Is travel insurance mandatory to travel to certain countries?

Some countries, such as Cuba and Iran, do require visitors to buy travel or medical insurance. These requirements change frequently, so it’s best to check with your tour operator or the country’s Ministry of Tourism to determine the current status.
But whether or not an insurance requirement is in place, it’s still a very good idea to purchase travel insurance for your trip. Here’s why:
  • Your personal health insurance may not cover you overseas. Travel insurance can help cover your emergency medical expenses if you become seriously ill or are injured during your trip.
  • Travel insurance plans offered through the local government usually have very limited medical coverage, and may have no coverage at all for other circumstances such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost bags, or damaged gear. So even if you are purchasing (or required to purchase) a local plan, additional coverage through a company like World Nomads will help protect all aspects of your trip.

Galapagos Islands

This situation has been constantly changing and according to this government web page, the health insurance requirement is currently under review. We suggest checking with the Ecuador Ministry of Tourism before you travel to determine the latest status of this requirement. 


All travelers to Cuba must have a valid Cuban ASISTUR medical policy, which can be purchased in the traveler’s home country or at the airport upon arrival to Cuba. This is necessary whether or not the traveler has valid travel insurance through a provider such as World Nomads. Sometimes the insurance is included in airline ticket prices.
However, many travelers have found that the Cuban policy offers insufficient coverage, so purchasing additional travel insurance is generally a good idea.


Travel insurance that is specifically valid for travel in Iran is mandatory in order to obtain a visa. Unfortunately, most World Nomads policies do not provide cover for Iran.

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