Travel insurance for digital nomads: yay or nay?

To have insurance or not to have insurance. That is the question, in so many digital nomads’ minds these days.

But in my opinion, I don’t understand how it’s even a question.

Maybe if you’re a lucky chap and have never made a claim in your life – I can understand that you may feel it’s a tad unnecessary.

But for me, I had my bag stolen on my first day of my trip – and so my passport, iPhone, bank cards, $200 cash, and ID were all gone immediately. Luckily my parents forced me to get insurance before I left – so I was reimbursed the cost of my emergency passport, and I got the $200 cash back, and a replacement iPhone.

As well as this, I ended up with a stomach bug so bad that I was put on a drip in a Colombian hospital for 2 days. Without insurance, I would have had to pay for the hospital out of my own pocket. At least I didn’t have to worry about how much my hospital bill would be – as that would have made the whole experience even worse.

People often ask me why I’m so nonchalant, and how I seemed to be so chilled about when I lost everything.

It’s because I have insurance!

I’m not that bothered because I’ve got everything covered – so if I lose something, yes it’s annoying. But I can get it back.

Now, I know insurance is expensive. But think about how much it covers… My current policy covers me for a whole year of worldwide travel, and it covers:

  • Up to £10m hospital fees (because you can’t control car accidents or stomach infections, parasites  etc)
  • Lost bags at airports (and how often do bags get lost!)
  • Delayed/cancelled flights
  • Sports: including surfing, snowboarding and even motorbiking (the latter is SO important if you’re going to Bali)
  • And my MacBook laptop & smartphone

…and while I don’t want to be a negative Nancy, there’s a pretty high chance that you’ll need it if you go travelling.

For example, if you’re in a new city – it’s unlikely you’ll know exactly where to go. You may find yourself walking around looking like a tourist, which can put you at a slightly higher risk. And if you visit countries with mosquitos, or different cuisines, and different water, the chance of ending up in hospital may  go up.

So if you’re thinking maybe it is time to get insurance, you may be wondering:

There are a lot of insurance companies out there, who are the best companies to cover digital nomads?

I’ve been travelling since 2016, and have been pretty unfortunate. I have made a lot claims. The one positive of this is that I now know the importance of a good policy and a bad policy.

The first policy I took out was with Boots. I wanted to make a claim for my stolen stuff from my first day – but I had to fill in the form & send in my claim with all receipts via post. WHAT KIND OF OLD SCHOOL POLICY IS THAT. As I was long-term travelling, my only options were to…

  • Post my form to the UK from Colombia (Expensive and with a high chance of getting lost in the post)
  • Or wait 8 months until I got back to the UK.

Neither of those options were ideal.

So when that policy expired, I did not renew the policy.

As a more experienced traveller and even more experienced claim-maker, when the time was up to renew – I shopped around a lot.

I found two companies that are properly equipped for digital nomads: World Nomads and True Traveller.

I went for True Traveller because it was better value than World Nomads, and seemed to offer the same level of cover.

True Traveller are SO well equipped for digital nomads. They can cover you for long journeys, and they accept claims via email. Plus, if you make claims for specific items, they reimburse you for the cost of the item (rather than replacing the item). This means that if you lose something while you’re away, you can replace the item yourself – rather than having to be back at your home to receive the replacement that’s sent in the post.

Two crucial things you need to know when choosing insurance

After choosing such bad policies in the past, I now know to pay attention to the following…

  1. The excess. I used to always go for the cheapest option available, and I didn’t care about the excess. The “excess” is the amount you have to pay if you want to make a claim.
    • i.e. If you take out True Traveller’s True Value policy, and you have a medical claim, you will pay an excess of £125. So if the cost medical claim is £600, you’ll end up with £475 back.
    • However, if you choose their Traveller policy and make the same claim, the excess is just £75 – so you’d end up getting £525 back.
    • In my opinion, it’s better to go for the option where the excess is under £100. This just means that you’ll get more money back if you do make a claim.
    • You also have the opportunity to reduce the excess on any of their policies to zero, which is a pretty good option for long term travellers.
  2. The maximum amount you can claim. With my policy on True Traveller, I can cover up to £450 per item which is actually not bad compared to others. But this does mean that claiming on expensive items (like a laptop or camera), I’d only get £450 back.

So if you want to cover expensive items, I’d recommend taking out a specific policy to cover these. E.g. Photoguard have a good policy for cameras and drones.

So… in my opinion, travel insurance is an absolute must.

It’s not worth risking your health or personal items, and you never know what will happen when you go away.

Obviously it won’t cover you against everything, and you’ve still got to be careful. But at least for me, knowing I have things covered adds a layer of protection that helps me to not worry so much.

So what are you waiting for? Check out True Traveller now.

(Note – The above link is an affiliate link, which means that if you do choose to sign up to True Traveller using this link, I may get a small commission for recommending them. It doesn’t cost you any more, and I’m only recommending them from testing different providers and finding them as my favourite)


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