Whether you’re a first-time visitor spending a few days in Tbilisi or you’re planning to take advantage of the visa-free scheme and stay longer, you’re probably wondering whether travel insurance for Georgia is a necessity.
Let me start by saying that Georgia is generally a very safe country for tourists. Depending on your travel style and the kind of activities you want to do, travelling here is typically low-risk. The biggest concern by far is road safety.
Having said that, I always take out travel insurance when I visit Georgia – and I recommend you do the same. There are a couple of specific reasons for this which I’ll explore in more detail later.
The first two times I came to Georgia as a tourist, I used standard travel insurance. On my third visit – a long-stay that will end up stretching out to a year or more – I started looking for a budget-friendly, flexible alternative. Through my research, I discovered that there are more insurance options available for Georgia than most people realise.
In this guide, I’ll look at the different factors to weigh up when deciding whether or not you need travel insurance for Georgia. I’ll also compare four policy options for short and long-term visitors, and share more about my personal approach to travel insurance in the Caucasus.
This post is designed to provide a general overview only and does not constitute insurance advice. Please do your own research before making a decision. You should not act on the basis of any information included here without first obtaining professional advice.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.
Do I really need travel insurance for Georgia?
Whether or not you choose to take out travel insurance is ultimately a personal choice. There are a couple of key points specific to Georgia that you should consider when making your decision.
First, are you required to show proof of travel insurance when entering Georgia? I’ve entered the country on the visa-free scheme a dozen times now and have never been asked to show insurance documents at immigration. But that doesn’t mean you won’t.
Depending on the conditions of your visa, proof of travel insurance might be a requirement to enter the country. The last thing you want is to be turned away at the airport because of a paperwork issue.
The second thing to consider is your personal medical history. Healthcare and dental in Georgia is very affordable by Western standards. As an example, a doctor’s consultation might cost you 60 GEL (around 20 USD) at a good clinic. If the physician doesn’t speak English, an assistant or interpreter will usually accompany you. Blood work and pathology cost pocket change, and over-the-counter medications are generally very affordable too.
Having said that, the quality of care differs vastly between cities (Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi) and rural areas, and from facility to facility. Emergency medical care and evacuation is not the kind of thing you want to compromise on. If you plan on hiking in the Caucasus mountains, skiing, or partaking in any extreme sports or high-risk activities, you’ll definitely want to take out travel insurance for Georgia that covers you in case of accident or injury.
Road safety is a big issue in Georgia – you haven’t really visited until you’ve gone hurtling down a mountain road in a wonky marshrutka. In all seriousness, road accidents are not uncommon. I wouldn’t want to be travelling around Georgia uninsured. If you plan on self-driving in Georgia, you’ll definitely want to take out an insurance policy that covers you for car hire.
Petty crime such as pickpocketing is very rare in Georgia, even in Tbilisi. If you’re travelling with high-value items (expensive camera gear, for example), it’s good practice to take out a policy that covers you for theft. If you only travel with standard electronics and you avoid carrying large quantities of cash, coverage for valuables might not be high up on your priority list.
Related: My complete packing list for Georgia.
Tourist scams are rare but they do occur in Georgia – learn how to protect yourself from common scams here.
A final thing to consider is whether or not your Caucasus itinerary will include travel to Abkhazia. Standard insurance policies do not cover Abkhazia, so you’ll need to take out a special ‘high-risk’ policy through First Allied or similar.
Travel insurance for Georgia doesn’t have to be expensive, and there is plenty of choice when it comes to choosing a provider that fits your needs. Below are four different options compared.
Option 1: Standard travel insurance for Georgia
HeyMondo (or similar) will cover you for injury and illness, theft, and for unforeseen travel-related expenses resulting from delays or cancellations. You also have:
- The option to include valuables as add-ons
- The option to add-on adventure activities (great if you’re skiing or trekking in Georgia)
- The option to extend your policy on the road
Option 2: Long-term travel insurance with SafetyWing
SafetyWing is an alternative health insurance provider designed for long-term travellers and digital nomads. It has similar accident and illness coverage to a standard provider like World Nomads, but it works on a subscription basis with a standard monthly fee. The price point is a fair bit lower. Other perks include:
- The ability to activate a policy after you’ve left home
- A convenient monthly subscription model that you can cancel at any time
- Full coverage for COVID-19
SafetyWing is less comprehensive, and won’t cover you for theft/loss of electronics or some other travel-related items.
This is a good option if you’re spending a longer period of time in Georgia, you have a secure residence (such as your own apartment or a long-term Airbnb), and you’re moving around less frequently.
Option 3: TBC travel insurance for Georgia
TBC is a Georgian bank that offers short-term insurance policies for leisure or business travellers. The main draw is the price: Standard coverage starts from €1.5 a day.
TBC Insurance covers emergency medical care, dental and repatriation up to the value of €50,000. Like SafetyWing, this is a medical-only policy that does not cover theft or other travel-related expenses (such as cancellation or lost luggage). It’s therefore better suited to long-term visitors who aren’t travelling frequently.
There are a couple of conditions. You need to register before you arrive in Georgia, and you will only be covered within Georgia (whereas SafetyWing covers you for any country, including periods of time spent in your home country). TBC Insurance is not available for EU nationals.
Option 4: Local health insurance
If you’re working in Georgia or you plan on spending a good chunk of time in one place without travelling around much, you might want to consider transitioning to a local health insurance policy.
This will cover you for both emergency and out-patient services, but not for theft or travel-related expenses. You apply for these in-country, so you could theoretically fly in on a regular travel insurance policy then shift over to local insurance later.
There are a couple of providers to choose from, all of which offer coverage to foreigners for a low monthly fee:
- Unison – from €10/month. More information here.
- GPI Group – from €3.50/month. More information here.
- Euroins – from €3.50/month. More information here.
Some of these policy documents are in Georgian so you’ll need to contact the provider for an English translation. Make sure you read the terms thoroughly and understand the exclusions before you sign up. Under these policies, you’ll usually be asked to nominate a GP. If you don’t have a GP, staff can help you find an English-speaking physician in your area.
Another option is to take out a membership with American Medical Centers (AMC). AMC has branches in Tbilisi and Batumi, and is widely regarded as the most reputable international clinic in the Georgia. Annual membership starts from $850 and includes unlimited consultations and access to AMC’s emergency ambulance service.
Find more information about AMC membership and get a quote here.
Here are the websites and services I personally use and recommend for Georgia. Check out my full list of travel resources for more tips.
FLIGHTS: Search for affordable flights to Tbilisi, Batumi or Kutaisi on Skyscanner.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: Insure your trip with HeyMondo, my preferred provider for single-trip and annual travel insurance.
SIM CARD: Magti is my preferred provider, with prices starting from 9 GEL/week for unlimited 4G data. See this guide for all the details about buying a Georgian SIM card.
AIRPORT TRANSFERS: Most flights into Georgia arrive in the early hours. For ease, pre-book a private transfer from Tbilisi Airport to your hotel (from $16) or from Kutaisi Airport to Tbilisi (from $88) with my preferred partners at GoTrip.ge.
ACCOMMODATION: Booking.com is the most widely used platform in Georgia. Use it to find family guesthouses, private apartments, hostels and hotels around the country.
CAR HIRE: Find a great deal on a rental car in Georgia – use the Local Rent website to book through a local agent (prices start from $30/day).
DAY TRIPS & CITY TOURS: Use Viator or Get Your Guide to browse a range of day trips and city tours. For off-beat programs, I recommend Friendly.ge (use the promocode wanderlush for 10% off). For in-depth day trips to Georgia’s wine regions, I recommend Eat This! Tours (use the promo code wanderlush for 5% off).
PRIVATE TRANSFERS: GoTrip.ge is a terrific service for booking a private professional driver and car for the day. Use it for A-to-B transfers or to create a customised round-trip itinerary. You can stop wherever you like for as long as you like without the fixed price going up.
NEED SOME HELP?: Need feedback on your itinerary or personalised travel tips? I offer a one-on-one consultation call service for Tbilisi and Georgia. More information and bookings here.