World Nomads Travel Insurance Review: Is it Worth the Money?

Is travel insurance worth it? This World Nomads travel insurance review covers every question you’ll otherwise spend hours researching.

A hiker stands in front of snow-capped mountains

When searching for the best travel insurance companies, you’ll likely see one name come up time and again. It’s  World Nomads Travel Insurance, and, if you’re curious about it, you’ve come to the right place. That’s because I’m offering you an honest World Nomads Travel Insurance review to tell you everything you need to know.

World Nomads is one of the most popular travel insurance providers on the market. And it’s not hard to see why. When it comes to providing top-of-the-line protection, the company is arguably the best choice for most travelers.

But don’t just take my word for it. This World Nomads Travel Insurance review will help you decide if World Nomads has what it takes to insure your next adventure.

What Is Travel Insurance?

This World Nomads Travel Insurance review is, of course, about World Nomads—but, first, let’s explain travel insurance in general. Travel insurance protects you against any unforeseen accidents, emergencies or financial losses you may incur while traveling.

A good travel insurance policy should include the following categories:

  • Travel cancellations, interruptions and changes
  • Stolen, lost, delayed or damaged baggage and property
  • (Usually non pre-existing) medical treatments and expenses

Keep in mind that travel insurance is different from your normal health insurance plan. With domestic health insurance, your coverage is often limited overseas. And, in general, health insurance won’t protect against other unexpected events, like losing your iPhone or missing your flight connection.

In other words, it’s smart to travel with both domestic health insurance and travel insurance.

So why is travel insurance so important? Well, travel insurance doesn’t just protect your health. It protects your whole trip.

Is Travel Insurance Really Worth It?

So, why do you even need travel insurance in the first place?

When it comes to planning a vacation, purchasing a travel insurance policy may be the last thing on your mind. Maybe you’re not concerned about the relentless blizzard that could cancel your flight. Or perhaps you assume that the chance of being pickpocketed on the subway is slim.

But spoiler alert: These things can totally happen.

And when they do, you’ll realize that travel insurance really is worth it.

The price to fix your shattered camera (or shattered femur) will undeniably cost more than what you’ll spend on travel insurance. There’s no worse feeling than being stuck with thousands of dollars in fees or medical bills. And for that reason alone, travel insurance is absolutely worth it.

You see, traveling without travel insurance is simply not worth the risk. Because if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.

When to Purchase Travel Insurance

You can purchase a travel insurance policy days, weeks or even months before your trip starts. Some companies require that you purchase a plan several days before your trip starts, in order for the full coverage to take effect.

Purchasing a plan in advance is always a good idea. That’s largely because one of the biggest benefits of having travel insurance is trip cancellation coverage. If you haven’t purchased an insurance policy ahead of time, then you won’t be reimbursed for those unused travel costs.

The colosseum of Rome
No matter where you are in the world, yes, you need travel insurance

But in between booking flights, checking hotel prices and planning activities, it’s sometimes easy to forget all about travel insurance.

In that case, World Nomads Travel Insurance has your back. Not only are they one of the best travel insurance companies on the market today, but they also let you buy a policy when you’ve already left home.

In my experience, I typically see people buy travel insurance the day before they travel. It’s the “oh shit” item that most people forgot to pick up.

But if you know you’re traveling soon, and you already have the dates, don’t wait until the last minute. It’s better to CYA and pick some up while it’s still on your mind.

Who Is World Nomads?

Before we dive into this World Nomads Travel Insurance review, let’s introduce you. World Nomads is an Australian-based insurance company that was started by fellow backpacker, Simon Monk. Founded in 2002, World Nomads has been protecting travelers for 17 years from over 150 countries by providing comprehensive travel insurance for every type of adventure.

But World Nomads is more than your average travel insurance provider. In fact, they go far beyond the call of duty by promoting responsible travel around the world.

For example, following the 2004 Southeast Asian Tsunami, World Nomads launched the Footprints Network. This non-profit organization allows travelers to make a micro-donation to the development project of their choice when purchasing a World Nomads insurance policy.

In total, World Nomads and the Footprint Network has raised over $3 million dollars to fund more than 200 projects. Travel insurance that protects your vacation and the world—now that’s something we can all get behind.

Who Is World Nomads For?

First and foremost, World Nomads was created by travelers for travelers. It’s specifically made for all you globetrotters, wanderlusters and adventure seekers. For this reason, it’s easy to see why we consider them the best travel insurance for backpackers.

It’s true, backpackers have different travel requirements compared to other travelers. You need a certain travel insurance company that understands your type of lifestyle (and budget).

And to be honest, backpackers can also be a little reckless. That’s why you need extra protection for all those exhilarating activities. From cave diving in Mexico to bungee jumping in New Zealand, World Nomads has a comprehensive coverage plan for all your adventurous moments.

But World Nomads isn’t only for backpackers. It’s a good fit for many other types of travelers, too.

  • Long-Term Travelers: With World Nomads, you can purchase up to one year of travel insurance coverage. That applies to both single- and multi-trip plans.
  • Travelers Without a Set Plan: World Nomads is one of the few travel insurance companies that lets you update your policy, destinations and travel dates on the go. Likewise, you can extend your coverage if you want to modify your trip or change your itinerary.
  • Travelers Who Forgot About Travel Insurance: If you’ve already hit the road without insurance, don’t worry! You can still purchase a World Nomads Travel Insurance policy.
  • Travelers Who Simply Want Peace of Mind: With World Nomad’s extensive medical and baggage coverage, you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way. Your time is better spent relaxing and having fun instead of worrying about worst case scenarios.

To get a quote just fill out the form below!

Who Isn’t World Nomads For?

To make sure that this is a comprehensive World Nomads Review, I’ll be honest with you if World Nomads is not quite right for you. While World Nomads is our favorite go-to provider, it may not necessarily fit the needs of every type of traveler.

  • Senior Travelers: World Nomads only covers travelers under the age of 70. Senior travelers are better off purchasing a travel insurance policy with another provider, like Allianz Travel , which has no age limit for policyholders.
  • Travelers with Expensive Gear: Because the World Nomads “Per Article Limit” only reimburses items up to a certain dollar amount, you might not have full coverage for your expensive laptop or camera gear. In this case, Insure My Equipment is the better option.

What’s Included in World Nomads Travel Insurance?

It wouldn’t be a complete World Nomads Travel Insurance review if we didn’t take a deeper look at the protection benefits offered with a World Nomads Travel Insurance plan.

Emergency Accidents & Sickness Medical Expenses

Your health is one of the most important things to protect when traveling abroad. From broken bones to food poisoning, you’ll want a comprehensive medical emergency policy to protect you while you’re in the hospital.

Without travel insurance, you could be stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. A good policy will include enough coverage from minor doctor visits to major surgeries.

Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation

There might be instances in which you’ll need to be airlifted or flown to the nearest hospital. For example, if you break your arm in the middle of a desert safari, you’ll need a helicopter rescue to pick you up and take you to a medical facility.

In a similar fashion, Emergency Repatriation will transport you back to your home country if you require further treatment. And in the unlikely event that you die overseas, World Nomads will cover the cost of returning your remains back home.

Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation

Not all evacuations are caused by medical emergencies. If an earthquake or tsunami hits when you’re on vacation, World Nomads will cover the transportation costs to get you back home. Emergency Evacuation also applies to countries with civil or political unrest.

However, this benefit is not available for some US residents. Refer to your World Nomads Travel Insurance policy for more information.

Trip Cancellation

Sometimes incidents happen before we even set foot on an airplane. If you need to cancel your trip before you leave, then World Nomads will reimburse your non-refundable travel expenses.

It’s important to note that you are only covered for a set number of reasons, as outlined by World Nomads. Some reasons include sickness, injury, death or illness of a family member, as well as unforeseen natural disasters.

A good rule of thumb is to purchase a travel insurance policy that covers the entire cost of your trip.

Trip Interruption

If you hit a bump in the road while you’re already traveling, then Trip Interruption will reimburse the rest of your unused travel costs. The same stipulations listed for Trip Cancellation also apply to Trip Interruption.

Trip Delay

Trip Delay covers you in case you are unable to reach your destination on time for circumstances outside of your control. For example, if your flight is delayed for more than six hours, travel insurance will cover the unused accommodation expenses or pay for any additional expenses needed to get you where you need to go.

Baggage & Personal Effects

World Nomads also covers you for loss, theft and even damage to your personal belongings. So for instance, if you drop your sunglasses in the ocean or leave behind your camera in a taxi, you’ll be able to file a claim for reimbursement.

One thing to keep in mind is that World Nomads enforces its per article limit. Again, this means that you can only claim a certain dollar amount for each item. For example, if you lose your $3,000 laptop, you’ll only get back $500 with the Standard Plan, or $1,500 with the Explorer Plan.

Baggage Delay

World Nomads will also cover the costs if your checked baggage is delayed or left behind by the air carrier. You’ll receive daily compensation (up to $750) to purchase toiletries or whatever else you may need until your bag arrives.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment

Although dying or losing a body part on your trip is the ultimate worst case scenario, it’s good to know that you’re still protected by World Nomads. In this situation, Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage will pay you or your family up to a certain amount.

Adventure Sports & Activities

Traveling and exhilarating adventures go hand-in-hand, and World Nomads has you covered for over 300 different activities. The list is quite extensive and includes almost everything under the sun from archery and dog sledding to cage fighting and hot air ballooning.

However, the type of covered activities will vary depending on the type of plan you purchase. You should consult your World Nomads policy to confirm if your planned activities are covered.

World Nomads Travel Insurance Plans

Included in this World Nomads Travel Insurance review is a breakdown of your plan options. When you sign up with World Nomads, you’ll have two plans to choose from:

  1. The Standard Plan – Best Option for Travelers on a Budget
  2. The Explorer Plan – Best Option for Travelers Looking for the Highest Coverage

While both plans cover the essentials, the Explorer Plan offers a slightly higher coverage limit, as well as a few extra add-ons.

World Nomads Travel Insurance coverage for the Standard and Explorer plans

Standard Plan

The Standard Plan provides decent medical and trip coverage for the average traveler. You’ll get $100,000 emergency accident and medical coverage, which I find is pretty generous for a basic insurance policy.

If you have to cancel or interrupt your trip, then you’ll receive up to $2,500 in reimbursement. And if your trip is delayed, say due to bad weather, then you’ll get $500 back with trip delay coverage.

Now, the Standard Plan comes with $1,000 in lost, theft or damaged baggage protection. However, you will only receive a maximum of $500 per item (up to a total of $1,000). So, if you’re traveling with expensive equipment or gear, keep in mind that the per article limit might not cover the entire cost.

When it comes to adventure, the Standard Plan includes protection for over 200 types of sports and activities. You should check World Nomad’s list of adventure sports to see if your activity is covered.

Explorer Plan

While the Explorer Plan is more expensive, it’s also more comprehensive compared to the Standard Plan.

The $100,000 emergency accident and medical coverage is actually identical to the Standard Plan. However, emergency evacuation and repatriation increases from $300,000 to $500,000. If you plan on traveling to remote countries with less-than-adequate medical facilities, this might make investing in the Explorer Plan worthwhile.

The Explorer Plan also includes higher trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage. Compared to the Standard Plan, World Nomads will reimburse you up to $8,000 more for any unused travel costs.

A man standing on a rock in front of a waterfall
The Explorer Plan covers you for even the most offbeat travel

And if you’re traveling with expensive gear or electronics, then definitely go with or upgrade to the Explorer Plan. You’ll get three times the amount of policy coverage for baggage and personal items.

For adventure lovers, the Explorer Plan includes every activity on the Standard Plan, plus more. Whether you’re riding a snowboard or a mechanical bull, the Explorer Plan has you covered.

Plus, the Explorer Plan has another extra benefit that’s not included with the Standard Plan. That’s the Collision Damage Waiver. That means that, if you rent a car in a foreign country and get into an accident, World Nomads will cover up to $35,000 in damage fees.

World Nomads Travel Insurance Cost

The price of your travel insurance will depend on a variety of factors: your plan type, trip length, destination, your age and and your nationality.

As part of this World Nomads Travel Insurance review, let’s look at some scenarios to get a sense of how much a World Nomads Travel Insurance policy will cost you.

For the first example, let’s say you’re spending two weeks backpacking through Germany, Austria and Italy.

World Nomads' Standard and Explorer plans for Europe

As you can see, the cost to insure your Euro trip is $5.62 per day with the Standard Plan and $10.16 per day with the Explorer Plan.

In this next example, you’re traveling to one of the most popular destinations on the backpacking circuit: Southeast Asia. You plan to spend three months visiting Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

World Nomads' Standard and Explorer plans for Southeast Asia

When you break it down, the Standard Plan works out to be $3.56 per day while the Explorer Plan is $5.18 per day. And there’s no price difference between visiting just one country in Southeast Asia, or all four.

So, for just several dollars a day, you can protect yourself against thousands of dollars in medical bills or cancellation fees. There’s really no excuse to not purchase a policy with World Nomads while traveling.

What’s Not Covered by World Nomads Travel Insurance?

Although travel insurance can protect you in many instances, it does have its limitations.

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

World Nomads does not cover any expenses related to a pre-existing medical condition.

World Nomads has a pre-existing condition look-back period of 90 days. This means that you cannot file a claim for any condition you had 90 days prior to purchasing a travel insurance plan.

Medical Check-Ups

General doctor visits are also not covered under your World Nomads medical policy. This means you cannot file a claim for a routine physical exam or any other non-emergency related treatment or surgery.

When it comes to dental work, you are not covered for cleanings, replacement fillings or other surgeries that are not considered urgent.

Extreme Activities

Although World Nomads covers a variety of activities that most backpackers would encounter, there are still some exclusions. For instance, activities like base jumping and solo mountaineering are not covered under your travel insurance policy.

Passport Coverage

If your passport gets stolen, lost or damaged on your trip, you will not get reimbursed for any expenses needed to replace it.

Although World Nomads won’t cover the costs, it is still there to assist. The company can help you report the loss with local authorities and provide any necessary information needed to find or replace your passport.

Reckless or Risky Behavior

As with most travel insurance companies, you are not covered for incidents that occur when you are acting recklessly. For example, if you get into a motorcycle accident without wearing a helmet, then you’re medical expenses will probably not be covered.

The same goes with incidents that happen if you’re on drugs or have been drinking alcohol. If you show up to the hospital under the influence, then you’re stuck paying those fees out of pocket.

Pros and Cons of World Nomads Travel Insurance

Pros

  • Worldwide 24-hour Assistance: Emergency services are available 24/7, no matter where you are in the world. The customer representative is there to advise on next steps or point you towards the nearest hospital or authority. Not to mention, the folks on the phone are friendly, helpful and also professional.
  • Online Policy Adjustments: If your trip changes for any reason, you can adjust your policy from anywhere in the world. So if you want to soak up the sun in Thailand for an extra few weeks, you can simply extend online.
  • Extensive Activity List: Unlike most travel insurance companies, World Nomads automatically includes coverage for a variety of sports and activities. There’s no need to pay extra to protect yourself for different adventures.
  • Easy Claim Process: World Nomads makes filing a claim as easy as possible. Through their online wizard, you can upload your documentation and submit your claim in just a few clicks.

Cons

  • Lack of Flexibility: With World Nomads, you basically only have two plans to choose from. That means you’re stuck with the listed claim limits. You won’t be able to add extra benefits or increase the maximum policy coverage.
  • Per Article Limit: Since you will only be reimbursed up to a maximum amount per item, you might not be able to claim the full amount of your belongings. Although the Explorer Plan has a higher per article limit, you’ll still be in the hole for expensive equipment or gear.

Personal Experience Using World Nomads

Several years back, I traveled to Xi’an China. I planned to teach English to hundreds of adorably rambunctious children. After spending time in New Zealand and Australia, I was eager to spend the next six months eating mouth-numbing foods, exploring the countryside and playing with cute kids.

But I soon discovered that my body had other plans.

A routine medical exam uncovered that my uncomfortable stomach pains were actually gallstones. This was definitely not my idea of a good start to my trip. But since I was planning to stay in China, I knew I had to go under the knife sooner rather than later.

However, I wasn’t sold on the idea of having such a serious and potentially dangerous surgery in China. I heard one too many horror stories about unhygienic operation rooms and reused medical equipment for my liking.

So I decided to hop over to Singapore. There, the medical facilities are considered some of the best in Asia. And just three days later, the hospital released me happy, healthy and two gallstones lighter.

On the famous Xi'an wall in China
On the famous Xi’an wall in China

Although I had an operation in the most expensive city in the world, I walked away without having to pay a cent. And that’s because I had a travel insurance policy with World Nomads. They covered my entire medical bill and hospital stay which racked up to over $8,000.

So, take it from me, emergencies and accidents do happen. And, while we can’t predict what the future holds, we can prepare for the worst.

Although I can’t recommend my less-than-pleasant experience with gallstones, I can vouch for World Nomads. The company saved me a lot of financial stress—and possibly my life.

World Nomads vs. Travelex vs. Allianz Travel

World Nomads is great travel insurance for most travelers. However, you may see other names pop up during your travel insurance search. In order to help you weigh your options, as part of this World Nomads Travel Insurance review, we’re comparing World Nomads with two other popular companies:

  1. Travelex
  2. Allianz Travel

Travelex

Travelex is another travel insurance company based out of Australia. It’s a solid name in the travel insurance industry and can offer competitive benefits and prices.

But Travelex really stands out from the crowd due to its ease of customizability. For example, you can add or cancel protection for any reason. You can also add rental car coverage. And you will have access to medical upgrades for pre-existing medical conditions.

That said, World Nomads includes adventurous activities with even their most basic policy. Meanwhile, Travelex charges for this benefit. So if you plan to do any extreme sports on your trip, you’ll need to take this extra price into account.

Allianz Travel

Allianz Travel is one of the biggest names in the insurance biz. Because it’s the world’s largest travel insurance company, it can offer low and often unbeatable prices on many of their plans.

But while the price of the OneTrip Basic might be appealing, it lacks some of the necessary features that should be included in a good travel insurance plan. Medical coverage caps at $10,000 and medical evacuation only covers $50,000, which is far too low, in my opinion.

However, the company does have four different plans to choose from, which means that there is more flexibility when it comes to pricing and benefits. And on the plus side, Allianz covers pre-existing medical conditions for each plan.

I compared the lowest tier plans available for World Nomads, Travelex and Allianz . For this example, let’s look at a one-month vacation to Thailand that is roughly valued at $2,000.

World Nomads

Travelex

Allianz

Plan

Standard Plan

Travel Basic

OneTrip Basic

Cost

$116

$56

$73

Emergency Medical

$100,000

$15,000

$10,000

Emergency Evacuation

$300,000

$100,000

$50,000

Trip Cancellation

$2,500

$2,000

$2,000

Trip Interruption

$2,500

$3,000

$2,000

Baggage and Personal Belongings

$1,000

$500

$500

For the price, World Nomads has a higher than average coverage limit compared to Travelex and Allianz. Even the cheapest World Nomad’s plan comes with $100,000 of emergency medical and $300,000 evacuation.

That said, while we stand by our recommendation of using World Nomads for travel insurance, you might find that other companies better fit your needs and budget.

How to File an Insurance Claim with World Nomads

Hopefully, you’ll never run into any unexpected incidents on your trip. But if you do, then you’ll want to know how to file a claim in order to get reimbursed.

Document the Incident or Accident

In order for World Nomads to reimburse you for your claim, you will need to gather all the necessary evidence to submit. And remember, it’s your responsibility for following up with the right authorities for the paperwork.

If someone steals your wallet, then you’ll need the filed police report. If you went to the hospital, then ask for the doctor’s paperwork. The more you have documented, the more likely it is that your claim will be accepted by World Nomads.

File the Claim Through Your World Nomads Dashboard

The process to file a claim online is fairly straightforward. All you have to do it answer a series of questions about the incident and attach any supporting documentation. That’s it!

Afterward, your claim goes to World Nomads to review and process. If they have further questions or need more information, then they will contact you via email or telephone.

It may take several days to for them to review your claim. Once World Nomads approves your claim, you should receive your money in five or so business days.

Final Thoughts

There are many different travel insurance companies in the industry today. With dozens of companies, plans and benefits to choose from, finding the best travel insurance may seem daunting. But after reading this World Nomads Travel Insurance review, I hope it’s clear that World Nomads is the obvious choice.

Whether you’re planning a short weekend getaway or a multi-country world tour, World Nomads offers robust coverage.

So what are you waiting for? Now that you’ve read this World Nomads review, get your free quote. Decide if it’s right for you.

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