You’ve agonized over your packing list, but there’s one other essential thing you must buy for your trip—travel insurance for Kilimanjaro. Travel insurance is mandatory for climbing Kilimanjaro, and it’s just a smart thing to have regardless.
If you get altitude sickness, twist an ankle, or get hypothermia, you’ll need to be evacuated off of the mountain—and at 19,341 feet, it’s going to be very expensive to get down and to get medical treatment.
On our trip to Mount Kilimanjaro, we saw multiple people who had to be helicoptered off the mountain for emergencies. Someone in our group had to be evacuated off of the mountain and whisked down to Arusha for medical treatment. It’s not uncommon, so you should be prepared with travel insurance.
We ended up having to use our travel insurance policy during our Kilimanjaro climb, so we wanted to share our experience and honest review.
The Best Travel Insurance for Climbing Kilimanjaro
We did extensive research before our trip to Kilimanjaro, and there was only one travel insurance that would cover climbing Kilimanjaro. Most travel insurances limit how high you can hike, and at over 19,000 feet, Kilimanjaro was excluded from their policies. Only one travel insurance company for US-based travelers would cover a Kilimanjaro climb: World Nomads.
The company we climbed Kilimanjaro required us to have travel insurance that covered helicopter evacuation, which World Nomads does.
World Nomads Kilimanjaro Travel Insurance Review
Although World Nomads might be your only travel insurance option for a Kilimanjaro climb, it’s a pretty good option. Here’s our review of the company.
World Nomads Standard Plan Vs. Explorer Plan
Surprisingly, you only need World Nomads’ lowest level travel insurance, the Standard plan, for a Kilimanjaro climb. The Standard plan covers “hiking or tramping up to 19,685 feet/6,000 meters,” which is below the height of Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit.
However, the Standard plan has much lower coverage for trip cancellation and interruption compared to the Explorer plan (only $2,500 vs. $10,000). Since our Kilimanjaro trip cost well over $2,500, I recommend going with the Explorer plan, in case anything happens and you can go on your climb.
The Explorer plan also offers significantly higher reimbursement for baggage and personal effects ($3,000 vs. $1,000), which is important in case your bag gets lost and you have to buy expensive jackets and hiking gear at the last minute.
The Explorer plan covers:
- Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expenses up to $100,000
- Emergency Dental Treatment up to $750
- Adventure Sports and Activities (including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro)
- Emergency Evacuation up to $500,000
- Repatriation of remains up to $500,000
- Non-emergency medical transportation up to $25,000
- Trip cancellation up to $10,000
- Trip interruption up to $10,000
- Trip delay up to $3,000
- Baggage delay (outward journey only) up to $750
- Accidental death & dismemberment up to $10,000
- 24/7 worldwide assistance
For our two-person, three-week trip to Arusha, Mount Kilimanjaro, and post-climb safari, we were quoted $205 for the standard insurance and $380 for the explorer insurance. We went for the explorer policy for the additional trip protection benefit.
Our Experience Using World Nomads Travel Insurance Climbing Kilimanjaro
We planned to spend three days in Arusha upon arrival to Tanzania as a buffer before starting our Kilimanjaro climb. We wanted to recover from the long international flight and acclimatize to the higher altitude and local food.
Unfortunately, on our second day in Arusha, my travel partner became very sick with stomach pains that we feared could be appendicitis. We called the World Nomads’ emergency customer support hotline to see if a doctor could come to our hotel room. The customer service representative was very kind, but only offered to send us a list of nearby doctors and hospitals, and was unable to arrange for a doctor to do a hotel room visit.
When we received the list of doctors sent by World Nomads, some of the options were hundreds of miles away.
We ended up waiting a bit longer to see if my partner would recover on his own, which he did. Fortunately, the pains were a kidney stone and not appendicitis, so after resting in the hotel room we were able to complete our hike.
Although World Nomads wasn’t able to help us by sending a doctor, it was still reassuring to know we would be covered if we did have to seek help.
Mount Kilimanjaro Climb Travel Insurance: Price & Where to Buy
Travel insurance through World Nomads for two people climbing Mount Kilimanjaro costs between $200-$400 depending on the length of trip and level of coverage. Click here to get a travel insurance quote for your Kilimanjaro climb.