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Is travel insurance worth it?

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Why travel insurance is important to consider

For those who never travel with travel insurance, you’ll hear things like "Oh, it doesn’t matter if you lose your bags, just travel light with stuff you can afford to replace” or “Medical bills in Southeast Asia are pretty cheap if you need to get over food poisoning” or our favorite "Travel insurance companies will just tell you the horror stories to get you to buy insurance."

The last one is unashamedly true. We absolutely want you to know we’ve had to deal with thousands of emergencies and evacuations over the years. We want you to know that without travel insurance, an emergency evacuation can cost in excess of US$100,000.

Most of the time you go on holiday your travels will be memorable for all the right reasons. You’ll not have to experience the nightmare of being seriously ill or injured in a foreign country. But if you do, the last thing you want is not having the support or financial means by which to get treated and flown home.

For that alone, you may find travel insurance is worth considering.

It can however be a little confusing, so let’s try and demystify travel insurance.

At World Nomads, we aim to present insurance terms with clarity, however there are times when certain terms and conditions will have various restrictions, limits and exclusions, which only the description of coverage (policy wording) can fully explain.

The key components of travel insurance

Travel insurance is ultimately a legal contract. You should spend the time to read all the details and description of coverage and exclusions (policy wording) thoroughly and ask questions if you don't understand what you're covered for prior to purchase.

Here, we outline simply what each major part does:

Overseas medical emergencies and evacuation

Having access to overseas medical cover in case of a severe injury or a sudden illness that lands you in hospital could be a life saver in more ways than one. Hospital costs in some countries like the US can approach US$10,000 per day, while emergency transport home for treatment (medical repatriation) can easily exceed US$100,000.

Definitely take the time to read this part in detail, especially the areas of cover for emergency evacuation, benefit limits on medical expenses and cover for emergency dental work. Also make careful note of the general exclusions, which are outlined in the description of coverage (policy wording).

Coverage for Coronavirus-related events

Our policies have been created to include coverage for some Coronavirus-related events to give travelers access to benefits including emergency medical coverage and benefits related to travel expenses on the Explorer Plan. It varies by Country of Residence and depends on which plan you have purchased.

The level of coverage you’ll have for any Coronavirus-related events will depend on your Country of Residence. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 while overseas, your benefits may include:

  • 24/7 access to our Emergency Assistance Team, who can help you access local medical care
  • Medical costs including hospitalization
  • Evacuation or repatriation if deemed medically necessary by us and in consultation with your attending medical practitioner.

To find out what cover applies to you, read our What’s Covered for Coronavirus article which has all of the details, including benefit limits, conditions and exclusions.

Trip cancellation

There’s nothing worse than having to cancel your holiday because of a sick relative, work issues or some other major life event. With World Nomads you’ll have access to cover for costs if you suddenly find you can't go on your trip for some unforeseen reason such as illness, an accident or a death of a close relative.

Not all travel insurance plans cover cancellation, and only some cover your non-refundable, pre-booked costs if your trip is interrupted after you've left home, so please read the description of coverage (policy wording) relevant to you carefully.

Baggage and personal belongings

While loss of your personal belongings is often the main reason most people buy travel insurance, it is arguably the least important: your things can be replaced but your health often can't. World Nomads expects you to take 'reasonable care' of your belongings which means a claim may be denied if you leave your camera in a shared room in a hostel or in your car overnight (unsupervised in a public place) and it's stolen.

If you are taking your laptop, camera and other valuables with you, some of our travel insurance plans may allow you to specify these items to cover their higher value. Check your policy benefits and description of coverage (policy wording) carefully for the limits on this cover and exclusions, particularly for cash, high value items and sporting equipment.

Personal liability

First off, this is not insurance for liability while you are driving your car or motorbike or operating any watercraft. If you are otherwise involved in an accident or accidentally cause damage and are held accountable for it, insurance can cover your liability and legal expenses. Once again not all World Nomads policies offer this type of cover so, please read the description of coverage (policy wording) relevant to you.

Coming home early and resuming your trip

Travel insurance usually ends the minute you arrive home, so if you have bought a policy for 12 months and come home after four, you aren't entitled to a refund on the 'unused' portion. For some of our policies, you can resume your trip on the same policy; you just won't be covered for the time you're at home. Read the description of coverage (policy wording) and look at the clauses for period of coverage and the terms 'medical evacuation', 'trip interruption' or 'curtailment' for details on when you may be covered for expenses if you have to return home early (and always read the exclusions to cover carefully).

Not all travel insurance is the same

All travel insurance policies have specific benefits, conditions and exclusions so it's common sense, and necessary to take the time to read the policy wording carefully. These vary depending on your Country of Residence, so please take the time and always contact us if you are unsure about anything.

Things to look out for when reviewing your travel insurance:

  • Make sure you correctly choose the right trip dates, age limit, and level of cover.
  • Ensure all your destinations are covered.
  • Make sure you understand what a pre-existing medical condition is under our policy.
  • Some activities and sports may require extra level of cover or may not be covered.
  • Make sure you clearly understand the benefit limits and the excess as per the level of cover you’ve selected.
  • Understand that there will be General Exclusions in your cover for which you won’t be covered under any circumstances.
  • Make copies of travel documents and keep receipts in case you need to make a claim.

About World Nomads

World Nomads polices are designed by travelers for travelers to provide simple and flexible travel insurance. Featuring coverage for more than 200 activities, you can get a quote, claim, or extend your policy online at All the information we provide about travel insurance is a summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.

Want all the details?

You can compare the Standard and Explorer plans and prices through getting an instant online quote.

Travel insurance. Simple & flexible.

Travel insurance for independent travelers. Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on their trip, but these things can and do happen. So be prepared and get your travel insurance today.