Updated: 10/28/20 | October 28th, 2020
For as long as I’ve been traveling the world, I’ve used World Nomads as my travel insurance provider. Though I’ve written about travel insurance in the past, I’ve never properly reviewed World Nomads.
Since I use them so much and, in light of COVID-19, things have changed so much, I feel like it’s time for a personal review of World Nomad’s Travel Insurance.
Table of Contents
- Who Are World Nomads?
- What’s Included?
- Medical Coverage
- Dental Coverage
- Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation
- Accidental Death & Dismemberment
- Lost or Stolen Goods
- Trip Cancellation, Interruption, or Delay
- 24-Hour Assistance Services
- What’s Not Covered
- COVID-19 and Pandemics
- Pros and Cons of World Nomads
- My Experience Using World Nomads
Who are World Nomads?
World Nomads is a travel insurance company based in Australia. It was founded in 2002 by Simon Monk, a traveler who wanted to address the three key concerns: freedom, safety, and connection. Insurance was a market fraught with fraud. As a bunch of passionate travelers himself, he figured they had a fair idea of what travelers needed and wanted. Now, they cover people from over 150 countries, with medical and evacuation cover, 24-hour emergency assistance, and cover for a large range of adventure activities.
I originally found World Nomads via Lonely Planet (but they are also recommended by National Geographic and Rough Guides). I trusted those companies so I bought the insurance based on their recommendation.
Over the years, as my website has grown and I’ve become a fixture in the travel writing world, I’ve gotten to know many of the people in the travel insurance industry, including those who work at World Nomads.
There’s a lot of travel insurance companies out there – each with their pros and cons – but, for me, World Nomads is the perfect insurance company for backpackers and travelers. It’s meant for people who are always on the move, and it covers all the essentials you want in travel insurance. I love the management of the company, its competitive prices, its social giving program, and its company ethos of being insurance for travelers by travelers. It is a company a world apart!
What’s included in World Nomads Insurance Policies?
In the images below, the prices in the left column are for the Standard Plan, while the prices in the right column are for the Explorer Plan, which offers higher coverage limits.
The policy coverage numbers listed in the screenshots below are in USD.
World Nomads provides up to $100,000 USD in coverage, though its more expensive policies will cover you for higher amounts. High coverage limits can be important if you’re doing really crazy activities that might cause serious injury. Or if you get really, really, really sick. (That said, I find $100,000 in coverage is more than enough for what I need).
Its policies also provide coverage for medical expenses and those related to medical evacuation or repatriation if you’re accidentally injured. If you are hiking in the woods and you break your leg, your policy should cover your evacuation to the hospital — and World Nomads does, if the emergency evacuation is ordered by a physician who certifies that the severity of your accidental injury or sickness warrants it.
EMERGENCY DENTAL TREATMENT
World Nomads also covers emergency dental treatment for accidental injuries that occur during the trip.
This includes things like an unexpected infection, a broken tooth, or injuring your mouth or jaw in an accident. It does not include anything optional dental work, like check ups or cleanings (or things that can wait until you get back home).
NON-MEDICAL EMERGENCY EVACUATION
World Nomads also offers coverage for transportation expenses in case there is civil or political unrest in the country you’re visiting. This also applies to natural disasters, or if you’re expelled from a country. NOTE: If you’re a US citizen, certain states are not covered under this. You’ll have to check your policy for specifics.
ACCIDENTAL DEATH AND DISMEMBERMENT INSURANCE
In case the worst happens, your World Nomads plan pays a lump sum to your beneficiary, such as a family member. These policies also pay out if you lose your eyesight or a hand, foot, or limb, etc. on your trip. Moreover, they cover the cost of repatriating your body (i.e., sending your body home).
LOST OR STOLEN GOODS
This coverage reimburses you for baggage and personal belongings that are lost, stolen, or damaged during the trip. Some plans also reimburse you for extra expenses if your baggage is delayed for more than a certain period, such as 12 hours.
TRIP CANCELLATION, INTERRUPTION, OR DELAY
Trip cancellation insurance reimburses you for prepaid expenses if the tour operator goes out of business, you have to cancel the trip because you or a family member gets sick or injured, or there is a death in the family, bad weather, or a natural disaster.
Trip interruption insurance covers you if you have to interrupt a vacation because you get sick or injured, or have to get back home due to a death in the family.
Trip delay coverage covers your expenses if you’re delayed during a trip, such as when a flight gets canceled because of bad weather. Coverage is for additional expenses, on a one-time basis, if you are delayed en route to or from the trip for six or more hours due to a defined hazard (as explained in the certificate or policy).
World Nomads covers all three!
ONE CALL: 24-HOUR ASSISTANCE SERVICES
World Nomads also uses a 24-hour service that provides help, advice, and referrals for medical emergencies.
The service will help you locate local physicians, dentists, or medical facilities. They can also arrange and pay for appropriate transportation, including an escort, if required, to a suitable hospital, treatment facility, or home.
WHAT’S NOT COVERED
If you’re reckless, you probably won’t be covered. Here’s a list:
- Accidents sustained while participating in extreme adventure activities such as hang gliding, paragliding, or bungee jumping (unless you pay extra).
- Alcohol- or drug-related incidents.
- Carelessness in handling your possessions and baggage.
- You won’t get reimbursed if the problem happened because you were reckless (how “reckless” is defined is a matter up to each company).
- Pre-existing conditions or general check-ups. For example, if you have diabetes and need to buy more insulin, you won’t be covered. If you want to go see a doctor for a general check-up, you aren’t covered either.
- Lost or stolen cash
- Your theft coverage won’t cover you if you left something unattended.
- If civil unrest makes your destination unsafe but your government hasn’t called for an evacuation, you’re probably out of luck too.
World Nomads and COVID-19
World Nomads does cover some medical costs when it comes to COVID. They will help you out if you test positive for COVID or get quarantined by a physician and need medical care related to that. T
However, the coverage is just limited to medical care and related costs (though some policies also cover trip cancellation and trip interruption costs if you contract COVID). Be sure to read the specifics in your plan, as there are many caveats and exemptions and you’ll want complete clarity from your provider.
World Nomads is one of the few companies in the world offering this.
Should you trust the reviews?
Like everyone, World Nomads had issues when it came to COVID-19. Pandemics aren’t covered by ANY insurance company and a lot of travelers found that out the hard way. That led to a backlash online and a lot of negative reviews. Here’s the truth: no one saw it coming and companies were inundated by millions of customers requesting refunds. It overwhelmed the entire industry. Everyone was affected.
Not surprisingly, they made some mistakes. Fortunately, they’re making a lot of technical and systemic improvements to ensure people get paid quicker, can submit claims online easier (even if you only create an account as a guest), and ensure customer service is handled faster. I had a long, long talk with them about it and they are recognizing their problems.
Consumers use review sites to complain, not to praise. It’s almost always how some company screwed them over. While that is sometimes the case (no company is perfect 100% of the time — and it’s not just obscure companies; I’ve had friends have terrible times trying to get a refund from Expedia, for example), most of the time it’s because someone didn’t read the fine print.
But, as you can see above, there are plenty of happy customers. I continue to trust the company and, after bringing up service issues with them due to COVID, believe they are coming out stronger than ever. COVID through us all for a loop.
PROS AND CONS OF WORLD NOMADS
- Affordable prices
- Great coverage
- You can extend your policy online
- You can make a claim online while on the road
- Fast, 24/7 service
- It doesn’t cover people over 70
- Its online system can be a little confusing to figure out
- The Explorer plan covers up to $3000 total and a per article limit of $1500 on electronics and personal items.
World Nomads policies vary in cost based on your age, destinations, and where you’re from since, as a global brand, they use different underwriters in each country. With World Nomads, policies work out cheaper per month the longer they are. Due to COVID-19, you can only buy policies for up to 180 days. As a general rule, a one month policy is about $100. While that is more expensive than some of the other companies, they also include coverage others don’t.
My Experience Using World Nomads
In addition to buying a policy online (even if you’re already traveling), you can also indefinitely extend your insurance policy online. Moreover, as someone who is always on the road and bouncing from country to country, the ability to just take photos of all my documents and receipts and upload them is hugely beneficial! Plus, the whole claims process can be done online.
I’ve had to use World Nomads’ services twice. The first time was when South African Airlines lost my luggage on the way back from Africa. Knowing I had coverage, I called World Nomads to ask what I could do. They told me that I would have to wait to see if the airline would reimburse me first. If the airline would not reimburse me within 90 days, they would. (Travel insurance is about making you whole, not making sure you make a profit.)
The process was relatively easy. I filled out an online form listing what I had in my bag and its estimated value. I submitted the documents that showed I had requested a reimbursement from the airline. Then I waited.
Another time, in Argentina, I was suffering from anxiety and worried that it was something more. It felt like someone was stomping on my chest. I logged into the portal, got the call center number, and called the hotline. They took my information and symptoms and gave me a list of emergency doctors that they recommended. The One Call system was helpful, quick, and got me a doctor right away. I was very happy with the service and know that if something really does go wrong, they act quickly!
While I have never had to make a claim that required reimbursement, a number of readers have. Here is their feedback on the process:
BE SURE TO READ YOUR POLICY
All insurance companies have terrible online reviews. This is usually because the traveler didn’t read the wording of the policy and assumed something was covered when it wasn’t. It is very, very important that you read the requirements for making a claim.
For that matter, you should read your whole policy. Seriously. It’s terrible, but reading it is the only way you will know what is and is not covered! If you have questions, call World Nomads. They are very helpful in explaining their policies! Local numbers are on their website!
Before I go on any trip, I take a photo of my bag and its contents so I have a time-stamped photo with me and my stuff. If anything is stolen, you will need to file a police report as companies will ask for that as part of your proof. If you get sick, keep all your paperwork and receipts. The more information and documents you have, the easier it will be to get reimbursed.
Making a claim is a long, detailed, and sometimes slow process. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to making a claim, however, by keeping the above points in mind you’ll be able to avoid the most common pitfalls.
Additionally, if your claim is rejected be sure to follow up. Ask for more information and re-submit your documents. Insurance companies are in a for-profit industry. Be firm (but respectful) in your request for review. Make sure to dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Usually, a denied claim is denied because of a technical error so double — and triple — check your documents before sending them in.
World Nomads is one of the best insurance companies out there — especially if you are looking for long-term or backpacking travel insurance. It is a company for and by travelers, recommended by tons of other travel companies and writers, and far more affordable than other insurance companies! I highly recommend them. I’ve always had a good experience with them — and as you can see from the people above, so have many of the readers of this site!
Travel insurance only costs a few dollars a day (your policy price will vary by length and where you are from) and, for that price, it’s a no brainer. While there are many travel insurance companies out there that are cheaper, the devil is always in the fine print and they don’t have low coverage limits, don’t let you renew on the road, and have terrible reimbursement rates. Insurance is something you get what you pay for. Pay an extra few cents a day to be covered.
A lot of people don’t buy travel insurance when they travel because they think, “Nothing will happen to me. I’ll be fine!”
And that’s the point of insurance.
No one is Superman. You’re healthy until your not. Insurance covers trip delays and problems, accidents, health care, theft, and much more. I’ve been on the road ten years and I can tell you that accidents will happen. It’s good to always have a company that has your back. I’ve never once regretted my decision to get insurance with World Nomads.
You can use the widget below to look up the travel insurance policy that is right for you (or just click here to go to their website directly):
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Need to book your trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. The are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.