The digital nomad lifestyle is an exciting one because of its ever-changing nature. This constant change brings a certain amount of risk with it and being prepared to take that risk makes this way of life more exhilarating. Among all the other exciting things that this lifestyle offers, travel insurance may seem like an unnecessary expense, but travel insurance provides a vital safety net when you’re abroad. The dislike towards the whole insurance talk is often borne out of the tediousness of this process, but to make this process less boring, easy, and quick, here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right insurance along with information on best plans, things to check and more.
Why do you need Travel Insurance as a Digital Nomad?
Protecting you against loss is not the only thing travel insurance does, having travel insurance ensures that along with your possessions, you are safe too. If you are a digital nomad and are still thinking about getting travel insurance, here is why you need it:
- Protects You against Theft
As a digital nomad, having extra security for your gadgets and documents is important. Be it your important documents like your passport or your work gear like your laptop, travel insurance will help you replace these items without additional costs in case of theft. Check limits and exclusions for high-priced items like laptops and cameras.
- Comes in Handy during Cancelations
Being a frequent flyer, you know how often flights are canceled and delayed. In such cases, travel insurance will cover the cost of your canceled flight or the connecting flight that you might miss because of delays. Also, if you get sick or can’t travel on the decided date, you’ll have the ability to cancel or postpone your onward travel plans and get reimbursed for flights and accommodation costs.
- Provides better Security against Lost Luggage
Losing luggage on flights is not as uncommon as you would like it to be. Especially if you are changing flights in-between destinations. During such times you don’t have to wait till your luggage arrives, your insurance will cover all the costs of essentials till your bag reaches you or replace everything if it’s gone.
- Offers Coverage for most Essential Things
Digital nomad travel insurance offers coverage for all the things that you need to protect. Be it your luggage (which is your entire home in this case) or your gadgets (your entire workspace), medical emergencies, or urgent evacuation, travel insurance takes care of all the essential items and possible accidents.
- Helps to Travel Abroad more Freely
Knowing that all your possessions, your health, and your trip are well-protected is a huge relief as a digital nomad. Having that safety will let you travel and explore more freely without worrying about huge costs if things don’t turn out as expected. When you are in an unknown place, or a new country with a different culture, having a sense of backup is reassuring.
What to look for in a Digital Nomad Travel Insurance Plan?
You need travel insurance to protect you or your belongings during unforeseen events. Make sure to find travel insurance with maximum coverage for things like healthcare and cancelations among other things. Here are some things you need in your digital nomad travel insurance plan:
- Maximum Cover for Healthcare Emergencies
If you are only getting travel insurance, make sure to check how much medical cover it offers during emergencies. Also, check what services they offer during such emergencies. High coverage limits are essential in case you get sick, injured, or need serious care, or have to seek professional help abroad, to make sure your hospital bills are covered. According to Nomadic Matt, a good company will provide up to $100,000 (USD) in coverage care.
- Emergency Evacuation and Care
Make sure your travel insurance policy covers emergency evacuation and care. This is different from health and medical coverage. For example, if you are stuck in a national park or injured during an adventure sport, your policy should cover your evacuation either to the nearest medical facility or back home. “This protection should cover an expense of up to $300,000 (USD),” says Matt, Digital Nomad since 2010.
- Coverage for the following things:
Apart from the above-mentioned points and excluding the basic coverage, these are some other things you need in your travel insurance as a digital nomad.
- Coverage in maximum countries
As a digital nomad, you will be constantly on the go and you will need travel insurance that gives your coverage in maximum countries.
- Coverage against gadgets
If you’re a full-time vlogger/content creator, having insurance for your gadgets is equally essential. Check if your company can offer that for all your gadgets at an additional cost.
- 24/7 assistance
You will be in different time zones, which means you must look for companies with 24/7 assistance.
- Coverage for cancelations for hotels, flights, and other transportation bookings
This is one of the most obvious yet important coverages in case you want to change the dates of your trip.
- Coverage for political emergencies, natural disasters, or strife in the country
This does not apply everywhere but if your travel plans involve traveling to countries prone to natural disasters, political unrest, then make sure to check whether your company covers the cost of getting you back home or at least to the safest facility.
- Financial protection if any company you are using goes bankrupt
If your insurance company goes bankrupt while you are traveling or are stuck in another country, you will need protection against such situations. Check for such a clause in the policy before you choose a company.
Difference between Health Insurance & Travel Insurance
Digital nomads who travel abroad frequently often opt for both health and travel insurance. Both are essential for different kinds of emergencies and serve different needs. Here’s the difference between health and travel insurance and why you might need both.
Health Insurance covers routine and emergency medical services on your travels. The basic need to get health insurance is that it takes care of your medical expenses when you go to the hospital. Health Insurance usually covers the following things, depending on your plan:
- Prescribed medication
- Vaccinations & tests
- Medical checkups
- Cancer screenings & treatment
- Psychiatric care
- Dental treatment & optical care
- Emergency medical treatment & ambulances
Health Insurance is usually more expensive than travel Insurance as it also covers the cost of routine check-ups and medications. If you want to get health insurance as a digital nomad, you have three options to choose from:
- Home Country Insurance that Covers you Abroad
Some healthcare plans may provide international health care coverage, check before you choose a plan.
- In-Country Health Insurance
Another option is to buy health insurance specific to your destination. It is only feasible for those digital nomads who spend a longer period in a place.
- International Nomad Healthcare Plan
Travel Insurance primarily covers travel-related risks like lost luggage, cancelation, and emergency healthcare. Travel insurance is for everyone who travels, however infrequently. Although it was designed for short-term travels, there are several plans for frequent travelers and digital nomads to match their full-time/long-term travel requirements. Travel insurance typically covers the following things:
- Travel Medical Coverage
- Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage
- Third-Party Liability Coverage
- Trip Cancellation & Interruption Coverage
- Coverage for Car, Bike, or Scooter Accidents
- Lost and Stolen Items Protection
Which Travel Insurance to Pick: WorldNomads or SafetyWing
WorldNomads and SafetyWing are two of the most recommended travel insurance policies for digital nomads. While WorldNomads is largely popular among short-term travelers and adventure enthusiasts, SafetyWing is designed for long-term travel with more coverage for digital nomads’ needs. Check the table for more details about the policies, prices, and coverage offered by both companies.
World Nomads is the right choice for you if you are an adventure traveler or a digital nomad with a lot of tech gear. Whereas SafetyWing is an affordable long-term coverage option in case of an emergency.
Both providers offer emergency medical coverage abroad and cover expenses for hospital room and board, emergency medical transportation, emergency dental work, and more.
World Nomads and SafetyWing both offer 24/7 global assistance, as well as coverage in case of trip delays, cancelations, and lost luggage.
World Nomads provides better coverage for adventure sports and lost or stolen gear, while SafetyWing allows you to make a low month-to-month payment.
|What’s covered?||– Unexpected illness or injury abroad
– Hospital, doctor, dental and prescription expenses
– Emergency evacuation
– Missed and delayed flights
– Lost checked luggage and stolen or lost belongings (covering gear and tech)
– Adventure activities
|– Emergency accident, sickness medical expense
– Emergencyevacuation andrepatriation
– Trip interruptionand delays
– Some adventureactivities
– Every 90 days of coverage abroad = 30 days of coverage in the home country unless in the U.S. which is 15 days
|What’s NOT covered||– Routine check-ups and preventative care- Pre-existing conditions- Pandemics, acts of war, civilunrest, and a few other majorhappenings.||– Routine check-ups and preventative care- Pre-existing conditions- Some adventure sports and activities– Tech gear such aslaptops, cameras,lens, etc.– Trip cancelation|
|Where are you covered?||Worldwide||Everywhere but North Korea, Cuba, and Iran|
|Tech Coverage||Yes- Smartphones- Computers & Laptops- iPad & Tablets- Camera and camera gear||No, unless it’s lost checked luggage|
|US Coverage||Yes||Can pay for additional U.S. coverage|
|Coverage Period||100% customizable; can be extended while traveling||Renewable every 4weeks|
|Deductibles||$100 per event (except for emergency evacuation and repatriation)||$250 per policy|
|Monthly Price||USD 117.19 (standard plan); USD 207.41 (explorer plan)||USD 39.60; USD 68with coverage in theUS|
Both the insurance companies cater to different kinds of travel needs. SafetyWing has more features for full-time digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. WorldNomads is better for content creators, adventure travelers, and travel bloggers/vloggers. Both companies offer top-notch policies at great prices, pick the company that fits your needs better.
However, the comparative analysis for both companies shows that SafetyWing is overall a better choice for digital nomads.
Other Travel Insurance Options for a Digital Nomad
Despite knowing your travel requirements and style, it is hard to determine what type of insurance you need. If you want to explore beyond WorldNomads and SafetyWing, several travel insurance companies cater specifically to digital nomads’ insurance needs. Here is a list of top travel insurance options for digital nomads:
- Travelex Insurance Services
Travelex travel insurance offers protection for a variety of trips including weekend getaways, long stays, and luxury vacations for digital nomads and remote workers.
The Basic plan provides all the essentials coverage and the Travel Select plan allows you to customize according to your requirements. Flight insurance is separately designed for those whose needs are more related to flight-specific protection.
- Trip Cancelation and Interruption: Provides complete coverage against cancelation regardless of reasons.
- Emergency Medical and Evacuation: If you suffer from an accident while traveling, the company will provide you with emergency evacuation to a medical facility.
- 98% of claims are paid: Filing an insurance claim is relatively easy and seems to be faster than the industry average.
- Covers COVID-19: If you test positive for COVID-19 you may be eligible for trip cancelation, interruption, or emergency medical or medical evacuation.
- The coverage for COVID-19 may be quite limited.
- Basic services have an additional cost otherwise, they are not included.
The cheapest plan offered by Travelex is $325 for young adults with additional charges for things like medical expenses, adventure sports, and AD&D.
- IMG Global
IMG’s travel insurance packages have many features with maximum coverage at an affordable price. They have several packages for different needs. For example, for nomads who simply want medical insurance coverage, the best package is called “Global Medical Insurance.” The “iTravelInsured Travel Insurance” caters to digital nomads in far-flung regions of the world.
- The cost of renewal of your policy is much cheaper than other insurers.
- Provides amazing coverage for adventure activities like scuba diving, bungee jumping, and skydiving.
- If you get lost, they will provide $10,000 for a search and rescue team.
- You get $500,000 in emergency medical coverage and $1 million in medical evacuation coverage.
- Coverage for cancellation due to any reason or interruption is included without an extra fee.
- Flawless customer service.
- They have a wait time before you can claim lost baggage or trip cancellation.
- The health coverage package is not primary coverage, so you need to have coverage in your home country as well to qualify.
- U.S. citizens are not allowed to return home while the policy is in force. Nationals of other countries are only allowed 14 days, otherwise, they cancel your policy.
- They do not directly bill medical providers, so you will have to foot the fee and wait for reimbursement.
- The coverage is based on the amount you plan to spend on your trip.
For a $4.000-budget trip, the coverage for the Travel LX policy costs a 20-year-old $239.44 for 90 days. For a 60-year-old, they can expect to pay a premium of $3,396.91 for a trip the same length- report by travelinglifestyle.net (updated 2021)
Travel Insurance in 2021: Covid-19 Coverage
Before 2020, nobody paid attention to the possibility of a pandemic in the insurance policy. But now this is something you won’t be able to ignore. A lot of travel insurance providers have adapted to include protection against pandemics in their plans. Check their policies for protection against covid-19. Check what it covers, what are the rules if you had covid before, and what policies if your vaccination is done. SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance and Remote Health plans cover COVID-19, under the following conditions:
- As long as you did NOT contract COVID before your policy plan’s start date and that it does not fall under any other policy exclusion/limitation, ALL of SafetyWing’s plans will offer a full refund for in-patient hospital charges as a standard.
- Covers treatment in an isolation ward if this is deemed necessary by your doctor.
- If you need to be hospitalized in a government facility or other public hospital that is FREE of charge, you will be entitled to a hospital cash benefit of $3,750 or higher (assuming a hospital stay of 30 days).
- COVID-19 tests are covered if deemed medically necessary by a physician. (The antibody test is NOT covered since it is deemed not medically necessary).
- Faster turnaround times for treatment pre-authorization and claims processing. (The claim submission period is extended from 6 to 9 months for members diagnosed with COVID-19.)
Travel insurance is an all-purpose emergency coverage plan and a mandatory protective layer for a digital nomad. Never leave home without travel insurance, especially during these times when things are already uncertain in most places. Things don’t always go wrong on a trip but if it does, travel insurance will cover it all. It’s the money you spend on your well-being and safety so look at it as “ if something bad happened to me” cost. Get your travel insurance before your next adventure. Happy traveling!