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How Travel Insurance Can Help in the Event of an Emergency

If an emergency situation evolves while you’re overseas, here’s how World Nomads can help.

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Traveling comes with unexpected challenges that can turn moments of joy into times of stress. When circumstances change, the emotional toll can be significant. Understanding the help available to you and your loved ones can help ease anxiety.

This article is for all our travelers facing urgent situations while abroad – be it a medical emergency, a sudden family crisis back home, or unforeseen incidents like theft. 

Important first step: if you’ve found yourself in an emergency, call our 24/7 Emergency Team immediately so we can confirm your benefits and oversee your care.

What should I do if I’m caught in a natural disaster while traveling?

If a natural disaster strikes while you're traveling with World Nomads travel insurance, first ensure your safety and follow any instructions given by local authorities. Once you are safe, contact our emergency team so we can assist. 

You're covered for various natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes so long as the event happens before you bought your policy (you won’t be covered for a known event). This coverage helps manage unexpected changes, like emergency accommodation or rearranging travel plans if your flights are cancelled or delayed. There are certain restrictions though and coverage is limited to your policy limits. You can read more about this here.

Keep all receipts and documents related to any extra expenses or changes to your itinerary – you’ll need them to make your online claim.

Traveler tip: we won’t cover you for any expenses relating to natural disasters should you decide to travel to, remain in, or plan a journey to a region that has issued a 'Do Not Travel' warning. Keep an eye on the latest government advice for any travel alerts.

What should I do if I have a medical emergency while traveling? 

Medical emergencies can be scary, especially in unfamiliar places. If you face a medical emergency, suddenly fall ill, have an accident while overseas, or someone on your policy passes away while traveling, follow these steps:

  1. Seek immediate help: your health is our priority. Call local emergency services to receive any necessary medical attention.
  2. Contact our 24/7 Emergency Assistance team: we’re here to help you navigate these challenging moments. 
  3. Follow professional advice: Adhere to the medical professionals’ guidance. We can coordinate directly with them to ensure you receive the international medical care you require, including emergency evacuation and repatriation if required.
  4. Keep documentation: save all medical reports, receipts, and relevant documentation – these are essential for processing your claim. Learn about what happens if you are missing something.
  5. Stay in touch: keep us updated on your situation. If your condition changes, it’s crucial we know.

What if a medical emergency happens at home before you leave? Read our articles on what to do if you can’t travel because someone at home is sick or injured and travel insurance for cancellation.

Refer to your policy documents or contact us for further clarification – we’re here to help. 

What should I do if I have an emergency and need to go back home? 

World Nomads understands the stress in an event where you need to make a sudden trip home. Here's what to do for support:

  1. Contact our team: reach out to our emergency assistance team immediately. 
  2. Check your coverage: review your trip interruption coverage details to understand what costs your policy can cover in case of family emergencies.
  3. Organize your travel: need a last-minute flight home? Our team can guide you through the process to ensure it aligns with your insurance benefits. 
  4. Document everything: keep all relevant receipts and documents from your travel changes. For guidance on claims, check our detailed article on how to make a claim
  5. Stay Informed: keep communication lines open with your family and our assistance team to adjust your travel plans as the situation develops. 
  6. Manage your accommodation: take care of overseas accommodation by cancelling bookings or notifying landlords. Note: expenses won’t be reimbursed if you haven't made reasonable efforts to cancel or obtain refunds.

What should I do if there’s a criminal or terrorism emergency while traveling? 

If you experience the unsettling event of a criminal or terrorism incident during your travels, here’s how World Nomads travel insurance supports you:

  1. Your safety is paramount: if you’re in danger, seek a safe location immediately. For emergencies, contact local authorities for assistance.
  2. Contact our team: once you are safe, inform our 24/7 Emergency Assistance Team. Translators are available in dozens of languages, if that could help you situation.
  3. Review your coverage: learn about travel insurance and terrorism to understand the specifics of your coverage related to criminal or terrorism incidents. 
  4. Stay informed and follow official guidance: stay updated with local news and travel advisories from your home country’s foreign affairs department. Adhere to all advice and directives from local and international security services. Be sure to also check our travel alerts for recent events.
  5. Document everything: collect and safeguard all relevant documentation, such as police reports and receipts for expenses incurred. These are crucial for any potential insurance claims.

What else is covered by travel insurance?

Beyond immediate emergencies, World Nomads travel insurance coverage includes various scenarios depending on your level of coverage. Coverage includes:

How to submit a travel insurance claim 

Once you're safe, you should submit a claim. Gather all relevant documentation (medical reports, receipts, police reports, etc.) and submit the claim online, wherever you are in the world.  

Still trying to figure out the process? Check out our step-by-step guide explaining how to make a claim or contact us

What are some things travel insurance would not cover in an emergency?

Travel insurance supports your journey but excludes specific scenarios:

  • Foreseeable events: no coverage is provided for predictable events announced through media or official channels before your travel commenced or your policy was issued.
  • Non-essential costs: unnecessary, unreasonable, or extravagant expenses are not covered.
  • Failure to follow the law: you’re not covered if you disregard laws or fail to take reasonable precautions following public warnings of disasters, terrorist acts, or other emergencies.
  • Reckless behaviour: coverage does not extend to incidents where your safety is compromised through deliberate recklessness, including being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Voluntary plan changes: if you choose to alter your travel plans without necessity, the change is on your chequebook, not ours.

Tips for staying safe in an emergency

  • Stay informed and prepared: continually monitor local news for updates and have an emergency plan with key contacts and routes.
  • Carry essential supplies: keep hardcover copies of important documents, a basic first aid kit, and a portable charger handy.
  • Know emergency contacts: memorize local emergency numbers and the location of your embassy or consulate.
  • Avoid risk areas: steer clear of known dangerous areas and heed travel advisories and warnings.
  • Stay calm and use common sense: try to stay calm and think things through in an emergency. It’s okay to feel scared, but staying clear-headed can help you handle the situation better.
  • For more emergency safety tips, check out our Travel Wiser article.

Traveling soon? Get a travel insurance quote.

True Claims Stories

  • Never travel without insurance. This was the first time I ever purchased travel insurance and I am so glad I did. A few days into my trip to Spain I twisted my foot heading down to the metro. Thanks to World Nomads I was able to get medical attention in Spain and since, as luck would have it, I had a fracture that required surgery, they got me a flight home the next day. Filing a claim was surprisingly easy and when the claim was finally processed, I was reimbursed for all of my expenses including things like the extra week in the hotel I didn't get to take advantage of.
    U.S. resident in Spain
  • I recently had a serious injury traveling on my own & the team was amazing. Being confused with a brain injury they took care of everything. Claiming was no problem, they were on the phone constantly to see if all was OK. I can't recommend them enough. Absolutely fantastic & l will always travel with World Nomads Insurance. Thanks guys for getting me home safely.
    Australian in Thailand
  • I was bitten by a monkey at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. I went to a nearby clinic and they gave me a rabies shot, antibiotics to take for 4 days, pain medicine, and anti-inflammatory medicine.
    Canadian in Malaysia

Travel Insurance Benefits: how we can take care of you*

Trip Cancellation

Been working hard for your trip?

We'll work hard to protect it.

Trip Protection
  • Unexpectedly hospitalised?
  • Travel buddy unfit to travel?
  • Been made redundant?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Expenses

Feeling fit and healthy? What if you get sick or injured?

Take the pain out of medical or dental costs.

Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Need meds quick?
  • Accidentally injured?
  • Suddenly sick?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Transportation

Know where the nearest hospital is?

Don’t stress, we’ll get you there quickly.

Evacuation and Repatriation
  • Banged up abroad?
  • Need a hospital urgently?
  • Medivac home?

Help starts here.

Protect your gear

Love photography, filming or sport?

Cover your bags, tech or gear.

Protect your gear
  • Luggage lost?
  • Airline lost your gear?
  • Tech trashed?

Help starts here.

  • Emergency Overseas Medical & Dental Expenses
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation
  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption
  • 24-Hour Assistance Services
  • Baggage
  • And more (depending on your country of residence)
*This is a general summary only. Restrictions, exclusions and limitations will apply. Coverage may not be available for all countries, states or provinces. Benefit limits may vary depending on the plan chosen. Get a quote for full details.

24/7 emergency assistance

Whether you need medical assistance or emergency evacuation, our teams are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year before and during your trip.

Are you in need of emergency assistance right now?

Contact the team

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