World Nomads Travel Insurance review 
by a travel agent pro

Why You Need Travel Insurance

I have worked extensively in the travel industry, mainly in Australia and UK. Therefore, I have sold thousands of travel insurance policies. My aim here is to dissect this internationally popular World Nomads Travel Insurance to see how it stacks up.

Regardless the outcome of this analysis, I always, always recommend travellers to take out travel insurance. The reasons are wide and varied, but include:

  • Be reimbursed for unforeseen out of pocket expenses that you can't afford. Medical bills is a big one.
  • Obtain help with locating a nearby and reputable medical facility. Especially if you're travelling in lower socio-economic countries
  • Arrange your evacuation home, if necessary.
  • Have peace and mind with 24 hour emergency assistance line.

For me, about 90% of my travel insurance claims were for medical reasons. The other claims have been for damaged personal items, like when my camera got water damage from a freak wave in stormy Italy. It makes me feel safe knowing that I have an organisation to rely on for any type of help while travelling.

What extra benefits does World Nomads travel insurance offer that others don't?

Can purchase when you're already overseas

When purchasing travel insurance from companies based in your country, they usually have a limitation that you must purchase the policy before you depart.
However, with World Nomads, you can buy a policy if you’re already travelling, working, living or studying in another country.

Offer discounts for subsequent purchases

World Nomads offer a discount when you purchase your next policy. Just ensure you Create an Account when you purchase your first policy. If you have purchased a World Nomads policy in the past, you can Create an Account with your previous policy number.

Alternative therapies

Never seen a policy that includes a list of alternative therapies. It includes chiropractor, acupuncturist or osteopath, as prescribed by your treating doctor.

Trauma help

Includes clinical psychology after assault or trauma on your holiday.

Help travellers in other ways

I love the way World Nomads think beyond travel insurance to help travellers. They have a travel blog, podcast, destination guides and promote responsible travel. They also offer travel writing, film and photography scholarships.

Automatic cover for 120+ activities

Out of all the insurance policies I have sold in my travel agent life, this has the most comprehensive list of adventure activities I have ever seen.
Click on the tabs in the next section below for a quick reference on which activities are automatically included in your cover and which activities will require an extra payment.


120+ activities are automatically included

World Nomads specialises in travel adventures and covers up to 150 different activities. From adventure activities, sports and volunteer work. Too much to list here but some examples are abseiling, archery, ballooning, bungy jumping, horse riding, jet boating, jet skiing, kayaking, paragliding, parasailing, skydiving, white water rafting and more.


Some activities are automatically included in the policy. For other more risky activities, there will be an extra premium added to the insurance price. Once you select the policy you want, there is a box to select your activity and check if there is a premium to pay.


I went through the whole list and have separated them for you for an easy quick reference.

Just click on each orange button below to see the list.


 [updated Jan 2020 - however, always recheck when you are in the process of purchasing a policy]


Activities automatically included

Angling/fishing – inland or within 3 nautical miles

Archery

Athletics

Au pair/nanny – paid or volunteer childcare

Australian Rules Football - AFL

Badminton

Ballooning – hot air

Banana boat rides

Bar work – hospitality, manual work

Baseball

Basketball

BMX – on road, no tricks or jumps

Boating/canoeing/kayaking/sailing – inland or coastal waters within 3 nautical miles

Bobsled - non-snow track

Bungee jumping

Camel riding - single ride / day tour

Caving - sightseeing / tourist attraction

Cricket

Croquet

Cycling - incidental to the trip; independent touring; on organised tour, up to 2,000 metres in elevation

Dirt boarding

Diving - scuba to 30 metres

Diving - scuba, unqualified / learn to dive course / discover dive with qualified instructor

Dog sledding

Dragon boating - inland or coastal waters

Dune buggy

Elephant riding - single ride / day tour

Fell running

Fencing

Fitness training

Floorball

Flying - as a passenger in a licensed scheduled or chartered aircraft or helicopter

Fruit picking - WWOOFing, general farm work, manual work

Glacier walking - ice walking

Go karting

Golf

Gym training - aerobics, spinning, zumba, body pump, weight training, cross training, crossfit

Gymnastics

Handball

High diving up to 10 metres - excluding cliff diving / deep water soloing

Hiking/camping - up to 2,000 metres

Hockey

Horse riding - leisure / social / non-competitive riding

Hydrofoiling

Hydrospeeding - grades 1-5

Ice skating - indoor

In-line skating

Jet boating

Kite boarding - on land or water

Kite surfing

Korfball

Lacrosse

Martial arts - non-contact

Motor racing experience - passenger only

Motorbiking - on road

Motorbiking - pillion passenger with a licensed driver

Mountain biking - downhill, up to 6,000 metres

Netball

Office work - paid or volunteer clerical, non-manual work

Orienteering

Outward Bound activities

Paddle boarding

Paint balling / airsoft

Parasailing - over water

Racquetball

Retail work - shop assistant / manager, general retail, manual work

River boarding - grades 1-5

Roller hockey

Roller skating

Rollerblading

Rowing

Rugby - league / union

Running / jogging - half marathon distance or less

Safari tours - excluding handling of big game or dangerous animals

Sail boarding - inland or coastal waters within 3 nautical miles only

Sandboarding / sandskiing

Scooter riding

Scrambling - up to 2,000 metres

Scuba diving - to 30 metres

Scuba diving - unqualified / learn to dive course / discover dive with qualified instructor

Sculling

Shark cage diving - non-qualified at surface or qualified to scuba dive to 30 metres

Skateboarding - ramp, half pipe, skate park, street

Sleigh rides - horse drawn

Snorkelling

Soccer

Softball

Speed boating

Squash / raquet ball

Stand up paddle surfing

Stilt walking

Stoolball

Surf boat rowing

Surfing

Swimming - pool; enclosed, inland or coastal waters within 3 nautical miles only

Table tennis

Tchoukball

Teaching - paid or volunteer, child care, non-manual work

Tennis

Trampolining

Tubing on rivers

Tuk Tuk - as a passenger

Volleyball

Volunteer manual work - hospitality, retail, general farm work

Volunteer non-manual work - teaching, clerical, childcare

Wake skating

Wakeboarding - excluding jumps

Water polo

Water skiing - excluding jumps

White water kayaking - inland / coastal waters within 3 nautical miles, grades 1-5

White water rafting - grades 1-5

Windsurfing - inland or coastal waters within 3 nautical miles

Work - manual work - hospitality, retail, general farm work

Work - non-manual work - teaching, clerical, childcare

WWOOFing - general farm work, fruit picking, manual work

Yoga - class, alone / home practice

Zorbing

Activities at an extra premium

Abseiling

Aerial safari

American football

Angling/fishing – beyond 3 nautical miles

Angling/fishing – ice

Bicycle polo

Black water rafting – cave tubing

BMX – off road / on track / cross country

Boating/canoeing/kayaking/sailing – beyond 3 nautical miles

Bobsled - in snow

Bobsleigh

Bouldering

Camel trekking - overnight / main mode of transport

Canyon swing

Cave tubing - grades 1-5

Cavern diving - to 40 metres

Caving - spelunking

Clay pigeon shooting

Cycling - incidental to the trip; independent touring; on organised tour, 2,000 to 6,000 metres in elevation

Deep sea fishing

Deepelling

Diving - scuba to 30 to 40 metres

Elephant trekking - overnight / main mode of transport

Fly by wire

Gridiron

Hiking/camping – between 2,000 to 6,000 metres

Horse riding - equestrian, dressage, show jumping, eventing

Hunting - excluding big game

Ice hockey - indoor

Ice skating - outdoor

Jet skiing

Kite buggy

Kite wing - land, water, snow

Land surfing

Martial arts - Judo, Karate

Motorbiking - off road, trail bike riding

Mountain biking - off road / cross country, up to 6,000 metres in elevation

Multi-sport, triathlon, outdoor endurance - less than ultra distance

Obstacle course / assault course / trim trail

Outrigger canoeing

Parachuting - one jump only

Potholing - caving

Quad biking - excluding travellers aged 15 years or younger

Rapelling

Rifle range / sports shooting

Rock climbing - bouldering / no ropes / no equipment

Rock climbing - indoor

Rock climbing - outdoor / sport climbing / bolted

Running - marathon distance

Scrambling – 2,000 to 6,000 metres

Scuba diving - instructor or guide

Scuba diving – 30 to 40 metres

Segway tours

Shooting - rifle range / sports

Skeleton

Ski / snowboard - instructor or guide

Skiing - back country / outside of resort boundary / alpine ski touring

Skiing - by helicopter / snow cat

Skiing - cross country / Nordic skiing on marked trails

Skiing - dry slope

Skiing - on piste or off piste within resort boundaries

Snow blading

Skydiving - one jump only

Sledding / tobogganing / snow sleds / snow sleighs - on snow

Snow biking

Snow kiting

Snow rafting

Snowboarding - back country / outside of resort boundary / alpine ski touring

Snowboarding - by helicopter / snow cat

Snowboarding - dry slope

Snowboarding - on piste or off piste within resort boundaries

Snowboarding - terrain park within resort, excluding acrobatics

Snowmobiling

Spearfishing

Swimming - with whales / whale sharks - inside or outside coastal waters

Tandem skydiving - one jump only

Tough Mudder

Trail bike riding - motorbiking off road

Trapeze

Triathlon - less than ultra distance

Tubing on snow

Via Ferrata

Volunteer instructor or guide - in other covered activities

Volunteer instructor or guide - ski, snowboard, scuba dive

Volunteer manual work - any work with power tools or working at height under 5 metres

Water skiing - barefoot

Windsurfing - beyond 3 nautical miles

Work - as an instructor or guide in other covered activities

Work - instructor or guide - ski, snowboard, scuba dive

Work - manual work - any work with power tools or working at height under 5 metres

Zip line

female standing in large wooden frame with mountains in background

Real life experiences by my clients:

A young guy falling off a balcony...

Halfway through his Bali holiday, he somehow managed to fall off his first floor balcony and broke many bones. He was able to call the 24 hour emergency assistance number. They advised that due to his injuries, it was best for him to be flown back to Australia for medical attention. Of course they did a blood test first. If there was alcohol or drugs in his system then he was liable for all the costs. Luckily he was clean and was flown back to Australia that day. He was thankful that I convinced him to buy a $68 insurance policy as it saved him $60,000 emergency charter flight back home.

Break a leg while skiing...

I remember a lovely Perth couple returning early from their Canadian winter holiday. At the last minute they decided to go skiing. The wife fell awkwardly and broke her leg. One week in hospital cost nearly $50,000. Thats why you definitely need travel insurance when exploring North America as hospital costs are astronomical.
Thankfully she had purchased travel insurance which included payment to the hospital and for flights back home early.

Types of policies

World Nomads offer two types of policies:

  • Standard  - contains the basic important benefits that you will need. Basically it covers everything except for Car Rental damage. Most of the benefits cover for a lower amount than the Explorer policy.
  • Explorer – has all the benefits of the Standard Plan plus more, like rental vehicle insurance or hiring of sporting equipment. Consequently, it is more expensive as the level of benefits are higher than the Standard policy.

When you complete an online quote, the results will show you the exact amounts you are covered for. For example, below is the comparison for a US citizen:

world nomads travel insurance medical benefit comparison between policies
world nomads travel insurance benefits comparison between policies


You can read more on what's covered here.

Base your decision on the policy that will adequately cover your needs. 


Most importantly look at medical expenses and baggage/personal items limits first.

The essential benefits

World Nomads definitely provides a fully comprehensive travel insurance policy that I would expect from a travel insurer. They have thought of everything a traveller may need.

In this section, I cover what I believe are most essential to be included in a travel insurance policy. This is what you should look out for too when comparing prices/policies with other insurance companies.

  1. 1
    Overseas medical
    It covers hospitalisation, doctors visits, prescribed medication, chiro, osteo, acupuncture and certain counselling. With World Nomads standard plan starting with a $5 million cover, you can rest easy.
    Special note:  for travel to USA/Canada, I recommend the Explorer plan with unlimited cover. That’s’ because the average cost for a hospital stay is about $10k per day!
  2. 2
    Medical repatriation
    Cover to fly you home for ongoing treatment, if the World Nomads emergency team deem it medically necessary.
  3. 3
    Dental
    The policy will cover only healthy teeth or teeth with fillings (no falseys!!).  Therefore, you are covered if you suddenly have a cracked or chipped tooth, dental infection or dental surgery resulting from an accident.
  4. 4
    Baggage
    It covers theft or accidental damage to your luggage in specified incidents. However, sub-limits are placed on individual items, including electronic devices (cameras, phones, laptops etc), digital storage hardware, passport & travel documents and all other items. So make sure you are adequately covered by checking those amounts first when you get your quote.  You can increase the cover value on those individual items but for an extra cost.
    Please note, you are not covered if you leave you luggage unattended in a public place (including the beach), in an unlocked car, overnight in a car or unsecured in a hotel room. Watch or lock your valuable stuff!
  5. 5
    Cancellation fees
    World Nomads will cover you for 14 different reasons if you have to cancel your travel. Common reasons being:
    - a doctor certifies you unfit to travel
    - your travelling companion or close relative is hospitalised or dies unexpectedly.
    - transport is cancelled due to severe weather, natural disaster or strike
    - you’re made redundant
    - called to jury duty

The other benefits

The following benefits are usually included in most travel insurance policies. Sometimes you have to upgrade to a higher policy to have them included.

 

To me, these are 'just in case' scenarios - unlikely to happen but could happen. Therefore, I don't consider them essential when I'm looking/comparing policies but if they are included then its nice to have. World Nomads includes these benefits.

  1. 1
    Delayed luggage
    If your luggage is delayed by more than 12 hours, you are covered for essential item purchases. Such items include toiletries, underwear, socks and t-shirts. You do need to get a Property Irregularity Report from the offending airline!
    Please note: The airline is obliged to give you cover anyway and you must use this option first before claiming from insurance.
  2. 2
    Rental vehicle insurance
    This is handy if you plan to rent a car on your holiday. It covers your rental vehicle insurance excess or the cost of repair that you are liable to pay if the rented vehicle is damaged or stolen. Therefore, there is no need to purchase insurance excess cover from the car rental company. Note that there are special conditions for hiring mopeds or scooters.
  3. 3
    Natural disasters
    These days it feels like the frequency of natural disasters are on the increase and worsening in intensity. So World Nomads will cover you if you bought the policy before the disaster was in the media. If you’re overseas caught up in it, then they will get you out.
    I was caught in Kathmandu during the big Nepal earthquake in 2015. My insurance company was offering free flights out of the country but I couldn't get in touch with them due to no connectivity. However, I did manage to get on a plane to K.L.. They covered my medical expenses I needed in Malaysia as I couldn't get to a hospital in Kathmandu.
  4. 4
    Terrorism
    This is a tricky one. Terrorism is on the rise too these days. If the event is unforeseen, you are still covered for hospitalisation, prescribed medicines and medical repatriation. But you won’t be covered to cancel your holiday, trip interruption expenses or simply changing your mind to go.
  5. 5
    Other benefits
    There are many other benefits that are included in World Nomads policy. I call these extra little bonuses but not essential. Includes out–of-pocket expenses in hospital, trip interruption costs, compassionate emergency visit home, resumption of trip, hire of sporting equipment, kidnap or hijack, accidental death & permanent total disablement and personal liability.

What are the con's for World Nomads insurance policy

  1. 1
    Can't make an extra payment to reduce the claims excess to Nil.
    With other companies I've been able to pay approx $25 to reduce the excess to zero. This is helpful for small claims. Quite often in my travels I end up seeing a doctor. The bill is usually under $300. But if your policy has a $200-$300 excess, you will get very little or nothing back. Therefore, paying an extra $25 was always worth my while. However, World Nomads does have  a low excess of AU$100 (the amount differs according to which country you live in)
  2. 2
    There is a maximum age limit for some products at 70 years of age. However, still get a quote online as some countries may offer a partnered policy. For example, World Nomads offer the Silver Nomad policy for Americans aged over 70 years.
  3. 3
    There is no option to cover for a pre-existing condition thats not on their list. If your condition is one of the 23 listed, you are automatically covered but with certain conditions.
    There are other travel insurance companies that will give you the opportunity to submit a medical from your doctor. After their own medical team assesses it, they will either decline it or accept it but with a premium added to the policy cost.
  4. 4
    In my eyes, the medical benefit is quite low.  In the case of a US citizen, both the Standard and Explorer policies is $100,000. Most other travel insurance polices I deal with offer between $500,000 to Unlimited. This is most useful for when travelling to North America as their daily hospital fees are astronomical.

 Happy Customers

See what other travel bloggers are saying about World Nomads travel insurance.

face shot of Will Hatton of The Broke Backpacker who supports World Nomads Travel Insurance

Will Hatton (The Broke Backpacker) -  travel blogger

"In 2017, I became very sick with Dengue Fever in Koh Lanta, Southern Thailand. I was too far from a hospital and so I ended up in a private clinic – which was a big mistake. As soon as I walked in, the main doctor was practically rubbing his hands together with glee. I was too sick to really notice and went on to get treated.

 

When I went in, I was asked for, and gave, my passport so they could make a photocopy. I had administered fluids, plenty of pills and spent an uncomfortable night tossing and turning on a bed. The next day I asked for my passport back and was informed that I would only get it back once the bill was paid. I asked for the bill and it was a massive 25,000 Bhat – nearly $1000. I explained that I didn’t have that kind of money but that I did have travel insurance and they would pay it back. To my horror and surprise, the two doctors then began shouting at me, insisting I would not get my passport back till I paid. I felt weak still from the Dengue and was in no state to start busting heads.

I called World Nomads – they were extremely surprised that my passport was being held ransom, insisting that it was illegal. They were right. World Nomads dealt with the whole thing for me and thirty minutes later, my bill was paid and my passport was released – I was extremely impressed with World Nomad’s professional service and very gratefully to them getting me out of a bind."

profile picture of Nomadic Matt who support World Nomads Travel Insurance

Nomadic Matt - travel blogger

"In Argentina, I was suffering from anxiety and worried that it was something more. It felt like someone was stomping on my chest. I logged into the portal, got the call center number, and called the hotline. They took my information and symptoms and gave me a list of emergency doctors that they recommended. The One Call system was helpful, quick, and got me a doctor right away. I was very happy with the service and know that if something really does go wrong, they act quickly!"

Verdict - World Nomads Travel Insurance gets a big thumbs up

World Nomads provide a competitive price and good overall coverage, especially if you are generally healthy and under 70.

So get a quote now to check their competitive pricing and list of inclusions. Always compare like for like - the cheaper the price, the less benefits it includes for you. Make sure it covers your type of travel groove.

The stuff you need to be aware of

Pre-existing illness

World Nomads automatically covers a pre-defined list of pre-existing conditions. If your condition is not listed, then there is no cover for claims arising from your pre-existing illness. Carefully read through the policy document when you get a quote.

Excess

When you get your quote, the relevant excess is mentioned in the policy document.

Depreciation on luggage items

If World Nomads choose to reimburse the purchase price of your stolen/damaged item, they will deduct for normal wear and tear by using a depreciation scale of their choice.

Stolen/lost items

For all stolen/lost items, you must get a police report within 24 hours. A copy of the report must be submitted with the claim.

Keep records/receipts

Keep receipts and documented records of everything, even all those electronic devices that you bring with you. Makes the claims procedure less stressful.

Easy access to your policy number

Keep your insurance policy number within easy access while you travel and give to your travelling partner. Makes it easier when contacting World Nomads 24/7 emergency assistance.


Disclaimer

All of the information provided about travel insurance is a brief 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.
Here is the comparison checklist that I go through myself when looking for the best travel insurance policy for my holiday:
  1. Check the limits are to your satisfaction. For example, adequate medical cover and suitable luggage sub-limits for cover your expensive items that you will bring.
  2. Read the exclusions for each benefit.
  3. Double check it will cover the activities (adventure and sports) you like to do on holidays.
  4. Read all the FAQs on their website.
  5. Always read the fine print – the full description of cover in the Policy wording. Particularly the General Exclusions.

Never leave home without it

© 2019, Travel Groove

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