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Travel insurance for El Salvador
Compare the best El Salvador travel insurance in 2021.
El Salvador is a country rich in attractions, encompassing scenic beaches, natural wonders and thousands of important colonial and Indigenous archaeological sites. While stunning and rich in Spanish colonial history, El Salvador is not without travel risks, so it’s a good idea to pick up a comprehensive travel insurance policy when you book your trip.
*Be aware that most travel insurance policies don’t offer COVID-19 coverage. To find one that does, have a look at travel insurance policies that cover the coronavirus.*
How to compare travel insurance for El Salvador
Coverage varies from policy to policy, but things to look for include:
- Medical coverage with evacuation and repatriation. If you get seriously sick or injured in El Salvador, medical resources are sparse outside of the capital city, and you may need to be taken there — or even flown back to the US. If you can get adequate care in El Salvador, you may be required to pay high costs before you can get care unless you have a policy that covers upfront payments.
- Trip cancellations and delays. If you have to cancel or delay your trip, your insurer can reimburse you.
- Lost or stolen baggage. If the airline loses your luggage or it’s stolen on the way to your hotel, your insurer can reimburse you.
El Salvador offers exciting adventures, and even a comprehensive travel insurance policy might not cover you for all of them. If you plan to explore or get your adrenaline pumping, check with your insurer to see if you need to purchase additional coverage:
- Historical tours. Most travelers to El Salvador will take in at least a few Indigenous monuments and archaeological sites found throughout the country. Try to find a tour group to travel with to avoid run-ins with danger. Get cancellation coverage from your insurer to be reimbursed if your tour is canceled.
- Nature walks. Get up close and personal with El Salvador’s living attractions on a nature walk. There are a variety of treks to suit all skill and fitness levels and to accommodate different interests, but check your policy to see if it covers you for hiking injuries.
- Adventure activities. Ziplining, bungee jumping, whitewater trips and a range of other pulse-pounding sports are await you in El Salvador. Remember that the more thrilling an activity is, the less likely a standard travel insurance policy will cover it — you may need to purchase additional coverage.
- Beach outings. The beaches of El Salvador are warm and inviting, but can also be home to dangerous undercurrents and are often without lifeguards. Be cautious and consider if your travel insurance policy covers surfing, parasailing, swimming and other beach activities.
- Cultural trips. Museums, art galleries and historical, natural and archaeological sites in El Salvador cater to a wide range of interests, but visiting all the ones you want to see can mean heading to more isolated areas. It’s especially important to get coverage for medical evacuation if you’re traveling to a rural area.
Compare travel insurance plans for El Salvador
What doesn’t travel insurance cover?
As of March 2021, the US Department of State advises that you reconsider the need to travel to El Salvador due to COVID-19 with extra caution because of high crime. The Department of State deems El Salvador a Level 3 country, which affects your coverage eligibility. It’s common to see exclusions for political evacuation and repatriation. So if there’s a terror attack or a political event that causes violence in the country, your insurer won’t pay to have you evacuated back home.
Other common exclusions include:
- Getting drunk. If you injure yourself or someone else while drinking or on drugs not prescribed by a doctor, your insurer can deny your claim.
- Pre-existing medical conditions. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, talk to your insurer before purchasing a policy to find out if you can get coverage.
- Ignoring local laws. If you intentionally break the laws of El Salvador, your insurer can deny your claim.
How to stay safe in El Salvador
Be mindful of your environment at all times and stay abreast of local news. Consider the following conditions while you’re in El Salvador to keep yourself away from harm:
- Violence. Criminal gangs operate in El Salvador, and violence is often used with little hesitation. Firearms are common and gangs have even been known to use explosives and carry out terrorist-style attacks. Travelers may be targeted based on perceived wealth, so consider leaving your valuables at home and traveling light.
- Disease. Dengue fever and other insect-borne diseases, including Zika, are a risk particularly during the wet season from April to November. All travelers should protect themselves from mosquitoes with long sleeves, insect repellent and by sleeping indoors. Infectious diseases are prevalent and travelers should take all necessary precautions, including drinking boiled or bottled water and avoiding ice cubes and undercooked foods.
- Instability. Political unrest and conflicts between violent street gangs and local authorities contribute to instability in El Salvador. Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations as they can turn violent with little warning, and foreigners found participating in them may face detainment and deportation.
- Weather hazards. Hurricane season is from June to November. Mudslides, landslides, flooding and essential service disruptions are more likely to occur at this time of year. Monitor local media for weather conditions and know that weather can change quickly.
Who do I contact in an emergency?
In the event of an emergency in El Salvador you have several points of contact:
- Your insurer. Most insurers have a 24/7 claims helpline that’s clearly written in your policy. In the event of a claim you should contact them as soon as you’re safe.
- Family and friends. Let them know your travel plans and check in periodically so they know where you are and can notify authorities if something happens.
- A US embassy. If you lose your passport, get into legal trouble or if there’s a countrywide emergency, contact the nearest US embassy.
Whether you want to photograph the pyramids at sunrise or relax on the beach with a cocktail, when you visit El Salvador, you can do it all. Unfortunately, for all its beauty, El Salvador is not without its dangers. Before you pack your bags, pick up a travel insurance policy to keep you — and your bank account — safe from any bumps in the road.
Frequently asked questions
What are the entry requirements for El Salvador?
US tourists to El Salvador don’t require a visa. Instead, you are able to get access for up to 90 days with:
- A passport valid for at least six months.
- A renewable 30-day tourist card, available on arrival for a fee of $10.
When is the best time to visit El Salvador?
You can visit El Salvador all year round, but decide if you’d like to visit during the rainy or dry season.
- Dry season. Warm, dry and busy. Prices may be a bit higher, but there are special offers and discounts around. More events take place in the dry season.
- Wet season. Similarly warm but with more rain and humidity. Hurricanes or bad weather can close attractions with little warning and travel conditions can become unpredictable. On the upside, El Salvador’s nature is at its most lush at this time of year, and wildlife may be more diverse or active.
How can I use my cell phone in El Salvador?
If you have an unlocked phone, it’s a good idea to pick up a prepaid SIM card that will work in El Salvador. If your phone is locked and can’t be unlocked by your provider, you can still use Wi-Fi texting and calling apps when you have access to the Internet.
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