GringosAbroad Ecuador

5 Travel Insurance Options for Expats and Travelers

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

How 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?

Expat travel insurance

Update (April 25, 2018): Earlier today, the Ministry of Tourism announced that the new requirement for tourists coming into Ecuador has been delayed. Beginning July 22, 2018, all tourists entering Ecuador will require health insurance. Read the official announcement here.

This announcement was covered by El Telegrafo on April 25, 2018. Here is the English translation:

“The compulsory nature of health insurance for foreigners entering Ecuador was extended and will come into force as of July 22, as stipulated in the decree signed by President Lenin Moreno on April 23.

“The requirement of health insurance for the time of stay for foreign persons entering Ecuador, will be required once they are completed 90 days from the entry into force of this Executive Decree,” says the official document.

The Ministry of Tourism reported that the requirement “will be enforceable as of July 22, 2018.” The mandatory health insurance for tourists, which should have entered into force last February, was already postponed by a presidential decree, which established the date of entry into force of the measure in May.” ~ El Telegrafo


Update (April 16, 2018): Beginning May 1, 2018, all travelers will have to produce proof of health insurance as an entry requirement. Here is the official government announcement.

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

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 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.

Expat travel insurance for Ecuador

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. Medjet: No medical questions (under age 75)

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. Medjet Air Medical Transport 

This coverage is different than the other four. This service is a transportation / evacuation policy, provided in the form of a membership. Rather than purchasing for a specific trip, you can purchase a membership valid for multiple trips during the year.

This is an important factor to consider. Not all travel insurance covers medical transport / evacuation. This might make a good secondary policy.

As a MedjetAssist Member, Medjet will arrange medical transportation to a home country hospital of your choice for inpatient care. This applies if you become hospitalized 150+ miles from your primary residence. This is offered to residents of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico – up to age 75 – with international trips of 90 consecutive days at a time and unlimited domestic travel.

Travelers over age 75: Diamond Membership is available for travelers age 75-84.

Long Term Travel: For expats, there are two options:

  • Expat180: For expats spending up to 180 days uninterrupted time spent outside their home country on any one trip
  • Expat365: For those who intend to spend up to a year abroad.

For both expat policies, you need to enroll prior to departure from your primary residence.

Transport service covers hospital to hospital travel. No medical questions (under age 75), no medical cost caps, no preexisting condition or adventure travel exclusions. Also provides transfer of mortal remains. Learn more…


Travel Insurance: 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.

45 comments… add one
  • Henry Ewen Apr 27, 2018, 2:02 am

    For Americans at least, another alternative is squaremouth. They are an online travel insurance brokers selling annual and single trip coverage from a variety of carriers including some listed here and others that are not listed here.

  • Rhonda Apr 20, 2018, 2:18 pm

    Is there a health coverage amount limit or requirement for temporary/visitors insurance in Ecuador?

  • Tom Saxton Apr 17, 2018, 11:10 am

    I currently have Anthem health insurance. When traveling to Ecuador, do I need additional insurance? Thank you, Tom

  • david Apr 16, 2018, 2:31 pm

    Does medicare with medicare supplement qualify?

  • Jane Lael Apr 16, 2018, 2:31 pm

    When a friend wants to visit Ecuador for a week, does he need this health insurance?

    • Bryan Haines Apr 16, 2018, 2:39 pm

      It is an entry requirement, so regardless of how long someone will be visiting, they’ll need health insurance to enter the country. Many policies now allow for very short-term trips.

  • Sara Obern Apr 2, 2018, 1:06 pm

    We are in a bind. Arrived on tourist visas BEFORE proof of health insurance was required. Now, to get Visa extensions (which we need before we can apply for residency) we need proof of healthcare. BUT, when we go to sites to get cheap healthcare, they require we are IN our home countries and purchase BEFORE we leave.
    I’m an American and Brazilian citizen.
    My boyfriend is Australian.
    Any ideas? Am sure others got caught in this same situation…

    • Bryan Haines Apr 2, 2018, 3:46 pm

      Changing rules create some interesting situations… Have you checked World Nomads? I just tried the quote app and it looks you can purchase from anywhere.

      We have traveled with this insurance many times and it is super flexible. I know that you can extend while traveling. Let me know how it works out for you.

      • Sara Obern Apr 3, 2018, 1:16 pm

        Thank you.
        World Nomads did let us sign up, easily when already in Ecuador 😊

        • Lulie Apr 16, 2018, 5:37 pm

          We live here full time, but are US citizens. So with Wnomads do i say Im travelling to Ecuador but am resident of US?
          or ?

  • Joseph Feb 3, 2018, 1:46 pm

    Did you move back to Ecuador??? The last time we talked you had moved back to Nova Scotia for Health Reasons??? If you are back in Ecuador Fantastico Mis Amigos Hasta Luego

  • ecbound Jan 25, 2018, 11:36 pm

    Bryan, Do you know if Medicare satisfies Ecuador’s insurance requirement until you get your permanent residency? Will it suffice to get your residency?

  • ecbound Jan 25, 2018, 11:33 pm

    Can I ask why you chose World Nomads over Atlas Travel when Atlas seems to cover more things (like extraction, and returning minors home)?

    • Bryan Haines Jan 28, 2018, 5:03 pm

      Nothing huge – I just found World Nomads easier to sort out and liked their offering.

  • Kathy Sholtys Jan 13, 2018, 9:19 pm

    If someone already has medical insurance that covers international medical care, but must be paid out of pocket first and then is reimbursed at home in the U.S., is this insurance still necessary? What sort of documentation do you need to show and to whom?

  • Linda Y Nov 7, 2017, 12:49 am

    I’m planning on traveling to Ecuador next September, for a month, to see if I’d like to move there. I checked my Medicare Supplement policy, and I have 60 days of covered travel outside the US, with a $250 deductible and then it pays 80% of anything up to $50,000, for any medical need that occurs during that span of time. Do you think that will satisfy Ecuador’s requirement until I actually move there?

    If and when I do move there, I’ll need to consider the cost of purchasing health insurance from one of the providers and dropping Medicare Part B and the supplement, which I think cost about $250/ month right now. I think it will be close to an even swap. I’ll keep Part A, and if I ever return to the US, I can ad Part B back in.

    I’d really like to hear from others living there about how they have handled it.

  • 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

    • Lulie Apr 16, 2018, 5:41 pm

      I can recommend Isaac May, who is a realtor here but Ive seen him take care of everything, for many of his clients and refer you to the best people if he cannot ie visas. etc . write me here and ill send his email.
      Lulie

  • 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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