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Antarctica Travel Insurance: Tips & Requirements for US Visitors

  • There are no major medical facilities in Antarctica, so medical emergencies require medical evacuation to another country.
  • Medical evacuations from Antarctica are expensive and require a huge effort, so tour operators typically require you to have at least $100,000 in travel medical and at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage.
  • In addition to medical coverage, more comprehensive travel insurance plans will also include trip cancellation and interruption coverage, baggage insurance and more.
  • According to our research, the top travel insurance plans come from AXA, Tin Leg and IMG (skip ahead to view these plans).
  • Our sales data shows that travel insurance costs around $19 per day.
  • We recommend using our online comparison tool to view multiple plans at once and find the best coverage to suit your needs.

Our top picks for travel insurance for Antarctica

Advertiser Disclosure
Best Value on a Budget

AXA Assistance USA

GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
Preferred Plan
Covers COVID
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$250,000 / $1,000,000
Top Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Tin Leg

GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
Preferred Plan
Covers COVID
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$250,000 / $1,000,000
Best for Premium Inclusions


GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
Preferred Plan
iTravelInsured Travel LX Basic
Covers COVID
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$500,000 / $1,000,000

What to consider when taking a trip to Antarctica

Due to its isolated location and harsh natural environment, Antarctica is unlike any other travel destination. 

If you plan to visit, keep the following in mind.

According to the U.S. Department of State, Antarctica doesn’t have a single public hospital, so the only way to get medical treatment is to evacuate to Argentina, Australia or another country with modern health care facilities.

Medical evacuation is extremely expensive, so all tour operators require travelers to maintain Antarctica travel insurance. Your insurance plan must include emergency medical care and medical evacuation services. 

Trips to Antarctica are expensive

Because it’s so remote and is vulnerable to damage caused by human activity, Antarctica is one of the most expensive destinations in the world. Only certain companies are allowed to operate tours and this limited competition drives up prices and makes even a short expedition much more expensive than the average vacation. It’s important to have Antarctica travel insurance to protect your investment.

Traveling to Antarctica

Another factor to consider is that you can’t travel to Antarctica directly from the United States. Most tours depart from Ushuaia in southern Argentina. Several also leave from Punta Arenas in southern Chile.

Tours from Ushuaia leave via boat, while tours from Punta Arenas depart via flight. Therefore, it’s important to purchase a robust travel insurance policy instead of a bare-bones policy with limited coverage.

Antarctica cruises

In many cases, the best way to see Antarctica is to take a cruise. The best travel insurance for an Antarctica cruise includes higher limits for missed connections and medical emergencies. Cruise insurance may also protect you against unexpected delays and cancellations.

Passport and Plane Ticket

What Antarctica travel insurance coverage do I need?

A comprehensive travel insurance policy combines several types of coverage to give you the greatest amount of protection available.

Consider getting these types of coverage for your trip.

Emergency medical insurance

U.S. health insurance doesn’t cover medical expenses incurred in Antarctica. This includes Medicaid, Medicare and other government health insurance programs. Due to the lack of medical infrastructure in Antarctica, you should aim for at least $100,000 in emergency medical coverage.

Medical evacuation insurance

This is one of the most important components of an Antarctica travel insurance plan. Because Antarctica is extremely remote and has no medical infrastructure, it costs a significant amount of money to evacuate in the event of a medical emergency.

Aim for at least $250,000 worth of medical evacuation (medevac) coverage. Some policies include up to $1 million in medevac coverage.

Trip delay insurance

You can’t just get on a plane and land in Antarctica a few hours later. You may have to take multiple flights, board a cruise ship or hop on a boat to get to your destination. From your initial flight to South America to the 48-hour boat ride to Antarctica, trip delay insurance protects you in the event of an airline or boat delay.

Trip cancellation insurance

The Southern Ocean is known for its volatile weather conditions. It’s not unusual for tour operators to cancel with little notice due to inclement weather or other safety issues. Many tour operators also require nonrefundable deposits, making it even more important to protect your investment.

If you cancel for a covered reason, your insurance provider will reimburse your prepaid, nonrefundable costs. Covered reasons include sudden illness, the death of a travel companion and natural disasters.

Cancel-for-any-reason insurance

Cancel-for-any-reason coverage is more flexible than standard trip cancellation insurance. Many providers will reimburse up to 75% of your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs, regardless of your reason for cancellation. 

Baggage insurance

If you’re visiting Antarctica, you can’t get away with a tiny suitcase filled with a few essentials. You’ll need a heavy jacket, thermal underwear, expedition gear and other items to protect your body from the elements. Many people also bring expensive camera equipment to capture the penguins, leopard seals and whales in all their glory.

Baggage insurance reimburses you for losses related to lost, stolen and damaged luggage. For example, if one of your bags goes missing between Argentina and Antarctica, your insurance provider may reimburse you accordingly. Note that this type of insurance usually has a limit of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Your insurer probably won’t reimburse you for $10,000 in specialized photography equipment, so pack accordingly.

Baggage delay insurance protects you in the event of unexpected delays. To qualify for reimbursement, you must be traveling via a common carrier. If you arrive before your baggage, your insurer may cover the cost of purchasing clothing, toiletries and other items to tide you over until your suitcase arrives.

Typically, a delay must last for several hours before your baggage delay insurance kicks in. For example, some insurers don’t reimburse travelers unless a delay lasts for at least 12 hours.

Adventure insurance

If trekking to an ice-covered continent doesn’t satisfy your appetite for adventure, you’re in luck. Antarctica offers plenty of opportunities for kayaking, skiing and sledding. If you plan to participate in an adventure activity, consider upgrading your Antarctica travel insurance policy to cover any resulting emergencies.

What isn’t covered by travel insurance for Antarctica?

Even the most comprehensive policies typically exclude the following.

Passport and Plane Ticket

How much does travel insurance for Antarctica cost?

Based on our sales data, visitors who purchased travel insurance through our website paid an average of $324 for a 17-day trip to Antarctica. Therefore, we can assume that a plan costs around $19 per day.

To give you more insight into how much travel insurance costs for a trip to Antarctica, we got quotes from some of the top providers. All of our quotes follow the guidelines of having at least $100,000 in emergency medical and at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage.

We used these parameters for our quotes:

In this first example below, we’ve displayed quotes for basic travel insurance coverage. These plans cost around $3 to $5 per day.

Example Where Plan Doesn’t Reimburse the Full Antarctica Trip Cost

Provider Plan Name Plan Cost Cancellation / Interruption Limits Medical / Medevac Limits
Tin Leg Luxury $39 $0 / $750 $100K / $250K
Trawick International Safe Travels Armor $56 $0 / $0 $100K / $1M
AXA Assistance USA Gold $68 $0 / $1K $100K / $500K

This next example shows our quotes for more comprehensive travel insurance that include trip cancellation and interruption coverage. These plans range from around $26 to $58 per day.

Example Where Plan Does Reimburse the Full Antarctica Trip Cost

Provider Plan Name Plan Cost Cancellation / Interruption Limits Medical / Medevac Limits
Tin Leg Luxury $808 $8K / $12K $100K / $250K
Trawick International Safe Travels Armor $376 $8K / $12K $100K / $1M
AXA Assistance USA Gold $359 $8K / $12K $100K / $500K

Factors that impact the cost include:

Tips for getting the best Antarctica travel insurance

Follow these tips to find the best travel insurance for Antarctica.


Think about how you’re getting there.

Antarctica is a remote destination, so each trip includes multiple legs. The more complicated your itinerary, the more likely it is that something will go wrong, whether it’s a baggage delay or a medical emergency.

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Make a list of the activities you plan to do.

If any of them qualify as adventure activities, you may need to purchase an add-on. Otherwise, your standard plan won’t cover any expenses arising from your participation in adventure sports.

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Buy insurance as soon as possible after you book your trip.

The longer you wait, the more likely it is that something will happen, rendering you unable to get coverage for certain events. For example, if a landslide occurs before you buy a policy, you won’t be eligible for reimbursement if you have to cancel due to landslide damage.

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Request quotes from multiple companies.

Our online comparison tool makes it easy to compare cost and coverage details.

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FAQ: Antarctica travel insurance

Is travel insurance required for Antarctica?

Yes. Because it costs so much money to get there, all tour operators require travelers to carry medical insurance. We recommend purchasing additional coverage to ensure you don’t lose a significant amount of money due to unforeseen events.

What is the average cost of a cruise to Antarctica?

A standard cruise to Antarctica costs anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000. It may cost much more if you book a luxury cruise. This doesn’t include transportation to the departure port or activities that aren’t part of the cruise package.

Can tourists fly to Antarctica?

No commercial airline offers flights to Antarctica. To get to your destination, you need to fly from Punta Arenas or take a boat from southern Chile.

Can you take a private trip to Antarctica?

Yes, it’s possible to take a private expedition to Antarctica. However, we advise you to use a reputable tour operator instead, as tour professionals know the area and understand how to navigate the rough waters.

How much does medical evacuation from Antarctica cost?

It depends on what type of transportation you use and where you need to go. However, Squaremouth advises travelers to purchase at least $100,000 in medevac coverage. This seems like overkill, but it’s extremely expensive to evacuate via helicopter or boat.

Leigh Morgan
Leigh Morgan Personal Finance

Leigh Morgan is a seasoned personal finance contributor with over 15 years of experience writing on a diverse range of professional legal and financial topics. She specializes in subjects like navigating the complexities of insurance, savings, zero-based budgeting and emergency fund development.

In the last five years, she’s authored over 300 articles for credit unions, digital banks, and financial professionals. Morgan is also the author of “77 Tips for Preventing Elder Financial Abuse,” a book focused on helping caregivers protect the elderly from financial scams.

In addition to her writing skills, she brings real-world financial acumen thanks to her previous experience managing rental properties as part of a $34 million real estate portfolio.