Amidst all of your planning for your exciting life abroad—what to pack, when to alert your bank, what food you need to chow down on now because you’re going to miss it like crazy—you might have overlooked one teeny, tiny (but crazy-important) detail: Your travel insurance. Now, before your eyes glaze over, hear us out. Travel insurance is NOT the same as your health insurance (though it can help you out when you’re abroad and a doctor’s visit or clinic stay is called for). Travel insurance stands on its own two feet, and is a 100% necessary checkbox on your “what to do before moving abroad for my TEFL insurance” list.

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To make your search for reliable and trustworthy insurance providers less of a headache, we’ve put together this how-to guide to help you learn the in’s and outs of TEFL travel insurance, including the best insurance for TEFL teachers!

Why do I need travel insurance as a TEFL teacher abroad?

Travel insurance can come in handy in a variety of unfortunate circumstances that you might encounter while abroad, like…

  • Trip cancellations/interruptions. Something came up and you need to call it off. This means you might not lose all of your money spent on flights and down payments!
  • Missed connections. Since you’re flying from, say, Chicago, to Washington D.C., to JFK, to Dakar, to Johannesburg, there’s a LOT of possibility that you’ll miss a connecting flight. We’d hate for you to fork your own money out to cover a forced overnight. Rely on your travel insurance instead!
  • Flight cancellations. BOO! *Shakes fist at airline.* But, sometimes this happens, and when it does, we don’t want you to be out of your $$.
  • Lost or delayed baggage. We sure hope you packed an extra pair of undies in your carry on!
  • Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, emergency medical services. All those tiny possibilities with huge (financial) ramifications should they occur. Don’t get stuck in lifelong debt because of circumstances beyond your control. Take charge and buy TEFL travel insurance instead!
  • Death or dismembership. Eek. But true.

It’s also important to note that coverage for travel insurance, including cost caps and deductibles, vary by provider. This also rarely covers emergency medical evacuation—if you’re planning on TEFL teaching in the wilds of South America or the backcountry of Asia, you might consider tacking on this optional coverage at an additional expense.

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A note for our American readers

US peeps have to get travel AND health insurance, which can be very pricey. Just because you have coverage abroad doesn’t mean that you have coverage at home, which is essentially required by the US government. So make sure you get both!

The two top travel insurance providers for TEFL teachers

At Premier TEFL, we’ve worked with a bunch of different organizations that underwrite travel insurance policies for both short term and long stay travel insurance. After these myriad conversations, we’ve decided that these two organizations just do it best. Here’s our take on the best insurance for TEFL teachers:

1. Blue Insurance—For Irish citizens

Blue Insurance is a trusted travel insurance provider in Ireland thanks in large part to its comprehensive coverage and low cost plans. Blue Insurance takes care of: Cancellation or Curtailment, Emergency Medical Expenses, Personal Accident, Baggage, Personal Money & Documents, Personal Liability, Missed Departure, and Holiday Abandonment. You can secure insurance as an individual, couple, or as a small group, ultimately suiting different budgets, needs and destinations.

2. Backpacker Travel Insurance—For all

Backpacker Travel Insurance offers worldwide, multi-lingual support for trips up to 24 months in dozens of locations around the world. You can buy this coverage as quickly as leaving on your trip tomorrow! Another perk of this TEFL travel insurance provider is that it offers you coverage while working/teaching. Backpacker Travel Insurance offers two types of coverage—premier and premier plus. The basic rate covers Cancellation/Curtailment of your trip as a result of an insured event, Emergency Medical and other expenses, Baggage, Passport, Personal Money, Documents, Missed Departure, Personal Accident, Personal Liability, Legal Expenses, and Holiday Abandonment.

3. World Nomads—For Americans

With coverage extended to 130+ countries, we’d love to meet someone who wasn’t satisfied with the travel insurance plan options at World Nomads. It’s the recommended travel insurance provider by major-brands like Lonely Planet, Nomadic Matt, and Intrepid Travel. Their travel insurance can help cover the cost of getting out of harm’s way—because even if you feel invincible now, something bad *just might* happen during your TEFL internship abroad. You can even extend your policy while already traveling, so if you’re unsure your ultimate trip length, no worries. See their coverage for 150+ activities and get a quote ASAP!

4. Calvary Elite Travel Insurance—For Europeans/Non US Citizens

What makes Calvary a great option is that you will have a single contact for emergency services to travel assistance and insurance claims. This means you no longer have to worry about who-said-what-when—you’re always talking to the same guy or gal! This ultra-comprehensive travel insurance package also includes medical evacuation to your hospital of choice. It might not sound like much now, but when you’re feeling sick or need emergency surgery, it can be feel great to have a say in where treatment is administered. Check out both their single trip and annual options to suss out which option is right for you!

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Want even more information on health insurance abroad?

Our friends at GoAbroad have produced this incredibly comprehensive resource for future travelers with questions about health insurance abroad. In it, you’ll find details on how your destination influences your coverage, the difference between travel insurance and international medical insurance, and considerations to make based on different types of travel (like teaching English abroad, for instance).

Key takeaways:

  • Apart from the fact that many travel programs or visas require some degree of insurance coverage, having a safety net while traveling is always a good idea.
  • Before purchasing insurance abroad, check in with your current health insurance provider to be sure you’re not getting double coverage!
  • After purchasing a suitable medical insurance abroad you need to print out your policy (if you don’t receive a physical card) and carry it on your person at all times.
  • Be aware of what risks and characteristics your travels entail and make sure you pick up the right plan to cover them.

Get covered & then get outta here

Now that you’ve secured your TEFL travel insurance, you can resume your regular programming of epic daydreams about your first day of class, your awesome beach vacay look, or the great souvenirs you’ll somehow stuff into your backpack on your way home. Get pumped—teaching abroad (safely) is on its way!

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