Posted: 8/31/23 | August 31st, 2023
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people were transitioning to remote work. Digital nomads were becoming increasingly common as people quit the cubicle to work from wherever they felt like.
Today, as the pandemic recedes, an even greater number people are working remotely. Studies show that remote workers are happier even as productivity has stayed the same — if not increased. Numerous countries now offer visas exclusively for digital nomads too.
I’ve written about finding the best travel insurance a ton over the years. That is for emergencies on the road, with the idea that if something really bad happens, you’ll go home and take care of it. After all, trips usually have a start and end date.
But being a digital nomad or remote worker is a different thing. When you are roaming the world without an end date and need prescriptions and regular checkups, normal travel insurance won’t really do.
If you’re considering the transition to working remotely 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 need to make sure their travel insurance plan doesn’t just cover emergencies. They need a plan that also includes routine medical coverage (more on that later).
First, though, I’d 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 attention and have to seek professional care, you want to make sure your high hospital bills are covered. The worst thing you can do is go cheap and get a policy with a $50,000 USD coverage limit and then burn through it in an emergency, leaving you to potentially foot a bill in the 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 if you fall and break a leg hiking in a remote area and you need to be evacuated somewhere else, your plan should cover that as well, at least up to $300,000 USD (emergency evacuations are expensive!).
Additionally, here are a few other standard provisions a good travel insurance policy will have coverage for:
- COVID-19 (and pandemics in general)
- Lost, damaged, or stolen possessions (including some coverage for your electronics)
- Cancelations (hotels, flights, tours, etc.)
- Accidental death or dismemberment
- Political emergencies and natural disasters
It should also offer:
- Financial protection if any company you are using goes bankrupt
- 24/7 assistance (you don’t want to be told to call back later during an emergency)
A comprehensive policy will have all of this and more — these are just some of the most important things to keep an eye out for when evaluating one.
Now, as a digital nomad, on top of emergency coverage described above, you’ll also want coverage for more standard medical situations. These include, but are not limited to:
- Routine dental and vision care
- Doctor checkups
- Prescription medication
- Mental health support
- Screenings and vaccinations
- Maternity care
These elements are not covered by standard travel insurance, because that is only for emergencies. So, by buying a plan that covers emergencies as well as routine care, you’ll be able to wander the world with confidence, knowing that all your medical needs will be looked after, no matter what the road throws your way.
Just keep in mind that these long-term plans with nonemergency coverage are going to be more expensive than standard travel insurance, because they include much more than just basic emergency support.
The 3 Best Insurance Companies for Digital Nomads
1. SafetyWing – Nomad Health
While SafetyWing is known for its affordable travel insurance plans (the basic one is just $42 USD per month), it also has a comprehensive health insurance plan for remote workers and digital nomads called Nomad Health.
Nomad Heath is a fully equipped health insurance policy designed specifically 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 annually
- Emergency evacuation up to $100,000 USD
- Eye exams and glasses
- Rehabilitation and specialized treatments
- Screenings and vaccines
- Routine dental care
- Cancer and surgery
- Organ transplants
- Psychiatric treatment
- Full coverage in your home country
If you’re 18–39, a Standard Nomad Health plan costs around $123 USD per month. For a Premium Plan, that same traveler will pay $238 USD per month. Unlike the company’s standard travel insurance, there is no deductible for Nomad Health.
To see how much a plan will cost for you, click here to get a free quote.
2. IMG – Global Medical Insurance
IMG has a range of plans for short-term and business travelers, students, and expats. Its Global Medical Insurance policy is specifically designed for long-term travelers who will be out of their home country for the majority of the year. There are several options for a deductible, so you can keep costs low, and also multiple tiers (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum), so you can get the coverage you need.
Here’s a look at the coverage for IMG’s Global Medical Insurance:
- From $1,000,000 to $8,000,000 USD
- Prescription drugs
- Optional vision care (included in the Platinum plan)
- Nonemergency dental care (included in the Platinum plan)
- Some mental health care
- Maternity (in the Platinum plan only)
- Some preexisting conditions
IMG has four tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The latter two have the option to add sports activities; the Platinum plan can be bolstered to include terrorism incidents, if that’s a concern for you.
As always, prices vary based on location and age. For reference, however, 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, there are significant discounts available.
Click here to get 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. Its Global Health Insurance covers emergencies as well as routine, preventive, and chronic care. It has plans for couples and families too, as well as multiple tiers to give you even more options.
Here’s a look at what’s included with Insured Nomads:
- Emergency and nonemergency medical care and consultations
- Preventive screenings
- Vision care
- Maternity care and support
- Substance abuse support
- Vaccines, travel immunizations, and prescription drugs
- Telehealth consults
- Mental health counseling
Like IMG, Insured Nomads offer numerous deductible options to help you keep costs down. While prices vary, you can expect to pay around $250-500 USD per month for a comprehensive policy without a deductible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most commons questions I get asked about travel insurance for digital nomads:
Is travel insurance mandatory?
For most travelers to most destinations, it is not mandatory. However, many digital nomad, work, and student visas do require some form of insurance — as do many tours and excursions.
In short, travel insurance generally isn’t mandatory — but it’s always a good idea to have, since you never know what will happen on the road.
Can’t I just use regular travel insurance?
If you just want basic coverage for emergencies, lost luggage, theft, etc., then general travel insurance plans will work for you. However, on these plans, you will only have emergency coverage. That means none for general checkups, basic dental care, prescriptions, etc. But if that’s fine with you, then standard insurance can work!
What isn’t covered by travel insurance?
While this varies by plan, generally you can expect injuries sustained while intoxicated, extreme sports, reckless behavior, lost or stolen cash, and civil unrest to 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 provide some coverage for COVID-19 and other pandemics.
Am I covered if I visit my home country?
Possibly. Some plans provide coverage for short-term stays in your home country while others don’t. It all depends on the policy you get. Some companies have an upgradable option for you to visit your home country, while others let you do so but only provide coverage if you’re not near your actual home (e.g., if you’re from New York, you are covered if you visit California, but not if you return near your home).
I have preexisting conditions. Am I covered?
That depends. Every policy — and every medical condition — is different, so I would call your prospective travel insurance companies to 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 for a quick weekend getaway or a multimonth adventure, I always travel with travel insurance. It provides peace of mind, so I don’t have to think twice about being covered in an emergency.
As a digital nomad, you have more important things to focus on. Travel insurance removes the worry, so you can enjoy your journey, grow your business, and live your best life on the road.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with 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 will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- SafetyWing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.