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7 Best Travel Insurance Options for South America + 2 Free Alternatives

Thinking about a journey to South America? Ensure that obtaining travel insurance is your foremost concern. In this guide, we will delve into excellent travel insurance options crafted for budget-conscious adventurers, backpackers, individuals seeking thrills, and more. Additionally, we will introduce two possible opportunities for complimentary travel insurance that might have eluded your attention.

7 Best & Cheapest Travel Insurances for the United States + 2 Free Options

Hikers being rescued in South Korea

Embarking on an incredible expedition to South America is unquestionably exhilarating, but it’s common to feel inundated by the multitude of tasks ahead. From securing flights and accommodations to organizing activities and preparing for potential jet lag, one vital aspect is frequently neglected – travel insurance.

If you encounter this scenario, there’s no cause for concern! Continue reading to delve into all the crucial information about acquiring the perfect travel insurance for your South American adventure. We’ll present a thorough array of the finest and most budget-friendly options at your disposal!

Nevertheless, before delving into the particulars…

Do I really need travel insurance for a trip to South America? 

7 Best & Cheapest Travel Insurances for the United States + 2 Free Options

Absolutely, unequivocally!

Securing comprehensive travel coverage is an absolute imperative, especially for adventurous travelers like myself who frequently engage in activities inherently linked to heightened risks of injury and potential medical expenses.

Throughout my journeys, I wholeheartedly embrace thrilling pursuits such as mountain trekking, rock climbing, bungee jumping, scuba diving, and exploring everything that embodies the epitome of adventure!

Let’s paint a scenario: envision yourself snowboarding in Switzerland without travel coverage, and unfortunately, you sustain an injury on the slopes, necessitating a helicopter rescue. The resulting medical expenses, as you lie in your hospital room, would likely be enough to induce a panic attack merely by glancing at the bill’s numerous zeros!

But let’s face the reality: obtaining travel coverage is a judicious decision, irrespective of your travel destination.

During my travels, I’ve encountered numerous backpackers displaying the infamous “Thai Tattoo” – significant scars on their legs resulting from burns caused by contact with scooter exhaust pipes in Thailand!

And honestly, do you genuinely want to find yourself in a public hospital in the heart of Bangkok?!?! With travel coverage, you have the option to choose a private hospital where you’ll undoubtedly receive superior care. So, why take needless risks? Ensure you’re protected and relish your journey to the fullest!

But do I actually need travel insurance? I don’t usually do any extreme activities or sports!

Pay careful attention: whether you’re plotting an extravagant shopping spree in Miami or any other expedition, travel insurance is an absolute prerequisite!

While health insurance may not be a legal obligation in South America, as it is in some other nations, there’s always a level of uncertainty involved when you travel. From minor mishaps like stumbling on the street to more severe incidents like injuries or illnesses, unforeseen circumstances can occur.

Relying solely on South America’s healthcare system (or that of many other countries) without any insurance coverage is similar to inviting a personal financial catastrophe.

Additionally, bear in mind that several countries, South America included, may mandate that you must possess some form of health or travel insurance as a prerequisite for entry.

And let’s not overlook that travel insurance encompasses more than just medical emergencies. Depending on your policy, it can also offer compensation for lost luggage, flight delays, adverse weather conditions, and even aid in arranging your evacuation from a country in the event of civil unrest.

So, before you embark on your adventure, ensure you’re shielded with the appropriate travel insurance plan! It’s a judicious decision that ensures peace of mind throughout your escapades.

Update regarding travel insurance and the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Given the ongoing prevalence of Covid-19, you may be interested in the protection provided by your travel insurance in the event of illness.

Thankfully, at present, nearly every available travel insurance plan does include coverage for illnesses related to Covid-19. Nevertheless, I highly recommend thoroughly scrutinizing the specifics of your policy before finalizing your purchase. A comprehensive grasp of your coverage will offer the peace of mind crucial for your travels.

(Or for more details, you can also take a look at our article here: Does International Health and Travel Insurance cover Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Observation:These travel insurance options are designed to meet the needs of travelers. However, if your trip to South America is for educational purposes, it’s crucial to explore international health insurance plans specifically crafted for international students. On the flip side, if you are relocating to the US for work or as an immigrant, you will need health insurance policies customized for expatriates. You can explore appropriate choices for these specific types of coverage in the article linked at the end. Ensure to investigate the available options that align seamlessly with your travel and residency requirements.

How does the health system in the South America work? 

The healthcare system in South America can vary significantly from country to country, as each nation has its own healthcare system, policies, and infrastructure. Here is some general information on how the healthcare system works in some South American countries:

  • Brazil: Brazil has a mixed healthcare system, consisting of the Unified Health System (SUS), which offers free health services, and private healthcare services. Brazilian citizens can access free medical treatment through SUS, but many opt for private health plans for quicker care and additional services.
  • Argentina: Argentina also has a mixed healthcare system, with both public and private services. Access to healthcare is free for residents, and the country provides a high standard of medical care.
  • Chile: Chile has a mixed healthcare system, with the public sector (Fonasa) and the private sector. Fonasa offers free or reduced-price healthcare services for Chilean citizens, while the private sector is accessed through health insurance.
  • Colombia: Colombia has a mixed healthcare system, with both public and private services. The healthcare system is regulated by the government, and residents have access to free or affordable healthcare services.
  • Peru: Peru has a mixed healthcare system, with both public and private services. Access to healthcare is free for many procedures, but the private sector is widely used by those seeking more specialized services.

It is important to note that in some South American countries, especially in rural areas, access to healthcare services may be limited, and the quality of services may vary. Foreign travelers are often advised to purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses and evacuation in case of emergencies. This provides an additional layer of protection, regardless of each country’s specific healthcare system.

Health Insurance South America

What are the best travel insurance options for a trip to South America

However, I’ve dedicated years to in-depth research of diverse travel insurance providers, and I’ve personally assessed many of them. The compilation below highlights the travel insurance options I consistently endorse.

Please bear in mind that the available selections can differ depending on your country of origin and the specific extent and type of coverage needed for your journey.

I strongly suggest dedicating some time to request quotes from each of these companies tailored to your particular expedition. While it might require a bit of effort, the potential long-term savings make it entirely worthwhile!

Furthermore, there are travel insurance aggregator websites that facilitate plan comparison and purchase, streamlining the process for your convenience. I wish you secure and enjoyable travels and trust you discover the ideal insurance coverage for your adventure!

   1. The well-known, mid-priced travel insurance company:

IMG Global (accepts citizens from most countries!) 

Certainly! IMG (International Medical Group) is a well-respected American insurance provider that extends its travel insurance services to individuals from more than 190 countries.

This positions IMG as an outstanding option to consider when looking for travel insurance for your Health Insurance South American adventure, irrespective of your country of residence!

With their extensive coverage and worldwide presence, IMG stands as a dependable choice for travelers seeking assurance during their explorations. Delve into their available plans and pinpoint the ideal travel insurance option customized to your needs, guaranteeing a stress-free journey in Health Insurance South America!

They have one travel insurance plan available for Americans only (Patriot Travel Medical Insurance) and one available for non-American travelers (Patriot America Plus).

You have the flexibility to choose your preferred coverage level, ranging from US$50,000 to US$500,000, and deductible options vary from US$0 to US$2,500.

Regarding pricing, IMG’s rates are generally competitive. However, akin to some other options mentioned earlier, specific activities may not fall under their policy coverage.

To ensure that you secure all the necessary coverage tailored to your individual requirements, I strongly recommend a thorough examination of the policy details before completing your purchase. This way, you can travel with confidence and certainty, knowing that your selected policy offers the comprehensive protection you require. Safe travels!

Travel insurance for seniors (65+): one thing that makes IMG unique is that they offer a travel insurance plan specifically tailored to travelers aged 65 and over, called GlobeHopper Senior. 

IMGlobal travel insurance and COVID-19 coverage

In most instances, all plans offered by IMG will provide coverage for any medical requirements related to Covid-19, including treatment, hospitalizations, and even medical evacuations.

Nevertheless, it’s crucial to meticulously scrutinize your policy before finalizing your purchase to confirm that there have been no modifications. This ensures that you can have confidence in the scope of Covid-19 coverage offered by your selected plan. Travel with assurance and tranquility, knowing that you have the essential protection during these unpredictable times!


   2. The best, most comprehensive travel insurance company for backpackers and adventurous travelers:

World Nomads Travel Insurance


(5% discount coupon comfort5)

I have complete trust in World Nomads as a premier backpacker travel insurance company.

Whenever I embark on a journey involving adventurous or “risky” activities such as snowboarding, canyoning, hiking, glacier walking, skydiving, deep-water diving, skiing, climbing, and more, I consistently opt for a World Nomads policy.

Their coverage is exceptionally comprehensive, spanning a wide array of activities. I have yet to encounter another insurance company that provides superior coverage for ALL the activities protected under World Nomads’ policies. (Nevertheless, if you’ve discovered an alternative, please feel free to share your insights in the comments section below!)

With World Nomads, I enjoy the peace of mind of being fully protected during my daring expeditions and thrilling adventures.

If you have a specific activity in mind and are curious about whether World Nomads covers it or not, you can verify on this page here.

In essence, World Nomads offers two policy types for your consideration. The first is the “Standard” policy, which may suffice even if you have adventurous activities planned. It provides emergency medical coverage for activities like downhill skiing or hiking up to 6,000 meters (nearly 20,000 feet)!

On the other hand, the “Explorer” plan is ideal for more extreme travelers. It covers a wide range of activities, but it’s essential to double-check your plan before purchasing to ensure your specific activities are covered.

Additionally, World Nomads gives you the option to add coverage for high-value specified items, such as iPhones and digital cameras. This can be a valuable add-on if you’re traveling with expensive electronic gear or visiting regions prone to theft, like Brazil (my native country).

Based on my personal experience, I can attest to their responsive and user-friendly customer service team, particularly when I sought reimbursement after falling ill in Thailand.

Lastly, one significant advantage with World Nomads is that you can purchase or extend your travel insurance even if you’ve already commenced your trip. You’re not confined to obtaining it solely from your home country of residence. This flexibility makes it convenient for travelers on the move.

You can get a 5% discount code on your World Nomads travel insurance policy by using the coupon code “comfort5″.

(P.S. If you’re anything like me and are also addicted to sports and adventure activities and want to make sure you have good travel insurance that covers them, here are two other articles you might like: 3 Best International Travel Insurance for Extreme Sports and Adventure Activities and 9 Tips to Stay in Shape During Your Travels.) 

WorldNomads travel insurance and coronavirus coverage

At the time of composing this article, World Nomads doesn’t explicitly specify whether their insurance plans encompass coverage for Covid-19 treatment. However, you can access their latest stance on the coronavirus on their website here.

world nomads

   3. One of the cheapest travel insurance companies you’ll find anywhere:

WorldTrips (formerly Atlas Travel)

world trips

In my personal experience, travel insurance plans offered by WorldTrips have consistently ranked among the most budget-friendly choices available. However, it’s essential to note that the lower cost may entail certain limitations on coverage compared to companies like World Nomads.

For my journeys to “safe” destinations, especially when my itinerary primarily involves visits to cities, such as the United States or Europe, I consider WorldTrips a preferred choice.

While I have purchased travel insurance plans from WorldTrips in the past, I’ve been fortunate not to require reimbursement, so I cannot personally attest to their reimbursement process. Nevertheless, I’ve encountered reviews from other travelers who did need reimbursement, and they shared positive experiences with WorldTrips.

In summary, WorldTrips is an excellent option for budget-conscious travelers seeking economical travel insurance. They offer plans of various durations and types, catering to a broad range of needs, from year-long round-the-world backpacking journeys to short study abroad programs for university students.

A noteworthy aspect of WorldTrips is their flexibility in allowing you to purchase or extend your policy even if you’ve already commenced your trip. So, if you find yourself abroad and in need of coverage, WorldTrips can accommodate your requirements.

Furthermore, unlike many other insurance providers, WorldTrips imposes no age restrictions. While the plan’s cost may increase with age, they do extend coverage to seniors, making them a dependable choice for senior travel insurance when few other companies offer this service.

WorldTrips travel insurance and Covid-19 coverage

In most cases, your WorldTrips policy will cover any medical expenses arising from Covid-19 illness. However, it’s crucial to review the policy specifics before finalizing your purchase to ensure you have the most up-to-date and precise coverage. By doing so, you can embark on your travels with confidence, knowing you have the necessary protection in case of any Covid-19-related medical requirements.


   4. The new international travel insurance company for digital nomads and adventure/extreme sports:

Safety Wing

Safety Wing has garnered a stellar reputation in the insurance industry with its diverse selection of travel insurance plans, thoughtfully designed to cater to the unique requirements of students, digital nomads, expatriates, and various other categories of travelers. Their extensive range of coverage options has positioned them as a premier choice for numerous individuals seeking dependable and flexible insurance solutions for their journeys.

One thing that makes Safety Wing stand out is its focus on insurance plans that cover adventure sports and extreme activities. (Like WorldNomads!) 

Plus, their website is fun and allows you to easily and quickly get a quote. 

Safety Wing travel insurance and Covid-19 coverage

Safety Wing has built a commendable standing in the insurance industry with its diverse assortment of travel insurance plans, meticulously tailored to fulfill the unique requirements of students, digital nomads, expatriates, and various other categories of travelers. Their extensive selection of coverage options has positioned them as a premier preference for numerous individuals seeking trustworthy and flexible insurance solutions for their journeys.


   5. The best place to find & compare cheap travel insurance policies:


visitors coverage

Safety Wing has built a commendable standing in the insurance industry with its diverse assortment of travel insurance plans, meticulously tailored to fulfill the unique requirements of students, digital nomads, expatriates, and various other categories of travelers. Their extensive selection of coverage options has positioned them as a premier preference for numerous individuals seeking trustworthy and flexible insurance solutions for their journeys.

It’s a bit like Momondo, which lets you compare plane tickets from different companies. Or, which does the same rental cars. 

In other words, it makes it much easier to see all your options for travel insurance plans. And then ultimately compare, choose, and buy the best option for your trip. 

VisitorsCoverage offers a varied range of insurance plans crafted to fulfill diverse requirements, including coverage for business travel and options specifically tailored for students.

With a decade of expertise, this platform caters to individuals from over 175 countries. Additionally, based on available feedback, VisitorsCoverage is recognized for its robust and reliable customer service team, accessible online seven days a week. This ensures that travelers can promptly access the assistance and support they require.

Whether your travel is business-related or involves studying abroad, VisitorsCoverage stands as a respected platform for exploring and identifying suitable insurance plans tailored to your specific travel needs. It serves as a dependable resource for discovering the perfect insurance coverage for your journey.

VisitorsCoverage travel insurance and COVID-19 coverage

On the VisitorsCoverage platform, you have the convenience of examining the details of each plan to gain insights into its coverage for Covid-19. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that, similar to the companies mentioned earlier, the majority of travel insurance plans now incorporate some level of coverage for Covid-19.

Recognizing the importance of ensuring traveler protection amid the ongoing pandemic, travel insurance providers have adjusted their offerings. While exploring the options available through VisitorsCoverage, you can anticipate finding plans that specifically cater to Covid-19-related medical requirements, providing you with an additional layer of assurance throughout your journeys. It serves as a valuable tool for identifying travel insurance plans that prioritize your safety and well-being during these unprecedented times.

visitors coverage

   6. Another great website to search for and compare cheap travel insurance policies:

Similar to VisitorsCoverage, operates as a travel insurance “aggregator,” offering the convenience of simultaneously viewing and comparing various travel insurance plans from multiple companies.

To initiate your search, you can easily input your personal information and trip details. The platform will then provide you with a comprehensive comparison of the available plans, allowing you to filter based on ratings and prices. This straightforward process streamlines the discovery of the most suitable and cost-effective travel insurance plan for your unique travel requirements, all within a single platform. With, obtaining the ideal coverage for your journey becomes a straightforward and efficient task. It serves as a valuable tool for simplifying the process of identifying the perfect travel insurance plan for your upcoming trip.

One nice feature of is that, beyond travel insurance, they also offer insurance plans for immigrantsinternational students, and expatriates. and coronavirus coverage

When utilizing, you have the opportunity to scrutinize the details of each partner insurer’s Covid-19 coverage. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that, similar to the companies mentioned earlier, the majority of travel insurance plans nowadays incorporate some level of Covid-19 coverage.

Travel insurance providers have adjusted to the current circumstances, recognizing the importance of addressing travelers’ needs during the pandemic. While navigating your options on, you can anticipate finding plans that offer Covid-19-related protection, ensuring the necessary peace of mind for your travels. It serves as a reassuring tool for exploring travel insurance plans that prioritize your safety and well-being in these uncertain times.

travel insurance

   7. A final “travel insurance portal” option to search for and compare policies to find the best deal:



AARDY proves to be an invaluable travel insurance “aggregator” that allows you to explore multiple travel insurance plan options from various companies all at once. Describing themselves as the “Amazon” of travel insurance, AARDY provides a user-friendly platform for easy plan comparison.

What truly sets AARDY apart is its exceptional customer service, evident from their high scores on TrustPilot. In addition to their straightforward search portal facilitating quick plan comparison, you can also reach out to them at any time through email, support, or live chat. This feature ensures that all your inquiries and concerns are thoroughly addressed before finalizing your insurance policy purchase.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that AARDY is dedicated to giving back to the community. They donate a portion of their annual income to The Special Operations Warrior Foundation, an organization providing financial assistance to the children of military personnel who lost their lives in combat. By choosing AARDY, you not only secure reliable travel insurance coverage but also contribute to a meaningful cause that supports those in need. It’s an excellent way to find the right travel insurance plan while also making a positive impact on the lives of others.

AARDY travel insurance and COVID-19 coverage

Since AARDY itself isn’t a travel insurance provider and is only a portal that lets you compare insurance from many companies, you’ll have to look into the individual insurance company before you buy your plan to see what their position is on Covid-19 coverage



Bonus option to find and compare many different travel insurance plans at once:



Much like the other travel insurance “portals” or “aggregators” discussed earlier, InsureMyTrip offers a convenient and efficient method to compare travel insurance plans from various companies all in one place.

Their platform streamlines the process, allowing you to effortlessly access and assess a broad range of options, making it more convenient to discover the perfect travel insurance coverage for your specific needs. With InsureMyTrip, obtaining the right protection for your journey becomes a seamless and straightforward task. It’s an outstanding tool to simplify the process of finding the ideal travel insurance plan for your upcoming trip.

It’s a lot like Momondo, which is an aggregator for airline tickets, or, which is an aggregator for car rentals.

InsureMyTrip sets itself apart through its steadfast commitment to quality. They strictly adhere to a policy of removing any plan or insurance company from their website if it receives less than 4 stars, guaranteeing that only top-tier options are presented to users.

In contrast to some other alternatives mentioned here, InsureMyTrip concentrates solely on travel insurance. As a result, you won’t find insurance plans designed for expats, immigrants, or international students on their platform. This specialization allows them to deliver a focused and comprehensive service, tailored specifically to travelers’ needs, ensuring they have access to the best available travel insurance options. It’s a platform that prioritizes excellence and is devoted to providing travelers with the finest travel insurance choices.

But if you’re looking for a plan like this to complement your travel insurance, check out my article on the 5 Best & Cheapest Health Insurances for International Students or 5 Best International Health Insurances for Expats & Immigrants.

InsureMyTrip travel insurance and Covid-19 coverage

Since InsureMyTrip itself isn’t a travel insurance provider and is only an aggregator that lets you compare insurance from many companies, you’ll have to look into the individual insurance company before you buy your plan to see what their position is on Covid-19 coverage


But wait….you might not even need to buy travel insurance!

Here are two sneaky ways you might be able to get “free” travel insurance 🙂 


   1. Buy your return flight ticket with a credit card to (maybe) get free insurance for your trip.  

credit card

Depending on your credit card type, there’s a chance that using your roundtrip flight with that card may qualify you for a complimentary basic travel insurance plan included in the transaction.

Credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Diners often offer this benefit. However, it’s crucial to get in touch with your card provider or visit their website to verify whether your card includes this feature and its specific terms.

For travelers heading to Europe, this free basic insurance plan can be a viable option to fulfill the mandatory Schengen insurance requirements.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to acknowledge that the insurance plan provided by your credit card is primarily an international health insurance plan rather than a comprehensive travel insurance plan.

This involves two crucial aspects. First, the coverage will likely be restricted to emergency medical care exclusively, and it may not extend to treatments necessitated by sports or “risky” activities.

Second, unlike typical travel insurance, it won’t cover travel delays, lost baggage, canceled flights, or other trip-related issues, nor will it provide compensation for such incidents. It’s important to be aware of these limitations and consider supplemental travel insurance if you need broader coverage for your journey. Before making any assumptions, it’s advisable to carefully review the terms and coverage associated with your credit card’s travel insurance offer to gain a precise understanding of its inclusions.

Also keep in mind that this won’t work if you’re using miles to buy your plane ticket.* And that the maximum time limit on insurance from these types of credit cards is only 31 days. So if you’re still traveling, you’ll have to buy a regular travel insurance policy to keep yourself covered. 


In a valuable comment from blog reader Alex on the Portuguese version of this article, it was pointed out that having a Visa Platinum credit card and utilizing accumulated miles to cover ticket taxes and fees might make you eligible for their global travel insurance.

However, I strongly recommend independently verifying this information with your credit card provider, as the benefits associated with the same credit cards can differ depending on the countries in which they are issued. Many thanks to Alex for sharing this insightful tip!

Additionally, a comment from reader Ana Luisa has provided insight that Visa Platinum insurance typically offers 60 days of coverage, which is longer than the standard 30-day coverage provided by most other credit cards.

However, if your trip exceeds this duration, it is advisable to supplement the remaining portion of your journey with a regular travel insurance policy. While Visa Platinum insurance can save you money during the initial two months of your trip, it is always essential to ensure that you have suitable coverage for the entire duration of your travels, ensuring a stress-free journey. Being well-prepared and adequately covered throughout your entire trip is of utmost importance.

   2. Use your health insurance policy from your home country or country of residence. 

As we approach the conclusion of this guide, another potential avenue worth exploring involves reaching out to your health insurance provider in your home country to inquire about any international travel insurance offerings.

With your existing coverage from them, you may have the opportunity to access cost-effective or even complimentary insurance for your travels abroad. However, it is crucial to verify that their insurance will cover the specific destinations you intend to visit and all the activities you plan to participate in during your trip.

By pursuing this option, you might discover a convenient and budget-friendly means of obtaining the necessary travel insurance for your journey. Please remember to thoroughly scrutinize the terms and coverage details to ensure that you have the appropriate protection tailored to your travel requirements. Wishing you safe and enjoyable travels! It’s always a wise move to explore travel insurance options with your current health insurance provider, as they might offer suitable coverage that aligns with your needs and helps you save on additional expenses.

A quick note about travel insurance for cruising: 

Someone recently inquired about the suitability of these travel insurance plans for cruise trips, prompting me to conduct some research.

Based on the information available, both WorldNomads and WorldTrips will provide coverage for a cruise.

WorldTrips has explicitly confirmed via email that their Atlas plan includes coverage for medical evacuation from a cruise ship, as needed, contingent on the circumstances.

It appears that all the travel insurance plans offered through WorldNomads similarly extend their coverage to cruise travelers. However, it’s essential to note that there is an age restriction of 66 for their plans. In contrast, WorldTrips has the advantage of not imposing an age limit on their coverage, making it an appealing choice for older voyagers.

Regarding the other companies mentioned, I am still awaiting their official confirmation regarding cruise coverage. It’s always advisable to secure comprehensive and precise details about your travel insurance options before making a decision. Wishing you safe and enjoyable travels, and may you discover the perfect plan for your journey! When it comes to embarking on a cruise, understanding the specifics of your travel insurance is of paramount importance. It’s advisable to obtain detailed information from your insurance providers to ensure that you have the appropriate protection throughout your cruise adventure.

Fraud Warning!

As mentioned earlier, both WorldNomads and WorldTrips allow you to purchase travel insurance even after the commencement of your trip. However, it is crucial to exercise caution to prevent potential fraudulent activities.

It’s essential to understand that obtaining travel insurance after falling ill or experiencing an accident in the hope of securing coverage for that specific incident is not a permissible practice. Insurance companies are aware of this possibility, and most policies include an “anti-fraud” clause to deter such actions. According to this clause, your insurance policy can only be utilized 48 hours after its purchase.

For instance, if you become seriously ill during your journey and decide to purchase travel insurance afterward to cover your medical treatment, you must wait 48 hours before your policy becomes effective for reimbursement. Additionally, you must provide evidence to your insurance provider that the illness occurred after your policy purchase.

In the case of an accident, you can utilize your insurance within the initial 48-hour window. Nonetheless, you must be able to demonstrate that the accident transpired after obtaining your travel insurance plan.

To reiterate, attempting to deceive insurance companies by acquiring a policy and rapidly seeking reimbursement for a pre-existing condition or recent incident is an impractical strategy. Insurance companies employ measures to investigate such scenarios and ensure they are not being misled.

Therefore, it is imperative to adhere to the guidelines and use travel insurance responsibly and honestly to ensure appropriate coverage for your travels. Travel insurance is designed to safeguard against unforeseen incidents rather than serving as coverage for pre-existing conditions or events that occurred before securing the policy.


 Can I use traveling insurance while living abroad as an expat or an immigrant? 

If you’re living overseas or traveling in a country for a short period, you might be okay with just travel insurance. 

But you’re looking for more complete coverage (travel insurance usually just covers medical emergencies), if you’re going to be living abroad long-term, or if you need proof of health insurance for immigration purposes, then what you actually need is an international health insurance plan for expats or immigrants

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between travel insurance and international health insurance, then you can take a look at our article about the 3 Best International Health Insurance for Expats & Immigrants.

Or, you can quote directly with some of these expat insurance companies here:



   Now Health International

Can I use travel insurance during my international exchange or while studying abroad?

In summary, the necessity for a dedicated insurance plan for your study abroad experience depends on your individual circumstances. I recommend starting by consulting with your school or university. Generally, if your course or program lasts less than 3 months, and you’ll be participating in your studies on a tourist visa, a travel insurance policy should meet your requirements.

However, it is crucial to verify this information with your academic institution to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance coverage throughout your study period. It is always advisable to communicate with your school or university to gain a clear understanding of their insurance requirements for study abroad programs, as they may have specific criteria and recommendations to ensure your coverage aligns with the necessities of studying overseas.

However, if you’ll be needing a student visa, then you’re going to need a health insurance plan that’s designed just for international students or exchanges

This holds particular significance if you’re heading to the United States with a J1, J2, or F1 visa, or to Europe with a Schengen student visa. In these instances, having the correct insurance coverage is indispensable to fulfill the exacting visa conditions and guarantee a seamless and stress-free study abroad journey. Being thoroughly prepared and having the appropriate insurance in effect to align with the visa requirements of your study destination is of utmost importance, as it can profoundly influence your eligibility and overall study experience overseas.

If you’re an international student and think you might need one of these special medical insurance plans, then take a look at my page with The 3 Best and Cheapest Health Insurances for International Students & Exchanges to learn more.

Again, you can check out directly some of these international student insurance companies here:


   Cigna for International Students

   Now Health International


International travel insurance coverage for terrorism

I’ve had a few comments in both the English and the Portuguese article asking if travel insurance covers acts of terrorism. 

I did  a bit of research, and here’s what I found out: 

Although WorldTrip’s basic travel insurance plan doesn’t cover terrorism, their Atlas Premium plan DOES cover “treatment of injuries and illnesses relating from an act of terrorism, up to the limit set forth in the schedule of benefits and limits.” So yes, they do appear to have terrorism coverage. 

If you ever encounter the unfortunate circumstance of sustaining injuries in a terrorist incident while traveling, possessing WorldTrip’s Atlas Premium plan can provide crucial coverage. This plan is meticulously designed to offer protection during unexpected and distressing events, ensuring you have a vital safety net in challenging times.

Moreover, many of WorldTrip’s plans include a valuable “Crisis Response Cover,” extending protection in scenarios of civil or political unrest, natural disasters, and other crises that travelers may face overseas. This comprehensive coverage even includes situations involving “express kidnapping,” covering response expenses, ransom, and the replacement of personal belongings.

It’s essential to note that the availability of the “Crisis Response” feature may be limited in certain countries. These countries include Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, Sudan, and North Korea. Nevertheless, in most of these countries, your regular travel insurance coverage will remain valid, except for the specific “crisis” aspect of the coverage.

As always, carefully review the terms and conditions of your insurance policy to have a comprehensive understanding of the extent of coverage and any restrictions related to your travel destination. Travel insurance is an indispensable safeguard, offering peace of mind and security during your travels.

WorldTrip’s Atlas Premium plan delivers invaluable protection during unforeseen events, and their Crisis Response Cover adds an additional layer of security for travelers facing challenging situations while abroad. Be sure to verify the availability of the Crisis Response feature in your intended travel destination and have a complete understanding of your coverage to journey with confidence and peace of mind.

General pointers to facilitate the process of securing reimbursement from your travel insurance:

All the travel insurance companies I recommended above have extensive networks of hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers. Your optimal approach is to seek treatment at one of these in-network facilities.

By doing so, you won’t be required to make any upfront payments, as the treatment bill will be directly submitted to the insurer for payment (unless the treatment exceeds the maximum coverage limit).

In the event of unexpected circumstances like illness or an accident, it is crucial to promptly contact your travel insurance provider. They will guide you on visiting an in-network doctor or hospital for treatment.

In cases where accessing an in-network medical provider is not feasible, you’ll need to pay for the treatment upfront and then apply for reimbursement from the insurance company afterward.

Dealing with insurance companies, whether for automobiles, homes, health, or travel, can be a bit complex, and they often require specific documentation before releasing payments.

To assist you throughout this process, here’s a list of the documents that travel insurance companies typically request when you file a claim for reimbursement of medical expenses incurred during your trip: [List of required documents]. Providing the necessary documentation in an organized manner can expedite the reimbursement process and ensure a smoother experience with the insurance company.

But first, a few insurance terms to cover:

*make a claim: ask an insurance company for reimbursement for medical expenses

*insurer: the travel insurance company

*beneficiary = claimant = the insured: the person (you) who is asking the insurance company for money/reimbursement


List of documents usually requested by travel insurance policies when you seek reimbursement for medical expenses (if you were treated by an out-of-network provider): 

  • Copy of the claimant’s national ID (driver’s license or other state-issued ID)
  • Copy of Proof of Residency (any current proof – from the last 3 months – with the name of the claimant). If you don’t have this, send a declaration of residence that is completed, signed, and notarized by the insurer.
  • For minors, a declaration of residence must be completed, signed, and notarized by the respective legal guardian (form provided by the insurer)
  • Copy of the claimant’s voucher
  • Original registration information form, signed by the beneficiary (form provided by the insurer)
  • Copy of passport (ID page + page with entrance and exit stamps from the country where the accident happened) or other documentation that shows beneficiary was outside of habitual domicile when an accident happened (aka your home country) – for example: airplane tickets (by the way, you should always keep your boarding pass until the end of your trip, not only for filing a possible claim but also request your miles!)
  • Presentation of the original medical report with descriptions of the procedures, provided by the health professional or medical center with a clear indication of the diagnosis, clinical history, and admission form, in the case of hospitalization
  • Original prescription (if the pharmacy still has the prescription, send your x-ray or a document showing you picked up your medicine in exchange for the prescription)
  • Invoice of the medical procedures or the pharmacy receipt with medications prescribed, which should match the quality and quantity of the provided prescription
  • Report of medical care (explaining the reason, what happened and how the treatment went – both from the travel insurance staff as well the health providers), written by the beneficiary 
  • A completed list of expenses (form provided by the insurer)
  • Your contact phone number, address, and e-mail
  • Proof of bank info (copy of bank statement header, check, or debit card)

Here’s the most challenging part – you’ll likely need to send all of these documents physically via traditional mail!

I acknowledge that it’s a significant inconvenience. That’s why it’s much more straightforward if you can obtain treatment from a healthcare provider within your insurance company’s network. This way, you can sidestep the wasted time and the headaches associated with preparing all the paperwork.

Nevertheless, if you find yourself with no other alternative, going through the reimbursement process is not insurmountable. With a bit of organization and ensuring you have all the necessary documents in order, your chances of successfully filing your claim and receiving a timely reimbursement are quite promising!

If you’ve previously had to file a claim, please consider sharing your experience and any helpful advice in the comments section below to assist other readers. Your insights can be invaluable in navigating the claims process and ensuring a smoother experience for others.

To summarize, these as the best travel insurance companies for the South America:

  1. IMGlobal
  2. World Nomads Travel Insurance
  3. WorldTrips
  4. Safety Wing
  5. VisitorsCoverage
  7. AARDY
  8. InsureMyTrip

My final advice:

Absolutely, without a doubt!

Securing comprehensive travel insurance is an absolute necessity, particularly for adventurous travelers like myself who frequently partake in activities inherently associated with higher risks of injury and potential medical expenses.

Throughout my journeys, I wholeheartedly embrace exhilarating pursuits such as mountain hiking, rock climbing, bungee jumping, scuba diving, and exploring everything that defines the epitome of adventure!

Let’s paint a scenario: picture yourself snowboarding in Switzerland without travel insurance, and unfortunately, you sustain an injury on the slopes, requiring a helicopter rescue. The resulting medical expenses, as you lie in your hospital room, would likely be enough to induce a panic attack merely by glancing at the bill’s numerous zeros!

But let’s face the reality: obtaining travel insurance is a prudent decision, regardless of your travel destination.

During my travels, I’ve come across numerous backpackers showcasing the infamous “Thai Tattoo” – significant scars on their legs resulting from burns caused by contact with scooter exhaust pipes in Thailand!

And honestly, do you truly want to find yourself in a public hospital in the heart of Bangkok?!?! With travel insurance, you have the option to choose a private hospital where you’ll undoubtedly receive superior care. So, why take needless risks? Ensure you’re protected and savor your journey to the fullest!

So, fellow adventurers, I’m curious to know about your own travel insurance experiences. Have you ever had to rely on your policy? Which company did you choose, and how was the claims process? Or perhaps you have lingering questions about travel insurance in general?

Feel free to share your insights in the comments section below, and I’m here to respond!

Here’s to safe and thrilling travels! (And let’s hope you never have to use that travel insurance plan you just purchased!)

Planning your next trip?

Cheap-travel-insurance-copyThen don’t forget travel insurance! You don’t want to get stuck paying a ton of money and ruining your trip if you get sick or have an accident without travel insurance. WorldNomads is ideal for adventurous travelers, backpackers, or anyone looking to be protected during their trip. They cover almost every single activity you can image! Plus, you can have a 5% discount with the coupon code comfort5. 

Cheap-hotels-copyAlready reserved your hotel or hostel? If not, we recommend They have a huge selection of hotels and hostels all over the world. Plus, in most cases, you can cancel your reservation without any costs up to a few days before the check-in date! 

Cheap-Flights-copyStill haven’t booked your plane ticket and want to save big? Take a look at Momondo. It’s a flight aggregator that combines several other ticket search websites to make it easier for you to compare prices and make sure you are getting the best deal. 

Cheap-car-rental-copyAnd finally, will you need to rent a car during your trip? Then check out to search and compare car rental companies from all over the world in a single website. Then, you can find the cheapest price for the best car!

The post 7 Best Travel Insurance Options for South America + 2 Free Alternatives appeared first on Out of Your Comfort Zone.

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