaps you should contact them and get clarification on that as it really doesn’t seem practical for their target market. Good luck with it!

    • World Nomads just asks you these questions up front in order to assess whether or not they can give you a cheaper policy if you won’t be visiting certain countries. In particular, avoiding the U.S. often saves you a lot on travel insurance, depending on where you are from. If you plan to go all over the place, just throw in a handful of countries and you should see yourself fall into a worldwide policy on the next page, which states you are covered everywhere, regardless of the countries you actually typed in.

  9. In looking into World Nomads (as we are US-based and thus not eligible for TrueTraveller), I got two substantially different quotes for the same place (Bogota, Colombia).
    By going directly to the World Nomads site via your link, the price was $206 for three months (the minimum length of time one was allowed to insure for), but when I went to this Lonely Planet web page, I could specify the length more precisely and put in two months. The cost was $169. You can specify even shorter lengths of time if you like, and I assume the price goes down accordingly. This may save some readers some money, so… http://www.lonelyplanet.com/colombia/bogota/practical-information/health

  10. Thanks for posting this. My year long travel insurance just ran out and as I don’t plan on returning home anytime soon I was confused about how to make sure I’m covered. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  11. Thanks for the tip about True Traveller. We’re working in China at the moment so we’re not ‘travelling’ as such but this will come in handy for after.

  12. Great Post! For over three years I used the “Liaison Majestic” policy from Seven Corners (www.sevencorners.com), made well over a dozen claims, and they refunded every single one of them. This plan can be renewed for up to three years, and after that you can buy a new plan, effectively extending it indefinitely. You can also buy their plans if you are already traveling. Highly recommended!

  13. Oh no! I just renewed two days ago and I wish I’d read this first. I didn’t really want to continue with the same company we were already with but I was struggling to find a company that we were already insured with.

    I’m going to bookmark this for next year when we need a new policy again 🙂 Thanks for another helpful post!

    • That’s bad timing! Most insurance policies let you cancel within the first few weeks I think (although possibly not if you are already on the road) so that may be an option. If not, next year!

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