11 Reasons Why Digital Nomads Should Buy Travel Insurance
Authored by Andrea Villegas
To be or not to be insured with a digital nomad travel insurance is a constant concern in the community. Should we go for the risk of going bankrupt if we have a health emergency or should we trust we are never going to be in danger? Knowing the reasons why it is important to get insured can also help you get the best travel insurance for you.
Several members in the biggest digital nomad community on Facebook have shared their insights about whether to buy digital nomad travel insurance or not.
Note: To protect the privacy of members, we’ve not added names.
These are 11 reasons why Digital Nomads should buy travel insurance:
- We as a community cover the cost of the ones who need it on an emergency: "We all chip in and that covers the cost when one of us needs it, and most of us end up paying more than we use and that's fine. And, in my opinion, that's a lot better than trying to fundraise online from your friends and family if you ever need it while dealing with an injury."
- Travel insurance is a must, if you are a digital nomad that loves sports or danger: "Smashed my shoulder while snowboarding in Chile. Luckily I had insurance to cover the bill which got to almost $20,000 for surgery, recovery and physiotherapy. So yeah at least if you’re doing fairly risky stuff get some sort of insurance."
- You do not want to go bankrupt, and depend on your or your family's savings to be able to relocate back home after an accident: "I never used to do it, but I've learned. Both as I've gotten older and as I've learned of very young people who have horrible accidents, and need to crowdfund and use their family's savings just to get home. (And that we have free healthcare here, but your initial treatment and transportation costs can be huge). To me, it's just a cost you take on to have the freedom you want to live wherever."
- You might lose your luggage: "100% always insurance. I've ended up in hospital in Germany from a random issue, been in a motorcycle accident in India, had luggage lost on multiple occasions. I would never leave the country without travel insurance."
- You like riding bikes in Indonesia, as many digital nomads do while in Bali: "I had a motorbike accident in Indonesia and I put my finger to a blender in Sydney, Australia several years ago so I'd never travel without insurance. Just an invoice for anesthesia in AU was 800 AUD."
- You might get a serious medical diagnosis or need sudden surgery: "Me @25 *still paying my health insurance in my home country*; Me @30 *gets diagnosed with diabetes* *insurance covers everything and I’m traveling again the following year *; Me @33 *needs surgery* *insurance covers for everything*"
- If you can afford to travel, you can afford insurance: "Of course. It's simple. If you can't afford insurance then you can't afford to travel. I see too many posts in other groups with people trying to raise money for someone who had an accident or got sick and is in hospital needing urgent treatment costing tens of thousands of dollars or more, and they can't pay for it because they don't have insurance. And this is in cheap countries like Thailand. Just because a visit to the doctor is cheap, people assume that they don't need insurance. But if you are in an accident or get critically ill and need urgent surgery or ICU etc. Then it is definitely not cheap anymore. Only exception is of course if you already have so much money that you can pay for example, a $100k hospital stay in cash with no worries. But most people who don't have insurance can't afford even a short hospital stay."
- You do not want to depend on other people's money to afford healthcare: "Just go to "GoFund me" and there you will find a lot of travelers asking for money to pay for their treatments and recoveries after motorcycle accidents, illnesses, etc. If you can't afford decent insurance, don't travel and secure some money first."
- You are aware that accidents can happen: "I think having decent insurance is important, especially for things you can't afford, like medical emergencies. I don't have insurance for my laptop, phone, checked bags, wallet, etc. If something happens I can just get a new one, however, I do have insurance for medical emergencies, accidents because I don't want to and can't afford a helicopter-assisted search and rescue mission, or 2 months in a hospital due to some unfortunate accident."
- You want to be sure they will assist you in a hospital, since you have proof of insurance: "Always have insurance. You could get hit by a car crossing the street even if you are super careful. It's not just about having money to pay for emergency- treatments. With proof of insurance on you they'll treat you, no insurance they wait for the payment to clear and if you are unconscious well better have someone with you to pay the bill for you."
- You can finance the small things, but not major issues: "Good to have a cheap disaster plan with a low monthly and high deductible. Covers all major issues in case of serious injury or illness and you can self finance the small things."
Many of the reasons why digital nomads should get travel insurance come from experience or peers' experiences. From serious accidents, illnesses, to being aware of your finances, it seems like getting insurance is the right answer when you go nomad around the world (and we did not even mention reasons like you might be required to show it on entry or to get a visa). But now, why are some digital nomads not buying travel insurance?
These are 6 reasons why digital nomads won't buy travel insurance:
- You have enough money to afford thousands of dollars in operations or else (which, might be the case, we guess!): "Statistically speaking, it's better not to take out insurance. But if you don't have enough money to cover an operation, it might make sense to take one out, making you poorer than you already are, ironically…"
- You do not have any minimal risk while traveling: "I don't see the point of getting one if you're not doing anything risky. If you have the extra money and want to be more cautious, you do it. but if your job creates minimal risk for you, then personally I would take it."
- You believe that they will never fall in the statistic of travelers who need insurance: "I never travel with insurance. 25 years - no problems." "9.5 years of extreme adventures, never needed it."
- You can save "for a rainy day": "If insurance were a good business for the customer, insurance companies would not be profitable. But they are profitable because people pay more for insurance than they take out; so you are likely to do the same. It's better to save for a rainy day."
- You do not believe in the several small letters of policies: "In many cases, it is a scam. They require a ridiculous amount of paperwork and they have a LOT of asterisks."
- You are from the US and everywhere else's healthcare seems cheap to you: "I found it cheaper to pay local prices for healthcare. Because I am from the US and we have the worst prices for healthcare. Now I live in Estonia and it is much cheaper here."
If you have a safety fund, maybe you might not need to get travel insurance as a digital nomad who is constantly on the road and abroad. However, you can use those savings for investing or traveling with a bigger budget.
And last but not least, here are 3 reasons why some digital nomads are not sure whether to buy travel insurance or not:
- Get health insurance, but risk it when it comes to trip cancellation: "If you mean health insurance, yes, that’s absolutely necessary. If you mean insurance to cover trip cancellation or whatever, that’s less important, since the most you have to lose without it is the cost of your trip."
- It depends according to where you are traveling to, and where you are from: "I think it depends on where you are from. For example, my partner is from the UK and the NHS covers healthcare in Europe. I'm from the Netherlands and got myself health insurance with worldwide cover."
- Your plan is very expensive and not cost-effective (which also depends on the company with which you quote): "I think it depends on where you're from. Insurance in the US is Big $$$, so a lot of my friends don't have insurance or their insurance is basically unusable with huge out-of-pocket deductibles. I've never had travel insurance & don't plan on getting it any time soon unless required for entry."
We hope these reasons why digital nomads buy travel insurance helps you get some insight for your own decision and nomading. Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to stay safe and have a great time globetrotting. 🌎💚
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If you would like to know more about insurance, take a look at our article about the “Best Insurance Plans for Digital Nomads” which we’re constantly updating. Some of the more popular options include SafetyWing, which you can get for only $42 USD monthly if you are below 40.
Best Insurance Plans for Digital Nomads 
The best insurance for digital nomads must cover them anywhere and adapt to their unique lifestyle. We gather here 7 incredible insurance plans for digital nomads that suit your needs e.g. young nomad, adventure nomad, etc. It is important that digital nomads have insurance because they might need to show it for visa applications, country entries, practice adventure sports, and more.