Digital nomads have been around for quite a while, but are still something new and quite often what works for others doesn’t work for them. When travelling long term digital nomads struggle to choose the right insurance. Luckily, there are more and more options that are great for them. Here’s the best advice on how to choose insurance when you’re a digital nomad.
I have been a nomad for quite a while. At the moment I don’t travel that often, but I do live away from my home country. During the last couple of years I have had a lot of experience with choosing insurance. At first, I struggled and couldn’t find the best option for me. Then, things became slightly easier and now, I must say, things are looking up.
If you, just like me, live in another country, travel and work remotely and want to have a peace of mind, this post will help you. Below you will find the best advice on how to choose insurance while being a digital nomad.
Why do you need insurance at all?
I once heard this question from one of my readers and realised that some people just don’t know why they should spend money on insurance. Digital nomads are young and usually healthy. It seems that nothing can hurt them. But, life verifies this often and you need to be aware of that.
When you are abroad, you don’t have any healthcare unless you pay taxes in that country. If something happens to you, you need to pay from your own pocket.
You might think that healthcare in countries like Mexico or Thailand is cheap. Probably in comparison to the US, it’s a bit more affordable, but don’t be so sure that you can cover all your expenses, especially if you need to stay in a hospital for a long time. Your bill might be huge and if you can’t pay it, you won’t be able to leave the country.
Accidents and illnesses do happen. You might go for a trek and twist your ankle, you might get malaria, or dengue fever, or a nasty stomach bug. Sometimes the medication from a pharmacy won’t help you. You will need to go to a doctor. This is when insurance helps you.
In my opinion, it’s best to travel with a peace of mind and not worry about things like hospital bills.
Insurance for digital nomads – Available options
Digital nomads can choose between a couple of options, depending on their circumstances. Here’s what’s available to you.
There are quite a few companies that offer travel insurance for digital nomads. Before you buy a policy like that you need to be aware that this doesn’t cover you in case of long-term diseases, like cancer. It’s a temporary solution in case of accidents.
It’s worth having a medical insurance, or paying taxes in your home country to be able to use free healthcare there.
This is not such a popular product and insurance companies are still trying to come up with some offers. I think it’s a matter of time before we see more and more medical insurance for digital nomads on the market.
If you live abroad for longer than 180 days, you can buy expat insurance in that country. Most companies that offer these kinds of policies adjust them to permanent expats, so people who actually have work permits and residency. However, there are some that don’t require that, but it depends on the region and the country.
For example, in Thailand, Luma offers a comprehensive medical insurance for digital nomads. But, in Portugal I haven’t found such policy yet.
How to choose insurance as a digital nomad?
Are you ready to choose your insurance? Great! Here are the steps you should take!
Think of your circumstances
You have to be aware that the premium you’ll pay depends on the country you’ll be visiting, how old you are and how long you’re going to be away for. Your circumstances are everything.
If you plan on travelling around and not stopping anywhere for longer than 180 days, you probably need travel insurance. But, if you want to live somewhere for longer, medical insurance or expat insurance will be ideal for you.
Of course, I understand that you might not know how things will play out. Then, I would advise you to pay your taxes at home and get travel insurance like World Nomads, or medical travel insurance like Safetywing.
Remember about the details
Normally, buying insurance is not that complicated, but you do need to remember about things like excess or deductibles. How much are you willing to pay out of your own pocket when choosing insurance? Think about it and consider this when looking for your perfect policy.
Compare and shop around
You can use price comparison websites, but I’m sure that you won’t find insurance for digital nomads there. These sites are mostly for travellers and people going on holiday.
You need a more complex policy.
If you’re looking for travel insurance, check out World Nomads and Safetywing. These are the best policies on the market at the moment.
If you want something more complex, you need to put more effort in it. Google ‘medical/expat insurance in…’. You will need to talk to the advisors and insurance brokers to find the best option.
What to look out for?
There are a couple of things you need to look out for when choosing insurance for digital nomads. Here are the most important ones.
Are you going to the US?
If you are from the US and you want the insurance to be valid when you go home, you will have to pay a lot more. Similarly, if you want to go there and be insured, you will need to pay extra.
Due to the American healthcare system and how it is set up, insurance companies charge more for policies that are valid there.
Check what you have in your policy. If you like extreme sports, the policy might not cover you in case of any accidents. There are policies that own’t insure your equipment, or won’t cover the costs of evacuation. Think of what’s the most important to you and what you would like to have covered.
How much will they cover?
Every insurance is different. More expensive ones will cover you for great amount of money in case of accidents. Others, will give you money back only for a few days of stay in a hospital, or minor surgery.
Look out for hidden fees
Terms and conditions are always tedious to read and insurance companies know that. Always read the small print. Most likely you will find some hidden fees and charges that apply when you claim your money back.
The best insurance for digital nomads on the market
If you don’t want to dig too deep, here are some options that I recommend.
Safetywing is a great insurance for long-term travellers. You can buy it anytime, anywhere, it covers you during trips home. It’s also cheap, premium start from $34 per month. Paying is very easy, too. They deduct the money from your account every 4 weeks.
They have been around for years now. It’s the first insurance for digital nomads on the market. At the moment they are quite expensive comparing to Safetywing. However, they cover you in case of accidents during doing extreme sports and insure your equipment.
Luma (Thailand only)
Luma is a medical insurance company, which offers a wide variety of policies. They even have some specifically for digital nomads!
You can buy this insurance when you are longer than 180 days in South East Asia. The policy is valid throughout the region and during your visits at home that are not longer than 90 days.
Bupa is the most popular medical insurance in the world. They offer insurance that can be tailored to your needs. I worked for them once and know that they’re reliable. The only disadvantage here is the price. The premium might be quite high.
Allianz Health Insurance
This is another well-known insurance company. They are very reliable and provide excellent customer service. Again, this is an expensive option more suited to expats and permanent residents.
These are the companies that I know and can recommend. I’m sure that there are more. However, at this stage I find these the best insurance for digital nomads.
If you want to know more, don’t forget to check out other articles I have on insurance by clicking on the related articles below.
Do you have any questions? Would you like to share your experiences or your point of view? Don’t be shy! Leave a comment!
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