Travel Medical Insurance is one of the last things we thought about that much and normally just pay it and get it over with. We should have covered this topic a long time ago as it’s such an important part of overlanding and travel. But better late than never?
Travel health insurance must be one of the most important things to arrange for a trip and must be calculated as part of the cost and total expense of a trip. It is not really a negotiable thing, no matter how long you are travelling, it is a must have.

Travel Insurance World nomads PikiPikiOverlandIn some ways we have been fortunate that we came away without serious injuries, accidents and illness while travelling. Here and there along the way our luck ran out. Now in hindsight, done that and got the T-shirt, we can offer some advice and tips on adventure travel and why it’s absolutely essential to have Travel Insurance

Obviously there is the option to not purchase cover. Save the money and when things really go pear shape start a Go Fund Me campaign, freeload on parents and friends or beg and play on people’ emotions on social media to help you solve your own problems.

A often discussed topic around a BBQ or gathering with friends, overlanders and travellers made us realised that many travellers had a huge misconception about what travel health insurance and medical cover truly entails.

Done that got the T-shirts – Personal experience

In the USA I had a tooth filling came out which resulted in a US$250 new filling! Now bare in mind to replace a filling in most other countries like France, Holland, South Africa and Mexico as examples would cost around US$40-60. This time round we had World Nomads coverage.  The USA is NOT the place to get sick.
On the same trip we received the devastating news of my mother’ terminal illness and had to fly back home. World Nomads paid all our flights and expenses. No BS no quibbles!

Roughly 6 months later in Mexico Elsebie managed to tore three ligaments in her knee. Luckily close to Guadalajara which is the second biggest city in Mexico. If we didn’t have coverage we would pay a deposit of US$16’000 for the operation. In the end she spend 3 days in hospital and had to enjoy the hospitality of the city of Guadalajara for 8 more weeks. The bill was close to US$20000. If we did not had that cover we were on our way home.

→So, let me explain what is travel insurance and travel medical insurance. Same as life insurance, house and car insurance, travel insurance offer the benefit by protecting you against the unforeseen. You want protection against unforeseen accidents and illness with potential massive cost implications.

The type of travel health insurance we are talking about is not the typical Credit card bank insurance or Travel insurance you buy with your flight ticket. They offer very limited protection and are more suited for the tourist on a 2 week holiday with private health cover back home that will still kick in when they are abroad.

What is travel insurance then?

There are basically two parts to it. Travel insurance is not automatically health insurance.World Nomads travel insurance
→The first part is typically for when your laptop or camera is stolen, or luggage lost, or having to cancel your trip to fly back home due to death in the family. It normally covers trip cancellation, loss of personal belongings and trip interruptions.

→The second part is the medical insurance for sudden illnesses and accidental injuries. Stuff like, when you break your leg or an arm falling down the steps of the Eiffel tower while taking a selfie, unforeseen massive tooth infection, get food poisoning eating bad street food or your appendix decide it had enough and wants out. The concept behind it is to offer help in the event of an accident and unexpected events that is outside of your control and incidents you can not plan for.

→Travel medical insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions and is not a substitute for health insurance back home. If you get sick while tripping for sure, travel insurance will cover you. It will not however cover medication for an ongoing chronic disease or medical condition you had before signing the policy.

→If ever you absolutely have to read the fine print, it is with insurance policies. Not because they are generally dodgy but because most people’ expectations and understanding are different. Yes, for sure most of us rarely read any fine print and accept out of goodwill the conditions in the contract are not biased and would take us to the cleaners or leave us wallowing in cow shit.

I had the fortune to work in the insurance industry for 17 odd years prior to our travelling life and I know this all too well. Life insurance will pay out as the policy was underwritten before acceptance. Travel and medical insurance are different and they will follow the fine print and if outside of their policy wording and meaning they will try not to pay. Because it ain’t in the wording or part of the terms of conditions.

Let me say this again, read the fine print!

Take the time, sit down with a cold one and go through the policy document. Phone a friend, talk to somebody that is clued up on the lingo to help you make sense of it but read the bloody fine print! For example UK residents using motorcycles over 125cc won’t be covered by some travel medical insurance companies World Nomads included. Also the USA being one of the most expensive for medical injuries will not be covered. Make sure you understand the fine print for you as person and from your country of residence and where you will be travelling to. In the end it is you who will sit with injuries and no money when the bovine faeces hits the fan.

Note: There are few universal rules in travel insurance so be sure to read the fine print of your policy to find out the specifics of what is and isn’t covered. The below answers are no substitute for checking your actual policy. Policy wordings and conditions vary greatly from country to country, state to state, and company to company. So read them and be sure to go with the company that gives you what you need – there are many good insurance companies out there.

We have been with World Nomads for over two years and have claim history with them. They do as they say and for travellers can recommend them for sure.

Travel insurance: Simple & Flexible

You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from is available to people from over 150 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

7 things you should know about travel insurance from

  1. Trusted reliable underwriters is backed by a suite of strong, secure, specialist travel insurers who provide you with great cover, 24 hour emergency assistance and the highest levels of support and claims management when you need it most.
  2. Value for money with the cover you need provides cover for what’s important for travellers from over 150 countries. By focusing on what you need and leaving out what you don’t, World Nomads prices are some of the most competitive online we have found.
  3. Flexibility when you need it most
    In case you meet that good looking guy or girl and on the spur of the moment wants to extend your island party you can extend. You can extend your policy or claim online while you are still away. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you’re already travelling.
  4. Cover for a range of adventure activities
    From skiing & snowboarding in Austria to whitewater rafting in Namibia, covers a range of adventure activities.
  5. World Nomads keeps you travelling safely
    All members have access to up-to-date travel safety alerts, as well as travel safety advice and tips online through the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub.
  6. More than just great value travel insurance
    All members can learn the local lingo through a series of iPod & iPhone Language Guides and can stay in touch with family and friends with an online travel journal.
  7. Commitment to exceptional customer service
    We want to make sure you get the most from You can find out more about why travel insurance is important for your trip. If you have any questions about your travel insurance or travel safety in general, please contact directly.

Disclaimer:  World Nomads have added us to their affiliate program. Every time you use our blog to check rates we get a few cents which eventually allow us to buy one beer or lollipop….

World Nomads Travel Insurance
Volcano boarding in Nicaragua



  1. I hope hope you’ll get both! 🙂

  2. Thanks Paul, yes we are well and still enjoy the adventure. Currently in Chile 😉

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