World Nomads and SafetyWing – Do You REALLY NEED Travel Insurance?

Tim with a Broken Leg - World Nomads vs Safety Wing

If you’re planning for a trip, almost ready to leave, or just considering the possibility of travel, you need to be thinking about travel insurance. Do you really need it? How does it fit in your budget?

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Reasons to Consider Getting Travel Insurance

We Take More Risks When We Travel

Snowboarder throwing up bursts of snow

How often do you go on vacation, or get to a new destination, and start diving into activities you rarely, if ever, do at home? And we go all in, not knowing the inherent risks of the activity.

I mean, who’s not going to take the opportunity to go snorkeling when you’re in an island paradise? Or hiking that semi-active volcano? Or trying snowboarding for the first time?

Personally, my first time snorkeling was in the Red Sea, Tim’s was in Thailand. Our first kayaking and whitewater rafting, also in Thailand.

While I’d ridden a horse once or twice at home, I really wasn’t prepared to go running across the desert on one near the Pyramids at Giza. But I did. (Okay, I didn’t know they were going to run. I just had to hang on tight.)

Let’s face it, when we travel, we take more risks – which is great! Travel is all about new experiences. But it also leaves us open to more dangers and accidents. You don’t want one mistake or bad decision to ruin your entire trip, or put you in serious debt.

World Nomads travel insurance policies offer coverage for more than 150 activities. Get a quote, make a claim, or buy or extend your policy while on the road.
Diver amidst fish and manta ray

Unpredictable Accidents

There’s also the fact that being in a foreign environment you might find yourself in some…challenging…situations.

Ever try crossing the street in Paris? Or Jakarta? (We have tips to help you with this in Jakarta, in Paris, you’re on your own.) It’s crazy. Just in the time it takes to learn the rules of the road, crap can happen.

On our high school band’s trip to Europe, my best friend got smacked into by a guy on a scooter – and she was standing on the sidewalk! Fortunately she got out of it with just a badly bruised leg. But it can happen that fast, and the health insurance you have at home may not cover you in a foreign country.

Renting a motorbike, or taking a moto-taxi? These are some of the most common ways travel injuries occur.

In Tim’s case, we’d been on a 7-hour mini-bus ride in Laos. If you’ve ever been to Southeast Asia, you know that there are stairs, uneven and oddly-placed ones, everywhere. Coming out of the bathroom at the bus station, Tim mis-stepped, did a dance down the remaining stairs and fell to the ground. Somewhere on the way down, he broke his leg – in 2 places.

Yes, Tim broke his leg coming out of the loo.

If you’re going to travel, you need to include travel insurance in your trip’s budget. This next story is a perfect example of why.

The Adventure of Tim’s Broken Leg

The short version.

Tim's broken leg wrapped at hospital in Laos
Tim’s leg as wrapped by the hospital in Phonsavan, Laos.

The local hospital in Phonsavan was really bad. Hardly any wheelchairs, staff that seemed surprised that we wanted an x-ray, and after wrapping his leg in a temporary support, which they did a good job of, they didn’t admit him, but sent us to fend for ourselves in a guesthouse until we could get transport to Vientiane the next day.

After another 7-hour bus ride, we got to the hospital in Vientiane. They took one look and said that they couldn’t handle his case. So we got a ride in an ambulance across the border to Thailand.

This was actually our 3rd entry into Thailand in 6 months. I think the place had a Team Hazard magnet on it.

Anyway, the hospital in Udon Thani did a great job. They operated on Tim’s leg and put in a bunch of screws and metal plates. The couch in his room converted to a bed so I could stay with him and not have to find a hotel. Tim got physical therapy, a walker and a wheelchair and generally very well taken care of.

World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.

Our travel insurance paid for all of it.

And while most plans handle claims where you pay out-of-pocket and then get reimbursed, the hospital administrator was able to work out a pre-approval process with them that meant we paid almost nothing up front. There were a few appointments that didn’t get approved in time that we paid for, but we were always reimbursed in a reasonable amount of time.

Tim giving thumbs up right before surgery on his leg
Tim, as he’s headed into surgery to repair his broken leg

We can’t guarantee that bit of organizational magic will always be available, but we appreciate that both sides, the hospital and the insurance company, were actually working to help us.

Oh, and if we had wanted to fly home for the remainder of Tim’s treatment, the insurance would have covered that, too. It was offered several times. But the care he was receiving in Thailand was excellent and going home didn’t make sense for us.

You might be wondering which insurance we had. We used World Nomads.

2021 Update: While we were in Vietnam, Tim got double pneumonia (non-Covid) and ended up spending some time in the hospital.

I’ll admit, this time, the insurance company took a while to get to our case, but they not only reimbursed us in full, but paid interest on the extra time taken. World Nomads has not failed us yet.

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Your Activities + Age + Destination = Best Travel Insurance Choice for You

Focusing on these key factors should guide you to the company that is right for you.

Who are World Nomads?

Since 2002, World Nomads have been protecting, connecting and inspiring independent travelers.

They offer simple and flexible travel insurance and safety advice to help you travel.

Because they believe in giving back to the places we travel to, World Nomads also enables you to make a difference with a micro-donation when you buy a policy.

And they’ll help you plan your trip with free downloadable guides, travel tips, responsible travel insights and recommendations from their global community.

World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

7 things to know about World Nomads travel insurance

Internationally recognised underwriters
World Nomads is backed by a suite of specialist travel insurers that provide 24/7 emergency assistance, customer service and claims support.

24/7 emergency assistance
If you need medical assistance or emergency medical evacuation, World Nomads’ multi-lingual team is available 24/7 to connect you with medical treatment and transportation during your trip.

Buy and claim on the road
Had a change of plans? You can extend your period of cover or claim online at any point in your journey. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you’re already travelling.

Adventure activity coverage
Designed by travelers, for travelers, World Nomads covers over 150 adventure sports and activities so you can explore your boundaries.

Travel safety tips and alerts
World Nomads provides useful and up-to-date travel insurance information and global travel safety advice to help you plan for your journey and navigate the risks.

Donate and make a difference
When you buy travel insurance with World Nomads, you can make a micro-donation to a community development project to help change lives in the destinations that need it most.

Travel content to help inspire, educate and plan
Plan your trip with free destination guides, develop your travel storytelling skills and learn how you can be a more responsible traveler with World Nomads as your travel companion.

World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Who Are SafetyWing?

People who are location independent fall between the cracks, without proper access to insurance or national safety nets. We know this because we are nomads ourselves.

To solve this, we are building a global social safety net tailored to the needs of online freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote companies. We started with travel and medical insurance (Nomad Insurance) and are adding comprehensive health insurance (Remote Health) to our offering before moving on to disability insurance and pension savings into one global membership. We will keep adding products until we have a complete social safety net — fully functioning across borders.

The ultimate plan is to create actual citizenship with a passport — a country on the internet — where citizens are lifetime members with unlimited access to a global social safety net.

SafetyWing went through Y Combinator (W18), has raised venture-funding and is serving more than 100,000 happy clients while growing more than 20% monthly since launch February 2018.

Get Your Travel Insurance Quote NOW!

I’ll repeat here, neither company rooks you into giving your email address to get a quote. It’s truly instant.

Oh, and one last thing…

Have a great trip!

Team Hazard

Old, fat and disabled and traveling the world anyway. Join Trina and Tim as they wander around the planet bringing you honest stories about the people and places they encounter.

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  • We’ve had our fair share of health ups and downs over the years since we went nomad, but breaking a bone is up there on our list of worst travel nightmares! Glad it all worked out.

    If you ever visit the Philippines, look us up! We hop around between Cebu City and Palawan often and it’s always nice to meet up with our peers.

    • Yeah, Tim’s broken leg was quite a trial, but he handled it very well.

      We’ll certainly look you up if we find ourselves in the Philippines. I’ve been debating going there while we’re in the area. Need to do a little more research. Thanks for the invite.

      Happy travels!

  • Thank you for this. I’ve been travelling for a couple of years and my insurance is due. I’ve been with World Nomads until now, but have been drawn in by all the Safety Wings advertising. However, I just looked at their pricing. I’m over 60 and the answer is clear – I’m sticking with World Nomads!

  • After my recent experience breaking my hand in Spain and being forced to cancel a trip to Iceland I agree with the importance of buying insurance before a big trip. Hopefully it’s something you never need but so important to have if you ever do. Nice recommendations and benefits of each.

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