Where Is Travel Insurance Still Required?

Some destinations require that you have travel insurance. Here’s a rundown on where you’ll need a policy.

Two people take a selfie while on a trip.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even before the pandemic, many countries required foreign travelers to have travel insurance to gain entry. But the number of countries requiring it increased during the pandemic. Which nations impose the requirement can be a moving target and you should double-check your destination’s rules, but as of late July, these countries still require foreign visitors to have travel insurance.

Visit the State Department’s updated travel advisories for any given country and be sure to keep an eye on changing requirements as your trip approaches. Conditions can change quickly in a country; consider signing up for alerts on new travel advisories by signing up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Or check out State’s interactive map for a global view of travel advisory levels, with information on travel requirements enforced and advised for every country.

Antarctica

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Antarctica requires travel insurance for all visitors, although how much coverage varies, depending on a traveller’s itinerary and tour operator. A minimum of $100,000 in evacuation and medical coverage is often required. Look for the emergency medical benefit and medical evacuation benefit in a travel insurance policy. Emergency medical coverage will reimburse travelers for the cost of medical treatment in the event of illness or injury during their trip, including physician services, ambulance expenses and other costs of medical treatment. The medical evacuation benefit pays to transport a traveler to the nearest adequate hospital, or back to the traveler’s home if the physician deems it necessary in the event of a medical emergency.

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands grants permission to enter the country to travelers who apply through the Cayman Islands travel portal. And a significant piece of that approval process is showing proof of a travel insurance policy that can provide coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses, or an attestation that you understand the financial implications of any potential medical costs you may incur and have the means to pay for them.

Cuba

Travelers from foreign countries must have some form of health insurance in addition to a travel insurance policy with emergency medical coverage and medical evacuation & repatriation coverage. The coverage must last for the duration of the trip. Medical evacuation & repatriation coverage pays to transport a traveler to the nearest adequate hospital in the event of a medical emergency. If the treating physician determines the traveller should return home for better treatment, it would also cover those costs. Be prepared to show proof of coverage when departing the U.S., as well as upon arrival in Cuba.

The Galapagos (Ecuador)

Ecuador requires medical travel insurance for travelers visiting the Galapagos Islands. You may be able to get a policy that offers comprehensive coverage for the same price as medical coverage alone.

Egypt

All foreigners visiting Egypt must purchase medical travel insurance, and that coverage must last for the duration of the trip.

French Polynesia

French Polynesia requires visiting travelers to purchase travel insurance with coverage for COVID-19 or to sign a declaration that they will pay all medical costs in the event of a COVID-related illness, including medical treatment, confinement or repatriation.

Russia

All travelers from foreign countries are required to have a visa for entry into Russia. Among the visa requirements is medical travel insurance, which must last for the duration of the trip to Russia. (The U.S. Embassy in Moscow currently advises against travel to Russia.)

Singapore

Singapore requires travelers who are unvaccinated for COVID to purchase travel insurance. The policy must cover any COVID-related medical expenses, such as treatment and/or hospitalization.

Turkey

Turkey requires travelers from other countries to purchase medical travel insurance in order to enter the country. The policy must provide medical coverage for the duration of the trip.

United Arab Emirates

Certain areas of the UAE, including Dubai, require medical travel insurance of some sort. To visit Dubai, for example, travelers need at least $100,000 in emergency medical coverage and at least $50,000 in medical evacuation coverage.

Emma Patch
Staff Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Emma Patch joined Kiplinger in 2020. She previously interned for Kiplinger's Retirement Report and before that, for a boutique investment firm in New York City. She served as editor-at-large and features editor for Middlebury College's student newspaper, The Campus. She specializes in travel, student debt and a number of other personal finance topics. Born in London, Emma grew up in Connecticut and now lives in Washington, D.C.