There's nothing more fun than exploring the world, but there are normally a few boring as hell hoops to jump through before you can enjoy it fully. Hoops like getting travel vaccinations, suffering through the physical and mental torture of long-haul flights and finding travel insurance - and we're going to talk about the latter today.
I know... travel insurance isn't exactly the most glamorous topic and you probably want to get this over with as quickly as possible. But choosing travel insurance isn't something you should rush - unless, you know, you're a superhuman millionaire with nine lives - so if you take one thing away from this blog post, please make sure you choose your travel insurance wisely. Actually, better add "make sure you take out travel insurance!!" to that, too.
A quick Google search will tell you one thing: there are a lot of options when it comes to travel insurance. And if you're simply jetting off on a quick holiday, most of them will probably do the trick. So take your pick!
If, however, you're a fellow crazy person who wants to travel long-term and embark on the digital nomad life, that's probably not going to work. Those travel insurance companies are sneaky and they don't really want to support our long-term travel dreams. Or maybe it's just a little bit too risky for them - I'll let you decide. Either way, you're going to need a specific type of travel insurance for long term travel.
Quitting my job to travel full-time was STRESSFUL. As the 'big day' approached, the list of things that could go wrong seemed to grow on a daily basis and one of the biggest concerns I had was insurance.
I assumed the Coverwise annual travel insurance I already had would cover me for the first few months, but (of course) I was wrong. After browsing Money Supermarket (my usual tactic) for a little too long, I realised it wasn't going to be so straightforward after all. It also meant no meerkat movies for me. Sob.
The one thing I knew for sure was that I wasn't leaving without travel insurance. I was taking a big enough risk by giving up my biggest source of income and the stable (albeit unsatisfying) life that went with it.
And then someone recommended World Nomads.
Why World Nomads insurance is great for digital nomads
World Nomads travel insurance was created by a long-time digital nomad, so you know they've thought of everything - including the things you haven't. They get it.
Their policies are available to people from over 150 countries and include the crazy kind of things you hope you'll never need including evacuation cover, medical cover, terrorism, emergency transport and, er, even death.
They also cover some of the crazy things you probably hope you will come across, with one of the longest list of covered adventure activities (over 150!) offered by any travel insurance provider. So if you're one of those people who enjoy throwing themselves out of planes, off of bridges or deep into the ocean, they've got your back - something that most travel insurers can't say.
Why I love World Nomads insurance
Apart from the fact they've thought of everything a long-term traveller might face, one of my favourite things about World Nomads travel insurance is that you can extend your policy while you're away.
When I set off, I vowed to come running back to London if it didn't all go to plan within six months and I wasn't making a consistently sufficient income (or, you know, if I decided I just hated the digital nomad thing). Luckily, things are going far better than I even hoped for after six months (yay! I did it!), but I like that I didn't have to commit to any time restraints - or risk wasting money - with my long-term travel insurance.
Before heading off, I bought 12 month travel insurance but would have felt torn over whether to buy the longest length of cover if I couldn't renew World Nomads travel insurance while travelling. The fact that you can leave your plans open and top up your policy on the road is really unique and definitely a massive benefit for travellers who don't know quite how long they'll be travelling for. It's kind of like insurance for your insurance.
I also love that you can buy worldwide travel insurance and leave your travel plans and potential destinations as open as you like. Which is about as exciting as insurance ever gets. Of course, there are some exceptions and excluded countries, but you'll be covered for most of the countries you can legally and safely travel to.
Basically, I like that World Nomads gives you maximum flexibility with your travel plans. From destinations to timescales to new experiences, you don't have to risk missing out on anything - which is perfect for someone like me who is kind of all over the place in every sense of the word.
The one thing I don't love about World Nomads?
If there's one thing that World Nomads isn't great for, it's insuring your stuff. You can insure yourself and pretty much everything you do for that matter, but the World Nomads insurance is restricted to £500 per item when it comes to material things. That means you can claim for an item worth more than that, but you'll only get a maximum of £500 compensation.
World Nomads have now made it possible to add on insurance for specific items, but this still only allows you to insure something up to the value of £750. With all the other benefits they offer, I get it. They're a company and they need to make profit, so I don't hold it against them at all. It's just something to keep in mind if, like me, you travel with a lot of tech, cameras and other high value items - in which case, you'll need to get additional insurance.
Maybe you're not fully nomadic but you still love to travel. Like, a lot. If that's you, then you're probably on the hunt for long-term travel insurance that will cover multiple and frequent trips.
In this case, long-term travel insurance such as World Nomads may or may not be the best option. If you're never away for more than 30 consecutive days, a normal travel insurance policy should cover you - just make sure it's valid for as many trips as you're planning to take.
If you're ever going to be away from your own country for more than 28-30 days, however, most travel insurance policies won't cover you. Even if you only take one trip that lasts 31 days - or even if you miss a flight - that one extra day could invalidate any claim for the rest of the duration of the policy. World Nomads may be a little bit pricier than most travel insurance, but it will give you the peace of mind (and save you splashing out twice) if you do find yourself staying away longer than planned.
The other time it might be worth looking into World Nomads for multi trip travel insurance is if you're based outside of your home country. While I'd recommend you look into special expat insurance for your time abroad, World Nomads can still cover you for any travel outside of your overseas home. Many travel insurance policies are only valid if taken out while in your home country, but World Nomads can be taken out from anywhere without a need to go home. This means it can help you avoid falling into that sneaky travel insurance hole.
If you're a soon-to-be backpacker, I know what you're thinking... this World Nomads travel insurance is going to eat well into your beer budget. It could even cost more than all the beer you drink on your trip combined (fact: in some countries you could buy 1,000 beers for the price of World Nomads travel insurance!). So is this really the best insurance for backpackers?
The answer is that depends - but probably. As I mentioned above, it's far from easy to get travel insurance that covers you for more than one month, and World Nomads is still a LOT cheaper than a monthly flight home (or having no insurance at all). You can specify countries, continents or the entire world to tailor your quote to your trip and avoid paying for anything you don't need. Best of all, it covers a lot of activities and adventure sports that most travel insurers wouldn't dare offer.
World Nomads lets you choose the start and end date of your trip, but you can also buy 6, 12 or 18 month insurance. The 12 month travel insurance is perfect for any gap year travel insurance needs or a year abroad, while the 6 month travel insurance will cover most backpacking trips.
In short, if you want to have fun and not spend hours reading through small print, World Nomads is a safe bet. Get a quote to see how much your travel insurance will cost.
As I mentioned above, you may need to take out extra gadget insurance if you're travelling with high value gear. Even if you have travel insurance and contents insurance back home, it's unlikely they will cover you in the case of loss, theft or other unfortunate events that happen abroad.
Like general travel insurance, finding camera travel insurance is a pain. It took me a while to find one that would cover my gear worldwide, 365 days per year, but eventually I settled on Protect Your Bubble. After lots of Googling, emailing and stressing, I found their gadget and camera travel insurance with no limit on your length of time abroad, which was exactly what I needed.
credit card insurance
Before I sign off this 1800-word essay on travel insurance (seriously never thought I'd be saying that), there's one final point I almost forgot to include: credit card insurance.
Some credit cards have amazing benefits, and one that crops up a lot is travel insurance. Like most travel insurance, this will normally only cover you for short trips and exclude any crazy activities, but it's a nice little extra for peace of mind.
A bigger benefit that comes with some credit cars, however, is the car rental insurance. This means you never have to worry about insurance when renting a car abroad and takes a lot of the hassle out of the process, as well as saving you precious travel time.
American Express is probably the best credit card for this and I use the British Airways card, which gives up to £75,000 for travel accidents, so that I can rack up extra air miles (and free flights!) with my day-to-day spending too. I wrote more about that in this post about the ways I save money on travel and travel for free, so go check that out for all my other little secrets.
Disclaimer: I work in media (not insurance!), so I am not a legal expert and none of the above is legal advice. I am sharing my experience and tips for finding digital nomad travel insurance to help others in a similar situation. Touch wood, I've never had to make a claim with World Nomads. But given the people I've met on the road who have made an insurance claim with their World Nomads insurance, I have no worries should I ever find myself in that situation.
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