As a digital nomad you need a reliable international health insurance. But which one should you go for? If you ask Google, there is a big chance you will sooner or later find the company SafetyWing – and their offer sounds too good to be true. But is this insurance provider really the right fit for your needs?
I’ve thoroughly reviewed SafetyWing and want to share my opinion about this new kid on the insurance block with you.
Do you need international health insurance?
Short version: Yes, you definitely do!
I wrote an extensive post about why health insurance is so important for digital nomads so I won’t go into detail again now. But just as anywhere in the world, you should always be covered when it comes to your health. You could get the flu and need medication, have an unexpected allergic reaction to something, hit your toe and get a bad infection, or have an accident and need emergency treatment at a hospital.
There are many things that can happen to you on the road and we all know how expensive medical treatments can be. Most of us won’t be able to pay thousands and thousands of dollars from our pocket money. So make sure you have an insurance policy wherever you are.
What is SafetyWing?
Ok, now to the company. SafetyWing is an international travel medical insurance that is specifically made for digital nomads. This means if you are a remote worker or traveling freelancer and entrepreneurs or even if you are living abroad somewhere, this might be the perfect insurance for you.
It was founded by three Norwegian friends, all digital nomads themselves, who realized that there is no insurance out there, that covered the special needs of this target group. They decided that since the digital nomad lifestyle is constantly growing in popularity, it is about time to change that and so they founded SafetyWing.
What does SafetyWing cover?
Now to the most important facts: What is covered in your SafetyWing insurance policy?
Here are only some of the things that are covered:
- Emergency medical treatment
- Lost luggage
- Travel delay
- Evacuation in the event of terrorism, political disruption or medical emergencies
- Accommodation in the event of natural disasters
- Transportation of a family member from your home country to you in case you have to stay in hospital for an extended duration
- Personal liability for losses or injuries to third-parties
Let me jump in here by saying that this is already more than many other travel and/or health insurance provider cover.
To give you an overview of some of the benefits in detail, I’ve listed the ones I think are going to be most important to you and their limits to which they are covered:
|Acute onset of pre-existing condition||Up to $250,000|
|Local ambulance||Usual, reasonable and customary charges, when covered illness or injury results in hospitalization as inpatient|
|Emergency dental||Up to $1,000|
|Intense care unit||Up to $250,000|
|Hospital room and board||Average semi-private room, also includes nursing service|
|Outpatient physical therapy and chiropractic care||Up to $50 per day|
|Terrorism||Up to $50,000|
|Other eligible medical expenses||Up to $250,000|
|Emergency medical evacuation||Up to $100,000|
|Political evacuation||Up to $10,000|
|Replacement accommodation after natural disaster||Up to $100 a day|
|Trip interruption||Up to $5,000|
|Lost checked luggage||Up to $3,000|
|Travel delay||Up to $100 a day after a 12-hour delay period requiring an unplanned overnight stay|
|Personal liability||Up to $10,000|
|Repatriation of remains||Up to $20,000|
|Accidental death & dismemberment||Up to $50,000|
*Keep in mind that SafetyWing has a deductible of $250.
What does SafetyWing NOT cover?
I think it is also important that we talk about the things that SafetyWing doesn’t cover. As most travel and international health insurance provider, they don’t cover things like cancer treatment, routine check-ups, or pre-existing conditions. If you would want to cover that, it’s going to be super expensive and in most cases won’t be reasonable.
The only two things that they don’t cover and that might be important to some of you are:
- Trip cancellation and
- Adventure sports.
On the other side, if you travel relatively spontaneous as most digital nomads do, you won’t plan much ahead and therefore won’t have too many expenses for trip cancellations. So that one shouldn’t be too much of a deal.
And adventure sports: If you are really crazy about them and plan on doing a lot of adrenalin pumping sports, this might indeed be a significant downside to you. In that case, you could still look for additional options to cover these events only.
How much does SafetyWing cost?
SafetyWing is so far the cheapest international health and travel insurance I’ve seen. They are only one-third of what you’d have to pay at their biggest competitor. Here are the main prices:
|Age Range||Price per Month|
These prices are excluding USA coverage. As with every insurance plan, you will have to pay more if you want to travel to the USA, simply because the medication is more expensive there. In case you do want to travel to the USA, no worries. You can simply book it on top of your plan for the weeks you want to go there.
Why is SafetyWing so cheap?
Now you are probably wondering why SafetyWing has so cheap in comparison to others. Here are the reasons:
- First of all, they only have one policy for all of their customers. That makes it much easier both for their consumers and for their staff because they can focus their processes on this one policy only.
- Second, there are no middlemen. SafetyWing sells directly to the consumer and therefore doesn’t have to pay for agents.
- And last, they focus on the most important and basic coverages. For example, if they would cover cancer as well, they had humongous expenses for these affected patients. Since that money has to come from somewhere, they would have to increase their general prices for everyone. By not offering coverage for these particularly high treatments, they manage to keep their rates as low as possible.
How does the payment work?
SafetyWing operates on a subscription basis, which comes super handy for digital nomads.
You pay for the first 4 weeks of your trip and after that, the coverage automatically extends another 4 weeks until you cancel. Of course, you can cancel anytime and without any fees.
After 364 days of coverage, they will notify you that your policy is going to end now. If you are still traveling, you can renew your policy without any difficulties.
Since most of us don’t know how long we are going to travel for, this is a great way that prevents us from accidentally running out of coverage (been there, done that…).
Extra Bonus: In contrast to many other travel and health insurances, you can start your coverage at SafetyWing anytime – even if you are already traveling. No need to be in your home country!
What countries does SafetyWing cover?
With SafetyWing you can travel to more than 180 countries worldwide, which is pretty much everywhere ;) Bear in mind that the monthly rate increases if you are traveling to the USA.
Am I covered while visiting my home country?
Yes, SafetyWing covers you even when you visit your home country. You can stay up to 30 days at home for each 90 days of coverage. If your home country is the USA, you are covered for 15 days for every 90 days of coverage.
That is much more than most other providers offer.
Do I need residency somewhere?
Another great advantage of SafetyWing: You do not need a (registered) residence in your home country or anywhere else.
There are insurance companies out there that only cover you as long as you still have your residency. But as a digital nomad, you often cut all ties in your home countries and are constantly traveling. This has been a huge problem for me at the beginning of my nomadic life because I couldn’t find a company that wanted to insure me without a constant address.
Not a requirement at SafetyWing though. All you need is a postal address where they can send you the last bill. But that can easily be a friends place or your parents address.
What do I do in case of an emergency?
- First of all, don’t panic!
- If necessary, call 911 (your phone should be able to convert it to the local emergency number automatically).
- If it is not that urgent, find the next medical provider near you. To do so, you can simply log in to your SafetyWing profile and select “find a hospital or doctor”. You will get a list with qualified doctors, specialists and hospitals worldwide.
- Once you get there, show your SafetyWing ID-card to the medical attendant. Some hospitals and doctors are able to submit the bill directly to SafetyWing, which is super handy. If not, you pay for your bills yourself before leaving.
- Ask for proof of your payment (receipts or bills).
- File your claim.
Bonus Tip: Make sure you always get a receipt or bill of what you have paid. May it be doctor’s bills or medication at the pharmacy. Take photos of these documents immediately. Those little papers get lost quicker than you might think and without proof, you obviously can’t file any claim.
How do I file a claim with SafetyWing?
The claim process is very similar to those of other insurance companies. Here are the basics:
- Collect receipts of all of the expenses you’ve had (doctor’s treatment, pharmacy bill etc.) and take a photo of them.
- Fill out the claim form.
- Send the claim form and the photo of your receipts to firstname.lastname@example.org or print everything and send it to: Tokio Marine HCC – MIS Group, Box No. 2005, Farmington Hills, MI 48333-2005.
- You will receive a confirmation email and can track the process of your claim in your online profile. Please allow them up to 8 weeks to process your claim.
Bonus Tip: Please always make sure that you have an emergency fund to pay for your expenses until you receive your money back!
Extra feature: Community events
SafetyWing also wants to create a little community amongst their users. That’s why they have ambassadors in 20 cities worldwide. They also organize events and meetups for their users.
That’s a great way for you to connect with like-minded people and join a close-knit tribe of nomads worldwide.
Is SafetyWing a scam?
Due to the fact that SafetyWing is fairly new (and maybe because their website admittedly looks much different from the usual insurance websites), some people are not sure if they can trust them.
But rest assure SafetyWing is most certainly not a scam. They are a legit international insurance firm and a fantastic option for digital nomads.
They have partnered with one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, Tokio Marine. That means that all of the claims are processed at this expert company directly.
So definitely no fraud.
Is SafetyWing the right international insurance for me?
Yes, SafetyWing is the right insurance for you…
- If you are older than 18 years.
- If you are a digital nomad who wants to travel abroad for more than 4 weeks.
- If you are already outside of your home country and need travel or international health insurance.
- If you are an expat or remote worker living abroad.
- If you don’t want to work remotely or live abroad but simply want to travel for more than 4 weeks.
In which cases should I NOT go for SafetyWing?
I can only think of two cases in which SafetyWing might not be the best choice for you:
- If you are heavily into adventure sports and want practice them quite often.
- If you carry super expensive top-end equipment with you, e.g. camera equipment worth $7,000.
In these cases, I strongly recommend you World Nomads. They cover both adventure sports and equipment, but are also more expensive. If you want to learn more about them, feel free to check this World Nomads review or head to their website directly.
Conclusion: SafetyWing Yes or No?
SafetyWing gets a big YES. The policy covers the most important aspects the average person needs when traveling. It even includes personal liability and travel delay. Processes are very simple and straight forward. The subscription concept comes very handy for digital nomads. You can start the police when you are traveling already, don’t need to have a registered address anywhere and can cancel anytime.
If you are looking for an international health insurance, SafetyWing is definitely a fantastic choice. Head over to their website now to register your next trip!