A solo traveler jumping for joy on a large cliff
Posted: 8/12/21 | August 12th, 2021

Budget travelers love saving money. But one of the expenses that we shouldn’t be cheap with is travel insurance.

After over 15 years of traveling the world, I still never leave home without it.

Why?

Because I’ve seen firsthand how useful it can be — and how much money it can save.

I’ve lost baggage, had my camera broken, and even needed emergency medical help over the years.

Travel insurance has been there for me each time. Not only has it saved me money but it’s provided me with peace of mind as I explore.

I’ve written extensively over the years about why you need insurance and how to pick the right company, listed my preferred providers, and reviewed my all-time favorite, World Nomads.

But a couple of years ago, a new company emerged: SafetyWing. It is a fully remote Norwegian start-up based in California that focuses on coverage for long-term travelers and digital nomads. It is run by nomads and expats who know exactly what such travelers need. It offers basic insurance plans for a fraction of what other companies charge, although they are also less comprehensive.

So, today I want to review the company and talk about when it is — and isn’t — worth using.
 

What Does SafetyWing Cover?

SafetyWing’s standard plan is the “Nomad” plan. It’s just $40 USD for four weeks of travel (outside the US). That works out to just $1.42 USD per day.

That plan includes the following:

  • $250,000 USD in emergency medical coverage
  • $1,000 USD for emergency dental care
  • $100,000 USD for medical evacuation
  • $10,000 USD for an evacuation due to political upheaval
  • $5,000 USD for a trip interruption
  • $200 USD for a travel delay
  • $12,500–25,000 USD for death or dismemberment

Screenshot of SafetyWing insurance coverage
SafetyWing covers the basics. Its $100,000 USD for medical evacuation is on the low end, but unless you’re heading out into the remote wilderness, that should be fine. (If you want higher coverage, get MedJet.)

Moreover, its travel-delay payout is pretty low, but airlines often provide travel delay assistance too so you might not even need the coverage offered by SafetyWing. Additionally, it doesn’t really cover expensive electronics, which sucks if you have a pricey camera or video gear.

As with most standard travel insurance plans, this one doesn’t include pre-existing conditions or certain adventure sports (so it’s not a good policy if you’re going to do a lot of adventure activities on the road).

There is also a $250 USD deductible for most expenses — which is where SafetyWing is different from most other insurance companies. A $250 deductible means that you need to pay the first $250 USD out of pocket before you are reimbursed. So, for example, say you get injured and your hospital visit costs $1,000. You have to pay $250 and SafetyWing pays the rest.

Most travel insurance companies do not have a deductible (which is why they cost more per month) and I’m not a huge fan that they have this.

Obviously, if your bill is thousands of dollars, then $250 USD is a drop in the bucket. However, if it’s only a couple hundred dollars, then you essentially are paying the whole thing out of pocket and won’t get any assistance from SafetyWing. When I needed medical care for being stabbed in Colombia, it didn’t even cost $250 USD, which means that if I had had had SafetyWing, I wouldn’t have been reimbursed.

SafetyWing is there to help you when BIG things go wrong. For minor expenses under $250 USD, you’re on your own (which is why its plans are so much cheaper per month than other companies).

In short, if you want some basic medical coverage, don’t really care about trip-delay coverage, and are OK covering the first $250 USD, then get SafetyWing, since it’s only $40 USD per month.
 

Making a Claim

While I am currently using SafetyWing for my current trip, I haven’t submitted a claim with them so I don’t know how good their procedures are yet. I asked around to some readers though. All but one said they were good to work with. Based on reading their negative TrustPilot reviews, it seems that most people who had a negative experience either didn’t know about the deductible or hated the length of time it took to get paid.

So, in my opinion, based on that, it looks like they probably have above average but not perfect customer service. (If you have made a claim with them, drop a comment below and let us know.)

 

A Note About COVID

SafetyWing does include coverage for COVID-19. As long as the virus was not contracted before your plan starts, then it will be covered. SafetyWing also covers quarantine costs (outside your home country) for up to $50 USD/day for 10 days.

Since most travel insurance plans still don’t offer coverage for COVID, this is a huge plus — especially as countries reopen and variants continue to spread.
 

Who is SafetyWing Good For?

SafetyWing is designed for long-term travelers. Specifically, it’s the best choice for:

  • Super frugal, long-term budget travelers
  • Someone looking to only cover big expenses
  • People without lots of expensive electronics
  • Digital nomads who need coverage for long-term travel

 

Who is SafetyWing Not Good For?

If you are traveling with a lot of electronics, want more comprehensive trip delay and cancelation coverage, want more coverage for adventure activities, and want more robust health insurance, then I wouldn’t go with Safety Wing.

NOTE: SafetyWing also offers expat plans for remote workers, which are more expensive but more comprehensive. These plans are $153 USD per month. Unless you’re an expat working abroad, however, you’ll likely get by with just the “basic” Nomad plan.

***

Travel insurance is something I never leave home without. I know it’s a boring topic to read about and research, but it can literally save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in bills!

So, the next time, you’re on the road, consider SafetyWing.

For a comparison with other companies, check out this post that lists my five favorite travel insurance companies, along with their pros and cons.

P.S. – Want to learn more about travel insurance and SafetyWing? I’m co-hosting a Q&A with the co-founder of SafetyWing on August 25th where you ask questions and learn everything you need to know about travel insurance. Best of all, the event is free! Click here to sign up!

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is 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 they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap 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. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

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.

The post Safety Wing: A Review of an Upstart Travel Insurance Company appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

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