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5 Travel Insurance Options for Expats & Travelers

Posted in: Ecuador Travel, Everything Expat, Living in Ecuador, Resources & Gear

Expat travel insuranceHow do I choose good travel insurance? This is a question we get asked all the time.

  • Which provider is best?
  • How can I get coverage as a resident of Ecuador?
  • Who covers Ecuador?

I should note that we are not experts in travel insurance. But I’ve learned a lot since moving to Ecuador and during my research. Always make sure to confirm all details yourself.

Update (February 9, 2017): A new law approved this week requires all tourists visiting Ecuador to have travel insurance for medical emergencies.

Expat travel insurance for Ecuador

When we moved to Ecuador we lost eligibility to buy travel insurance from Canada.

The providers we contacted all stipulated that we must be Canadian residents. In researching other providers, this seems to be pretty common. Like all expats, we lost residency in our home country when we settled in our new one.

In this post, we share providers that will insure expats living abroad.

We’ve written about travel insurance in the past – but only featuring World Nomads (because they are our favorite).

Since then, we’ve learned that the age restriction (there are maximum ages depending on country of residence) is an issue for many travelers and expats in Ecuador. So for the past two days, I’ve been researching travel insurance for expats.

Here’s what I have discovered.

2 Best Options for Expat Travel Insurance

If you want to save the time of reading the full post, you can check out these top two providers:

  1. Atlas Travel Insurance They accept residents of over 180 countries, and the only age restriction is that children must be at least 14 days old to be covered.
  2. World Nomads They also accept residents from more than 150 countries but they do have some age restrictions. American residents must be under 67 years of age (Update: September 2014: they now accept US residents under the age of 70) and Canadian residents must be under 60 years of age. If you are an Ecuadorian resident you qualify if you are under 66 years of age.

5 Options for Expat Travel Insurance (Detailed)

Here are the five travel insurance options included in this post – in order of flexibility and preference:

  1. Atlas Travel Insurance: For residents of 180+ countries. Policyholder must be at least 14 days old. Based in United States (Indianapolis, Indiana).
  2. World Nomads: For residents of all countries. Some age limitations.
  3. Travel Guard: Valid for Americans only.
  4. Allianz Travel InsuranceValid for Americans only.
  5. Medex: Valid for Americans only.

Below the large image is a detailed breakdown of each of the 5 expat insurance options.

Expat travel insurance


1. Atlas Travel Insurance

Open to residents of over 180 countries.

This is a great provider for expats!

Requirements: you must be at least 14 days old and traveling outside of your home country.

What is your country of residence? If you are a US citizen, your home country is always the United States (regardless of residency issues). For all non-US citizens, your home country is where you principally reside and receive regular mail.

Insures all ages. Maximum per injury is broken into 3 categories:

  • Age 80 or older
  • Age 70 to 79
  • All others

6 Benefits of Insuring with Atlas Travel

  1. Adventure Sports: Most travel insurance policies exclude adventure and sport activities from coverage. Things like zip-lining and scuba diving aren’t covered with most policies. With Atlas Travel you are covered for a wide variety adventure sports. Find the list of excluded sports here.
  2. Global Coverage: Receive medical care in a foreign country. This can reduce / eliminate paying out-of-pocket while abroad.
  3. Emergency Medical Evacuation / Emergency Reunion: For return to your home country in the case of potential loss of life or limb. Emergency Reunion will bring an immediate family member to you – to either stay with you or help you return home.
  4. Return of Minors: In case of your hospitalization, your children are covered to return back to your home country.
  5. Common features such as: Accidental death and dismemberment, repatriation of remains, natural disaster, and terrorism coverage.
  6. Online Account Management: Gone are the days of paper policies. Purchase your policy, manage your account and submit claims online.

Get a quote from Atlas Travel insurance


2. World Nomads

World Nomads is our insurance of choice. Each time we’ve left Ecuador in the past five years we were covered by them.

We like how easy it is to get a quote and purchase. Our online account is easy to manage and print papers. And they cover us as residents of Ecuador.

5 Things You Should Know About World Nomads

  1. They offer some of the most flexible insurance available. Their policies are available to residents of more than 150 countries. If you have trouble finding travel insurance then you should check them out.
  2. Make claims online
  3. Extend coverage on the go. Because it is purchased online, you can add (or extend) your insurance as soon as you realized that you need more.
  4. Adventure sports are covered. Things like bungee jumping and white water rafting are covered.
  5. Policies are only available with credit card purchase. Country of residence is an important factor.

Drawback: They have specific age limits, depending on the country of origin. Here are some common countries of residence.

  • United States: under 70 years of age
  • Canada: under 60 years of age
  • Ecuador: under 66 years of age
  • United Kingdom: under 60 years of age
  • Australia: under 70 years of age
  • New Zealand: under 70 years of age
  • Costa Rica: under 66 years of age
  • Belize: under 66 years of age
  • Dominican Republic: under 66 years of age
  • Spain: under 66 years of age
  • More than 140 other countries of residence available. Check yours here.

Get a quote from World Nomads travel insurance.


3. Travel Guard

Open only to residents of the United States. Valid for international travel with plans starting at $30.

Children covered at no additional cost!

TravelGuard specializes in international travel insurance. They offer 4 levels of protection:

  1. Platinum: their top plan including premium travel insurance and assistance.
  2. Gold: their most popular plan
  3. My Travel Guard: The lowest price plan
  4. The Great Outdoors: Great for adventurers and athletes.

Get a quote from Travel Guard travel insurance.


4. Allianz Global Assistance

This is a full service travel insurance company – but only sells to people residing in the United States. Coverage is for either domestic (within the US) or abroad.

Allianz Travel Insurance

They also offer annual travel plans and rental car damage protector insurance.

Did you know that most private health insurance plans don’t cover you when you’re traveling abroad? Learn More


5. FrontierMEDEX

FrontierMEDEX Travel InsuranceFrontierMedex has a nice set of benefits for policy holders. This is only for Americans traveling abroad. Once you live abroad you won’t qualify for this insurance. It is for two types of travelers:

  1. TravMed Choice: U.S. residents traveling outside of the U.S. or foreign nationals traveling to the U.S.
  2. TravMed Abroad: U.S. residents traveling outside of the U.S. only.

They insure over 20 million people each year. And they offer medical and evacuation benefits. Travelers up to age 85 are covered. Option to add Sports Coverage for adventure travelers.


Travel Insurance Abroad: Just Make Sure You Have Something

travel-insurance-options-expats

So there you have it. A number of these options apply to everyone and the rest apply only to American citizens. I think that there should be an option for everyone.

The most important thing is to buy it. Buy something – even if it is a basic policy. When you are traveling abroad there is an increased risk of a fall or another easy injury. Without insurance you could be looking at a very large bill.

Please note: This post is not an offer to sell insurance but a listing of the possible options. Please confirm all details with the insurance company before making any purchase or travel decisions. Details and specifics can (and do) change quickly and without notice. If you notice an error in this post, please comment below and I’ll update it. 

Your Turn

What insurance provider have you used? What company / policy do you recommend?

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

28 comments… add one
  • Kevin Hinricksen Jul 14, 2017, 10:25 pm

    I have used World Nomads for the last year and a half. I always bought the 6 month policy, and it cost $335. Now to renew it is $536 for a 6 month policy. That is a 62% increase.
    I did use the coverage over a year ago, and I have NO complaints. This rate increase is tough to swallow though.

  • Alice Jun 13, 2017, 11:57 pm

    Hi Bryan
    I REALLY need to find a Reputable person or company to help facilitate my relocation to Cuenca. Does anyone have someone that they’ve personally dealt with and were 100% (or close to it) happy? PLEASE let me know soon. Thanks a bunch.
    Alice

  • Joseph Somers May 27, 2017, 8:38 am

    Point of Information
    Allianz is Now available in Canada ….I was in Ecuador in April and Purchased Allianz in Canada.

  • Jay Feb 20, 2015, 7:48 pm

    Can I ask what health insurance you use while you are in Ecuador? You noted that you use WorldNomads when you left Ecuador, as you would be considered a traveler during those time spans.

    I just became a permanent Ecuador resident (received VISA) and I consider it my home, but I haven’t gotten my cedula yet. I was informed that my new permanent resident status has voided my travel’s insurance even though I already paid for it through a future date.

    Do you have any suggestions for coverage until I get my cedula? I don’t think traveler’s insurance would work as I am no longer a traveler.

  • Chris Nov 17, 2014, 3:17 pm

    Thanks for your recommendations. Will definitely look into Atlas, which seems to offer a wide cover, particularly as it covers people of age too.

  • Kevin W Sep 2, 2014, 11:47 am

    Okay, batting 0. I followed your new link to the AIBB FRONTIER INSURANCE……..their site is down. 🙁

    • Bryan Haines Sep 2, 2014, 1:30 pm

      I see that as well. It looks temporary – sometimes sites will be down for a few hours due to maintenance or another issue. (We’ve had the same problems, once in a while).

      • Burt Johnson Feb 11, 2017, 7:15 pm

        Your AAIB/Frontier link is invalid. Perhaps they changed their site? Their main url is now:

        http://www.frontier-insurance.com/

        Unfortunately their “get a quote” link does not work on their site, though the other links do?

        • Bryan Haines Feb 11, 2017, 7:32 pm

          Thanks Burt – I’ll check this and update it the first of the week.

  • Kevin W Sep 2, 2014, 11:43 am

    Hi Bryan,
    Sadly, Atlas Insurance won’t allow you to buy their insurance if you live in Canada, Australia or some parts of the USA. Don’t know why this is. I called them to find out if there was any other option but got the robot, then put on hold and eventually i hung up. My next option was World Nomads from your site but the age restriction means i’m out of luck on that one. Back to the drawing board.

    • Bryan Haines Sep 2, 2014, 1:36 pm

      The rules can certainly be confusing. I don’t know why they have exclusions for specific areas.

      Have you tried Travelex? I’ve heard good things about them, and they insure residents of almost every country.

      World Nomads recently changes their policy for US residents – now insuring everyone under the age of 70.

      • Kevin W Sep 2, 2014, 2:15 pm

        Thanks for the reply Bryan. I was able to get a good rate from Presidents Choice…a reputable name here. 🙂

  • lenora Aug 8, 2014, 3:29 pm

    Thanks for the information. Any knowledge on insuring 2 adults & a minor for 6-12 months.

  • Terrydarc May 18, 2014, 2:59 pm

    I’ve never bot travelers insurance unless I was forced to by a British Travel Agency (out of the USA by internet). They all seem to require it but were only interested in “extraction” insurance and medical evacuation kinds of stuff. Not insuring the airline ticket, travel agent, etc.

    My personal philosophy is to insure against disasters, which is relative, I know. But losing the price of 2x airline tickets doesn’t qualify for me. But the Brits wanted travel insurance and 5 or 6 times, I’ve had to get it and here’s where I get it from: https://www.squaremouth.com/

    Squaremouth is a meta-site that has many, many insurance companies. You start by filling in your rough data – like age, where/when you’re going, etc. They you get a page of side by side comparisons of insurance companies that you’ve likely never heard of before. There is also a ranking of their security of the company and user ratings.

    I only buy the minimum but you can sign up for any options you like. It’s an easy one-stop shopping site. Works for me.

  • Frank Yetter May 17, 2014, 10:32 pm

    Thanks for posting this. We are current WorldNomads customers who formerly used FrontierMedex, and have been extremely satisfied with both providers. I filed extensive claims with Frontier, including a stint in a Bangkok hospital for a double hit of malaria I picked up in India, and they were nothing short of fantastic. Contacted and kept in touch with the hospital, pre-authorized the claim, etc. Couldn’t have been better. We’re new to WorldNomads (less than a year) but so far we’re also impressed with their ease of access and responsiveness to claims and questions (though there have happily been few.) A word of caution to steer clear of the Philippines-based IBERO Filipinas, which is a nightmare of a provider who exploits short-term travelers and often sells through travel agents. They are incompetent, obstructionist and extremely difficult to deal with. I am in a pitched battle with them for a year-old claim they have approved but still not resolving, as they continue to lose documents I send them and bounce me around from department to department. Best to go with one of your winners. Thanks for posting.

    • Bryan Haines May 18, 2014, 6:57 am

      Thanks for sharing your experience. So glad to hear about your success with these two providers.

  • Daniela May 16, 2014, 12:39 pm

    Hi Dena and Bryan,

    Thanks a lot for bringing up the topic about insurance, it is a very important one indeed. I am French and I am pretty sure rules must be totally different from Canada ones therefore I will get in touch with my insurance provider and ask them for advice. I will post the response on your blog so as other people will be able to get the information.

    I would have a question on a different topic: does someone know about the translation market in Ecuador?

    Have a great weekend !
    Kindest regards from Daniela

  • Andre Hugo May 16, 2014, 10:55 am

    When I decided to stay and officially make Ecuador my place of residence, I shopped around for health insurance. Key was that I was not yet 65 years old. I eventually selected BMI, an Ecuador company affiliated as most with other international companies. When I travel, it pays directly to the medical facility for up to one month and then after I have to pay and claim.
    There is now a remote possibility that I might move to Europe within the next year and stay their for five years before returning to Ecuador. If I drop the Ecuador BMI insurance when gone, at my age I would not easily get it back. The only answer would be to get insurance in Europe for the time there. In my case I would expect to have a company pay for the European insurance. This, however, raises an important matter for travel and place of resident health insurance – Be aware that where you think you will be one day may not be where you will actually end up. Be very cautious.

    • Bryan Haines May 16, 2014, 11:38 am

      Although this post is about travel insurance – which is temporary in nature – you make a good point. Health insurance is often based on country of residence and if that changes then you may not qualify anymore. We’ll be covering health insurance in an upcoming post.

  • Janis May 16, 2014, 8:48 am

    I”m confused by the “home country” and “residence” issues. According to this info, if I’m a citizen of the U.S. but reside in Ecuador and am over 66, I can’t use any of the above?? I’ve always used World Nomads but didn’t know they had an age limit! (I’ll be turning 66 before my next trip back to the States) Thanks for all this info!

    • Bryan Haines May 16, 2014, 9:06 am

      The main issue seems to be country of residence. When you go to any of these sites to get a quote, it will ask for country of residence. They generally are looking for where you are actually living – regardless of your legal status in that country. When I say “home country” I am referring to where you are from. Frequently expats cannot get insurance from their home country because of being a resident of another one.

      • Andre Hugo May 16, 2014, 11:02 am

        One must be very careful. As a Canadian expat, Revenue Canada, the tax collectors, have me officially identified as a “non-resident” and I pay a lower tax rate on my Canadian income. Revenue Canada has very strict rules that they enforce because they want to get all the money from you that they can. You must be completely (almost) removed from Canada with no intention of returning. People have lost their non-resident tax status for not cancelling their Provincial driver’s license of having too many bank accounts in Canada. If one lives in Ecuador and, for insurance purposes, declares Canada , they may be at risk if the tax man finds out.

        • Bryan Haines May 16, 2014, 11:36 am

          You’re right that you need to be careful. There is a form that you can submit and get an actual ruling. We did that and now we can confidently submit tax returns, etc.

          The laws are quite straight forward. If you are a resident of Ecuador you won’t consider you a resident of Canada. We talk more about it in this post.

          For insurance purposes, it seems that the companies are asking where you reside – not where you are a citizen.

  • Helen May 15, 2014, 4:54 pm

    Ohhh, I have to start shopping around, so THANK YOU for doing the legwork for me!

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