I just spent a lot of money. Eek. One of the reasons I was able to become a digital nomad and take such a risk was because I’ve actually reduced my costs by doing. Compared to my crazy expensive (but far from glamorous) London lifestyle, travelling full-time is relatively cheap. The one big cost I do have to cough up for, however, is travel insurance. World Nomads travel insurance, to be precise.
Let’s cut to the thing that’s on your mind right now: World Nomads travel insurance is expensive.
I’ll admit, it was only after a lot of hesitation that I entered my credit card details. I umm-ed, I ahh-ed, I read through all the small print and I desperately searched for a cheaper option with the same benefits. In the end, World Nomads was the winner.
World Nomads is travel insurance I always recommend, especially for long-term travellers or digital nomads. There are plenty of reasons for this, and we’ll cover them all below. I’m also going to be completely honest about the downsides of World Nomads. It’s not a perfect solution for most people, and I want you to be aware of its limitations.
11 things you need to know before buying World Nomads travel insurance
Of course, there are probably plenty of other reasons to buy World Nomads (or not!) vs other travel insurance. The ones listed below are from my own personal experience and the research I’ve done for myself. That means it doesn’t cover every scenario, but it should be a pretty good guideline for the average traveller.
These are the things, both good and bad, that I think you should know. I hope they help you make the right decision, whatever that may be. The most important thing is that you have travel insurance!
#1 You don’t have to be at home to buy it
One of the best things about World Nomads insurance is that you don’t need to be in your home country to take out a new policy. This is a condition that catches many people out when buying travel insurance, but it’s one of the only providers that offers it.
That means it’s not too late to buy travel insurance if you’ve already taken off – so there’s no excuse to not have it!
#2 You can extend it while you’re away
Another unique feature of World Nomads travel insurance is that you can renew your policy while you’re away. Even if you took out the maximum policy term to begin with, you can renew it in the click of a button – wherever in the world that button is. In fact, I’ve just renewed mine from my Airbnb in Cape Town.
#3 You can only buy for 12 months
Like most insurance policies, the longer you buy for, the cheaper it is. When I first purchased World Nomads in October 2017, it was possible to get up to 18 months of cover. Now, that’s dropped down to 12 months. Get the most for your money by buying for longer.
#4 Lots of travel bloggers use it
Pretty much every blogger I know is covered by World Nomads. That’s not because they work with influencers – they don’t. It’s because it’s one of the only travel insurance options that covers you for unlimited travel and all kinds of activities. We never really know where our travels will take us or how long it will be away for, and World Nomads is the only reliable option.
#5 It covers things that other insurance won’t
Lots of travel insurance companies refuse to insure travellers when they need it most. I’m talking about adventure sports, 24-hour assistance and other high-risk situations. World Nomads insurance covers everything from car hijacking to paragliding, if you want it to.
Related read: Everything I pack (and don’t!) as a digital nomad
#6 But it might set you back a lot more if you’re addicted to adrenaline
I believe World Nomads used to automatically cover you for all kinds of sports, but now you have to declare it when you buy it. Specific adventurous add-ons, although available, can be on the pricey side.
#7 There are two different types
There are only two options when buying World Nomads travel insurance: Standard and Explorer. The former is the basic policy and provides generous cover for all the essentials – and then some. The latter is like a booster version, with higher limits on everything a few extras including travel delays, missed connection and natural catastrophes. At most, it will set you back around £100 more, but I still stick with the Standard policy.
#8 It might be worth getting worldwide – or it might not
World Nomads offers a worldwide travel insurance option, which covers over 150 destinations around the world. You’ll often find that the worldwide coverage is exactly the same price as a single country, so it makes sense to get covered everywhere. I’ve detailed how to work out the best option below, if you fancy working it out.
#9 It doesn’t really cover valuables
One of the best things about World Nomads travel insurance is that covers you for pretty much any eventuality. The one area where it doesn’t, however, is with valuables. There’s a maximum of £250 per item and a total of not much more. For a backpacking trip, that might be fine. But if you carry any camera gear, you’ll need separate insurance.
I personally prefer to have specialist gadget insurance for my laptop, cameras and other valuables as I’m more likely to claim on these. But if you don’t and you’re travelling for less than 30 days, World Nomads might not be right for you.
Travel Tip: For all my camera gear and other high ticket items, I use Protect Your Bubble’s gadget insurance. It’s the only one I’ve found that covers you abroad for unlimited consecutive days, so keep this is mind if you’re travelling long-term.
#10 It was created by the kind of people who use it
The reason why World Nomads insurance is so popular among digital nomads is that it was created by a digital nomad. The founder, Simon Monk, quit his job to travel in 1989, created the World Nomads travel blog in 1997 and eventually turned it into a travel service in 2000.
Unlike most insurance companies, Monk knew what world travellers really needed when he launched a travel insurance product in 2002 and made it possible. It’s one of the things that really sets the company apart.
#11 You can get a sneaky discount
Getting a quote on World Nomads insurance is simple. You just put in your name, age, destinations and home country. Once you land on the quote page, though, don’t jump straight in and buy. If you hover around for a few minutes, you’ll probably be given a free discount code to use, saving you up to £60 on the price.
How to get the best value for money
Because I’m a nerdy data-lover, I’ve been trying to figure out the World Nomads pricing system. From what I’ve found, it seems that each country is assigned one of three prices and your total depends on the highest value country. That means it’s pretty straightforward process, but you might still want to do a little maths to get the best deal.
For example, getting covered in France only would cost me £229.46 for 12 months. I can then add as many other countries that would cost this much without the price increasing. From my research, this would include many European countries – all for the same price as just France.
Thailand and Singapore fall into the next bracket: £348.52 for 12 months. Therefore I can add as many countries that fall into these first two brackets and pay no more.
The final bracket is the highest at £465.36. Japan and Taiwan fall into this category, meaning it’s impossible to be covered for these countries without paying the maximum. If you’re visiting any of these top tier countries, you may as well go for worldwide insurance, because the cost will be the same. And who doesn’t love a spontaneous trip?!
If you want to find out which bracket one country falls into, you can search for that country alone. I needed the highest last year to cover Japan, and again this year to cover Taiwan. But I would have gone for worldwide anyway because I never know where I’m going to end up.
NB: These calculations are for me, for 2019, as a 27-year-old UK resident – prices might be different for you.
So… should you buy it?
For me, it’s an easy YES. Even though I felt a twinge of discomfort when I clicked the renew button this month, I knew it was the right thing to do. Buying travel insurance can feel like the biggest waste of money, especially when it’s not cheap. You get nothing to show for it, probably won’t ever use it and it sucks to think of all the other things you could have spent that money on.
But remember – it’s a win/win situation, whatever happens. Travel insurance is the one product where you don’t want to get your money’s worth because that means something bad will have happened! So if you don’t use it, it means everything’s going well. And if something does go wrong, it will be the best thing you ever bought.
Yes, it’s a kind of strange thing to spend money on – and painful when it’s not cheap! – but it’s 100% worth it. Get a quote on World Nomads here.
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