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When looking for travel insurance, there is a dizzying array of companies, policies, plans, restrictions, and conditions. What should a short-term traveler look for in an insurance plan? What things should you watch out for? Are there any companies or plans in particular that are commonly recommended for travelers?

Edit: To make this more specific, I'm looking for a general travel insurance policy for a single traveler in good health traveling for a few weeks to a few months. It should be comprehensive enough to cover basically any medical issue that could arise while traveling in most parts of the world. I know there are hundreds of plans that fit this criteria, so my question is: are there any major aspects that set some plans apart from others, or are they basically all the same? Are there a few companies that are frequently highly recommended for travelers, or is there not much difference between the companies out there?

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This question might be too broad and not have "one right answer" as Stack Exchange prefers. It would be better to ask from your own perspective what you are looking for in travel insurance specifically. –  hippietrail Sep 23 '11 at 14:28
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+1 I am also currently looking for a travel insurance policy with similar criteria - I will definitely be checking back to see what the SE has to say! –  Laura Sep 23 '11 at 20:40
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Your intended destinations can make possibly the largest impact on the answers by the way since it can hugely affect the price. Especially if budget is also one of your concerns. –  hippietrail Sep 23 '11 at 21:35
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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Not entirely sure if this is what you're after, as it's still a bit vague - but for adventurous travellers like myself, and others I've met in stranger countries regularly use WorldNomads.com

It's all purchasable and able to be edited/renews/claimed against online, which is great for travellers without say a regular permanent address that some companies require you to have.

I'm actually getting a new policy with them tonight - albeit for a simple visit to Canada :) (assuming no more riots!)

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Blimey, they want to charge me £870.68 (for a year). Why are they 5-10 times more expensive than the competition? –  Grzenio Sep 26 '11 at 8:37
    
Sometimes the cheapest isn't always the best ;) This one is recommended by Lonely Planet, National Geographic and Rough Guide - that sometimes tends to inflate hostel prices a little so maybe that's the case here too? –  Mark Mayo Sep 26 '11 at 10:02
    
This question may also be of interest to you : travel.stackexchange.com/questions/805/… –  Mark Mayo Sep 26 '11 at 10:07
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Unfortunately I haven't seen any comprehensive comparison of the terms and conditions that different companies offer (which is a shame - hopefully someone will provide a link). However, the things that I came across personally:

  1. Volcanoes and similar natural disasters - after the issues with Icelandic eruptions, many (reputable) companies refused to cover the resulting losses. So I would double check with the company whether they (a) cover these things (b) covered it last time it happened.

  2. All sorts of sports and/or work - if you are planning to do sports or work double check that you are covered. Especially if its "extreme" sport (surprisingly wide category for the insurance companies) or involves any sort of competition. Wintersports cover is also usually included at a premium.

  3. Cover for the USA and Canada can be more expensive than the rest of the world.

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