SafetyWing Insurance Review: Best Long Term Travel Insurance 2021

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SafetyWing is the world’s first travel medical insurance developed specifically for nomads, by nomads. They cover people from all over the world while they are outside their home country. 

Although it’s aimed at digital nomads and remote workers, it’s also a useful plan for anyone travelling long term, especially if you’re unsure how long you’ll be travelling for.

SafetyWing has several advantages over other travel insurance— you can purchase a policy when you are already abroad, pay monthly, and they cover COVID–19.

This detailed SafetyWing insurance review focuses on their Nomad Insurance, the most affordable plan, which we have. I explore the pros and cons, what exactly is covered, and how much it costs.

I also compare it to SafetyWing’s Remote Health plan, which is more comprehensive global health insurance, as well as to other long term travel insurance policies, World Nomads and True Traveller (both of which we’ve used in the past).

Contents

This post was created in partnership with SafetyWing, but we chose to purchase insurance with them and genuinely think they are one of the best options for long term travellers.

Does SafetyWing Cover COVID–19?

Firstly, I’ll answer one of the most important questions for travel insurance in 2021 as the pandemic continues. Does it cover COVID–19?

Yes, SafetyWing does cover coronavirus (COVID–19).

SafetyWing says:

“Coverage works the same as any other illness as long as it was not contracted before your coverage start date, and does not fall under any other policy exclusion or limitation.

Testing for COVID–19 will only be covered if deemed medically necessary by a physician. The antibody test is not covered, as it is not medically necessary.”

This is a huge advantage of SafetyWing, especially as its biggest competitor, World Nomads, does not cover COVID–19 for all nationalities. You can see a more detailed comparison of the two companies below.

As of 15 April 2021, SafetyWing also covers quarantine outside your home country ($50 a day for up to 10 days) if it is required because of a positive COVID-19 test or if you are symptomatic and are awaiting test results. 

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What Makes SafetyWing Different from Other Travel Insurance?

These features stand SafetyWing Nomad Insurance apart from typical travel insurance policies.

  • Designed by nomads for nomads – They understand our needs and are continually adapting the product to better meet them.
  • Subscription model – You don’t have to pay for a whole year upfront. Instead, you are charged automatically every four weeks. This is especially useful if, like us, you don’t know how long you’ll be outside your home country. You can cancel anytime.
  • You can buy while travelling – This is rare as most travel insurance companies require you to be in your home country at the time of purchase. It’s ideal if you forget to buy insurance or your policy expires and you need to renew. SafetyWing is one of the best options for travel insurance when already abroad
  • No limit on duration of travel – If you are travelling for over a decade, like us, it’s no problem. After a year you’ll need to renew your policy, but this is easy.
  • Travel with a one-way ticket – Unlike most insurance companies, SafetyWing covers you if you don’t know when you’ll be returning to your home country (as we never do) and don’t have a return ticket.
  • Some coverage in your home country – Unusually, SafetyWing provides limited coverage when you return home. After being abroad for 90 days, you keep your medical coverage for 30 days (15 days in the US) in your home country if something happens while there.
  • Covers adventure activities – You don’t need to pay a premium for high risk activities as many are included as standard including horse riding, scuba diving, snowboarding, and bungee jumping.
  • Covers riding a motorbike or scooter – For many digital nomads, especially in SE Asia, getting around by scooter is common. But most companies don’t provide coverage, so it’s fantastic that SafetyWing does.
  • No need to choose destination – We never know where we’re going to visit over the next year, so it’s helpful that SafetyWing provides worldwide coverage. You just have to choose to include the US or not.
  • Clear pricing structure – There’s no need for complicated quotes or choosing between multiple tiers, and there are no hidden costs. Pricing is based only on your age and whether you include the US.
  • Free coverage for kids – Up to two children under 10 per family (one per adult) can be included for free.
  • Focus on medical coverage – SafetyWing keeps costs low by focusing on the essentials for nomads, mostly emergency medical coverage, rather than including cancellation and other cover we’re less likely to need.
Digital nomad working by the pool in South Africa
SafetyWing covers remote workers and digital nomads working and travelling anywhere in the world (this is me working in South Africa)

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SafetyWing Coverage

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Who Will SafetyWing Insure?

SafetyWing will insure anyone from any home country in the world, with the exception of citizens of Iran, North Korea, and Cuba.

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Countries Covered

SafetyWing travel insurance provides coverage when travelling to almost every country worldwide. The only countries not covered are Iran, North Korea, and Cuba. Cuba is covered if you are a US citizen with permission from the US government.

Unlike other travel insurance, you don’t need to declare in advance which countries you’ll be travelling to. The only decision is whether to include the US or not, as understandably, this increases the price significantly.

They also don’t cover kidnapping or express kidnapping that begins in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia or Venezuela or any country for which they are prohibited from transaction due to sanctions by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

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Activities Covered

Horse riding in Cardrona, New Zealand
SafetyWing covers many adventure activities including horse riding (this is us in Cardrona, New Zealand)

SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance policy covers many sports and activities as standard, but it’s best to check their website if you are interested in a particular activity.

Some of the adventure travel activities they cover include:

  • Bungee jumping
  • Camel riding
  • Canyoning
  • Cycling under 4,500 meters
  • Hiking up to 4,500 meters
  • Horse riding
  • Hot air ballooning as a passenger
  • Kayaking
  • Motorbiking
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving as long as you are certified
  • Skiing (not off-piste)
  • Snorkelling
  • Snowboarding (not off-piste)
  • Surfing
  • Waterskiing
  • Windsurfing
  • Ziplining
  • Zorbing

Some of the most notable exclusions include:

  • All-Terrain Vehicles
  • Base Jumping
  • Heli-skiing
  • Kitesurfing
  • Martial Arts
  • Luge
  • Mountaineering at elevations of 4,500 meters or higher
  • Parachuting
  • Parasailing
  • Racing
  • Snowmobile
  • Spelunking
  • Whitewater Rafting

Unusually, they cover motorbike and scooter accidents as long as they do not fall under any exclusions, such as racing and intoxication.

It’s also notable that they cover skiing and snowboarding—winter sports usually cost extra with other travel insurance companies.

They do not cover organised athletics or professional sports or activities.

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Maximum Payout and Deductible

SafetyWing’s maximum payout is US $250,000 ($100,000 for 65 years and above).

The deductible or excess is $250—this is the amount you’ll have to pay if you make a claim.

For example, if you have an accident and your medical expenses are $500, you’ll have to pay the first $250 and SafetyWing will refund you the remaining $250.

If you then have another accident or illness within a year of starting your policy, SafetyWing will pay out the full amount as you have already paid your deductible.

Some items like emergency medical evacuation and emergency dental treatment are not subject to a deductible.

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Medical

The main reason to purchase SafetyWing Nomad Insurance is to be covered for emergency medical expenses in case you have an unexpected illness or injury.

Eligible expenses could include doctor and hospital fees, ambulances, and prescription drugs.

SafetyWing travel insurance also covers any emergency dental treatment necessary to resolve acute onset of pain—they will pay out up to $1000 with no deductible.

They provide coverage for emergency medical evacuation up to $100,000 lifetime maximum, with no deductible.

Like with all travel insurance, you are not covered for routine checkups, preventative care, and cancer treatment.

Unfortunately, pre-existing conditions are not included either, although there’s limited coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions (as long as they are not chronic or congenital conditions).

If you’d prefer more comprehensive health insurance while travelling, see below for details of SafetyWing’s Remote Health plan.

Safetywing review - medical coverage provided for Nomad Insurance
Some of the coverage provided by SafetyWing Nomad Insurance

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Baggage

SafetyWing insurance doesn’t cover stolen baggage or electronics.

This doesn’t bother us as our clothes aren’t very expensive and the limits for electronics offered by other travel insurance policies are always too low to cover any of our devices. We make sure we have enough savings to replace our gear if necessary.

They do cover lost checked luggage up to $3,000 per certificate period and $500 per item with no deductible.

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Other

Other travel insurance coverage provided by SafetyWing includes:

  • Trip interruption – Up to $5,000. This covers a flight back home if you have to end your trip due to the death of a close family member, destruction of your principal residence, or after an emergency medical evacuation.
  • Travel delay – Up to $100 a day (maximum 2 days) after a 12-hour delay period requiring an unplanned overnight stay.
  • Natural disaster – Covers a new place to stay up to $100 a day for 5 days.
  • Political evacuation – Up to $10,000 lifetime maximum for transport to a safe country if the US Department of State has issued a level 3 or level 4 travel advisory after your arrival in the destination country.
  • Personal liability – Up to $25,000.
  • Accidental death & dismemberment – $12,500 to $25,000.
  • Bedside visit – Up to $1500 to cover transport for one relative to visit you if you are in hospital intensive care with a life threatening injury or illness.
  • Emergency reunion – Up to $50,000 (maximum 15 days) for transport, lodging and meals for one relative to visit you after an emergency medical evacuation.

None of the items above are subject to a deductible.

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How Much Is SafetyWing Nomad Insurance?

SafetyWing has a clear and simple pricing structure. The only things that affect the price are your age and whether you want to include the US.

The standard policy costs a flat rate of US $40 which is automatically charged every 4 weeks until you cancel. Travel to the US adds an extra $33 per 4 weeks. This is for ages 10–39—other ages cost more.

Unfortunately, Nomad Insurance gets significantly more expensive the older you get. Here is the cost per age group charged every 4 weeks (prices in USD).

AgeExcluding USIncluding US
10 – 39 years$40.04$73.08
40 – 49 years$64.68$120.40
50 – 59 years$101.64$198.24
60 – 69 years$137.76$270.76

SafetyWing does not cover those aged 70 and over.

You will automatically be charged a recurring payment every 28 days until you cancel or until 364 days have passed, when you need to renew.

You can also choose specific dates for your trip (from 5 days to 364 days) and pay a one-off fee, which might be a good option if you want to travel for less than 28 days or prefer to pay upfront for a longer trip.

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Signing Up For SafetyWing Insurance

SafetyWing travel insurance home page
SafetyWing website

Signing up for SafetyWing travel insurance is easy.

First, create an account on the SafetyWing website by choosing an email address and password or logging in using Facebook. Then enter some details including your home country, date of birth, and address.

To activate your insurance, choose your start date and whether you will be travelling to the US or not. You can also add family members or friends to your policy.

You can pay by credit or debit card and you’ll be charged every 4 weeks unless you select specific travel dates and pay upfront.

It’s easy to cancel at any time with one click and you’ll still be insured until the last day you’ve paid for.

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Making a Claim with SafetyWing

SafetyWing’s policy is administered by Tokio Marine, one of the largest insurance companies in the world.

We haven’t needed to make a claim on our SafetyWing insurance yet, but the process seems fairly simple.

On the SafetyWing website click on “Make a Claim” in the dropdown menu under My Profile and it will walk you through the process.

First, fill out the claims form (this can be done digitally) and then upload it with photos of receipts to Tokio Marine’s online portal.

All claims must be filed within 60 days of the end of your insurance.

Your claim should take less than 45 days to be processed and if approved, you will receive the money into your bank account by a wire transfer.

You are free to go to any doctor or hospital of your choice. For some hospitals and doctors, direct billing might be an option so you don’t have to pay yourself. For this it’s best to get assistance on choosing a hospital by calling the SafetyWing helpline. Otherwise, make sure to save receipts and relevant medical or police reports and test results.

Most reports of the claims process are really good. You can see reviews by people who have made claims on Trust Pilot.

Making a claim with Safetywing Nomad Insurance
The SafetyWing website walks you through making a claim

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Downsides of SafetyWing Insurance

These are the areas where SafetyWing could be improved:

  • Low maximum payout – The $250,000 max payout is much lower than the millions in coverage offered by other travel insurance. While this should be enough coverage in almost every case, if you suffer a very serious accident in the US and have to stay in hospital for an extended period, there’s a chance you could reach the maximum. SafetyWing says they have never had a claim that exceeded $250,000 and their goal is to make their policies affordable so that nomads don’t go without insurance entirely. 
  • No stolen baggage – It would be great if they offered an electronics add-on for digital nomads. I haven’t found any insurance that offers affordable coverage for tech gear, though.
  • No pre-existing conditions – This is standard with travel insurance but it’s still a shame.
  • No cancellation cover – This is something that most other travel insurance offers. Honestly, though, it’s not usually relevant to digital nomads as it only applies to trips being cancelled before you leave your home country.
  • No coverage for some adventure activities – If you want to go whitewater rafting, parasailing or kitesurfing, you won’t be covered.
  • Much more expensive the older you get – Each time you move into a new decade your premium shoots up. I’m turning 40 this month so my monthly payments jump from $40 to $64.
  • Doesn’t cover ages 70+ – Unfortunately, this is common with long stay travel insurance.
  • Doesn’t cover Cuba, Iran and North Korea

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SafetyWing Nomad Insurance vs Remote Health

SafetyWing’s Remote Health plan is global health insurance for nomads, remote workers, and remote companies.

If you want comprehensive health insurance while you travel the globe, this could be a good option. Compared to Nomad Insurance (reviewed above), it has the following advantages:

  • Coverage provided in your home country.
  • Covers cancer.
  • Covers approved pre-existing conditions (some may be excluded or alter the price).
  • Claims are processed within 7 days (or they pay direct when you are hospitalised).
  • $1 million annual maximum.
  • Option to add routine dental care.
  • Offers cover to remote companies as well as individuals

The disadvantages of Remote Health compared to Nomad Insurance are:

  • Much higher cost – For individuals aged 18–39 years, it starts from $153 a month and rises to $330 a month if you include outpatient care and coverage in the US, Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • Minimum one year term.
  • No coverage for non-medical expenses like lost checked baggage or trip interruption.
  • Some adventure activities not included.

Remote Health is worth considering if you want comprehensive health insurance that will cover more than just emergencies. It could be a good option if you have a pre-existing condition or think you’ll need more regular medical care.

For us, it’s more cover than we need at a higher price than we’re willing to pay right now.

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SafetyWing vs World Nomads

World Nomads is a well-known travel insurance company that’s popular with many nomads and long-term travellers. We used them ourselves for our round the world trip in 2008.

Like SafetyWing, they offer insurance when you are already abroad and travelling with a one-way ticket, and they cover most nationalities.

It’s difficult to do a direct comparison as World Nomads has different policies depending on your home country, and there’s no clear pricing structure so you need to get a quote based on your nationality, age, countries you’ll be visiting, and length of trip.

They also offer two levels of coverage—Standard and Explorer—and a variety of add-ons.

It’s best to get your own quote, but I’ve based the World Nomads numbers below on a quote for a 39-year-old from California, USA and from the UK.

Compared to SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance, World Nomads has these advantages:

  • For some nationalities, much higher emergency medical coverage – In the UK it’s £5 million or £10 million vs SafetyWing’s $250,000 maximum payout. For US residents it’s a lower $100,000, though.
  • Cancellation cover – Something SafetyWing doesn’t provide. Although this only covers you before you leave your home country so is of limited use to nomads.
  • Stolen baggage cover – $1000/3000 of cover (or £1000/2000 in the UK). But the valuables limit is low. You can add additional high value items in some countries at an extra cost, but the maximum amount per item is £400 which won’t cover most laptops, phones or cameras.
  • Rental car excess cover with Explorer plan in the UK or rental car damage in the US.
  • Covers a wider range of adventure activities and in some countries, you can add specific activities you want to be covered.

The disadvantages of World Nomads compared to SafetyWing are:

  • Much higher cost – My World Nomads quote for a US resident (all ages) for 28 days worldwide was $207 for Standard or $369 for Explorer for 28 days. Even paying upfront for a longer trip it worked out at $150 per 28 days. For UK residents up to 50, the same trip is £100/£125 for 28 days or it comes down to £42 per 28 days if you pay for a year upfront.
  • You have to choose your trip length and pay upfront – This can be difficult if you don’t know how long you’ll be away.
  • No COVID–19 cover for some nationalities – They do now provide COVID-19 cover if you are from the US, Canada, UK, Ireland and others, but not all countries are included. You won’t be covered if there are travel advisories for the country you are visiting.
  • Lower medical coverage for US residents ($100,000).
  • Doesn’t cover any time in your home country.
  • No free coverage for children.
  • You have to choose specific countries or regions you’ll be visiting or select worldwide.

While World Nomads does offer a higher amount of coverage for those outside the US, it comes at a much higher price.

It also lacks the flexibility of SafetyWing’s subscription model.

It’s worth getting a quote from World Nomads for your particular circumstances as the coverage varies widely by nationality, but for us SafetyWing is a more affordable option.

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SafetyWing vs True Traveller

We used True Traveller insurance for the last eight years and would be happy to again, but post-Brexit, it’s only available for Brits (they used to cover Europeans too and are working on doing so again).

We wanted to try insurance that’s accessible to more of our readers, which is why we’re trying SafetyWing this year.

Like SafetyWing, True Traveller offers travel insurance after departure and for those travelling without a return ticket, and they cover COVID–19. The main difference is they only cover UK residents.

They offer three policies: True Value (for under 40s with the most basic coverage), Traveller, and Traveller Plus.

Here are the advantages of True Traveller over SafetyWing:

  • Much higher medical coverage from £2.5 million to £10 million.
  • Much higher personal liability cover from £1 million to £2 million.
  • Cheaper if you pay upfront for a year – My quote for a 39 year old on a year-long trip worldwide excluding the US/Canada was the equivalent of £25/£33/£38 per 28 days. The price does increase if you add extra activities though.
  • You can choose from four travel areas: Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Worldwide excluding US and Canada, and Worldwide.
  • 92 activities covered as standard and you can add more at an additional cost.
  • Option to include baggage cover and valuables at an extra cost, but again the valuables limit is so low (£450 to £750) that it’s not useful for us.
  • You can extend your policy and get a 10% discount.

The disadvantages of True Traveller compared to SafetyWing are:

  • Only covers UK residents.
  • More expensive for shorter trips – My quote for a 39 year old on a 28-day trip worldwide excluding the US/Canada was £85/100/111.
  • The maximum age they can insure is 65.
  • Winter sports coverage is only included at an additional cost.
  • They don’t cover COVID–19 if the country has an FCDO travel advisory against it (which is many countries during the pandemic).

For UK residents 65 years old and under, True Traveller offers more comprehensive insurance than SafetyWing, and if you can pay in advance for a longer trip, it will likely be cheaper.

I recommend getting a quote from True Traveller, though, as the price will depend on your age, where you are travelling to, the length of trip, and what activities and extras you want to include.

True Traveller does lack the flexibility of SafetyWing’s subscription payment method and is much more expensive if you only want to insure yourself for a month or so at a time.

See our True Traveller insurance review for more details. 

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Is SafetyWing Worth It?

Yes, SafetyWing travel medical insurance is ideal for digital nomads, remote workers, and long term travellers from most countries. It’s flexible, affordable, and easy to sign up for.

No one likes paying for travel insurance, but it’s important to have coverage in case anything goes wrong. Accidents and illnesses abroad do happen and without insurance, you could be left with a bill you can’t afford. 

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Sign Up for SafetyWing

I hope my SafetyWing review has helped you decide if it’s right for you.

You can get a quote for SafetyWing Nomad Insurance here or fill in your details below.

 

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Is Safetywing the best long-term travel insurance?

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you once again for saving us valuable time in our search for affordable traveling health care. As usual you are spot on in your recommendations. We have been following you guys for at least five years now, starting before we sold everything we owned and left for our new lives of traveling. We both have reached the “midlife” ages of 65 which puts in in different requirements for most everything such as, Insurance changes, social security options and physical activites. We are fountunate enough to have the finical means to protect ourselves without insurance (to a certain age) but, it is wise to have the added shield for the unknown cost. Enjoy and don’t let the old man in.

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