We’ve had travel insurance since day one of our round the world bicycle tour.  Being insured is important to us for a couple of reasons.

Quality Healthcare Costs add up Quickly

A surprising number of cyclists and travelers we meet choose not to purchase travel insurance.

Their logic is that healthcare in developing countries is not expensive. They believe covering treatment costs out of pocket will not be a major financial burden.

Sure, treatment in a PUBLIC hospital in a developing hospital will be cheap.  But we’d like to have the best care possible, and that means going with a private hospital.

Granted, private healthcare in Thailand or Tanzania will be much less than in the US or Europe.  But if you’re involved in a serious accident, care costs will quickly skyrocket to thousands of dollars.

We want to be covered in such a case and not be forced to deplete our savings.

Peace of Mind in Extreme Circumstances

The need for medical evacuation is rare, but it does occur.

We met a German cyclist who lost control of his bike after hitting a slick spot on the road.  He ended up nearly puncturing a lung.  The accident occurred in a remote part of China and the cyclist had to be evacuated to Bangkok.

Luckily he had insurance.

Cases like this are rare, but potentially catastrophic if you’re not covered.   That’s why we’re insured.

Our Newest Insurer

We’ve switched travel insurance companies several times over the years.

Premiums go up significantly as you age and can take a big bite out of your travel budget.

With our new insurer, Chapka International  Backpacker Travel Insurance, we pay a little less than $50 per person, per month.

We like the policy for a few reasons:

 Cycling is NOT excluded as a “dangerous activity.”

Obviously this is important on a bicycle tour.  If you read the fine print, you’ll notice that many policies specifically EXCLUDE cycling and list it as an extreme sport.

 Easy Extensions

The policy can be taken out for an initial period of 90 days and then extended for periods ranging from 3 months to one year.  We like this flexibility.

Great Price, Reasonable Coverage

The maximum coverage is 200,000 euros (1 million in the USA and Canada).  While some policies offer higher limits, we feel this is reasonable.

Backed by a reputable and respected Underwriter

Alright, the website design isn’t the most modern and the English version is spotty.  But if you dig deeper, you’ll see that Chapka is backed by ACE, one of the world’s largest insurance providers.

We feel confident in going with this company as our travel insurance provider.






Do you really need travel insurance?
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8 thoughts on “Do you really need travel insurance?

  • December 30, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    Eric and Amaya,

    Thank you for the update. This is very helpful as we are leaving in just a few months for our own trip and finalizing our insurance decision. We were planning to use World Nomads, but haven’t committed just yet. In looking at the Chapka site, it appears that this insurance is for European citizens only. Am I missing something?


    • January 16, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      Hi Kristin,
      Yes, you’re right–Chapka is only for EU citizens at this time. Sorry I failed to mention that in the article.

      We used World Nomads several years back, but switched due to rising premiums. That said, we were satisfied with their coverage and the way claims were handled.

      • August 25, 2015 at 5:29 AM

        Actually, based on my reading of the Chapka website, you need to be an EU resident (which I’m not), not simply an EU citizen (which I am). Bummer!

        • September 5, 2015 at 1:00 PM

          Yes, I believe you’re right. You must be an EU resident to obtain Chapka coverage. Sorry I wasn’t more clear in the write-up.

  • January 11, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    Hi! Eric and Amaya,

    I’m also looking for travel insurance before departing for our South America bike tour. I have the same question as Kristin: is Chapka only for European citizens??
    My other question: what about the service on the road? Did you hear about the quality of their response if something happens?
    It would be interesting to make a kind of survey about this topic, to know more about the different choices bike travelers all around the world might have and the reliability of each company…

  • April 4, 2015 at 10:35 PM

    hi Eric and Amaya
    thank you for this really interesting article, insurance is often overlooked probably because it is deemed unadventurous.
    I needed this kind of counseling from someone I could trust.

    safe trails


    • May 5, 2015 at 1:16 PM

      Insurance should definitely be part of everybody’s budget. Private hospitals are often the only place where you can get quality care and often they’re not cheap–even in developing countries.


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