7 Best Antarctica Travel Insurance Plans for US Citizens in 2022

Updated on October 10, 2022, by Matthew H. Nash – Licensed Insurance Agent

The White Continent is one of the most sought-after and elusive vacation destinations. With its pristine landscapes, diverse wildlife, and majestic beauty, it is no surprise that people will spend tens of thousands of dollars to travel to the southernmost part of the planet. Since travel is more unpredictable than ever these days and journeying to Antarctica means dealing with extreme weather conditions, travelers face a heightened risk for delays and cancellations, luggage problems, and medical emergencies. However, you can mitigate these risks and safeguard the investment you made in your trip by getting the best Antarctica travel insurance policy available. In this article, I lay out the different levels of coverage and what you may need, along with distinctions between top plans and expected costs. Read more about our unbiased ranking methodology and advertiser disclosure.

4.9
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to Antarctica travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE ANTARCTICA

$107.39

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
 WEBSITE
FOR

Comparing Policies

  • Compare dozens of the best Antarctica travel insurance policies from all the major providers in one place
  • Easily filter for the features you want and get support from their award-winning customer service team
  • Founded in 2013, TravelInsurance.com has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers find affordable insurance coverage
4.8
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE ANTARCTICA

$145.41

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Travelers Aged 55+

  • Pre-existing medical conditions are covered for a reasonable fee and they offer “cancel for any reason” as an add-on
  • $2,000 COVID quarantine coverage available w/ Safe Travels Voyager plan
  • Founded in 1998 and underwritten by Nationwide and GBG Insurance
squaremouth
4.8
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE ANTARCTICA

$76.44

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
WEBSITE
FOR

Filtering Plans

  • This comparison website has the most comprehensive filters especially for Covid-19 which helps you search for the specific benefits you need
  • They have “Zero Complaint Guarantee” which promises a fair claims process
  • Established in 2003, Squaremouth has consistently been recognized for it’s exceptional customer service
4.7
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE ANTARCTICA

$88.00

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
POLICY
FROM

An Established Brand

  • Well rounded, inexpensive travel insurance plans from an established and top rated global insurance company
  • AXA has plans that cover pre-existing conditions and their “Platinum” plan covers “cancel for any reason” with an optional add-on. They also offer helpful 24/7 Worldwide Travel Assistance Services
  • Founded in 1959 and underwritten by Nationwide
4.7
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE ANTARCTICA

$142.91

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

No

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Adventure Travel

  • Covers almost all adventure activities for a reasonable price for U.S. residents up to age 70 (worldwide up to age 65)
  • Can insure up to 9 people in one family and the signup process is super easy
  • Founded in 2002 and underwritten for U.S. travelers by Nationwide Insurance
4.2
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE ANTARCTICA

$NA

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Family Travel

  • Their “Trip Interruption for any Reason” feature allows you to get a 75% reimbursement for any additional expenses if you decide to go home early from your trip
  • They have a variety of insurance products to suit any travel needs
  • Founded in 1993 and underwritten by Nationwide Insurance
3.6
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE ANTARCTICA

$22.50

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

No

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Long-term Travel

  • Ideal for digital nomads and long-term travel, available to anyone anywhere
  • Scored lower because short-term travel coverage isn’t as robust as competitors
  • Founded in 2018 and is underwritten by Lloyds of London

travel insurance
4.9
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE ANTARCTICA

$107.39

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON?

Yes

BEST
WEBSITE
FOR

Comparing Policies

  • Compare dozens of travel insurance policies from all the major providers in one place
  • Easily filter for the features you want and get support from their award-winning customer service team
  • Founded in 2013, TravelInsurance.com has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers find affordable insurance coverage

Antarctica travel insurance FAQs

Is Antarctica travel insurance worth it?

Antarctica travel insurance is worthwhile because it shields you against the financial costs that come with trip interruption, cancellation, damaged or lost luggage as well as medical emergencies and evacuations. It also covers you for reasons beyond the scope of your policy’s standard benefits if you purchased an optional “Cancel for Any Reason” (CFAR) upgrade.

Travel insurance plays a crucial role in assisting you and your travel companions through medical emergencies by arranging airlifts or other means of evacuation and that you receive top-level care. My own experiences have shown that travel insurance gives travelers peace of mind that they wouldn’t otherwise have, making it beneficial for a destination like Antarctica, where you confront the harshest climate on the planet. It is worth mentioning that travel insurance is highly affordable, usually costing only 2-3% of your overall trip cost (differs by age).

What qualifies as a trip interruption?

Trip Interruption is when an unforeseen emergency forces you to cut your trip short and fly home. Events that often fall under coverage include terrorist attacks, extreme weather, and the injury, death, or illness of a traveler insured on your policy. Since coverage kicks in once your trip starts, Trip-Interruption is considered a post-departure benefit.

When should I purchase Antarctica travel insurance?

I recommend buying your Antarctica travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. Once you have a policy in place, your Trip Cancellation benefits go into effect, protecting you and any other insured travelers on your policy from the financial loss that may result from unexpected events before or during your vacation. Keep in mind that should you wish to purchase a “Cancel for Any Reason” (CFAR) add-on plan or a Pre-Existing Condition package, you can only do so within 14-21 days of when you paid your trip deposit. This window differs between providers, so check your policy’s full details for more information.

How can I find the cheapest Antarctica travel insurance plan?

I recommend that travelers search for travel insurance plans on a comparison site. You can filter through policies based on your specific needs and sort them from cheapest to most expensive. My preferred comparison site for travel insurance is TravelInsurance.com.

How can I file a claim with my insurance provider?

Travel insurance companies have claim portals on their website, usually linked in the footer. It will say something along the lines of “Make a claim,” “Submit a claim,” or “Claims.” Click the link, and follow the steps as instructed. You will be asked for several pieces of information and upload all relevant documentation. Most companies will also allow you to submit claims via mail as well.

How long does the claim process take?

After you file a claim and submit all of the requisite documentation, expect it to take 6 to 8 weeks to be processed, with reimbursement to follow shortly after that. Of course, this varies from one provider to the next.

Do I have any recourse if my travel insurance claim is rejected?

If your claim gets rejected, it’s always important to review the following criteria to ensure it is valid. Did you follow the required procedures for claim submissions? Did you fail to disclose a pre-existing medical condition for you or one of your insured travel companions? Did you forget to state trip costs accurately when you purchased your travel insurance plan? Does the claim you are filing fall under the provisions of your policy? If, after reviewing these criteria, you still feel your claim is valid, the insurance company will give you potential follow-up steps that you can take.

How is “total trip cost” defined when it comes to buying travel insurance?

Total trip cost is essential in determining Trip Interruption and Trip Cancellation benefits, so you must calculate this accurately. Total trip cost is defined as the full cost of all non-refundable costs you prepaid. These include cruises, plane tickets, hotel or accommodation packages, retreats, event tickets, tours, and more. Always include everything you have prepaid that you would not be able to get a full refund for should you have to cancel your trip. Also, you will need to add any penalties you would be required to pay if you cancel your trip, even if you did not have to prepay anything.

Remember, to qualify for the benefits in your policy, round your total trip cost up to the nearest dollar. And more importantly, never list your trip as being cheaper than it is just to secure a cheaper policy. Doing so will automatically disqualify you from receiving benefits.

Common problems tourists experience in Antarctica and how to avoid them:

Illnesses

Seeing as almost all tourists visit Antarctica via cruise or research boat, you will face the typical illnesses that come with living in such close quarters with hundreds or thousands of people. Another concern is the cold and potentially harsh weather conditions. Follow your tour operator’s packing instructions to the letter. Many tour operators will also provide each traveler with the essential dry gear. All ships have their own dynamic medical staff living aboard.

Accidents

Aside from sightseeing, Antarctica’s most common tourist activity is sea kayaking. Of course, accidents may result, but the ship/boat you’re aboard has a highly trained medical team to take care of you. Keep in mind that severe injuries may require air evacuations, which can be costly. A good travel insurance plan can shield you against such expenses and ensure you get the best care possible.

Muggings

Since Antarctica has no public infrastructure, you will be keeping your most valuable possessions on the boat. To protect your belongings, keep your cabin locked at all times. Beyond this, theft most likely will not be an issue on your trip.

Emergency resources for Antarctica

Phone numbers

Most emergencies, particularly medical ones, can be handled by your tour operator as they all have highly-skilled medical teams. However, on the rare occasion, they are not equipped to handle something, dial 911. Your call will run through the United States’ McMurdo Station’s fire and emergency dispatch. Help will come from the nearest island or country with the necessary resources.

US embassy or consulate details

Since Antarctica does not have a government or permanent residents, there is no embassy or consulate on the continent. Any matters pertaining to citizen services will have to be dealt with once you return to Argentina or Chile after your cruise around Antarctica.

Additional information to help travelers have a better experience in Antarctica:

Currency

The Antarctic dollar is merely a collectible item and not used as legal tender. If you are fortunate enough to be on a boat with less than 500 passengers, you’ll be able to go on land in Antarctica and even buy some postcards and souvenirs at one of the major research stations. An ATM at the United States’ McMurdo Station dispenses dollars, and Euros or British Pounds are also used at other stations.

Etiquette & Local Customs

Antarctica may not be a country with its own people and culture, but there is undoubtedly a “wilderness etiquette” that you will be expected to follow. Every species has a specific distance you must keep from them. Please adhere to these distances strictly; they are not only for the safety of the wildlife but you too! Another expectation is that you take no natural souvenirs with you, including rocks, eggs, bones or other pieces of nature. A third rule is to leave no trace. Do not disturb the natural environment by making too much noise, leaving behind litter, altering any sites or smoking. Last but equally as important is that you wash and sterilize all of your gear before leaving for Antarctica. If you don’t, you may unwittingly bring pests from home that can adversely affect the White Continent’s fragile ecosystem. Your tour operator will spell out all rules and expectations before you disembark from the ship.

Food & Drink

Your meals will be limited to whatever is available on the ship you’re living aboard for this vacation. How many dining venues and styles of food will vary depending upon the cruise line you’re traveling with and the size of your ship. That said, most cruises offer a vast and delicious selection of meals, giving you the option never to eat the same thing each time you sit down during your Antarctica cruise. They also have an array of menu items to suit most preferences, and you are free to eat until your heart’s content. The same usually goes for drinks, but you might want to take it easy on the alcohol, or you may end up dehydrated and ill, especially after a long day of being outdoors.

Getting Around

While you will spend much of your time sightseeing aboard your cruise ship or research boat, your excursions will usually take place via zodiacs or sea kayaks.

Immigration

Since Antarctica is not a country or a territory of another country, you do not need a visa. That said, the US was one of forty signers of the Antarctic Treaty’s Protocol on Environment Protection, meaning that all Americans are required to get permission to visit the White Continent. The good news is that your tour operator almost always takes care of this.

Language

There are no permanent residents in Antarctica, but it has approximately 1,000 temporary residents who come from all over the world for scientific research purposes. While English is the de facto language of science, the most represented populations are from the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, China and Japan. Most staff members will speak English and possibly other languages regarding your cruise ship.

Tipping

All services that require tipping will be on your cruise ship or organized by your tour operator. Tip $6-7/person/day for cabin attendants and waiters, $4-5/person/day for assistant waiters, 15-18% of the bill for bartenders and deck stewards and $5-$10 for the maitre d’ should they provide you with any special services, a $5 to $10 tip is adequate.

Packing advice for Antarctica

Apart from Travel Insurance, we recommend you bring the following items for maximum health, safety, and enjoyment of your trip to Antarctica.

A final note about travel insurance for the Antarctica

I have spent dozens of hours researching travel insurance, including getting quotes and comparing coverage from all the most popular brands. Regardless of where you’re going I am confident that you will also find that TravelInsurance.com offers the best way to compare policies with the ideal combo of coverage and price.

I wish you and yours an incredible journey.

SwiftScore Ranking Methodology

  • Average price for a 2-week vacation based on a 35-year-old California resident traveling to the Antarctica with a $3,500 trip cost
  • Coronavirus coverage
  • Cancel for any reason (CFAR)
  • AM Best rating of the underwriter
  • Key policy details including cancellation, interruption, emergency medical evacuation, and baggage & personal effects
  • Ease of sign up
  • Policy language clarity
  • User reviews