When travelers board an airplane, bus, or train, the last thing they want to worry about is if they are covered in an emergency. As a travel insurance provider, this is where World Nomads exceeds expectations. Not only do their two travel insurance options cover all the standard issues, but also offers extended coverage for a number of vacation activities on snow, land, water and air.
However, for all the activities it covers, World Nomads is not necessarily a traditional travel insurance plan. Those looking for additional waivers, such as cancel for any reason or pre-existing conditions, won’t find them with the Standard or Explorer plans. Is a World Nomads travel insurance plan best for everyone?
In this article, we’ll break down World Nomads, their two travel insurance plans, and who benefits most from their flexible policies.
World Nomads was founded in 2002 with the goal of offering travel insurance to the younger, “independent traveler” audience. They are owned by nib Travel Services, an Australian company formerly known as World Nomads Group which owns several travel insurance brands. Although their parent company is focused on insurance options in Australia and New Zealand, World Nomads insurance products are available to travelers in most parts of the world.
As a company, World Nomads envision themselves as more than a travel insurance partner. As such, the company offers a wide range of content to their insureds, ranging from downloadable destination guides and safety advice, to their own storytelling courses. World Nomads also offers annual scholarships in travel photography, film and writing, pairing students with professionals and assignments to help them hone their craft in the field.
As part of their dedication to giving back, World Nomads is partnered with several non-profits around the world focused on funding sustainable projects and community development initiatives. Their supported charities include Oxfam Australia, WaterAid, Save the Children and SurfAid. With every purchase, travelers have the option to make a micro-donation to the fund, which has raised over $3.4 million for their supported non-profits to date.
For policies written to travelers based in the United States, World Nomads travel insurance plans are underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company of Columbus, Ohio. As of the time of writing, the company has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating with AM Best, signifying that Nationwide has “a superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations.”
Claims and global assistance are also handled by separate companies. Claims are handled by Trip Mate, while international help is handled by Generali Global Assistance. If you require medical treatment while away from home, medical records are managed by Global XPI.
World Nomads offers two travel insurance plans, making it a simple choice. The Standard plan offers coverage for most common incidents along with sports and activities, while the Explorer Plan offers higher benefit limits along with a long list of hazardous activities.
The Standard Plan offers coverage for around 200 activities, sports and experiences travelers may participate in as they travel. This includes coverage for some of the most common interests, like scuba diving, surfing, bungee jumping and skiing, to some of the more obscure -- including air guitar, skateboarding, watching the running of the bulls, or participating in the Mongol Rally.
For those who want to do less watching and more participating, the Explorer Plan offers extended coverage for almost every sport or hazardous activity one could participate in. The covered activities include actually running with the bulls, participating in military simulations or war games, cave diving, and even participating in a trapeze class.
In addition to extending coverage for a wide world of activities, a World Nomads plan offers standard coverage for trip cancellation, trip delay, baggage loss and delay, emergency evacuation and emergency accident and sickness medical expenses.
With the emergency accident and sickness medical expense benefit, you are covered in the event you come down with an illness or are involved in an accident requiring medically-required treatment. World Nomads plans also include benefits for emergency dental treatment for accidental injury to sound and natural teeth, and paying advance hospital fees to secure placement at a hospital due to an accidental injury.
If your accidental injury or sickness is severe enough, you may require transportation via air ambulance to your home. If ordered by a physician who certifies it is necessary, emergency evacuation benefits will cover the costs attached to your return. The standard plan offers up to $300,000 of coverage, while the Explorer plan offers up to $500,000 of coverage.
Unplanned illness, injury, or life events happen. If you can’t make your trip for a qualified reason -- like getting very sick and requiring hospitalization, or being forced to work when your trip is scheduled -- you can get reimbursed for some non-refundable costs from your trip, up to the plan maximum. The Standard Plan offers up to $2,500 of coverage for trip cancellation or trip interruption, while the Explorer Plan has up to $10,000 in coverage.
Anytime you check bags with an airline, rail line or bus line, there’s always the risk of their delayed arrival, or even an outright loss. If your bags are delayed on the outbound leg of your trip by at least 12 hours, World Nomads travel insurance will reimburse up to $150 per day of necessary personal effects (like clothes, toiletries and phone chargers), up to a maximum of $750. If your luggage is completely lost, the Standard Plan offers a reimbursement benefit of up to $1,000, while the Explorer Plan offers up to $3,000 of reimbursement. There are several items that do not apply, so be sure to read all the limitations provided in the summary of plan benefits.
In addition to offering higher benefit maximums, the Explorer Plan offers two additional coverage benefits compared to the Standard Plan. Along with covering more activities and sports, the Explorer Plan also offers rental car damage coverage. If you are involved in a car accident that is not your fault, or your car is broken into, the Explorer Plan offers up to $35,000 in coverage. Even with the additional rental car coverage, your car rental company may require you to purchase their collision damage waiver.
While other companies offer additional add-on coverages when purchasing early, World Nomads does not offer any incentives for buying immediately after placing the first deposit on your trip. World Nomads does not offer a pre-existing condition waiver, nor do they offer a cancel for any reason option.
This means if you sought non-routine treatment or tests for a medical condition in the 90 days immediately before your covered trip period, and you experience a recurrence while away from home, the World Nomads policy may not cover it. In addition, you will only be allowed to cancel your trip for a covered reason, such as a sudden onset of illness, being called to work during your trip period, or a weather event that causes airlines or other carriers to shut down for a period of at least 24 hours which prevents you from getting to your destination.
However, it is easy to extend your travel insurance coverage with World Nomads while travelers are on the road. To purchase a travel insurance extension, simply log into your account on the World Nomads website, and purchase additional insurance for as long as you plan on staying abroad. While some benefits (like trip cancellation) have a 24-hour waiting period before extended coverage begins, you may still be covered in the event of an emergency illness or accident which requires treatment from a doctor.
World Nomads is one of the few travel insurance companies that are not available through the major travel insurance marketplaces, including Squaremouth.com and Insubuy.com. Instead, World Nomads policies must be purchased directly through their website, worldnomads.com.
After selecting your country of residence, you will start the quote process with your travel dates, the state/province and country of residence, the ages of each traveler to be insured, and all the countries you will be visiting during the trip. With that information, you will be taken to your quote for both options: Standard and Explorer.
If you decide to purchase travel insurance from World Nomads, you will then be taken to the next step, which requires personal information. The information required to purchase travel insurance includes:
You will also be required to acknowledge that the benefits from the travel insurance plan is secondary insurance. That means if you have coverage from any other source first -- including auto insurance, health insurance, or any waivers you purchase direct from a travel provider -- claims must first be filed and paid from those sources before you can file a claim with World Nomads.
All travel insurance documents will be delivered electronically after your purchase is complete. Information on how to file claims and what to document will be available in your summary of benefits.
Purchases on the World Nomads site are encrypted by a SHA-256 bit secure connection. The security certificate is provided by Cloudflare.
World Nomads is partnered with several bloggers and travel websites, many offering positive reviews of their insurance products. On independent research websites, the company has mixed evaluations from travelers.
At TrustPilot, World Nomads has an average rating of 3.3 from over 1,600 reviews. Nearly half of the reviews are five-star reviews, while roughly one-third are one-star reviews. Many of the negative reviews revolve around the claims process, filing a successful claim, and contacting customer service while on a trip in a foreign country. The company holds a “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau, where they are not accredited, and a one-star rating based on five reviews. The consumer advocate group recorded 11 complaints against World Nomads in the past 12 months, and 12 complaints total over the last three years.
Before purchasing any travel insurance plan, it’s important to understand how the benefits apply, coverage limitations, and who will be handling claims and global assistance. All of the rules that govern any travel insurance plan will be detailed in the summary of benefits.
For younger travelers who are primarily looking for coverage around their planned itinerary, World Nomads makes a lot of sense. Their easy-to-understand policies offer all the benefits travelers look for, while offering coverage related to nearly anything they could do while abroad.
However, the insurance doesn’t offer the common early purchase benefits of cancel for any reason or a pre-existing coverage waiver. Moreover, the insurance plan only covers you if you are more than 100 miles from your home -- and even then, it is considered secondary to any other insurance you may have. If you have a pre-existing condition that could complicate your trip, or want additional flexibility on when and how you can cancel your trip, it may be worth getting multiple quotes before making a final decision.
Partially. While World Nomads does not cover trip cancellation over fear of contracting the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 is a covered illness for trip cancellation benefits, emergency medical benefits, emergency medical evacuation and trip delay. If you were to contract COVID-19 prior to or during your trip, some benefits may apply.
All of World Nomads travel insurance benefits are secondary. That means you must file claims and exhaust insurance benefits with any other plans you have (like personal health insurance plans or auto rental collision damage waivers) before World Nomads will pay claims.
For young adults who are looking for a traditional travel insurance plan with coverage for sports, activities and experiences, World Nomads is a good travel insurance plan. But those who are looking for additional coverage for pre-existing conditions or want to cancel for any reason, it may be advisable to get quotes from other insurance companies as well.