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Does World Nomads Travel Insurance Cover COVID-19?

World Nomads has posted a set of COVID-19 FAQ’s and additional resources regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, travel insurance, travel safety, and travel restrictions in 2020.

Does World Nomads travel insurance cover COVID-19? Unfortunately, there’s no simple “yes” or “no” answer.

We’ve done plenty of World Nomads diligence in the last two years—and have purchased their travel insurance four times—but this is a new one. Things are radically different now.

While we cannot offer advice on travel insurance, we can tell you that some new World Nomads resources have added clarity regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation. Not only as it relates to travel insurance, but also the constantly-changing state of travel worldwide. And, they may prove useful to you too, if you fall into any of these groups:

  • Currently overseas with World Nomads coverage (active policy)
  • Preparing for travel, and have already secured World Nomads coverage (effective policy)
  • Currently away from home without coverage (here, World Nomads is one of the few available options)

For those of you at home without any travel plans at the moment, perhaps some of this info can help inform your future decisions.

The info in this post is relevant to a global audience.

However, some of the resources are geo-specific. So, if you’re a resident of another country, simply change the search feature after you click through one of those links.

Quick links:

PSA: At this point, the pandemic has been declared. In the language of travel insurance, this means the COVID-19 outbreak is a “known event.” Now more than ever, it’s critical that you carefully read a policy’s wording for a full description of coverage. When you have questions, call the provider, or ask a qualified insurance expert to advise you.

Also: “Coronavirus” has consumed the media and our daily social feeds. In this post, we’ll use “COVID-19” (the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) when describing the pandemic. This is consistent with the way insurance companies will address the subject, if/when you have a discussion with them.


Important travel insurance timelines & milestones

The decision to secure a travel insurance policy is a personal one. It depends on a variety of factors, which vary on a trip-by-trip basis. But for those trips that you do plan on protecting with travel insurance, there are some important timelines & milestones to keep in mind.

When should I purchase my policy?

In general, there are several advantages to securing a policy early in the trip-planning process. Time-sensitive benefits include pre-existing medical condition waivers and “cancel for any reason (CFAR)” upgrades.

To secure these benefits, you usually have to purchase your policy no later than 14-21 days after making your first payment towards the trip. That could mean the date you purchased flights, booked hotels, or paid a deposit to a tour provider.

As it relates to the pandemic: Many travelers are seeking CFAR policies at the moment. We’ll explain CFAR coverage in more detail later in the post.

Can I purchase a policy if I’m already traveling?

World Nomads is one of the few companies that will sell you a policy even if you’re already traveling (which is something we had to do 3 times in 2019, from South America). Personally, this is one of the benefits we like most about their company.

As it relates to the pandemic: If you’re currently overseas without coverage, World Nomads is one of only a handful of options. Learn more about the protections & services they provide here.

Date of purchase & “unforeseen events”

Travel insurance only covers you for unforeseen events that occur after you purchase a policy. Below are two scenarios that demonstrate what this would mean if you were to secure a travel insurance policy that provides coverage for COVID-19:

  1. If you’ve just been diagnosed with COVID-19 but you purchased your travel insurance policy before you exhibited symptoms…and a physician recommends that you alter your travel plans for health reasons…you may be covered.
  2. If you are currently healthy and purchase a policy today for a future trip…and you’re later diagnosed with COVID-19 (either before or during your trip)…you may be covered.

Again, this supports the rationale for purchasing travel insurance early in the process.

Can I cancel my policy?

Many companies offer a 10- or even 15-day cancellation window (called a “free look period”) which entitles you to a refund, should you wish to cancel the policy. Typically, the conditions are that you haven’t filed a claim or departed for your trip yet.

Does World Nomads travel insurance cover COVID-19?

Unlike many other travel insurance providers, World Nomads does not have a pandemic exclusion for policies purchased by U.S. residents. What does this mean? Per World Nomads, it means “you may make claims arising from the COVID-19 for the benefits specified in your policy.”

General travel insurance reminder: The ability to make claims does not, by default, guarantee reimbursement. The nature of & facts behind any claim you may make, will determine approval & reimbursement, which is always at the sole discretion of the provider.

Fear of travel

Unfortunately, fear of travel is never a covered reason for trip cancellation. If you want to cancel your travel arrangements simply because you’re afraid to travel during a pandemic, most standard policies will not cover you. In this case, a “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) policy may be the most viable option for recouping any  non-refundable expenses you’ve already incurred. More on CFAR coverage, in the next section.

“Directly affected” vs. “indirectly affected”

If you, your traveling companion or a non-traveling family member contract COVID-19 or get quarantined, that would qualify as “directly affected.” If this happens after you’ve purchased a travel insurance policy and before your scheduled departure date, you may be eligible for trip cancellation coverage. Meaning: you may be reimbursed for pre-paid non-refundable travel expenses such as flights, hotels and excursions.

If a wedding, festival or conference you were planning to attend is canceled—even if the reason for cancelation is concern for COVID-19—that would fall into the “indirectly affected” category. Standard insurance policies do not view these as “covered reasons” for trip cancellation.

From here, since we are not legally authorized to provide you with World Nomads policy wording or a description of coverage, it’s best that we refer you to the FAQ’s.

World Nomads COVID-19 FAQs: 20 common questions & answers

We found this resource extremely useful in clarifying what may or may not be covered by World Nomads, as it relates to COVID-19. In particular, the following questions:

  • 1. Is COVID-19 covered by World Nomads travel insurance?
  • 2. How can travel insurance help if I’m concerned about traveling because of COVID-19?
  • 7. What if the airline canceled my flight because of COVID-19?
  • 11. What can I do if I don’t have travel insurance?
  • 16. Can I cancel my trip if advised by a doctor not to travel?
  • 17. If I have travel insurance and have COVID-19, could I be covered for trip cancellation?
  • 19 I want to buy a travel insurance policy because of COVID-19. What’s covered?
  • 20. If I book and pay for a trip now, am I covered for COVID-19 if I buy travel insurance?

If you’re not a U.S. resident, simply click the “For residents of” box (shown below) and select your home country. The FAQ’s page will adjust accordingly.

World Nomads Travel Insurance Cover COVID-19

“Cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage

“Cancel for any reason” (CFAR) is a premium benefit that some insurance providers offer. Under standard travel insurance policies, “I’m scared to travel right now” or “I don’t feel like going anymore” are never covered reasons for trip cancellation. If you add CFAR coverage, then you can cancel for these reasons.

CFAR is considered an upgrade, and you pay a premium for the added cancellation flexibility. On average, CFAR policies cost 40% more than standard policies. If you do cancel for a non-covered reason, the provider will likely reimburse you only 75% (sometimes 50%) of your non-refundable trip expenses.

Does World Nomads offer CFAR coverage?

World Nomads does not offer a CFAR option. However, refer to the FAQ’s to learn more about what may or may not be covered by World Nomads, as it relates to COVID-19.

Current options for CFAR coverage

Global Rescue Signature PLUS policies include CFAR coverage, as well as “interrupt for any reason” (IFAR) coverage. Learn more here or go directly to our partner page to generate a quote.

Use Squaremouth to research & compare other available options. Apply the “Coronavirus Pandemic” search filter to show policies that may provide coverage.

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Additional World Nomads resources for COVID-19

World Nomads has provided some additional resources regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, and the general state of travel worldwide.

COVID-19 Travel Alerts: Lockdowns, border closures, and other restrictions

This resource focuses on major lockdowns, border closures, and air traffic suspensions and includes general safety tips for travelers impacted by COVID-19. Detailed info is provided on a continent-by-continent and country-by-country basis. Of course, some of these variables are changing daily, but World Nomads is updating the page regularly. As of this writing, the latest update was March 24, 2020.

Travel Alert: COVID-19 March 2020

This one includes four hypothetical (but realistic) scenarios of when coverage may or may not apply. Also, some tips on what to do if your travel plans are affected by COVID-19.

Travel Insurance: Frequent queries on coverage, claims and getting help in an emergency

For those looking to learn more about World Nomads specifically, this portal is a great jumping off point for all things World Nomads.


So, does World Nomads travel insurance cover COVID-19?

Well, It depends. The current situation is unprecedented, and it’s changing rapidly. As the pandemic continues to unfold, more and more parts of daily life that we’ve taken for granted, become more and more unpredictable. This applies to travel, and thus travel insurance.

If you were hoping to buy World Nomads travel insurance to cover COVID-19 concerns at home or overseas, we hope this post was informative. As always, we encourage you to do your homework, so you find the provider & plan that’s right for you.

For some of the considerations we factor into our own travel insurance decisions, visit this page.

For more background on emergency evacuation coverage, visit this page.

Though the best thing to do at the moment is stay home, the dust will settle. When it does, you can get back on the road again.

Until then, stay safe & healthy. We wish you peace of mind on your future travel adventures, when the time is right…



Disclaimer: We receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

▾ When you’re ready to travel again…maybe we can help ▾

Family vacations…group friend trips…honeymoons…we’ve got you covered. If you don’t have the time to research and plan your own trip, we’ll take care of the details, so you can focus on the good stuff!

  • Visit our Plan A Trip page and set up your free 30-minute Discovery Call.
  • Check out our Resources page for some of the best trip-planning tools we use daily.

Disclosure: travelhelix belongs to the Global Rescue Partner Program and Squaremouth Travel Partner Program. We do receive compensation if you purchase a travel insurance policy or enroll in an emergency evacuation services membership by clicking via the links on our website. If you’ve found this info useful and plan to purchase a policy, please consider booking through our site—thank you!

Disclaimer: The travel insurance information provided above is a brief summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.

Our company is not a licensed financial service provider, and is not certified to sell financial products or offer financial advice. The decision of whether or not to secure coverage is your own, as is the decision of which company to buy from. Should you wish to purchase travel insurance or emergency evacuation coverage via links on our website, such products or services will be governed by terms & conditions solely determined by the providers themselves. It is your responsibility to be fully acquainted with the terms & conditions regarding the use of these products or services prior to, and after, your purchase.

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