Do I Need To Buy Travel Insurance?

Why do you need Travel Insurance?

Well you wouldn’t drive a car without car insurance, own a home without home insurance and it’s the same for travelling, you need travel insurance. It is one of the most important things you’ll need for your trip, even if doesn’t involve adventure activities such as climbing, trekking, diving or horse riding.

The main reasons for getting travel insurance is for

  • Medical emergencies
  • Loss, theft or damage of baggage and belongings
  • Trip cancellation, delay or interruption
  • Emergency evacuation

If you aren't covered, each of the above points can costs you thousands of dollars and often you won’t have a choice but to pay out of your own money for events that are often not even under your own control. For example, being airlifted out of the Himalayas can cost up to $25,000 just to get you off the mountain.

"Bottom line – If you can’t afford insurance you can't afford to travel!"

We created a post specifically for climbing and mountaineering travel insurance here. 

Our Real Life Stories

While visiting Leh in Ladakh, India (Ladakh literally means ‘land of high passes’) at 3,500m one of my tooth fillings started playing up, possibly due to the altitude. The pain was immense and if you’ve been to Leh you’ll know there is no easy way to get out as it takes a bone crunching 2 to 3 days on crappy roads just to get to Manali which is only slightly closer to ‘civilisation’. In the end the only dentist in town referred me to one in Delhi as he didn’t have the equipment to fix the problem. My insurance World covered all the medical costs and even the flight back to Delhi.

Last year we bought horses in Mongolia and while visiting the black market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to buy our horse tack my Samsung S7 was expertly pick pocketed while boarding a bus. After reporting it to the police and sending the evidence to World Nomads they reimbursed me for the cost of the phone, 128gb SD card, case and even the emergency cash that was in the case.

We have both used World for the last few years as we know they specialise in travel and adventure activities and are very clear on what is and isn’t covered. Here is a list of the almost 200 activities and which ones they automatically cover.

The other great thing about World is that they will cover you even if you have already started your trip. Most companies require you to purchase your insurance in your home country before you travel. This means that if you’ve been living abroad like us or are just reading this after you've just bought horses in Mongolia you can still get covered.

What do you need to know about Travel Insurance?

You HAVE to read the Terms and Conditions. What other blogs may not tell you is that it is not always plain sailing when it comes to claiming. At the end of the day insurance is a business and insurance companies aren’t going to cover everything, especially if you could have prevented it.  

Check out our post on ensuring you have a succesful claim. 

These are some generic examples of what is often not covered as standard.

  • Driving a motorbike and riding on a motorbike are two different things.
"Travellers are NOT covered if you are driving a vehicle and don’t have the appropriate licence."

If you have a licence from your home country and not a local licence then you also need to have an international licence for that vehicle as well. For example in Vietnam and many other South East Asia companies anyone can rent a scooter, however you will not be covered if you don’t have a licence. Also some companies don’t cover you if you aren’t wearing a helmet.

  • Some companies advertise that they cover trekking but hide away the fact that they don’t cover trekking after a certain height, especially if it isn’t guided.
  • Make sure you have cover for all the adventure activies you are going to participate in. 
  • There is a limit for every area of cover and a total limit that you can claim. For example Loss of Cash is usually around $1,000.
"If travellers do not insure the correct $ value for their trip then often they may be disappointed if the claim value is lower than expected."
  • That top of the range camera you bought for $2,000 in 2008 won’t be compensated for the purchase amount unless you specifically cover that amount in ‘special items’. Most likely they will reimburse an amount taking into account depreciation.
  • Travel insurance doesn’t always cover you if you return to your home country even if it’s still within the dates of cover. So if you do a home visit for a couple of weeks during your trip check to see if it is covered.
  • If you have expensive clothing or electronics you really should take out addition specific insurance for the individual items, with this addition depreciation will not be taking into account when claiming.

The above won’t apply to all travel insurance companies but do read the T&C’s as some have better explanations then others. 

Why World Nomads Travel Insurance?

Well to be completely open; as of 2018 we are affiliates of World so we do receive a commission if you take out a policy using a link from our site. 

We recommend World Nomads as we have had both short and long term policies with them over the past five years and not had a problem. So we are recommending a service that we have thoroughly used and are happy with. 

Our favourite policy features are

1. Flexibility 

You can take out a World Nomads policy even after you've started your trip. So if you're sitting on a beach in Thailand reading this and don't have insurance there's no excuse! Also if you a long term traveller and just climbing that 6,000m mountain for two weeks, just upgrade your cover online before you expedition. Finally they cover everybody from almost every nationality so Silvia (Swiss) and I (British) can be covered under the same company. 

2. Reputation 

Personally we’ve only had good experiences with using World Nomads this includes several succesful claims for stolen luggage and medical issues. Their reputation in the industry is excellent and they are trusted underwriters. They understand the new age nomadic travellers and have specific policies for backpackers, long-term travellers and even digital nomads. 

3. Customer Service

Whats the point of an amazing policy if claiming is stressful and frustrating. World Nomads have an emergency, 24/7 customer service team available through phone, email. For less urgent claims, an online claim form and automatic payments into your bank account make claiming easy and stress free. 

4. Extras

On top of all this, all policies give online access to up-to-date travel safety alerts, safety advice and tips through their World Nomads Travel Safety Hub. Ontop of this they have free iPhone & iPod Language Guides and an Online Journal to document your travel. 

We take travel insurance cover seriously due to the many adventure activities such as sport and traditional climbing, diving, trekking and horse riding that we independently undertake on our travels. World Nomads allow us to specifically cover each of those adventure activities giving us peace of mind and allow us to concentrate on the adventure at hand. You can look through the full list of activities, ticking off what you think you’ll need to cover.  

At the end of the day travel insurance will probably cost a fraction of your trip and will give you the confidence to fully experience your journey, so get an instant quote on the widget below.

We want to hear your experiences with Travel Insurance and claims. Who do you use and whats great about them. Comment below. 

Notes : Since this article has been published it has come to our attention that due to different regulations in individual countries, it is impossible to have a one policy fits all. Therefore some countries may not have access to all the features described in this blog. For example, we have been informed that Canadians cannot buy a policy after they have left the country. As stressed above, please read the T&Cs. Safe travelling!

Travel Insurance. Simple & Flexible.

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    2 thoughts on “Do I Need To Buy Travel Insurance?”

    1. Thank you SO much for this article! I am having trouble finding straight answers/ real life examples of what travel insurance covers on other travel blogs and this helped give me an accurate idea of the exact coverage that you will get.

      If I do end up buying world nomads insurance, I would love for you guys to get the commission since I found this article extremely helpful! Does it need to be bought through a link embedded on this page?

      Thanks for the info!

      Happy travelling fellow traveller!

      • Hi Maddie,
        Glad you liked the article. Its often difficult to find out what claiming is like in real life and understand what is and isnt covered. If you do decide to go with World Nomads, please just click any of the World Nomad links on our website and we will receive a little bit of $ which goes towards the upkeep of the website.


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