The 5 Best Options for Globetrotters

Lyla

Americans living abroad for all or even part of the year have a different set of considerations when it comes to finding a travel insurance plan. For example, expats may not need coverage for the same issues as people taking regular vacations, such as trip cancellations and interruptions, trip delays, and lost or delayed baggage. Instead, expats often primarily need health insurance or medical insurance for travel that works both at home and abroad, as well as coverage for emergency medical evacuation.

That said, not all travel insurance companies cover preexisting conditions within their trip insurance plans for expats. Further, some insurance providers limit coverage in a traveler’s home country, especially for those who would normally reside in the United States. That’s why, ultimately, U.S. citizens living abroad need to compare health plans that can work when they’re away based on their coverage options, limitations and costs. Read on to find out which expat insurance plans U.S. News recommends and what each plan has to offer.

Best Premium Coverage for Expats

  • Preexisting conditions coverage available

  • Coverage can be expensive

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If you’re an expat or someone who travels internationally throughout the year and you want a premium travel insurance plan to protect against most things that could go wrong, the Travel Select plan from Travelex could be a good fit. This plan is good for trips that last up to 364 days, and it covers preexisting conditions provided the policy is purchased within 15 days of making an initial trip payment.

Because the Travel Select plan is a premium travel insurance plan, it includes a lot more benefits than the typical travel insurance plan for expats. In fact, travelers can get the following benefits for trips that last for one day short of a year:

  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to 100% of the trip cost (maximum of $50,000)
  • Trip interruption coverage worth up to 150% of the trip cost (maximum of $75,000)
  • Travel delay coverage worth up to $2,000
  • Missed connection coverage worth up to $750
  • Emergency medical coverage worth up to $50,000 (dental limit of $500)
  • Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage worth up to $500,000
  • Baggage and personal effects coverage worth up to $1,000
  • Baggage delay coverage worth up to $200 (12-hour delay required)
  • Sporting equipment delay coverage worth up to $200 (24-hour delay required)
  • Accidental death and dismemberment coverage worth up to $25,000

This plan can also be customized with cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage, adventure sports coverage, up to $1 million in coverage for medical evacuation, up to $100,000 in coverage for medical expenses and car rental coverage. Kids ages 17 and younger are included in the price when traveling with a covered adult.

Best for Comprehensive Coverage

  • Includes a range of comprehensive travel insurance benefits

  • Coverage can be purchased on an annual basis

  • Annual plan coverage lasts for trips of up to 45 days at a time

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Where some expat insurance plans focus on offering international health insurance that pays for medical treatment and emergencies when you’re abroad, Allianz offers annual travel insurance plans that can work for expats who are frequently traveling between an international destination and their home country. These plans are more comprehensive than most with more added benefits and features. However, they only work for individuals who live abroad for a part of the year and never stay away from home for more than 45 days.

Annual and multitrip plans from Allianz come in four different tiers: AllTrips Basic, AllTrips Prime, AllTrips Premier and AllTrips Executive. These four tiers let you purchase more or less coverage based on your needs, and you can even choose a plan that mostly focuses on medical coverage if you want to pay less overall.

For an affordable but still comprehensive option, the AllTrips Prime plan is good for trips of up to 45 days. It includes:

  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to $3,000
  • Trip interruption coverage up to $3,000
  • Emergency medical coverage up to $20,000
  • Emergency medical transportation insurance up to $100,000
  • Baggage loss and damage coverage up to $1,000
  • Baggage delay coverage up to $200
  • Travel delay coverage up to $600
  • Rental car damage and theft coverage up to $45,000
  • Travel accident coverage up to $25,000

A concierge line and 24/7 hour travel assistance is also included.

Best for Adventure Travelers

  • 150-plus adventure sports are covered

  • Choose the level of protection you need

  • Preexisting conditions typically not covered

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Consider World Nomads if you want international coverage for expats that will kick in if you become injured after taking part in a range of adventure activities. World Nomads covers up to 200 adventure sports in total with its plans, including surfing, sailing, bungee jumping, skiing, kayaking and more.

World Nomads’ travel insurance policies for expats come in two tiers, Standard and Explorer. Both tiers offer the same coverage options in general, but the Explorer Plan comes with higher limits.

That’s why we recommend the Explorer Plan for expats who want some of the best international coverage money can buy. This plan comes automatically with:

  • $10,000 in insurance for trip cancellations
  • $100,000 in coverage for emergency medical expenses
  • $500,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation
  • $3,000 in protection for your bags and gear

Trip delay coverage, protection for repatriation of remains, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage are also included.

Best for Medical-Only Coverage

  • Get comprehensive travel health insurance that works anywhere in the world

  • Customize your policy to suit your unique needs

  • Comes without coverage for trip cancellations, baggage and more

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GeoBlue is a company that focuses on offering travel medical insurance plans that work for long-term expats and even missionaries who spend a lot of time abroad. The company’s Xplorer Premier plan is formulated with expats who need international medical coverage in mind, as it applies to individuals and families who plan to stay outside their home country at least three months of the year.

GeoBlue’s Xplorer Premier plan comes with unlimited annual and lifetime medical coverage, including immediate coverage for preexisting medical conditions if proof of previous coverage is provided. Individuals can choose to see any health care provider outside the United States, and they can even opt for a plan that includes U.S. access to the Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO network when they’re at home. There are no deductibles required for office visits, preventive care or prescriptions, and customers can tailor their coverage with optional dental and vision insurance for an added cost.

Also be aware that expats who never return to the U.S. can opt for coverage that doesn’t include medical care for U.S. citizens at home. This can help you save on premiums over time, although you may be vulnerable to health care costs if you have a medical emergency during a trip back to the U.S.

IMG Travel Insurance - Expat Travel Insurance

Plan Name

GlobeHopper Senior

Best for Seniors

  • Travel medical coverage can be extended for up to 12 months

  • Limits can be high based on age and other factors

  • Deductibles of up to $2,500 can apply

  • No ongoing coverage for preexisting medical conditions

Cancel for any reason

IMG offers a range of popular travel insurance plans, yet the company’s GlobeHopper Senior policy is a standout plan due to the international health coverage it offers specifically for older expats. This plan is for individuals ages 65 and older who need medical coverage for emergencies as well as other care for up to 12 months at a time. Choose from the GlobeHopper Senior Single-Trip and Multi-Trip options based on your needs.

GlobeHopper Senior Single-Trip is extendable up to 12 months, so it’s ideal for expats who want the chance to shop around and choose the best coverage once per year. Benefits in the GlobeHopper Senior Single-Trip plan include access to hospitalization, surgery, intensive care stays, emergency room visits, diagnostic care and more when away from home. Maximum limits for coverage vary from $50,000 to $1 million depending on age. A deductible from $0 to $2,500 will also apply.

This plan also includes:

  • Up to $250,000 in protection for emergency medical evacuations
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Up to $50,000 in coverage for repatriation of remains
  • Up to $50,000 in protection for political evacuations

Coverage for sudden and unexpected reoccurrence of preexisting conditions comes with a maximum limit of $2,500, and the plan has a nonemergency medical evacuation benefit of up to $25,000. As added benefits, travelers get coverage for trip interruption ($5,000 maximum limit), lost luggage, identity theft, dental emergencies and more.

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