Ah, the age old dilemma for travellers.

You are saving up to head off on your big trip around the world, then a few weeks before leaving, you think about getting insurance. After a quick Google search, you find out how much it is going to be. And oh boy, is it expensive! Now you are trying to convince yourself you don’t really need travel insurance at all.

Trust me. I have been in the exact same scenario every year, for the past 5 years. I have all the pennies from my piggy bank counted up and am just starting to think about how long I can travel, when I remember I haven’t even bought insurance yet. What a nightmare.

Travel insurance is one of the most important things you can buy for your trip. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to fork out the money for it, especially when you may not even use it. But don’t let that stop you.

It’s not just for when you injure yourself either. Good travel insurance is so much more than just the medical component. Travel insurance will come to the rescue when you break your camera, when you have your valuables stolen, if a flight gets cancelled, and also if your bag is lost. It is probably the most important thing you can buy for yourself for any trip, even though you may never (and hopefully won’t have to) use it.

I used it when I had dental issues in Darwin, when I split my foot open cliff jumping in Queensland, and when I had my valuables pick-pocketed in Mexico. It gave me great peace of mind knowing I could recover most of my losses when disaster struck.

Our travel insurers of choice are World Nomads. We feel they offer us the best coverage to support our long term travels. As they are a well-known, reputable company, you can feel safe insuring yourself with them.

What to look for?

We love shopping on a budget. However, this is one travel essential that we would never skimp on. There are loads of insurance companies out there, but some are much better than others. Many companies offer travel insurance quite cheap, but when you go to claim, that they will charge a huge excess price, there is no 24/7 support and their claims process is long and convoluted. These companies are cheaper for a reason. That being said, our insurance of choice, World Nomads, is still very competitive in pricing without sacrificing coverage or high premiums.

The first and most important thing to look for is a high coverage limit on your medical expenses. Look for plans that cover a minimum of up to $100,000 USD for medical expenses. Medical bills can rack up fast if you spend any amount of time in hospital and you don’t want to spend the rest of your life paying off medical bills. It’s bad enough if you seriously injure yourself, you don’t want to add the stress of wondering how you will pay for it all.

Secondly look for a plan that covers medical evacuation that is separate from your medical cover (or a higher allowance for medical expenses that includes transportation and repatriation). This means if you hurt yourself hiking in the mountains your helicopter evacuation will be covered. It should also mean that if you need to be flown home to continue medical care, that this will be covered. Double check this, as not every plan covers this as standard. Look for coverage up to at least $300,000 USD for emergency evacuation.

What should always be covered?

A good travel insurance plan should always cover these key areas:

  • Overseas emergency medical and dental expenses
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Trip delay, cancellation, or interruption due to an unforeseen event
  • Delayed, damaged, or stolen gear or bags if they’ve been checked in with a carrier
  • 24/7 emergency services and help
  • Cover lost or stolen items such as cameras, jewelry etc.

What won’t be covered

Travel insurance isn’t designed to cover everything. Terms, conditions, and exclusions do apply, so be sure to read your full policy wording to avoid any surprises. Travel insurers generally won’t cover:

  • Expenses related to pre-existing medical conditions unless your policy says otherwise
  • Non-emergency medical expenses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, routine medical check ups, or cosmetic procedures
  • Items left unsupervised in public places
  • Gear damaged while in use
  • Cash
  • Alcohol or drug related accidents
  • Many extreme sports are not covered unless you specifically add them to your plan

Why World Nomads has the best travel insurance

As we mentioned previously, we highly recommend World Nomads. As two semi-full-time travellers, we have travelled together and apart to over 55 countries, and have purchased various travel insurance over the years. We finally settled with Worlds Nomads as we felt they offered the best coverage for a reasonable price. We have had the misfortune of lodging several claims with them, and they have always responded quickly and fairly. I never felt like I was short changed when they were paying out for my claims. The biggest perks of World Nomads are:

  • Provides $5,000,000 emergency medical coverage on their standard plan (for Canadians, Australians, British and others)
  • Covers over 150 sports activities with their insurance including scuba diving, riding scooters and surfing (many of which other companies require you to pay extra coverage for)
  • Ability to extend or purchase insurance while you are not in your home country or if you are already on your trip (huge benefit for us as we never know how long we are traveling for)

Additionally, they always have staff on hand to help out with any questions and they never leave you waiting for a response for too long. It’s always good to know you are in safe hands. They are also endorsed by National Geographic and Lonely Planet, so they must be doing something right.

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Get Yourself Some Insurance

If you are going travelling for any length of time, then I can almost guarantee that you will need travel insurance at some point. We all think it will never happen to us, but accidents happen and stuff gets stolen all the time. Don’t leave yourself high and dry when something bad happens. I’m not usually a cautious sort of person, hence the stitches in my foot and stolen valuables, but I travel with great confidence knowing that when, not if, the next accident happens I know I will be covered.