Digital Nomad Insurance: Is It Worth It?

Digital nomad insurance

Insurance is a widely used term. Whether we’re travelling or seeking better health security, there is a kind of insurance for almost every important aspect of our life or lifestyle. In the era of remote work, where people travel more than ever before, digital nomad insurance has gained popularity. It has become a vital part of everyone’s must-have list because who wants to lose their luggage at the airport without reclamation or compensation?

Why is Insurance Important For Digital Nomads?

We’ve taken a rational route on the “why” with the luggage at the airport scenario. Now let’s look at some statistics about the importance of insurance for digital nomads.

  • According to LuggageHero data and reports, a total of 2.8 million bags were mishandled by U.S. airlines in 2019. You could be one among the 2.8 million in the coming years. These mishandled bags can also get lost. Having no travel insurance could mean the loss of not just your luggage but also extra time, money, and resources spent to buy everything that was in the bag, again. Also, if you have no insurance, get ready to bid adieu to the money you spent on a flight that never took off because of an emergency event like the pandemic. 
  • Hospital costs averaged $2,607 per day throughout the U.S. in 2020. Staying overnight can cost you a lot more. The average hospital stay runs $11,700. Those are exorbitant numbers, especially for those who don’t have insurance. 60%-65% of all bankruptcies are related to medical expenses. As a digital nomad, you travel often and are prone to catch sudden illnesses. The weather change, different pathogens, and new types of food can sometimes cause your health to suffer. It is best to have health insurance to avoid unforeseen medical expenditures.

These are some of the reasons why insurance makes sense for digital nomads. Without insurance, you run the risk of spending extra money in emergency situations. This can overthrow your budget.

Things to Consider Before Getting an Insurance as a Digital Nomad

When going for any kind of insurance, as a digital nomad, there are some things to consider. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” with insurance. Once you’ve gone through these points, it will become easier for you to create a list of insurance companies that better suit your needs.

  • The annual limit

Does the insurance cover all the places you’re going to? Is it enough for any kind of emergency? Different regions have different types of travel or health related concerns. Think about the annual limit you’d need based on the travel and stay plans you have charted out for the year.

  • Is evacuation covered?

This is useful for digital nomads as they travel to lesser known locations too where unexpected emergencies such as evacuation may arise.

  • Are there any age restrictions?

Some insurance companies have an upper age limit for coverage, while some others don’t have any cap. It is best to know this before making a decision.

  • Does your digital nomad insurance cover sports and extreme sports?

If you’re an outdoor activity enthusiast, it will be helpful to check with the insurance company about sports and extreme sports coverage. You wouldn’t want to call them with a broken limb after trekking only to hear, “Sorry. We don’t cover that.” Double “Ouch”!

With your regular research and questions, it is best to get answers to these questions too. From all the not-so-good accidents to the totally unexpected worst case scenarios, you’ve to think of it all. As a digital nomad you’ll face all kinds of situations and it would be a bummer to empty your bank account for something that could’ve been covered by insurance. If only…. 

You may want to read: Highs and Lows of a Nomadic Lifestyle

What Kind of Insurance Should Digital Nomad’s Have?

The two obvious insurance options for digital nomads are health and travel because with frequent travel comes exposure to new climates. You also become prone to travel- related loss and theft. Besides health and travel insurance, there are some other types of insurance that you can add to your checklist. Let’s discuss all of them.

 1. Digital Nomad Travel Insurance 

Travel insurance is a broad term so let’s break it down. What does digital nomad travel insurance cover?

  • Travel medical coverage

Emergency situations like getting a limb fractured during outdoor activities or catching a flu while travelling come under this category.

  • Emergency medical evacuation coverage

This kind of coverage helps you against damages incurred during accidents in remote places. For example, a fire in the neighborhood that broke out in the place where you’re staying too, an earthquake, floods, etc. 

  • Trip cancellation coverage

As the name suggests, this covers any trip that gets cancelled due to an event that’s covered by the insurance. For example, the pandemic caused a global travel shut down in March 2020. Many tourists claimed under this insurance.

  • Car and bike accident coverage

When you’re travelling to another city or country, you might rent a bike or car for commuting purposes. This coverage helps when you’re involved in an accident with a rented bike or car.

  • Protection of lost or stolen items

Frequent travelling exposes you to the risk of being robbed. If you become a victim of stolen electronics or other belongings, this coverage will be helpful.

  • Third-Party Liability Coverage

When you get into an accident while on a tour, you might end up damaging not only your vehicle but also end up injuring the person you got into an accident with. This coverage helps you pay their bills too.

Almost everything is covered with travel insurance, so you can breathe a sigh of relief. You can explore the world worry-free after getting yourself a travel insurance that covers it all.

Travel insurance doesn’t provide coverage in the following scenarios:

  • Leaving your personal belongings in an unsupervised place.
  • Equipment used for work purposes.
  • Failing to file a loss or theft complaint with the local authorities.

Having evidence helps. If there’s no evidence, it’s best to report the incident of theft or damage to the local authorities immediately.

2. Digital Nomad Health Insurance

Generally, health insurance covers the costs of a hospital visit and stay. Health insurance provides coverage for a list of illnesses and conditions. The inclusions depend on the health insurance company.

As a digital nomad, you can opt for a plan that covers the following:

  • Tests and vaccination 
  • Medical checkups
  • Prescribed medication 
  • Psychiatric visits and care
  • Cancer treatment 
  • Dental treatments and care
  • Optical treatments and care
  • Emergency treatments and ambulances

While your health insurance company might include everything that’s mentioned here, they might not cover it 100 percent.

What are the parameters that will help you decide the best health insurance for you?

  • Deductibles

Deductibles are the expenses you’ll need to bear before reaping the benefits of your insurance. It’s like an upfront cost for any medical bills before your insurance can cover anything.

Look for insurance that has low deductibles.

  • Excess or co-pays

Similar to deductibles, this is another upfront cost you’ll have to pay. For example, a $100 co-pay for medicines means that every time you claim the insurance for medicines, you’ll need to pay the first 100 bucks.

  • Exclusions of pre-existing conditions

Some health insurance companies don’t cover certain pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes or blood pressure. Before taking up health insurance for yourself, it is best to check what care is available for your pre-existing condition. If it’s under exclusion, you might want to compare the plan with other health insurance companies before deciding on which one to go for.

  • Coverage limits

Every insurance comes with a coverage limit. Check that before you pick one. Some have a separate cap on certain types of treatments or care. Read the insurance documents carefully so that you know what you’re signing up for.

Take health insurance seriously because as a digital nomad, you will be predisposed to new pathogens and medical emergencies. Comparing various insurance packages will help you make an informed decision.

3. Digital Nomad Gadget Insurance

As the name suggests, gadget insurance covers the cost of replacing your gadgets if they’re lost or stolen and the cost of repairing them if they’re damaged. From laptops and mobile phones to fitness trackers and smartwatches, gadget insurance covers most everyday use devices.

Gadget insurance is a must if you use expensive devices and won’t be able to afford replacing them if they’re damaged or stolen.

Best Digital Nomad Insurance Plans

There are so many international insurance plans out there. Among the many are those that are cheaper and better because they provide coverage for the important stuff.

Here are some of the international insurance companies you must consider: 

Health Insurance

  1. Cigna

Cigna is an American insurance company. You can expect service and efficacy of American standards. Cigna tries to give you access to the best healthcare, whichever part of the world you’re in. 

With more than 180 million customers and offices in several countries, Cigna has built its reputation as one of the most sought-after international healthcare insurance companies.

Pros of getting Cigna digital nomad insurance:

  • Flexible deductibles.
  • Flexible payment options (monthly, trimester, or annual) 
  • The company pays your health provider directly so there’s no need to file a claim or reimbursement.
  • 24-hour customer service, 7 days a week. 
  • Some Cigna plans include the transplanting and transportation of organs and kidney dialysis treatments.
  • The company’s website provides you with information about the culture, financial system, and education system of the country you’re traveling to.
  • Cigna covers all potential costs in the treatment of COVID, in compliance with the protocols recommended by the WHO .

Cons:

  • The basic plan doesn’t cover maternity costs.
  • To get a personalized quote, you’ll need to enter way more personal information for this one than you will enter for other insurance companies. 
  1. Aetna

Aetna has been providing world class insurance for 50+ years and is one of the biggest health insurance providers in the United States. There are some good options for digital nomads to choose from.

Pros of getting digital nomad insurance with Aetna: 

  • They offer personalized plans for digital nomads based on destinations and needs.
  • They have offices in more than 15 countries and a 24-hour customer service, 7 days a week. 
  • Various magazines have named Aetna as the “Best International Private Health Insurance Provider” and “Health Insurer of the Year.’’
  • Most of their plans cover for hospitalization, cancer treatment, and emergency evacuation

Cons:

Their website lacks detailed information and explanation of their plans. You’ll need to get in touch with someone from the customer service department to get more information..

  1. IMG

IMG is a renowned name in the insurance industry and has been providing some great insurance packages to people for more than 30 years. 

The company has a global customer service department which makes it easy to get in touch with them. The live chat feature on their website allows you to get your doubts cleared and get quick answers to your questions.

Pros of getting digital nomad insurance with IMG

  • IMG offers extensive coverage that includes 17,000 doctors and clinics across the globe.
  • Using your IMG policy with a healthcare provider outside the United States will grant you a 50% reduction on your deductible. 
  • IMG has special health insurance plans for overseas missionaries. 
  • Their coverage options are available to all nationalities.
  • IMG covers almost all costs for COVID-19 related tests and treatment.

Cons:

  • IMG plans have an age limit. There are no plans available for adults above 75 years of age.
  • You get maternity care coverage only with the most expensive plans.

Here’s a chart that compares the three insurance companies to help you choose the one that suits you the best.

*Note: This table is subject to change. We request you to check each company’s website for updated information on their insurance plans.

Travel Insurance

  1. SafetyWing

SafetyWing is a popular digital nomad travel insurance option. With SafetyWing, you also get COVID coverage. If you decide to get your insurance mid-trip, you need not worry, as SafetyWing allows you to take a policy while you’re abroad. The company won’t cover you if you’re a resident of North Korea, Cuba, or Iran. The default minimum length of coverage is 28 day, while the maximum is 364 days. The policy auto renews until cancelled.

P.S. : Their website is very cool and easy to navigate. Check it out.

What does SafetyWing Insurance include?

  • Trip delays and interruptions.
  • Emergency dental expenses.
  • Emergency medical expenses.
  • Emergency medical evacuation, accidental death and repatriation of remains.
  • Return of minors and pets.
  • Political evacuation and border entry protection.
  • Lost visa/travel documents and lost checked luggage.

Excluded:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Psychiatric visits and mental health disorders.
  • Damages sustained under alcohol or drug influence.
  1. World Nomads

World Nomads is a travel insurance company that allows you to extend your coverage mid-trip. There’s no pandemic exclusion which makes COVID related circumstances claimable.

World Nomads doesn’t recognize the fear of travel as a valid reason to cancel trips. In order to cancel a trip at your discretion, you need to consider those plans that offer a “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage.

World Nomads offers two trip insurance policies: Standard and Explorer. 

  • The Standard Plan includes more than 200 sports but has lower coverage limits. 
  • The Explorer Plan adds 60 more sports and activities (dangerous ones too such as skydiving, paragliding, and shark cage diving).

The inclusion of sports in both plans makes World Nomad insurance unique and quite specific to digital nomads. Many traditional travel insurance plans don’t provide any coverage for mishaps arising out of sports or outdoor activities. 

What does World Nomads Insurance include?

  • Trip interruptions, cancellations, and delays.
  • Baggage delay and loss.
  • Emergency medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation.
  • Accidental death and dismemberment.
  • Non Medical emergency transportation.
  • Adventure sports and activities.
  • Rental car damage (Explorer Plan).

Exclusions:

  • Pre-existing conditions.
  • War.
  • Self-harm or intoxication related accidents.

Gadget Insurance

  1. TCP Insurance

Laptops aren’t the only gadgets digital nomads carry. Since digital nomads travel a lot, they carry other equipment like cameras too. They like to capture their moments in every new place. If you’re that digital nomad who has photography as their passion and also as a part of their profession, then your equipment is most likely expensive. Before you think that fear of equipment theft and loss has to be your companion for life, let’s dismiss that lie. There’s insurance that covers your laptop, cameras and other equipment.

Regular travel insurance companies don’t cover such equipment unless you’re ready to pay a hefty monthly fee.

TCP insurance recognized this pain point and created a package that covers this kind of equipment. TCP insurance covers cameras, computers, sound recording equipment and editing hardware. For those who use drones to capture breathtaking shots, there’s drone insurance too!

If photography or filmmaking is your main profession, TCP insurance covers you for your work too. This coverage includes injuries, cancellations and theft related to your production.

TCP insurance inclusions:

  • Cameras, sound equipment, editing hardware and computers.
  • Drones.
  • Work related injuries, cancellations and theft (for photographers and filmmakers)
  • TCP’s automotive insurance covers your vehicle + equipment left in your vehicle. 
  • Renters insurance that also covers your equipment if left at home or stolen.

Exclusions:

  • The biggest drawback with TCP insurance is that it covers only that equipment which is used for film and photography production. 
  • Laptops used for any other work that doesn’t include film production and photography will not be covered.

If you’re a digital nomad who works in another industry, TCP will not provide coverage for your equipment.

2. Protect Your Bubble

Gadgets have become an important part of our lives, lifestyle and work. Digital nomads carry their gadgets everywhere and hence, their gadgets are more prone to theft and loss. 

Protect Your Bubble is a UK based insurance company that specializes in coverage for gadgets. They cover everything from laptops to mobile phones.

All you have to do is tell them about your ‘bubble’. This bubble is a list of all the gadgets you want the insurance to cover. The insurance also covers electronic items like televisions, smart home systems and stereos.

The biggest advantage with Protect Your Bubble is that for roughly 17 USD per month you get coverage for any three gadgets. This will leave more money in your pocket to travel and explore more, 

Protect Your Bubble Insurance Inclusions:

  • They offer insurance plans only for mobile phones (especially iPhones) in case you need coverage only for your phone.
  • Every kind of gadget is covered. This includes electronic items like television sets and stereos too.
  • Worldwide coverage for up to 180 days.

Exclusions:

  • The insurance will not cover beyond 2 loss or theft claims within a 12 month period.
  • Theft, loss, damage or breakdown where you have knowingly put your gadget at risk.

Get Insured To Get Going

As a digital nomad, don’t ignore the agony of extra expenditure. You don’t want it, and why should you endure it if there’s a good ol’ insurance company that’s ready to blanket you? Compare them ruthlessly before you choose the ones that compliment your lifestyle and projected mishaps.

Bookmark this page to come back and get a snapshot of the comparison before making the final decision.

Go around the world with more safety and a bigger smile.

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