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I'm a freelancer in the field of software development and I'm planning to travel to different places, but also continue working. I'd expect to stay at a certain place (country) for 1-3 months. Pretty much living a nomadic life for a while.

What I'm wondering now, is, what type of insurance should I get and also what can I get, to be covered internationally. I guess the most important one is health insurance.

Not sure if that is important at all, but maybe I should mention that I'm a German citizen. However, I haven't lived in Germany for 4 years. Until now I've always lived in different countries, but for at least a year, and thus could get local insurances. However, if I would only stay in a country for 1-3 months I guess there is too much bureaucratic overhead to get local insurances.

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2 Answers 2

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1 to 3 months is not too long term to get travel insurance. Many insurance companies offer travel insurance and there are many options depending on what you want covered, how much you want to cover it for, and the duration of the coverage.

Your travel agent might only suggest one company though which may not be the cheapest or best. They seem to have some kind of exclusive arrangements in my experience.

One factor is the cost of healthcare in the destination countries. For travel to the United States the general recommendation is to get "unlimited" health coverage, which is of course the most expensive.

For property theft and damage, Visa Card provides a kind of automatic travel insurance on items purchased with it. I do not know if Mastercard has the same policy.

I didn't want to do too much searching so I stopped at the first one that seemed to answer your question. I have never used them so do not take this as a reccommendation.

Worldnomads advertises "long term travel insurance" and says "Indefinitely extend your policy while you are away". There are some restrictions which shouldn't affect you such as being younger than 66 years and being from one of the countries in their list (I noticed Yemen wasn't included). Also the price depends on whether or not you will enter these three countries: USA, Canda, and Japan

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I mean long term travel (1+ years), but staying at single country for only 1-3 months before moving to the next country. Not expecting to go back to my country of citizenship. –  znq Jul 3 '11 at 20:56
    
@znq: I added one example to my answer. You can buy 12 months insurance to start and then extended indefinitely. –  hippietrail Jul 4 '11 at 7:32

The bad news is: it's such a broad topic & there are so many insurers out there that it's very time consuming to understand which insurances are actually "good" for you.

The good news is: I had the same problem & did loads of research, so read on!


Regarding health-related insurances, you are looking for what is usually called an "international health travel insurance".

Sometimes the name varies to "long term travel insurance" or else.

I will focus my answer on the health aspect of an international travel insurance, as it is the most important topic.


Each travel insurance will come with different types of coverage.

You want to look at the below different categories of coverage & double check you are covered for what matters to you.

  1. Emergency: ie. you fall ill, hence must consult a doctor (or go to hospital)
  2. Accident: ie. you are doing a hike & twist your ankle, hence must consult a doctor (or go to hospital)
  3. Search & rescue: ie. you get caught in an avalanche in Nepal, a rescue team will search for you... & save your life
  4. Routine treatments/checks: ie. every 6 months you see a GP to double check you are all good

My recommendation: you must get the "emergency" & "accident" coverage at least. I highly recommend to get a "search & rescue" cover too. All these coverages usually come with repatriation in your home country (but where is home??? a developed country with high health care system standards is all you care I suppose).


I'm a German citizen. However, I haven't lived in Germany for 4 years. Until now I've always lived in different countries

Many insurers - even though based in one specific country - are providing this type of insurance for many nationalities. Most of them - from what I noticed - ask you your country of residence to issue you this insurance.

As a German citizen living in a foreign country (ie. Spain), you may not plan to ever come back to that country, so you might wonder "how stupid is that??". I think the same, & I have no idea why they do that. Seems like the world is still not so global after all.

BUT, some insurers base the insurance policy on your citizenship only or sometimes on any combination of citizenship+residency: Clements Worldwide with the plan called Expat Health Insurance GlobalCare, IMG Europe with the plan called "GlobalFusion International Medical Insurance", ACS Travel & expatriate insurances, and ASFE Expat.

ps. do let us know if you find more international travel insurances providing this flexibility


One factor is the cost of healthcare in the destination countries. For travel to the United States the general recommendation is to get "unlimited" health coverage, which is of course the most expensive.

Right on spot, USA & Canada are often not covered by international health insurance. It is always (in my experience) explicitly stated though so no big deal. You should be able to find one that also covers those countries without much problem (& by paying a little more of course).


The nitty gritty

Here are some international health insurances that seemed pretty:

TrueTraveller.com : good price, can cover the most unusual activities, but extremely tailored at the same time (you choose what you need only) & very transparent, it seems like a winner

Clements.com : seemed pretty nice, just for the fact that it's "smart enough" to only ask you for your citizenship rather than residency

ACS Travel & expatriate insurances: seems fine. It insures anyone from any combination of citizenship & residency.

ASFE Expat: seems fine. It insures anyone from any combination of citizenship & residency. Unfortunately, only people below 36 years old are eligible.

World nomads: seems fine, but from my research I noticed it was not cheap.

IMG Europe : seems fine, although I still need to read more about it

Allianz : a very big player in the field, it seems the choice for many. However, the number of websites & policies they have is overwhelming, still have to look further into that one.

StaTravel : I heard it's not bad what they offer in some countries, but yeah, it depends in which country you get your insurance... as each country-website is different & has different offers. Note that they usually work with partner insurances companies, maybe you can get the exact same insurance they propose but directly with the partner insurance, hence most likely for a cheaper price.


Further research tip for you:

Congratulations! You have become a "perpetual traveler" & a "digital nomad". Society found a name for you, aren't you happy about it!?

Now, just google for this:

  • "perpetual traveler international health insurance"
  • "digital nomad international health insurance"

Also look for blogs & forums of digital travelers & perpetual travelers, they often contain quality information on that topic.

Now just google for this:

  • "digital nomad blog"
  • "perpetual traveler blog"

And see if there is a section on health insurance in those blogs.


Resources:

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I don't get how the nickname "digital nomads" but perpetual traveller makes sense. Can you be a digital nomad with no electronics? –  verve Apr 27 at 11:05
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@verve you can see the whole definition on the linked Wikipedia pages in the article. To answer your question specifically: no, I don't think you can be called a digital Nomad without electronics. –  Adrien Be Apr 27 at 17:58
    
Digital Nomad conveys "working while traveling long term". That's a very different travel lifestyle that backpacking (think gap-year) or leisure travel (think retirement). Sure there is some cross-over, but DM's have a lot of unique issues the other groups don't, and it's easier to talk about them as a group. Here for example, DM's probably don't plan to evacuate "home" for major medical care. –  jb510 yesterday
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It could be useful to say why one would take some type of insurance, instead of recommending one directly: an emergency or an accident can happen to anyone, just walking in the street. Search & rescue is mostly for those doing sport or wandering outside cities where it would cost more than just driving an ambulance (typically when hiking). Routine checks are for the multi-year travellers that still need to regularly see a doctor, dentist, even on the road. –  Vince yesterday

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