Embarking on a stint of long term travel comes with a lot of considerations. What type of backpack should you choose? What are the most important items to pack? Should you invest in an international SIM card? However, arguably the most important thing to consider is choosing the best insurance for long term travel.
Taking out an insurance policy for a long term trip comes with a whole set of different considerations compared to short trips. Despite this, until very recently, there weren’t companies that focused exclusively on the longer-term travel market and instead, travellers would take out insurance policies from traditional travel insurance companies. With the rise of digital nomads and long term travellers, SafetyWing Insurance aims to fill that gap in the market by offering travel medical insurance designed specifically for nomads.
Is their product right for you? This SafetyWing Insurance review outlines what we think are the best aspects of their policies and what makes them ideal for long term travellers. We will also cover some limitations to be aware of if you are considering taking out a policy with them.
Why Choose SafetyWing Insurance?
There are a number of reasons why SafetyWing Insurance makes a compelling case as the best insurance for long term travel and digital nomads around the world.
1. SafetyWing is very affordable
SafetyWing Insurance is undoubtedly one of the cheapest options available on the market, which makes them a great choice if you are a penny-pinching backpacker or simply a digital nomad who is just getting started and doesn’t want to spend a lot on insurance.
Their prices start at $37 for 4 weeks, which covers people aged up to 39 years old who are not travelling in the US. Prices increase to $68 for 4 weeks if travelling to the US (this option is only available to non-US citizens).
With their cheapest plan coming out to be only about $1.32 per day, it means that in many countries around the world you can literally get covered for the price of your daily coffee!
2. Flexible Policies
One of the great aspects of SafetyWing is that they offer a lot of flexibility for purchasing a policy. Many long term travellers and digital nomads don’t necessarily know how long they’ll be on the road and SafetyWing ensures you don’t end up paying for coverage you don’t need.
For their standard policy, you are charged every 4 weeks and can cancel at any time within that period if you don’t need coverage for the following 4-week period. At the end of a 364-day period, you will be asked to renew again.
SafetyWing also offers the flexibility of buying a fixed-length policy like a standard travel insurance policy and, unlike many other companies, you can buy a policy once you are already on the road.
3. Worldwide Coverage
As long as you are not travelling to North Korea, Cuba or Iran, you are covered under your SafetyWing Insurance policy. There are also some limitations to benefits for items such as kidnapping in higher-risk countries. However, for the most part, you can travel worldwide and know that you are covered.
4. Lots of Activities Covered
SafetyWing include a huge range of sporting activities as covered items within their policies, meaning you can fully enjoy the destinations you are exploring! Whether you are planning on scuba diving, joining a local gym, taking yoga classes or tackling popular hiking trails — SafetyWing covers you for these types of activities.
Make sure to read the full list of activities covered in their Terms & Conditions when taking out a policy to ensure there are no nasty surprises if you have to make a claim.
5. Some Home Coverage Included
One of the challenges of conventional travel insurance policies is that they often don’t provide any coverage if you are visiting your home country. SafetyWing once again makes the case for being one of the best insurance options for long term travel by providing some coverage in the policyholders’ home country.
For every 90 days, you are covered for up to 15 days if your home country is the USA or for up to 30 days if your home country is elsewhere. Keep in mind that you are only covered for incidents that occur when you are back in your home country so you can’t specifically travel back home for treatment and be covered under their policy. Nevertheless, this feature is still a big improvement on what several other insurance companies offer.
6. 24/7 Support Provided
If something unfortunate happens when you are on the road, you can be confident in knowing that SafetyWing offers 24/7 support for its policyholders. As well as having a database of hospitals and medical providers online, they also have a hotline you can call 24/7 if you want to speak to a staff member directly.
Limitations of SafetyWing Insurance
As one of the most affordable policies currently available, it’s important to be aware of the limitations of their product to ensure you make an informed decision about whether it is right for you.
1. It’s not a travel insurance policy
SafetyWing markets itself as a travel medical insurance policy, which means it doesn’t cover a number of items that are often included in a conventional travel insurance policy.
While SafetyWing does provide some coverage for trip interruption, lost luggage and travel delays, there are a number of notable exclusions. For example, you are not covered for any theft of electronics (even if it’s part of your lost luggage) which is an important consideration for many nomads who make their livelihood from their electronics!
You are also not covered for trip cancellations, which might be a concern for long term travellers who book flights in advance.
Despite the travel exclusions in SafetyWing’s policy, their affordable prices mean you might still be better off covering their exclusions separately through other third parties (e.g. getting separate electronics insurance) and still pay considerably less when compared to conventional travel insurance.
SafetyWing have told us that they’re planning on introducing cover for electronics in the future.
2. It’s not a replacement for traditional health insurance
In the same way that SafetyWing is not a typical travel insurance policy, their current travel medical insurance policy is also not designed to be a replacement for conventional health insurance. This means that, while you are covered if you get sick or have an accident abroad, you won’t be covered for most pre-existing conditions or things like cancer treatments.
The good news is that SafetyWing is planning to launch a comprehensive health insurance plan in the future that will overcome this limitation.
3. Certain sports aren’t covered
While most of the activities not covered by SafetyWing are unlikely to be a concern to a typical traveller, there are a couple of items that jump out that travellers should be aware of when deciding whether SafetyWing is the right long term travel insurance for them.
Some forms of football such as American & Aussie Rules aren’t covered in their policy, meaning that if you have a friendly game and injure yourself, you might not be covered under their policy. Some other water sports such as parasailing and white water rafting also aren’t covered so make sure to read the policy exclusions list in detail before purchasing a policy.
SafetyWing is planning on providing fuller extreme sports and activities coverage in the future.
SafetyWing makes a compelling case for arguably being the best insurance for long term travel. Their affordable rates, flexible policies and home coverage are just a few of the reasons to consider them when buying insurance as a digital nomad or long term traveller. Click here to read more about SafetyWing and to get a quote!
Are you looking for long term travel insurance? Have you used SafetyWing before? Let us know in the comments below!