World Nomads Travel Insurance Review
FULLY TESTED - Coverage, Conditions and What Happens When You Make a Claim
Whether you’re planning on traveling for a week or a year, you know it’s important to cover yourself.
The problem with backpacker insurance is ensuring you are actually covered for the things you need and IF you need to make a claim - how hard is it to get paid?
Hi my name is Bre - I chose World Nomads for my big adventure overseas but I did not expect was to fully test their service.
As you may know, travel insurance covers sickness or injury, emergency evacuation, trip cancellation/delay/interruption, lost or stolen luggage and belongings, electronics damage, etc.
Basically anything that can go wrong - and we desperately hope never does - will be covered.
But what many insurance companies don't cover is activities which a world traveller often does! That is one of the main reasons I decided to go with World Nomads.
It’s not a fun purchase to make, but it is a necessary one. World Nomads is quickly becoming one of the most popular travel insurance companies for budget travelers (AKA backpackers) and adventure enthusiasts.
It comes highly recommended by backpacker favorites Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Hostel World as well as NatGeo Adventure (among others).
Here’s how it works:
1. Get a quote
Add the destinations you plan to visit, your permanent country of residence and how long you plan to travel for and you’ll be shown two insurance plans.
Standard - for the common traveler who will mostly stick to the tourist trail and partake in common/less extreme activities.
Explorer - for the more adventurous thrill-seekers who will be caving, diving, rock climbing, parachuting, etc. Also includes higher insurance coverage for emergency evacuation, trip cancellation/interruption, personal effects, rental car damage, and accidental death or dismemberment.
Try it yourself:
In the US you’re covered anywhere further than 100 miles from your permanent residence, so as long as you don’t get injured in your hometown, you’re covered*. (*Note: pre-existing medical conditions are also not covered)
2. Choose your plan
The longer term you purchase, the better deal you get. This is 4 weeks vs 6 months (quotes will differ based on your country permanent residency and where you travel - my examples are based on a U.S. residency and travel in Australia and Asia):
For just one month of traveling, the total is $110 USD, but if I purchase a 6-month policy upfront, the price comes out to be $55/month.
Once you have decided which policy you want and the length of time you want it for, simply click “Buy Now”, sign up for a World Nomad’s account, and enter your credit card details.
You will receive a confirmation e-mail and receipt from World Nomads, as well as a separate e-mail from their insurance partner TripMate with the policy certificate for you to print. The policy will go into effect on the day you entered for it to start. (I recommend printing out multiple copies, one to carry with you and one to leave with a relative or friend.)
Your World Nomads Account
Once you’re all finished signing up and purchasing your policy, you have instant access to your dashboard which includes a community of other travelers that you can ask questions, a “travel journal” to document your trip (if you so desire), and managing your policy/filing a claim/requesting emergency assistance/etc.
Making a Claim
Filing a claim for reimbursement is a fairly simple - albeit sort of long - process. It’s all done online through your account dashboard. I filed a claim after my flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap was cancelled, and I wasn’t able to get ahold of the airline to request a refund.
The World Nomads/TripMate team was quick to respond, and very polite and professional with detailed instructions of how to proceed. They e-mailed me a claims form that I needed to print and e-mail back to them (this was the only inconvenince since I was traveling and didn’t have easy access to a printer, but at least I didn’t have to mail the forms in).
Eventually, I emailed them a photocopy of my forms, along with all the documentation they requested to process the claim:
They also contacted the airline to request more information regarding the flight cancellation. And in the end, the airline ended up reimbursing me for the flight after World Nomads kept bugging them on my behalf, so my claim was closed. Even though going through all of the trouble of submitting my claim documentation turned out to be a waste of time, I still got my refund and learned never to buy a flight with Angkor Airlines again!
The customer service reps also kept me updated on the processing time and what they were waiting on throughout the process (which in my case was a response from the airline). At one point, there was a miscommunication and I received the same request from multiple customer service reps despite already responding, but they were very apologetic and moved my case to the front of the line so that it was dealt with promptly.
All of these messages throughout the claims process were directly through my World Nomads secure online account, so all I needed to communicate with them was an internet connection!
I have been traveling for 7 months now and haven’t needed to file another claim (knock on wood), but I know that if I do I will be well-taken care of!
Why I Chose World Nomads as My Insurer
In this review, I have focused on what it is like to sign up and make a claim however in my opinion there are some very good reasons to use World Nomads in the first place.
Apart from being endorsed by almost every authority that matters, the biggest reason is that coverage is tailored to longer term flexible travel with activities we backpackers are likely to participate in.
Right from the start, you get to choose your own adventure by chosing what you do want to be covered for and not paying for additional coverage that you do not need.
Selecting your resident country and the countries you are travelling to is just the start but an important one.
Also having coverage for work and activities was extremely important to me. (You might be very surprised to find what you are not covered for in other policies)
Optional additional coverage for personal items like my laptop and iphone where you get to choose the amount you are covered for is a great comfort. (You can also get coverage for ipads and camera gear)
One last thing that makes World Nomads pretty awesome is their all of their resources to help make your travels as seamless as possible, as well as their “Scholarships” which gives talented travelers the opportunity to win a travel scholarship in writing, photography, film, food or language in exciting destinations around the world. They have a strong social media presence that is fun to interact with and a lot of engaging content on their website that eases the pain of dishing out a chunk of your travel money on insurance.
Questions People Ask!
What is a "backpacker" insurance and why not just get normal travel insurance?
Regular travel insurance is mostly limited to providing financial assistance to you in case of accidents or loss of property during transit and can sometimes have medical coverage. However, a backpacker’s insurance, a common term for extensive and custom travel solutions, is valid for a long trip duration (say 15 months) and offers many amenities like medical treatment in foreign land to covering adventure activities like scuba diving to legal expense coverage.
Who are the World Nomads?
Founded in 2002 by Simon Monk and spearheaded by Head of Emergency Assistance Lisa Fryar, World Nomads is a premium travel insurance company targeted towards longer term budget travellers who often have adventure and work plans. Covering travellers from over 150 countries, they provide extensive coverage for unforeseen sicknesses, injuries during adventure activities, trip cancellations /delays/ interruptions, loss of valuables such as belongings and electronic gadgets and even cover emergency evacuations. World Nomads has been topping the charts when it comes to one of the most effective and functional 24 hour support helplines.
What sets these guys apart from other travel insurance providers?
For starters, they let you flexibly extend the coverage by buying more covers from anywhere in the world, while you are on the trip. Understandably, the longer term you opt for, the better deal you get. The Insurance quote would vary depending upon your permanent residency and where you plan to travel.
During travelling, itineraries are prone to changes due to various uncontrollable parameters and a rigid insurance policy could become a massive setback. Having an insurance policy that offers you wide flexibility is definitely a major help.
What if I need assistance during emergencies?
Make sure that you have your policy number handy. You can dial their 24 X 7 helpline numbers in case of any emergencies. The emergency assistance team is available 24 X 7 providing support all over the continents. You can also claim the call charges if the helpline numbers are not toll free from your current location. They can also be contacted through Email, Twitter or Facebook. For non-emergencies (as I discovered) their online portal is pretty great too.
Will the language barrier ever be a problem?
World Nomads has a multi lingual assistance team (which we have not tested) which means that they are well positioned to help you regardless of where you call from or if your language is not english. From medical advice to legal assistance to emergency evacuation, all of these responsibilities are shared by a team dedicated to closing the language gap that you and the place you are visiting might have. They also have a built an iPhone travel language app that comes to your help in over 20 different languages including Swahili, Korean, Hindi, French and Japanese to name a few.
Can I buy extra Insurance cover during my travel?
Yes. World Nomads provide you with an exclusive feature that allows you to but extra cover, while you are still travelling and plan to extend your travel.
What things are covered and what else can I claim for?
Although policy benefits are somewhat dependant on the options you choose for (high value, long duration ones or short duration, low value) you get can get coverage for medical costs, trip cancellation costs, luggage insurance and personal liabilities.
World Nomads, now covers a multitude of adventure and exploring activities and experiences. From Surfing to Mountain Biking to Bungee Jumping, they can cover you for almost 150+ activities. Importantly working holiday jobs like Teaching or Admin Work or Office Work are also covered.
As a responsible traveller, it is recommended to check your policy and its 'fine print" and have explicit knowledge regarding which activities are covered and which is not.
Okay, but can I make a claim while I am travelling or do I need to wait to get back home to do that?
You can file for a claim reimbursement as long as you can furnish relevant supporting documents. Be it in the middle of the trip or after returning back home, any legitimate claims would be duly addressed. You can file the claim through the account dashboard and guide you through the reimbursement process. Some of the basic documents that are usually required are as follows:
Copy of your original round-trip air itineraries for your trip.
Invoice and payment documentations.
Receipts of additional expenses incurred.
Copies of revised flight itinerary, etc.
What about the “Scholarships” they provide?
If you are a talented story teller adept at presenting, or making audio-visual/photographic or text based content related to travel, people or food, then apply for a scholarship. You stand to win a chance of going on paid trips and hone your skills. This provides a great platform or opportunity for Traveller bloggers and adventure enthusiasts.
I have heard that they are also engaged in charitable works?
World Nomads helps travellers to fund community development projects which require major financial assistance. By funding the administration and technology costs while your donations are routed straight to the people who are in need. This is an excellent way of helping our global communities and provides you the chance to change the world, one step at a time.