Posted: 31-08-23 | August 31, 2023Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people were switching to remote work. Digital nomads became increasingly common as people left their workplaces to work wherever they wanted.
As the pandemic subsides, an even greater number of people are working remotely. Research shows that remote workers are happier, even if productivity has remained the same or even increased. Numerous countries now also offer visas exclusively to digital nomads.
I’ve written a lot over the years about finding the best travel insurance. That’s for emergencies on the road, with the idea that if something really bad happens, you go home and deal with it. After all, trips usually have a start and end date.
But being a digital nomad or a remote worker is different. If you’re traveling around the world without an end date and need prescriptions and regular check-ups, normal travel insurance isn’t really enough.
If you’re considering the switch to remote work abroad or becoming a digital nomad, it’s important to know your options.
What to look for in travel insurance for digital nomads
Digital nomads should make sure their travel insurance covers more than just emergencies. They need a plan for that Also includes routine medical coverage (more on that later).
But first I would make sure your policy has at least $100,000 USD in medical coverage. Such a high limit is important because if you get sick or injured or need serious care and need to seek professional care, you want to be sure that your high hospital bills are covered. The worst thing you can do is go cheap and get a policy with a $50,000 coverage limit, then break it in an emergency, potentially leaving you with a bill of tens of thousands of dollars.
Second, you want to make sure your policy also covers emergency evacuation (separate from your medical coverage). If a natural disaster occurs or you fall and break your leg while hiking in a remote area and need to be evacuated elsewhere, your plan should cover that too, at least up to $300,000 USD (emergency evacuations are expensive!).
In addition, here are some other standard features that good travel insurance covers:
COVID-19 (and pandemics in general)
Lost, damaged, or stolen property (including any coverage for your electronics)
Cancellations (hotels, flights, tours, etc.)
Accidental death or disfigurement
Political emergencies and natural disasters
It should also provide:
Financial protection if a company you use goes bankrupt
24/7 assistance (you don’t want to be called back later during an emergency)
A comprehensive policy will include all this and more; these are just some of the most important things to look for when evaluating it.
Now, as a digital nomad, in addition to the emergency coverage described above, you also want coverage for more standard medical situations. These include, but are not limited to:
Routine dental and eye care
Mental health support
Screenings and vaccinations
These elements are not covered by standard travel insurance, as it is only for emergencies. So by purchasing a plan that covers emergencies also as routine care, you can roam the world with confidence, knowing that all your medical needs will be met no matter what the road takes you.
Keep in mind that these long-term plans with non-emergency coverage will be more expensive than standard travel insurance because they include much more than just basic emergency care.
The 3 best insurance companies for digital nomads
1. SafetyWing – Nomad Health
While SafetyWing is known for its affordable travel insurance plans (basic insurance costs just $42 per month), it also has a comprehensive health insurance plan for remote workers and digital nomads called Nomad Health.
Nomad Heath is a fully featured health insurance plan specifically designed for remote workers and nomads. If you spend most (or all) of your time abroad, this is a good plan for you.
Here’s a look at Nomad Health and what coverage it includes:
Up to $1,500,000 USD per year
Emergency evacuation up to $100,000 USD
Eye exam and glasses
Rehabilitation and specialized treatments
Screenings and vaccines
Routine dental care
Cancer and surgery
Full coverage in your home country
If you are between 18 and 39 years old, a Standard Nomad Health plan costs approximately $123 USD per month. For a Premium Plan, the same traveler pays $238 USD per month. Unlike the company’s standard travel insurance, Nomad Health has no deductible.
To see how much a subscription will cost you, click here for a free quote.
2. IMG – Global Health Insurance
IMG has a range of plans for short-term and business travelers, students and expats. The Global Medical Insurance policy is specifically designed for long-term travelers who leave their home country for most of the year. There are several deductible options so you can keep costs low, as well as multiple levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) so you get the coverage you need.
Here you can see the coverage of IMG’s Global Medical Insurance:
From $1,000,000 to $8,000,000 USD
Optional eye care (included in the Platinum plan)
Non-emergency dental care (included in the Platinum plan)
A piece of mental health care
Maternity (Platinum plan only)
Some pre-existing conditions
IMG has four levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The latter two have the option to add sports activities; the Platinum plan can be expanded to include terrorism incidents, if that’s a concern.
As always, prices vary based on location and age. For reference, a Bronze plan with a $250 deductible costs $180 USD per month, while a Platinum plan starts at $725 USD per month. If you pay annually, significant discounts are available.
Click here for a quote.
3. Insured Nomads – Global Health Insurance
Insured Nomads is one of the newer travel insurance companies on the block. Founded in 2019, it offers both emergency insurance and a more comprehensive health insurance plan for long-term travelers. Global Health Insurance covers emergencies as well as routine, preventive and chronic care. It also has plans for couples and families, as well as multiple tiers to give you even more options.
Here’s what’s included with Insured Nomads:
Emergency and non-emergency medical care and consultations
Maternity care and support
Substance abuse support
Vaccines, travel vaccinations and prescription drugs
Mental health counseling
Like IMG, Insured Nomads offer numerous deductible options to help you keep costs down. Although prices vary, you can expect to pay around $250-500 USD per month for a comprehensive policy with no deductible.
Click here for a quote.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about travel insurance for digital nomads:Is travel insurance mandatory?
It is not required for most travelers to most destinations. However, many digital nomad, work and student visas require some form of insurance, as do many tours and excursions.
In short, travel insurance is generally not mandatory, but it is always a good idea to have it because you never know what will happen along the way.
Can’t I just use regular travel insurance?
If you just want basic coverage for emergencies, lost luggage, theft, etc., then general travel insurance is right for you. However, with these plans you will only have emergency cover. That means nothing for general checkups, basic dental care, prescriptions, etc. But if that’s okay with you, standard insurance can work!
What is not covered by travel insurance?
While this varies by plan, you can generally expect that injuries sustained while drunk, extreme sports, reckless behavior, lost or stolen money, and civil unrest will not be covered by most plans. Again, it all varies by policy, so make sure you read the fine print!
Does travel insurance cover COVID-19?
Most plans now offer some coverage for COVID-19 and other pandemics.
Am I covered if I visit my home country?
Possible. Some plans offer coverage for short stays in your home country, while others do not. It all depends on the policy you get. Some companies have an expandable option that allows you to visit your home country, while others allow you to but only provide coverage if you are away from your actual home (for example, if you are from New York, you are covered if u California, but not if you return near your home).
I have pre-existing conditions. Am I covered?
It depends on. Every policy – and every medical condition – is different, so I would call your potential travel insurers and ask them directly. This is the best way to get accurate, up-to-date information about your specific situation.
After almost 15 years on the road, I’ve learned the hard way to never leave home without travel insurance. Whether it’s a short weekend getaway or a multi-month adventure, I always travel with travel insurance. It gives me peace of mind so I don’t have to think twice about whether I’m covered in an emergency.
As a digital nomad, you have more important things to focus on. Travel insurance takes the worry away so you can enjoy your trip, grow your business, and live your best life along the way.
Book your trip: logistics tips and tricks
Book your flight
Find a cheap flight with Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines all over the world, so you always know there’s nothing going on.
Book your accommodation
You can book your hostel at Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. It is comprehensive protection in case something goes wrong. I never travel without it as I have had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that provide the best service and value are:
Do you want to travel for free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that you can redeem for free flights and accommodation, all without any additional expenses. Check out my guide to choosing the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Ready to book your trip?
Check out my resources page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the devices I use when I travel. They are the best in their class and you can’t go wrong with them on your trip.