Are they good? Yes. Are they the cheapest? No. But they do offer fantastic cover for young travellers.
Many people think of travel insurance as an unnecessary pain the ass, and extra expense that you’ll probably never use – and fingers crossed you’ll hopefully never have to! But what if that pain in the ass turned out to be something like a broken arm, a natural disaster, or worse, a life-threatening brain aneurysm?
And trust me, these things happen. Fortunately, I’ve never suffered an aneurysm, but a volcano did significantly mess up my holiday 🌋🤬
But before we jump straight into this World Nomads travel insurance review, a bit about me and the facts presented in this article. I’m an Australian and have been living in London since 2007. I have travelled back and forth between Australia & the UK over 15 times and done all sorts of weird and wonderful adventures in between.
I’ve also used World Nomads travel insurance for 90% of my travels. And I have successfully claimed twice, so I know how they operate.
This World Nomads review is my honest critique with loads of facts, helpful information and real-life stories about why travel insurance is an absolute must. Prices quoted are in AUD ($).
Table of Contents
Are they good? Yes. Are they the cheapest? No. But they do offer fantastic cover for young travellers.
Who are World Nomads?
World Nomads is an Australian travel insurance company that started in 2002 and provide cover to travellers from over 140 countries. World Nomads Travel Insurance is rated 4.5 / 5 on TrustPilot from over a thousand real reviews and offer medical assistance or emergency evacuation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year before or during your trip.
Unlike other travel insurance companies, World Nomads was set up by travellers for travellers, so their policies include exactly what young travellers need most out of travel insurance.
Because World Nomads designed their policies for travellers, you’ll find cover for adventure activities such as skiing, bungee jumping or SCUBA diving. So if you’re a thrill-seeker, then World Nomads travel insurance is a good option for you!
What does World Nomads travel insurance cover?
The complete list of things World Nomads cover is extensive. In summary, they include emergency medical and dental costs, emergency evacuation, delays, interruption or full cancellation of your trip due to an unforeseen event plus lost, delayed, damaged, or stolen bags.
World Nomads offer two levels of cover: Standard & Explorer. Standard is their cheapest plan and Explorer is the premium cover, and therefore it’s the most expensive. I have listed below all the things that World Nomads travel insurance will cover you for and provided examples of each. But remember that both plans will provide different levels of cover for each item, so I suggest that you figure out what cover you need first, then select the suitable insurance policy.
I have taken out both Standard and Explorer policies with World Nomads and lodged claims with both. Fundamentally they operate the same in terms of lodging claims, but they cover different things and varying levels of what can be claimed.
Read the difference between Standard and Explorer plans for full details.
What activities you’re covered for will depend if you buy a Standard plan or Explorer plan. I recommend that you work out what you intend to do on your travels and see if the Standard plan is sufficient. If not, then you’ll have to upgrade and possibly add on sporting policy to ensure you’re fully covered for everything you plan to – or might do.
Because World Nomads is solely designed for travellers, they cover a massive 150+ activities. Some of these include:
The complete list of things World Nomads travel insurance will cover:
If you suffer a sudden illness or severe injury while you’re travelling, World Nomads will cover you for $5,000,000 on their Standard plan and an unlimited figure on their Explorer plan.
Example: You’re on a hiking tour, you fall and break both your legs (you’re a clumsy walker).
Your World Nomads policy will cover your hospital, ambulance, doctors and the cost to evacuate you from the location if deemed necessary by a certified physician. Any repatriation costs getting you back home if so required are also covered.
You’re also covered by World Nomads for emergency dental treatment for accidental injuries that occur during your trip. Both Standard and Explorer plans cover up to $500.
Example: You slip over and land face-first onto the pavement knocking out your front teeth.
This is just World Nomads customer service, so it’s no surprise that it is equal for both their Standard & Explorer plans.
I don’t even know why they both to add this in the list because it’s plastered all over their website anyway.
World Nomads will pay up to $500,000 on Standard or an unlimited figure on Explorer for any necessary additional expenses with your medical evacuation.
Example: You’re removed by ambulance after your fall while hiking, but your condition deteriorates, and it is decided that you need to be flown to a major hospital by private jet.
You’ll be covered for up to $3,500 on the Standard plan, and an unlimited figure on their Explorer plan if an unavoidable event has left you with no alternative but to cancel your entire trip or a portion of your trip.
Example: You book your trip and then the Australian Government issues a ‘Do Not Travel’ warning to your destination country after you’ve purchased the policy.
It’s essential to understand what World Nomads classify as an ‘unavoidable insured event.’
Available on the Explorer plan only, this is a $50 per day reimbursement cover for any out-of-pocket expenses such as international phone calls, internet or even better hospital food.
Example: You’ve been admitted to hospital for more than 48 hours, and you’re calling you worried family back home, catching up on all the Netflix you’ve missed, and you want something better than the shit they’ve been serving you. Just remember to keep all your receipts!
If you’ve purchased the World Nomads Explorer plan and your sudden illness or severe injury requires alternative therapy, then you’re covered up to $500.
Example: You fell down a flight of stairs and did your back in. As a result, you need some extra chiropractor sessions to help with your recovery.
The treatment has to be given by a registered and licensed practitioner. You can’t just use some guy on the side of the road to click your neck back into place and expect to be refunded for the costs.
If you require counselling by a psychologist while overseas, then World Nomads will cover you for this cost. But only if you’ve taken out the Explorer plan.
Example: You were mugged after a night out, and while you’re still travelling, the event is causing you acute psychological trauma.
World Nomads cover you on both Standard & Explorer plans if your trip is unexpectedly interrupted by an insured event. The level of cover is doubled if you have taken out their Explorer plan.
Example: Let’s use my real-life natural disaster example of the volcanic ash cloud which closed all UK airspace for 6 consecutive days resulting in one of my flights being cancelled.
World Nomads will pay to get you back home to be with your family as a result of death or sudden hospitalisation. The great thing here is that you’re covered up to $1,500 no matter which plan you’re on.
Example: Granny pops her clogs while you’re travelling & you wish to return home to be with your family.
Your home or owned business property in Australia is severely damaged by a natural disaster or fire.
This follows on from the compassionate emergency visit mentioned above. Basically, if you voluntarily return back home due to or you are medically repatriation, then World Nomads will foot the bill for reasonable additional transport and accommodation expenses that allow you to resume your trip. Both plans provide you with $1,500 protection in this case.
Example: Granny dies, and you return home for a short period.
Just like all the other policy inclusions, it’s important to note that there are conditions around this coverage. Such as you can only resume your trip if it falls within the dates shown on your insurance certificate.
If your luggage and personal items are stolen or accidentally damaged, then World Nomads will pay to either repair the item, replace it with a similar item or refund you the original purchase after depreciation.
The great thing is that this also includes any items you buy during your trip too!
Example: You’re taking selfies over the side of a boat, and you drop your phone.
What value is covered by World Nomads will vary between their Standard and Explorer plans – especially when it comes to your portable electronic devices. If you didn’t want to use the Explorer plan, but you did have an item that was valued higher than the Standard plans limit, you can opt to upgrade your cover to increase the individual item limit to $3,000.
If your airline misplaces or delays your checked luggage by more than 12 hours, then World Nomads will pay for your essential clothing and toiletries until your items have been returned.
Example: You’ve arrived ready for your hiking tour, but your warm clothes have been delayed by 24 hours.
The capped amount is equal for both Standard and Explorer plans.
If your airline misplaces or delays your sporting equipment by more than 12 hours, then World Nomads will pay for you to hire equivalent equipment. They’ll even pay if the airline damages your items.
Example: You’ve arrived in Japan for a hockey competition, but your sporting equipment bag has landed in London.
This cover is only available if you’ve purchased the Explorer plan.
If you’re the unfortunate victim of a kidnapping or hijacking while on your travels overseas, then World Nomads will reimburse you $250 for each day that you’re detained.
Example: This one is pretty self-explanatory.
Available on the Explorer plan only.
World Nomads travel insurance will cover your rental car insurance excess or pay the cost to repair if it’s stolen or been involved in an accident.
Example: You’re at fault in an accident AND you have met all the requirements of this cover:
- You have a valid Australian licence for the class of vehicle you’re driving
- You were abiding by the local laws of the country in which you were driving
- You did purchase the rental car insurance offered at the time of hire
- You have a signed rental agreement
Available on the Explorer plan only.
If you’re medically unfit to return your hire car, then World Nomads will cover the costs to return the rental vehicle for you.
Example: You fall ill and are in hospital at the time when your rental car is to be returned.
It’s important to note that you won’t be covered if:
- You were driving without a valid Australian drivers licence for the class of vehicle you were driving
- You were driving unlawfully
- You were in violation of your rental agreement
- You were driving on any racetrack unless you were given explicit permission to do so by the rental company
And another big one here is that you won’t be covered if you were driving anything other than a standard passenger vehicle. So aircraft, quad bikes, high-performance or antique cars aren’t included!
Available on the Explorer plan only.
If you suddenly die while travelling, World Nomads will reimburse one of your close relatives or a member of your travelling party up to $15,000. You’ll be covered for either local funeral costs or bringing your remains back home.
Example: You die unexpectedly through no reckless or illegal activity.
Available on both Standard & Explorer plans.
You or your estate will be paid up to $12,500 from World Nomads travel insurance – if as a result of an accident overseas, you die, lose a limb, your eyesight or are permanently disabled.
Example: You’ll be covered if you lose your arm, but NOT if:
- The accident was caused by an illness
- The accident is the result of a pre-existing medical condition
This level of cover is only available on the Explorer plan.
This is a one-time payment of $2,500 to help cover any of your debts if you die or are permanently disabled during your trip.
Available with the Explorer plan only.
Personal liability occurs in the event an accident which results in bodily injury or damage to property which you are held legally responsible for.
If you injure someone or damage another person’s property during your travels, you’re sued and found to be legally liable, then World Nomads will cover you – as long as you weren’t breaking the law or under the influence of a banned substance at the time of the event.
If you’re on the Standard Plan, you’ll be covered for up to $1 million and $2.5 million on the Explorer plan.
Example: You accidentally drive your hire car into a parking lot full of Ferraris (and you weren’t stoned).
Personally, I always go for the higher personal liability because you never know what can happen and if you did cause severe injury or damage, then one million might not be enough cover.
What’s not covered by World Nomads travel insurance?
Like you, I did my research on different travel insurance providers, and they all seem to offer the same coverage. Some offer slightly different things depending on the level of policy you take out, but that’s really about it.
No matter who you buy your travel insurance from, there are two essential things to remember:
- Travel insurance companies, including World Nomads, have strict rules around pre-existing medical conditions.
- Insurance companies will jump at the chance to reject your claim if there is any evidence of reckless or illegal activity on your part.
In summary: Don’t break the law & make sure you’re honest about any pre-existing conditions.
World Nomads is a fantastic insurance provider, but they’re sure as hell not going to cover you, someone else, or third party property if you have done something stupid or failed to purchase the correct level of cover.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that they are covered no matter what. And that my friends couldn’t be further from the truth.
Each item in your policy comes with its own rules around what is covered and what’s not but generally speaking, if you’re careless, then you might not be covered.
World Nomads travel insurance review: Standard Vs Explorer plans
You don’t need to have the highest level of cover. I have made multiple trips with a Standard plan policy as it provided ample protection for my travel requirements. It was only when I was slightly older and started taking valuable items with me on my travels did I upgrade to the Explorer plan as it provided better cover for my items.
As I mentioned earlier, you will need to think about what it is you’ll be taking with you and any potential activities you’ll be involved in while on holiday. Only then can you decide if a Standard plan in enough or if you should upgrade to Explorer insurance policy.
The key differences between the two plans are:
- Unlike the Standard plan, the World Nomads Explorer plan has no limit to what can be claimed for overseas medical expenses, emergency medical transport & repatriation as well as cancellation costs.
- The Explorer policy costs less because it does not provide cover for additional medical expenses, including out-of-pocket expenses in hospital, access to alternative therapies or clinical psychology after assault or trauma.
- Your sporting equipment is covered for damage, delay or loss by a common carrier (airlines & train operators for example) on an Explorer plan but not on a Standard plan.
- Explorer plans include cover for car hire, but Standard policies do not. Not only that, but the level of protection included with the Explorer plan means that you can forget about buying additional third-party insurance for your rental.
- The claim limit for interrupted trips, theft or damage to personal items and personal liability is significantly higher on an Explorer plan compared to a Standard plan.
The table below shows the items covered by a World Nomads policy, what is covered by each plan and also which plans provide the same level of cover.
|Cover||Standard plan||Explorer plan||Excess||Same cover?|
|Overseas medical expenses||$5,000,000||Unlimited||$100|
|Emergency dental treatment||$500||$500||$100|
|24 hour assistance||Unlimited||Unlimited||Nil|
|Emergency medical transport & repatriation||$500,000||Unlimited||$100|
|Out-of-pocket expenses in hospital||$5,000||Nil|
|Clinical psychology after assault or trauma||$250||Nil|
|Trip interruption costs||$2,500||$5,000||$100|
|Compassionate emergency visit home||$1,500||$1,500||$100|
|Resumption of trip||$1,500||$1,500||$100|
|Theft or damage to baggage & personal items||$2,000||$10,000||$100|
|Baggage delay over 12 hours||$300||$450||$100|
|Hire of sporting equipment||$1,000||$100|
|Kidnap or hijack||$2,500||Nil|
|Rental vehicle insurance excess||$3,000||$100|
|Return of rental vehicle||$500||$100|
|Local funeral expenses or repatriation of remains||$15,000||$15,000||Nil|
|Accidental death & permanent total disablement||$12,500||Nil|
|Credit repayment for full time students||$2,500||Nil|
How much is World Nomads travel insurance?
A World Nomads travel insurance review wouldn’t be complete without discussing the costs involved.
I have always found World Nomads policies to be fairly reasonable, but what I think is affordable may be significantly different from your opinion. Still, when you compare World Nomads travel insurance to other insurers, you will find that it is competitively priced.
Is World Nomads the most affordable on the market? No. But, do you really want the cheapest policy when it comes to covering you, your belongings or third-party property? I strongly suggest not!
To demonstrate the cost of World Nomads, I have created an example quote for a 29-year-old Australian travelling to Europe for 23 days in June. Without adding on the optional $2 charity donation, the base policy is $108.50 ($4.72/day) on the Standard plan or $145.00 ($6.30/day) on the Explorer plan.
I don’t think that that a maximum of $6.30 per day (Explorer plan) for peak European summer time cover is too unreasonable considering what level of protection you’ll be getting.
Obviously, you’ll need to get your own quote to see your price so the price could be more or less than my example.
When it comes to buying travel insurance, don’t think “can I afford to get this”. Instead, ask yourself “can I afford NOT to get this”. I’m fairly confident the answer is no you can’t.
If you need any more convincing, take a few minutes to read these real-life World Nomads claims. You’ll be clicking that get a quote button without a second thought!
World Nomads promo code
I know that a World Nomads quote can sometimes be more expensive than other insurers, but I found this World Nomads promo code that will save you 5% off your policy.
World Nomads alternatives
I’ve jumped online to comparethemarket.com.au and used the same details as I did for the example quote I created above.
Now, I’ll admit that I didn’t read through the policy details for every option that popped up, but what I did notice that a few alternatives didn’t provide the level of that World Nomads offered. This includes cover for items such as laptops, cameras & phones – which we know us under 35s can’t travel without!
1Cover, iTrek and Woolworths insurance policies all came in cheaper than my World Nomads quote, but the prices were all relatively in the same ball-park. World Nomads’ Explorer plan was more expensive than the top 11 results, but again, some coverage wasn’t as good.
Higher prices could be a massive deal for you, and if it is, then it’s good to know you do have other options.
The thing I really like is that World Nomads was founded by travellers like you & me – so they get ‘us’. Their plans are full of the types of cover that backpackers, thrill-seekers and gap year students want and need in their travel insurance. And for that reason alone, I think that it’s well worth spending a touch more to use World Nomads as they only insure travellers.
My personal experience with World Nomads
I have taken out travel insurance from World Nomads more than fifteen times, and I have claimed twice – successfully I might add 🙌
My first claim was for theft, and my second claim was for costs incurred and missed flights due to a volcanic eruption. In both cases, I was paid out in full (minus excess) for my claim.
In both instances, I had taken out different levels of cover – Standard plan (for my stolen camera) and the Explorer plan (for the volcanic eruption). I was happy that I had paid extra for the Explorer plan as the volcanic eruption caused me to spend over $2,500, which is the maximum claim amount for trip interruption costs covered by the cheaper Standard policy.
Full details of my World Nomads insurance claims are below.
Claim #1 - Theft
The first claim I submitted was probably a fairly typical case that World Nomads see. Theft.
In this case, my camera had been stolen.
It was my first ever travel insurance claim, but it was simple. I immediately:
- Reported the theft to the hostel I was staying in.
- Reported the theft to the police who provided me with a police report.
For me, I did not submit a claim while I was travelling as I was on my way back to Australia by this stage, so I figured I would sort it upon my return. When I did get around to submitting the claim with World Nomads, I provided them with the full written police report and copies of my camera purchase receipt.
My claim was submitted & processed within a matter of weeks.
Claim #2 - Natural disaster
Remember the huge-ass volcanic ash cloud of 2010? If you don’t recall this event, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano blew its top and caused chaos in the aviation world.
I was halfway through my around-the-world trip from Australia – London – USA – Australia and due to fly within 24 hours when the ash cloud brought flights to a grinding halt across western and northern Europe.
Some 20 countries closed their airspace, and it affected approximately 10 million travellers. I remember having drinks in Covent Garden, London on the day of the eruption when talks of flight cancellations started to spread. I immediately said to my friend “thank God I have my travel insurance.”
Admittedly, I did have to double-check my policy to ensure I was actually covered for natural disasters. I honestly never imagined that a massive volcano would cause me to miss my flight to Los Angeles – but that’s precisely why you NEED to have travel insurance. To protect you against the unexpected!
Fortunately, my Explorer plan from World Nomads covered me for an unlimited value for cancellation or trip interruption expenses.
As with claim#1, I was already travelling. But this time around it was going to cost me money from my own pocket to cover hotel accommodation which I hadn’t planned (or budgeted for).
Hotels in London during April can be on the pricey side, so I checked into the Royal National Hotel where I had stayed before my Contiki tour in 2007.
I ended up having to stay for six nights before the ash cloud cleared enough for flights to resume, but I kept copies of my hotel receipts for my claim process.
Of course, things such as natural disasters can have a costly knock-on effect, but fortunately for me, I was flying to the States to stay with friends, so I had no pre-paid accommodation that I missed out on.
When I returned to Australia, I simply submitted my claim form and also provided:
- Copies of my initial flight itinerary
- Copies of my flight tickets for the new flights from London – Los Angeles
- Receipts of my hotel accommodation in London
- A statement from my airline confirming the reason, timing and duration of the unexpected event
Again, my claim was submitted & processed within a matter of weeks.
My World Nomads travel insurance review
I believe that 8.8/10 is a fair and accurate rating for World Nomads travel insurance. Are they good? Yes. Are they the cheapest on the market? No. But they do offer fantastic cover for adventurous young travellers, and they do pay out on legitimate claims.
Pros & cons of World Nomads travel insurance
I find the price jumps significantly higher than I would expect when adding a high-value item to the policy, such as a Macbook.
Let’s refer to the quote from earlier and look at the Explorer plan: If my Macbook is worth more than the $2000 that this policy covers for an item such as this, then I need to upgrade to include this item. Let’s say it’s valued at $2500. The quote jumps from the $108.50 base policy to $270. That’s a whopping 60% increase on the original quote😱
I don’t quite understand how you can be covered for unlimited medical, unlimited repatriation costs and $2.5 million personal liability, but then charged so much extra for a laptop.
I’d like to see the Explorer plan have an increased threshold for high-value items. But at the end of the day, if I did have such expensive gadgets I was taking on the road, then you know what, I’d happily pay the extra to ensure I was covered for anything.
On a positive note, when I came to write this World Nomads travel insurance review, I was going to mention that their online portal can be a little confusing for first-time users. But having logged into the site and generated a quote again, I can see that World Nomads have made some much-needed improvements here.
It used to be confusing knowing how to upgrade your cover for high-value items, but now it looks super easy.
Is World Nomads good travel insurance?
In all honesty, World Nomads are one of the best travel insurance companies you can use and hugely popular for backpackers and those after long-term travel insurance.
I have always found World Nomads to be trustworthy, easy to use and reliable. Some big travel brands also trust World Nomads, including Topdeck, Contiki & TourRadar.
Not only that, but World Nomads are big believers in supporting sustainable tourism and giving back to the destinations their customers visit. You can donate a small amount to their cause when buying your travel insurance online, but admittedly, when I was younger, I never did this as money was tight – and so was I.
Other reviews of World Nomads travel insurance
Why should you buy World Nomads travel insurance?
My top four reasons why you should consider buying your travel insurance from World Nomads are:
I mentioned earlier that I have used World Nomads for 90% of my travels. So why just 90%?
World Nomads weren’t the first travel insurance company I used. Cover-More was actually the company I used when I first went overseas in 2007. Why I used them I honestly can’t remember. I do know they were more expensive than World Nomads though. I think it was probably due to the fact I had never travelled overseas on my own before and my parents may have recommended them.
Also, now that I am settled in the UK, my travel insurance is all provided by my credit card company, so I no longer need to purchase travel insurance.
For the many times I did use World Nomads, I guess I found them good enough to continue purchasing new policies every time I travelled, and I think that speaks volumes especially as I had claimed with them before.
Obviously, if you put in a claim with your travel insurance company and you don’t get reimbursed, or then the entire process is a nightmare, then you’re never going to use that company again. Fortunately, I never encountered any such issues with World Nomads.
I think it’s also important to note that World Nomads is the preferred travel insurance provided by some big brands such as Lonely Planet, TourRadar, Intrepid Travel, Topdeck Travel & Contiki. These brands must sell a lot of travel insurance under their names, and if it wasn’t a reliable product, then I highly doubt they’d be promoting it!
How to lodge a claim with World Nomads
It seems that World Nomads have upgraded their online claim portal which now should make it much more simple to lodge your claim – even while you’re still travelling.
I didn’t submit my claims while I was overseas as both my cases were not urgent enough for me to spend time doing the paperwork while I could have been enjoying myself. I did; however, keep a well-documented expenses folder (a Google Drive folder that is) for when the ash cloud delayed my flight by six days.
See my top tip# 7 below for more on keeping documents for your claim process.
Claiming on the move with World Nomads is straight forward. You need to:
- Log in to the claim portal and attach your supporting documents.
- Keep an eye on your email account and your World Nomads portal as the agent working on your file if they require any further documents or information to support your claim.
You’ll receive an email confirmation with a reference number that you can use to track the progress of your claim.
Remember, detailed information and accurate documents will make it quicker and easier for you to get reimbursed!
The World Nomads online claim portal.
My top tips
Complete your quote accurately. And before you confirm your purchase, double-check that you have listed everything you possibly need to mention to World Nomads.
Are you taking high-value items on holiday with you? Make sure you have either upgraded to the Explorer plan or that you have added them as extras in the Standard plan.
If you’re engaging in adventure sports, work or volunteer activities on your trip? Add them to your policy!
Read your policy paperwork from front to back. I know it’s boring and a bunch of legally binding jargon – but it’s entirely useless for you if you don’t have the right policy for what you’re planning on doing.
Upload a copy of your policy and contact numbers to the cloud (I use Google Drive) and make them available offline. This way you can access them anywhere in the world even without the internet.
Keep a close report on any out-of-pocket expenses you incur if you’re planning to lodge a claim. You’ll also need to understand what documents are required to submit your claim successfully – such as a police report for theft of personal items.
Be sensible and abide by the local laws at all times. Ain’t no cover for people doing the wrong thing!
Real-life World Nomads claims
Earlier, I talked about the cost of World Nomads travel insurance, and I said to think of how you – or your family – will be able to pay the repatriation costs if something were to go horribly wrong.
It’s impossible to predict what will happen when you travel. I never dreamed in a million years that a giant volcano in Iceland would cause travel chaos throughout Europe – but imagine if I didn’t have travel insurance and I had to pay out of my own pocket. No, thank you!
Here are a few examples of real-life World Nomads claims which they have paid out.
World Nomads travel insurance review disclaimer
This World Nomads travel insurance review has been produced from my personal experiences with World Nomads. Other information has been provided from research on the topics mentioned using information obtained from the World Nomads website.
As far as I am aware, the information is up to date and accurate. You should conduct your own thorough research and make up your mind what travel insurance is right for you.