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I know it’s taken me FOREVER to write this post, which is part 4 of the cost of travelling around the world but in my defence there were WAY too many beaches here and not enough time to sink my toes into all of them, so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
To see the parts 1-3 of the cost of travelling the world, click here.
“Massive heart attack”, “ICU”, “Might not make it”.
These are words you never ever want to hear, especially when you’re half way across the world.
We were in Thailand and Wanderer had just drifted off to sleep when he got the frantic call from his mom. His grandmother was in the ICU and doctors were giving her days if not hours to live.
After he hung up, we immediately booked the next flight home, started packing, and cancelled all our upcoming hotels and transportation.
Sadly, Wanderer’s grandmother passed away the next day, and by the time we got home, she was already gone.
As much we love our nomadic lifestyle, one of the biggest downsides is being so far away from family when an emergency happens. But this is the life we chose, and as with all things in life, you can’t have everything you want. When you’re travelling and get bad news like this, on top of the emotional stress you have to deal with, there is also the financial stress of buying last minute flights and losing money from hotel and flight cancellations.
This is why before we left for the trip, we were adamant about buying travel insurance.
Not only would travel insurance cover any medical emergencies, trip cancellation, and trip interruption, it also covers the costs of flying back home in the event of a family member’s illness or death.
Before we left on the trip, we look around at all the different options for travel insurance offered by banks, Manulife, Travel Cuts, and amongst them World Nomads easily stood out. The other places were either way more expensive for the same level of coverage or had all sorts of fine print that the insurance companies use as “gotchas” to get out of paying out your claim.
Here’s why we chose World Nomads:
Emergency Overseas Medical & Dental Expenses
World Nomads covers up to $5 Million in emergency medical expenses for each person. I’ve seen other insurance companies only cover $500,000 and cost double the amount that World Nomads charges. And knowing how many medical costs could add up if you’re ever in a medical emergency, this gives you piece of mind to do all those adventurous activities, and not miss out.
Covers 150+ Activities
Speaking of adventures, another reason we picked World Nomads is because unlike other insurance companies who love nit-picking on activities, World Nomads covers 150+ activities, like scuba diving, mountain climbing, bungee jumping, skiing, surfing, and many more. And given how much I love scuba diving, this was a must have for us.
Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption
When we got the unexpected news of Wanderer’s grandmother’s death, trip interruption completely saved our asses. The fastest last minute flight we could get back to Toronto cost us over $1000 CAD each, and along with flights and hotels that were non-refundable, the total cost of us having to cancel everything and fly back ended up being $3000 CAD. But thanks to the insurance, we ended up paying nothing out of pocket.
As digital nomads, the most important work tools we use on the road are our laptops. And given how often we move around, there’s always the chance they could be stolen or get broken. World Nomads covers repairs and replacement so we don’t have to worry about replacing them. As long as the items you are claiming are less than $2000 total for the two of us, the insurance covers theft and damage.
When Wanderer needed to call World Nomads to confirm details of our policy, we were able to get support on the phone right away to answer our questions. Very handy to have when you need a quick response because you’re dealing with an emergency.
Best Price for Quality Coverage
With World Nomads, you can choose to buy coverage for 6 months or 1 year. The cost of 1 year is slightly cheaper at $1545 CAD/couple (or $1444 USD/couple) a year instead of $875 CAD/couple ($648 USD/couple) for 6 months. So if you know for sure you’re going to be gone for a year, it’s better to buy the 1 year insurance all at once. We initially purchased insurance at 6-month increments, but now that we know we’re going to be travelling continuously, we’ve been purchasing 1-year plans. This might seem like a lot of money, but average out over the year, it’s actually only $5 per day. Totally worth it, since we would’ve had to pay $3000 to cancel our trip, but it was covered by insurance.
You Can Buy Insurance After You Start Travelling
Unlike other travel insurance companies, World Nomads is actually pretty flexible in that they let you purchase insurance once you’ve started travelling. Some insurances companies won’t even give you a quote if you’ve already left your home country. When we first quit our jobs, we didn’t know whether we would be travelling for a whole year, so we bought the insurance in 6 month increments. Once we were 6 months into the trip, we knew we were going to continue going, so we opted to renew. This helps a lot, since you don’t have to know ahead of time exactly how long you’re going to be travelling for.
Buying insurance is tricky. You always worry how many hidden “gotcha” clauses are in there to make sure the company can dance out of paying. But with World Nomads, it turns out we didn’t need to worry about this at all.
The process of getting the claim and payment from World Nomads was pretty straight forward, albeit a ton of paper work. They assigned an agent to work with us every step of the way to make sure we had all our ducks in order.
The whole process took around one month, but, now that we’ve gotten our claim paid out, we know they are reliable and they really came through for us. Every single penny spent on travel insurance was absolutely worth it.
That’s why we will continue purchasing travel insurance from World Nomads.
That being said, even though travel insurance saved our butts when we had to fly home and cancel everything, it’s not necessary for every traveller. If you’re travelling for a short time like 14 days or less, some credit cards already offer medical, trip cancellation, and trip interruption insurance, so as long as you book your trip with that credit card, you will be covered (but be sure to read the fine print to make sure you understand all the terms). Credit cards generally don’t have coverage for longer trips as far as I know.
But for those who’s credit card doesn’t include it or they are travelling longer, insurance is a MUST. You never know when something unexpected could happen like a medical emergency, unexpected illness or death of a family member, or needing to cancel the trip due to unexpected events in your destination. Trust me, you DO not want the stress of losing lots of money from emergency medical expenses or cancelling your trip when you’re already dealing with an emergency.
If you’re interested in buying travel insurance from World Nomads for your next trip, use the calculator below to figure out your cost (full disclosure: this is an affiliate link, so I will get a portion of the proceeds if you end up purchasing travel insurance. But if your credit card already has coverage, feel free to skip it):
Also, if you buy travel insurance, make sure you are aware of your insurance expiry date. You don’t want to end up like this backpacker, who was on the hook for $100,000 of medical expenses after getting hit by a bus in Peru. She didn’t realize that her insurance had expired.
So double-check and triple-check your insurance expiry date! Shit happens and you don’t want to be caught with your pants down when it does (pun intended). Safe travels everyone!
This is part of a series called “Cost of Travelling the World for 1 Year”. Click here for the Part 5 “How to Avoid Paying Bank Fees While Travelling.”
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