If you’re going on an extended holiday, you’ll need to have the right travel insurance in place.

Many insurers only offer short-term cover. Some only cover you for up to 31 days. So, if you’re going away for longer than that, you’ll have to find an insurer that offers long stay travel insurance. Usually, when people refer to long term travel insurance, they mean travel insurance that lasts for anything from 2-18 months, or more.

Travelling can be a lot of fun. But, the longer you’re away for, the more opportunity there is for something to go wrong. That’s why it’s so important for you to have the right long term travel insurance in place, so you’ll be protected if the worst happens.

How long will long stay travel insurance cover you for?

You should be able to find cover for at least 120 days (four months) fairly easily.

This kind of long term travel insurance is ideal if you’re:

  • Going abroad to visit friends or family for a few months

  • Travelling around several countries

  • Spending winter in a holiday home.

However, if you’re going for longer, you might want to look into 6 month travel insurance, or something even longer. Longer term insurance might be necessary if you’re going travelling around the world, or on a gap year trip. In this case, a specialist backpacker travel insurance policy might be better suited to your needs. It can offer benefits that are specific to your trip.

You might even be able to use backpacker travel insurance if you’re going abroad to work with a working holiday visa. But you’ll need to check the policy carefully to make sure.

What’s covered under long trip travel insurance?

Policies vary a lot, so you’ll need to do your research and check each policy very carefully to see what’s included.

A good long stay policy might include cover for:

Medical expenses

In some countries, especially the USA, medical treatment can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. If you need medical attention while you’re abroad, you’ll be glad you chose a travel insurance policy with decent medical cover. This could be around £3 million or even more if you end up needing an air ambulance or having to spend a long time in hospital. The best policies will cover the cost of repatriation so you could be flown home if needed. Some might say you can never have enough medical cover.

Lost or stolen baggage, money and personal belongings

Base the amount of cover you need on how much you’re taking with you. Usually around £1,500 of cover would be enough to replace a missing suitcase or rucksack. But if you’re taking expensive jewellery, designer clothes or pricey gadgets, you’ll want more cover. It’s important to see if the policy has a single item limit, which is when it states the maximum value of any item you claim for.

Missed connections

Not all policies include cover for missed connections, so read yours carefully to see what’s included.

Cancellation of your trip

Choose a policy with enough cover to pay for the trip if it got cancelled through no fault of your own. You’d want to get back what you paid for it.

Cancellation by you

If you had to cancel your trip due to an illness, emergency or being called up for jury service, it’d be nice to have cover to pay for the trip you’re missing out on. Again, it’s important to have the right amount of cover if you’d want to cover the full cost.

You should look carefully at what level of cover you’ll need before you take out a policy.

At the very least, it’s likely you’ll want the peace of mind that comes with medical cover. Should you fall ill or injure yourself abroad, medical treatment can be expensive.

Don’t forget to check the excess on the policy you’re looking at too. The excess is the amount you’ll have to pay to make a claim. So you need to make sure you can afford it.

This guide outlines what cover levels you should be looking for.

Add-ons for your long term travel insurance cover

If you want to, you can customise your cover to better fit your trip. You do this by adding extra options like:

  • Extreme and winter sports cover – such as bungee jumping, paragliding, skiing and snowboarding

  • Business cover – for if you’re travelling for your job

  • Golf cover – for loss or damage relating to golf

  • Pre-existing conditions cover – illnesses such as diabetes or high cholesterol.

Make sure you declare any medical conditions you have so they’re covered too. If you don’t, you might find yourself unable to claim.

How do I get pre-existing conditions cover as part of my long trip travel insurance?

When you’re getting quotes, you’ll need to explain a little about any pre-existing conditions you have. Your insurer may also ask about your medical history. Then they should offer you some specialist cover based on the information you share.

The specialist long trip travel insurance might be available for conditions such as:

  • respiratory illnesses like asthma

  • high blood pressure

  • high cholesterol

  • diabetes

  • cancer

  • stomach problems

  • inflammation of the bones or joints.

You should be as honest and accurate as you can in terms of what information you share. This is the best way to make sure you get the right cover, and reduce the chances of any claims you make being rejected. Being dishonest could invalidate your long term travel insurance policy.

How much does long term travel insurance cost?

The price of long term travel insurance varies depending on several factors. This includes:

  • how old you are

  • where you’re travelling

  • how long you want cover for

  • what level of cover you want

  • whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions

  • whether you want any other specialist add-ons.

The level of cover an insurer is willing to give you may also be based on the first three factors in this list.

Tips for choosing your long stay travel insurance

When you’re looking for your long trip travel insurance, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the right cover at the best price.

  • Shop around. Compare long term travel insurance by clicking the link at the bottom of this page, to find the best deal.

  • Check which countries are covered. Generally, if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) thinks a destination is unsafe to travel to, it won’t be included on your policy. So double check before you buy your long stay travel insurance policy that it’s suitable for your trip. You could also look into what would happen if the FCO changed its advice while you were away.

  • Check what activities are included. What you’re doing while you’re on your travels will affect what kind of cover you need. For example, if you’re doing extreme or winter sports, you’ll need less cover than if you’re just relaxing on a beach or visiting family. Talk to your insurance provider and check the long term travel insurance policy to make sure you’ve got the right cover for your needs.

  • Look at what gadgets are covered. If you need to take expensive gadgets or specialist equipment on your travels, check what your policy includes as standard. Specialist equipment could be for sports or music, for example. A standard long stay travel insurance policy might just include cover for basic gadgets like your phone, but not for hi-tech equipment. So double check before you travel.

  • Check what age range the policy covers. Many policies have a maximum upper age limit. Check whether yours does and make sure you’re within it.

Does my annual travel insurance policy offer long term travel insurance?

Annual travel insurance policies last for a whole year, but most have a limit on how many days in a row you can spend travelling. The limit is around 31 days at a time so, if you’ll be away for longer than that, you’re best off choosing a long stay travel insurance policy.