Here is our list of travel insurance plans and providers to suit backpackers:
Compare Backpacking Travel Insurance Companies At a Glance
We requested online quotes for our top travel insurance providers so you can see how much coverage costs. The chart below includes estimates for a 25-year-old backpacker from New York taking a three-week trip to Mexico, with a total trip cost of $2,500. Quotes are for basic plans with travel medical insurance, trip cancellation coverage and more. We also included unique coverage options, including cancel for any reason or CFAR coverage.
You can also explore cheap travel insurance options if you are on a budget.
CFAR coverage: Add-on available with the Travel Select Plan
You can choose from three plans with Travelex Insurance: Travel Basic, Travel Select and Travel America. Travel Basic is a budget-friendly option for backpackers with sufficient coverage. Five optional upgrades are available with the more comprehensive Travel Select Plan, with a $50,000 limit for emergency medical costs.
If you are planning to backpack around the U.S., the Travel America plan provides emergency medical expenses and reimbursement for canceled events, such as ski resort closures.
AIG Travel Guard
CFAR coverage: Add-on available with specific plans
If you’re looking for a travel insurance policy for backpacking as a family, AIG Travel Guard plans include coverage for one child under age 17 with the rate for a paying adult. The Deluxe Plan offers high-level medical evacuation and healthcare coverage up to $100,000, while
the Preferred Plan features up to $50,000 for travel medical costs.
If you are on a budget during long-term backpacking trips, the Essential Plan covers the basics, with 24/7 emergency assistance and medical care coverage up to $15,000. The Pack N’ Go Plan is available if you plan a trip last minute and don’t need cancellation coverage.
IMG Travel Insurance
CFAR coverage: Add-on available with iTravelInsured Travel LX Plan
From rafting to skydiving and bungee jumping, extreme sports fans can take advantage of IMG’s iTravelInsured Travel Sport Plan. It includes sports equipment rental reimbursement and natural disaster evacuation coverage.
For long backpacking trips, the most affordable option is the iTravelInsured Travel Lite Plan, which includes benefits for trip cancellation, travel delays and emergency medical assistance. You can also opt for more comprehensive options with the iTravelInsured Travel SE and iTravelInsured Travel LX plans.
AIlianz Global Assistance
CFAR coverage: Add-on available with specific plans
Allianz offers a range of affordable plans for backpackers, including the AllTrips Basic Plan, a multi-trip policy with year-long protection. Or, if you’re primarily looking for health insurance and have a flexible itinerary with minimal prepaid expenses, you can save money with the OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan. It only covers post-departure benefits, including unexpected events after your trip begins.
While Allianz also provides comprehensive insurance policies, budget travelers may prefer the OneTrip Basic plan for affordable, all-around coverage.
CFAR coverage: Not available
Whether you love Alpine skiing or rock climbing, World Nomads is a popular choice for adventurous backpackers. Its two policies, the Standard Plan and Explorer Plan, cover over 200 adventure activities and sports. The main difference between the plans is the Explorer Plan offers higher coverage limits.
Key Features To Look For in Backpacker Travel Insurance
Backpacker travel insurance is subject to your individual needs. According to the U.S. Department of State, the government does not cover medical bills overseas. Therefore, the agency recommends travel medical emergency insurance, especially if you’re participating in adventure activities. However, not all travel insurance companies cover adventure sports.
Trip interruption insurance can help you prepare for potential cancellations and flight delays, offering reimbursement of prepaid costs if interruptions occur for a covered reason. Emergency evacuation coverage is important in the event of natural disasters or civil unrest, especially if you plan on adventuring in rural areas. Ensuring your policy offers baggage and personal effects coverage also offers a financial safety net for lost or stolen belongings, including sporting gear.
While you may be able to find basic travel insurance with these features, the benefit limits may vary. It’s also important to note that not all policies cover adventure sports gear or medical expenses. Make sure to look for a plan with this coverage if you plan on adding sporting events to your backpacking trip.
Factors To Consider When Choosing the Best Insurance
Everyone’s different, so choosing the best insurance for your backpacking trip means considering your personal needs. Ask yourself the following questions as you consider travel insurance policies:
Does the travel insurance cover all the destinations you want to visit?
How long is your backpacking trip and if needed, does the policy suit long-term travel?
Does the policy include sufficient medical coverage for potential health issues or participation in sports?
Are there adequate coverage limits for baggage, gear and high-value equipment?
Does the policy sufficiently cover missed activities and flight cancellations?
Do you require coverage for a pre-existing condition and if so, does the policy include a waiver?
If you are planning a long-term backpacking trip, pay attention to the duration of your travel insurance policy. For example, if you apply for a multi-trip plan with six months versus a year of coverage. And if you plan to trek around the globe, make sure your policy includes your intended destinations.
It also helps to check the coverage you already have before purchasing a policy. For example, your credit card may include rental car coverage or other forms of travel insurance.
What Does Travel Insurance Not Cover?
Most travel insurance plans cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations and delays, and baggage loss or theft. However, most policies don’t cover the following:
Alcohol and drug-related incidents
Extreme sports such as cliff diving
Non-emergency medical treatment
Flexibility in trip cancelation, such as changing your mind about flights or destinations
Incidents due to negligence
Some providers may offer add-on coverage for extreme sports, non-emergency medical treatment and cancellation flexibility (CFAR coverage).
Travel Tips for Comparing Backpacker Insurance
Before buying travel insurance, it’s important to shop around, compare prices and read customer reviews. We suggest obtaining online quotes from at least three providers before selecting a policy.
Once you’ve found a few options that suit your coverage needs and budget, read the policy documents to ensure the coverage is right for you. Look for any exclusions or limits that may impact your coverage, such as a lack of adventure sports protection. If you don’t understand something, speak to the provider directly before making your decision.
Is Backpacking Travel Insurance Worth It?
Backpacking is often an adventure of a lifetime, but it is also an investment. Safeguarding your prepaid and nonrefundable costs, along with having financial safety nets for unforeseen medical emergencies, can help you enjoy a stress-free journey.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if backpacking travel insurance is worth it. If you’re planning to launch into adventure activities, top providers such as World Nomads, IMG and Travelex offer extra coverage. You can also opt for a basic plan from Allianz or choose AIG Travel Guard if you need coverage for a child. Regardless of your choice, each of our top providers can provide affordable options with sufficient coverage for backpackers.
Methodology: Our System for Ranking the Best Travel Insurance Companies for Backpacking Trips
Nicole Leigh West is an experienced lifestyle journalist and writer for publications including Wanderlust, TripSavvy and Vacations & Travel. Along with roaming the globe and penning fiction novels, Nicole works for World Words as a sub-editor and writer.
Tori Addison is an editor who has worked in the digital marketing industry for over five years. Her experience includes communications and marketing work in the nonprofit, governmental and academic sectors. A journalist by trade, she started her career covering politics and news in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her work included coverage of local and state budgets, federal financial regulations and health care legislation.