I’ve used World Nomad as my travel insurance company for as long as I’ve been traveling the world. Although I’ve written about travel insurance in the past, I’ve never properly reviewed World Nomads.
Since I use them a lot and things have changed a lot in light of COVID-19, I felt it was time for a personal assessment of World Nomad’s Travel Insurance.
Who are World Nomads?
World Nomads is an Australia-based travel insurance company. It was founded in 2002 by Simon Monk, a traveler who wanted to solve three key issues: freedom, safety, and connectivity. Insurance is a fraudulent market. As a passionate traveler himself, he thinks they have a pretty good idea of what travelers want and want.
They now cover people from more than 130 countries, providing medical and evacuation services, 24-hour emergency assistance, and a wide range of adventure activities services.
I originally found World Nomads through Lonely Planet (but also recommended them by National Geographic and Rough Guides). I trusted these companies, so I bought insurance based on their recommendations.
Over the years, as my website has grown, I have become a fixture in the travel writing world and I have met many people in the travel insurance industry, including those who work at world Nomads.
There are many travel insurance companies in the world, each with its pros and cons, but for me, World Nomad is the perfect insurance company for backpackers and travelers. This is for people who are always on the move and it covers all the essentials you need in travel insurance. I like the management of the company, it’s competitive pricing, its social offering plans, and the company that travels as a traveler’s traveler’s insurance.
What’s Included in a World Nomads Insurance Policy?
In the image 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.
The policy coverage figures listed in the screenshot below are in US dollars.
World Nomads offers coverage up to $100,000, although its more expensive policies will set you back a higher amount. High coverage is important if you’re doing crazy activities that could cause serious injury. Or you are very sick. (Nevertheless, I found that $100,000 of coverage was more than enough for my needs).
Its policies also provide coverage for medical expenses and policies related to medical evacuation or repatriation if you are accidentally injured. For example, if you’re hiking in the woods and you break your leg, your policy should cover your evacuation of hospitals — and what the world’s nomads do. If your emergency requires this, you may also be sent back to your home country (however, not all injuries or emergencies require this).
Emergency dental treatment
World Nomads also covers emergency dental treatment for unintentional injuries that occur while traveling.
This includes accidental infections, broken teeth, or mouth or jaw injuries in an accident. It doesn’t include any optional dental work, like exams or cleanings (or things that can wait until you get home).
Non-medical emergency evacuation
World Nomads also provides coverage for shipping costs if there is civil or political unrest in the country you’re visiting. This also applies to natural disasters, or if you are deported from the country. Note: Some countries are not covered if you are a US citizen. You must check your policy for specifics.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
If the worst happens, your World Nomads plan pays a sum to your beneficiaries, such as family members. These policies also pay if you lose sight of a hand, foot, limb, etc. Additionally, they cover the cost of repatriating your body (ie, sending your body home).
lost or stolen goods
This insurance covers your luggage and personal items that are lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip. Some plans will also reimburse you extra if your luggage is delayed for more than a certain amount of time (say 12 hours).
Trip Cancellation, Interruption, or Delay
If your travel agency is out of business, you will be reimbursed for your prepaid fees if you have to cancel your trip because of illness or injury to you or a family member, or death in the family, bad weather, or natural disaster. If you have to interrupt your vacation because of an illness or injury, or if you have to go home because of the death of a family member (but it must be your immediate family member), travel interruption insurance covers you.
Delay coverage covers your costs if you are delayed during your trip, such as a flight being canceled due to bad weather. Coverage is for a one-time fee if you are delayed to a round-trip or from a trip by six hours or more (as explained in the policy) due to a defined hazard.
One call: 24-hour assistance service
World Nomads also uses a 24-hour service to provide help, advice, and referrals for medical emergencies. This service will help you find a local doctor, dentist, or medical facility. They can also arrange and pay for appropriate transportation, including escort, if required, to a suitable hospital, treatment facility, or home. Keep this number saved in your phone while traveling, so if you need it easy to use.
If you’re reckless, you probably won’t be covered. Here is a list:
- Accidents that persist while participating in extreme adventure activities such as hang gliding, paragliding, or bungee jumping (unless you pay extra).
- alcohol or drug-related incidents
- Careless negligence in handling your property and luggage.
- If a problem occurs, you will not be compensated because you are reckless (how you define “reckless” depends on the company).
- Pre-existing conditions or general checks. For example, if you have diabetes and need to buy more insulin, you won’t be covered. If you want to see a doctor for a general checkup, you’re also not covered.
- lost or stolen cash
- If you leave content unattended, your theft coverage will not cover you.
- If civil unrest has made your destination unsafe, but your government has not mandated an evacuation, you may also be out of luck.
World Nomads and COVID-19
World Nomads covers some medical expenses when it comes to COVID. Here’s what they say:
If you contract COVID-19 while traveling, these benefits may include emergency medical care, emergency medical evacuation, travel delay, and travel interruption coverage. You are also eligible for travel cancellation insurance if you prepaid for non-refundable travel expenses, such as airfare, hotels, and excursions.
Be sure to read the specifics in the plan as there are many caveats and exemptions you will want to complete clarity from your provider.
World Nomads is one of the few companies in the world that offers this service.
Should you believe these reviews?
Like all insurers, World Nomads has had issues dealing with COVID-19. Infectious diseases are not covered by any insurance company, and many travelers find this out through painstaking efforts. This sparked a backlash online and sparked many negative comments.
Here’s the truth: No one saw it coming, and the company was inundated with millions of customers demanding refunds. It flooded the industry. Everyone is affected.
Not surprisingly, they made some mistakes. Luckily, they’re working on a lot of technical and system improvements to make sure people get paid faster, it’s easier to submit claims online (even if you’re only creating an account as a guest), and to make sure customer service is processed faster. I have had a long conversation with them and they are recognizing their problems.
Consumers use review sites to complain, not praise. This is almost always how some companies screw up. 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 a lot of happy customers. I still trust this company and after raising service issues with them due to COVID, I believe they are stronger than ever.
The Pros and Cons of World Nomads
- affordable price
- great report
- You can expand your strategy online
- On the road, you can make a claim online
- Fast, 24/7 service
- It won’t cover 69+ people (66 if you’re from Canada)
- its online system can be a little confusing
- Limited Gear/Electronics Coverage (Prospector Plan totals up to $3,000, $1,500 per article, while Standard Plan only accounts for $1,000, $500 per item).
World Nomads’ policy is based on your age, destination, and your age as a global brand, destination, and they use a different version in each country. With World Nomads, the policy is to exercise cheaper per month for longer periods.
Due to COVID-19, you can only purchase policies for up to 180 days. Generally speaking, a month’s coverage is about $120. While this is more expensive than some other companies, they also include coverage (and services) that others don’t.
My experience using World Nomad
In addition to buying insurance online (even if you’re already traveling), you can also extend your coverage online. Also, as someone who is constantly on the road and traveling from country to country, it has been very rewarding to have all my documents and receipts photographed and uploaded. Alternatively, the entire claims process can be done online.
I had to use the World Nomad service twice. The first time was when South African Airways lost my luggage on my way back from Africa. Knowing I had insurance, I called World Nomads and asked what I could do. They told me I had to wait for the airline to reimburse me first. If the airline doesn’t repay me within 90 days, they will. (Travel insurance is about keeping you whole, not making sure you make a profit.)
The process is relatively easy. I filled out an online form listing what I had in my bag and its estimates. I submitted documents to claim reimbursement from the airline. Then I waited.
Luckily the airline paid me and I didn’t need World Nomad, but I learned through the process that World Nomad makes filing a claim very easy if you have all the documents and proofs.
Another time, in Argentina, I suffered from anxiety and worried about it more. It felt like someone was stepping on its chest. I logged into the portal and got the call center number and called the hotline. They took my information and symptoms and gave me a list of recommended emergency doctors. They were quick, quick, come on, give me a doctor. I was very happy with the service and knew that if something did go wrong they would screw it up in no time!
While I have never claimed reimbursement, some readers have. Here’s their feedback on the process:
Be sure to read your policy
Online reviews of all insurance companies are terrible. This is usually because the traveler didn’t read the wording of the policy and thought the policy covered something, but it didn’t. It is very, very important to read the claims.
For that matter, you should read the entire policy. seriously. It’s scary, but reading it is the only way you’ll know what’s and isn’t covered! If you have questions, please call World Nomads. They were very helpful in explaining their policies. They have local phone numbers on their website.
Before I went on a trip, I took a photo of my bag and its contents, so I had a time-stamped photo of myself and my stuff. If anything is stolen you will need to file a police report as the company will ask for it as part of your proof. If you are sick, keep all paperwork and receipts. The more information and documents you have, the easier it will be to get reimbursed.
Filing a claim is a long, detailed, and sometimes slow process. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to making a claim, and by keeping to the points above, you’ll be able to avoid the most common pitfalls.
Also, if your claim is denied, be sure to follow up. Ask for more information and resubmit your file. Insurance companies are for-profit industries. Be firm (but respectful) when requesting a review. Be sure to put a dot on the letters i and t. Oftentimes, rejected claims are rejected due to technical errors, so double-check before sending documents.
World Nomads is one of the best insurance companies out there – especially if you’re looking for long-term or backpacking travel insurance. It’s a traveler-provided company, recommended by other travel agents and writers, and more affordable than other insurance companies! I highly recommend them. I’ve always had a great experience with them – as you can see from the people above, so many readers of this site!
Travel insurance is only a few dollars a day (your policy price will vary by length and where you are), and, for that price, it’s a no-brainer. While there are many cheaper travel insurance companies out there, the devil is always in the fine print, they usually have low coverage, don’t let you renew on the road, or have horrible reimbursement rates. Insurance is something you get. Pay an extra ten cents a day.
A lot of people don’t buy travel insurance when they travel because they think, “Nothing is going to happen to me. I’ll be fine!”
This is the insurance point.
No one is superman. You are healthy until you are not. Health insurance covers travel delays and problems, accidents, healthcare, theft, and more. I’ve been on the road for over 15 years and I can tell you accidents happen. It’s good to always have a company that supports you. I have never regretted my decision to insure with World Nomads.
You can use the widget below to find the right travel insurance strategy for you.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
My New York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will teach you how to master the art of travel so you can get off, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. Here’s your A-to-Z planning guide, which the BBC calls “the bible for the budget traveler”.
Book your flight
using cheap flights Skyscanner. or Momento. They are my two favorite search engines because they scour the globe for sites and airlines, so you always know that no stone is left behind.
You can book your hotel Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, go to booking.com. Because they keep returning the cheapest prices for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from sickness, injury, theft, and cancellation. This is full protection if something goes wrong. As I have had to use it multiple times in the past, I would never travel. I’ve been using World Nomad for ten years. My favorite companies for service and value are:
- World Nomads (for those under 70)
- Guaranteed My Trip (70+)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Ready to book a trip?
Check out my resources page for the best companies when you travel. I have a list of all the tools I use while traveling. They are the best in the class and you can’t go wrong using them while traveling.