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I’m sharing my experience with family travel insurance from World Nomads. Here’s how I decide whether travel insurance is worth it for our vacations and how you can know what is really covered.
Are you in any travel related Facebook groups? Lately, it seems like I’m always seeing posts about travel problems that might have been helped by inexpensive family travel insurance. Whether it’s something as simple as lost luggage or as crazy as getting injured in a car crash, no one ever expects travel emergencies to happen – until they do. And sometimes travelers simply don’t know how helpful family travel insurance can be!
One problem is that buying a travel insurance policy can feel like throwing money into a black hole. A super confusing black hole full of legal jargon and loopholes. I honestly used to assume that claims were probably denied all the time, so I wasn’t sure it was even worth the money. Not to mention I didn’t have a solution for navigating those complicated travel insurance policies anyway.
But then (as I was getting jabbed with my Typhoid vaccine), my travel nurse urged me to check out World Nomads. I looked it up as soon as I got home, and I loved how simple and straightforward their website was. Could family travel insurance really be that easy?
I thought I would share my experience with World Nomads, since it seems like so many other travelers aren’t sure whether travel insurance is worth it or what’s really covered.
Why I Love World Nomads For Travel Insurance
Before we get to nitty-gritty travel insurance details, I want to share two big reasons I love supporting World Nomads as a company.
When you buy a policy with World Nomads, you can contact someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plain and simple, this is one of my favorite things about buying our family travel insurance from World Nomads.
World Nomads founded The Footprints Network following the 2004 Southeast Asian Tsunami. When you purchase a policy through World Nomads you get to make a micro-donation to the project of your choice through The Footprints Network. But because World Nomads is extra awesome, they pay all administrative costs and fees, so 100% of your donation goes directly to those who need it most. They’re currently funding projects to help girls access education in Papua New Guinea, protect sharks and rays in Belize, and provide teacher training in rural Nepal, among others.
Is Travel Insurance Worth It?
How can you decide whether buying travel insurance is worth it? The answer will be different for every family and every trip, so I’m going to share with you the questions I ask myself when I’m deciding whether or not to buy travel insurance, but only you can decide what you’re comfortable with.
How soon is the trip?
I’ll be honest…we don’t often plan our vacations very far in advance, but the further ahead we’re planning, the more likely we are to buy travel insurance. If we’re taking a very last minute trip, it’s less likely that we’ll need to cancel. Obviously, there’s still always a chance that something could go wrong, which brings us to the next question I ask myself…
How much of our vacation budget is non-refundable?
A faraway, bucket-list vacation is usually more expensive and involves a lot more advance planning than a last minute road trip (where we’re probably only paying for a hotel and attractions). A big vacation often also involves more non-refundable charges (including much pricier plane tickets). So I calculate the non-refundable part of our vacation budget and compare it to the travel insurance policy quote. Then we decide if we would be ok with losing all of that non-refundable money if we had to cancel the trip. I’m personally more likely to buy travel insurance for big-ticket vacation.
How far away are we traveling?
If we’re just going on a road trip a couple of states away, chances are that driving home early would not be a huge problem. But if we had to return home early from a trip to Southeast Asia, those last-minute flights or change fees could really add up. This is one reason I tend to buy travel insurance for destinations that are further away.
Would our medical and dental insurance cover us in our destination?
We’re from the USA, and our regular health insurance plan would cover us if we needed emergency medical care here in our home country. But if we’re traveling internationally, I can’t rely on it. So for those vacations, I usually buy a travel insurance policy that provides emergency medical and dental care as well as emergency evacuation and repatriation.
What activities are we taking part in?
Most of our vacations are pretty active, so as a mom I always feel more at ease knowing we have emergency coverage if something went wrong. I check World Nomads’ activities list every time I get a quote to make sure everything we have planned will be covered.
A common misconception is that travel insurance won’t cover any extreme sports or activities, but it can. World Nomads currently lists loads of activities on their Standard plan, like camel trekking and kite surfing. And their buy-up Explorer plan currently lists heli-skiing and bull riding! You can read the full, up-to-date list of covered sports and activities by clicking here.
Of course every time you request a quote or purchase a policy you should confirm the covered activities and sports, in case it changes in the future. But if you don’t see something listed, you can contact World Nomads to find out if you would be covered.
What Does Travel Insurance Really Cover?
Luckily it’s incredibly fast and easy to get a detailed quote from World Nomads, so you are never left in the dark about your coverage. When I recently requested a quote for our next trip, I was immediately able to see what would be included and the coverage limits. Of course, it is super important that you read your own quote and policy thoroughly, as it may be different from mine.
Emergency Medical And Dental Care, Emergency Evacuation, And Emergency Repatriation
First, I could see what our emergency medical and dental coverage would be, along with the emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage. Usually, this includes anything that is a true emergency and happens through no fault of your own, so it’s important to act responsibly (for example, an emergency caused by excessive drinking wouldn’t be covered).
As I mentioned above, some activities and sports are covered by the Standard plan shown in the gray column, while some would require the buy-up Explorer plan shown in the yellow column (and of course there will always be some extreme activities that just aren’t covered).
Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation
I was also able to see our options for non-medical emergency evacuation (note that this one was not available to residents of every state).
Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, And Trip Delay
Next was our trip cancellation, interruption, and delay coverage. This often includes things like hospitalization or death of a non-traveling immediate family member, and natural disasters.
Lost, Damaged, Or Stolen Baggage, And Baggage Delay
Lost or delayed baggage is not always something you think about being included in a family travel insurance policy, but World Nomads clearly laid out what would be covered for us. Luckily we’ve only ever had our baggage get delayed on our way home, but it’s really nice to know the details ahead of time if we ever needed to make a claim.
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)
CDW coverage was an interesting option offered with the buy-up Explorer plan as part of my quote. We’ve been in situations where outside CDW coverage wasn’t accepted by the car rental agency, so that is something I would check on in advance if we were planning to use it (note that this also wasn’t available to residents of every state).
Accidental Death & Dismemberment
My quote from World Nomads also included a small amount of Accidental Death & Dismemberment compensation coverage.
Where To Find The Detailed Policy Quote
Finally, I always do my due diligence and read through the actual policy (boring, I know, but necessary!). World Nomads makes it really easy to find the full description of coverage, right at the top of the quote page. While my most recent policy quote was about 18 pages long, I found it pretty clear and straightforward. Plus you can always call World Nomads if you are not sure about something in the policy.
More Common Family Travel Insurance FAQ
Does travel insurance cover family illness?
If a family member back home has a life-threatening medical emergency and you need to cancel your trip or return home early, trip cancellation or interruption coverage may help you recover the extra costs associated with changing your plans.
Policies usually specify exactly which family relationships would qualify and what costs are covered, and you will likely be asked to provide documentation. While that might seem like kind of a pain, I like the peace of mind that comes with not worrying about the price of an expensive last-minute flight change.
Does travel insurance cover pet illness?
As much as I love our furry friends, I haven’t found a policy anywhere that covers veterinary emergencies.
Does travel insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
Maybe and maybe not. This is a tricky one, and as someone living with a pre-existing condition, I know that every situation is different. Some stable and well-controlled conditions may still be covered, so I would urge you to contact World Nomads and ask about your situation. In the past, I have called World Nomads directly so I always knew exactly what was covered.
Can I buy trip cancellation insurance only?
World Nomads doesn’t offer trip cancellation separately, but you will probably be surprised by how affordable the Standard plans are, even for a family.
Can you buy travel insurance after booking?
Yes, you can. I usually buy our travel insurance immediately after booking, however, so I’m covered if I need to use the cancellation coverage.
Should you buy travel insurance online?
Some travelers will always feel more comfortable buying a policy from a local brick and mortar travel insurance broker, although they are becoming less common. I like buying travel insurance online from World Nomads because it is so convenient and clear. I also feel comfortable knowing that they are backed by reputable insurers and 24-hour assistance.
Have you ever had to use your family travel insurance to file a claim? What was your experience?