If you’re a long-term traveler or digital nomad, bearing the burden of medical costs on the road is bound to be one of your top concerns. Even if you have health insurance at home, there are limitations to your coverage abroad, which means hefty out-of-pocket payments, rare direct billing, and the possibility that you may not be covered at all.
These concerns are serious, and makes having travel health insurance so important. That’s why companies like SafetyWing have created a travel health insurance policy for long-term adventurers and digital nomads alike.
Why You Need Travel Medical Insurance
For the average traveler, travel insurance typically provides sufficient coverage.
This type of insurance covers things like trip cancellation, lost baggage, and other technical incidents that may happen while traveling. Besides covering your financial investment in the trip, it also covers any medical emergencies that may happen along the way.
On the other hand, medical insurance primarily covers medical expenses, not only limited to emergencies. For instance, you will be covered for room and board in a hospital, surgery costs, intensive care costs, and ambulance charges, among other associated medical expenses.
While general travel insurance is helpful, it doesn’t quite meet the needs of long-term travelers and digital nomads.
For one, general travel insurance has limitations such as trip length and the medical coverage they do provide is geared primarily towards emergencies. Plus, you’re often not eligible to buy travel insurance once you’ve left your home country.
When you’re abroad for a long time, there will likely be an instance or two where you’ll need to see a doctor or may even end up staying in a hospital for a longer period of time. These types of incidents can be extremely costly and since they aren’t covered under travel insurance, companies like World Nomads and SafetyWing came to life.
These companies have created a hybrid of travel insurance and typical health insurance, providing coverage to long-term travelers and digital nomads to ensure that they’re adequately provided for abroad in case medical care is needed.
SafetyWing: Medical Coverage for Long-Term Travelers and Digital Nomads
If you’re a long-term traveler or digital nomad, medical insurance is a must. Accidents happen and you never know when disaster will strike, so it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
As long-term travelers ourselves, we’ve had our fair share of travel mishaps, and without medical insurance, we would have had to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket.
What traveler has that kind of money?
That’s why it’s worth investing in travel medical insurance like SafetyWing, which was designed specifically with people like us (and you) in mind.
SafetyWing takes the financial stress out of serious illnesses and accidents abroad, and makes sure you’re covered for unforeseen incidents that could happen along the way.
How It Works
As a partner of insurance giant Tokio Marine, SafetyWing offers travelers insurance that’s a combination of medical and travel-related coverage.
You pay $37 for 4 weeks of coverage if you’re between 18 and 39 years old, and the premium increases according to age band if you’re older. Coverage is also more expensive if you’re traveling in the United States, so keep that in mind when signing up.
Coverage automatically renews every four weeks for 364 days, and you can cancel at any time (such a luxury!) without penalty.
You can sign up from anywhere, whether you’re still at home or already on the road, so if you’re looking for some coverage on the go, SafetyWing is a good option.
To use your policy, you can search on their website for a partner hospital or medical provider that’s nearest to you, make a visit, and they will directly bill SafetyWing without having you pay upfront. Otherwise, you can visit any medical establishment, pay at the time of treatment, and submit a claim for reimbursement.
The deductible on SafetyWing is $250 per policy period.
SafetyWing provides quite extensive coverage, particularly for unexpected illness or injury. That means if something happens along the way and you need medical attention, SafetyWing has you covered.
Here are some key inclusions that are of interest to long-term travelers or digital nomads:
- Emergency Medical Treatment
- Medical Expenses
- Emergency Dental
- Hospital Room and Board
- Family member transportation from home country in the event that you have an extended hospital stay
- Terrorism Evacuation
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
- Natural Disaster Accommodation
- Lost Checked Luggage
- Trip Interruption
- Travel Delay
SafetyWing also covers a wide range of sports and activities, including moped and motorbike accidents, which is the million dollar question for travelers in Asia.
What’s Not Covered
Like most insurance policies, there are certain things that are not covered under SafetyWing. These exclusions are routine check-ups, pre-existing conditions (besides acute onset), and cancer treatment, which is pretty reasonable as this is travel medical insurance, not primary health insurance.
SafetyWing coverage also excludes organized and professional sports, and adventure sports.
Finally, SafetyWing also won’t cover trip cancellations.
For full details on what’s covered (and not covered) in a SafetyWing policy, we recommend checking out their website.
Our Experience With SafetyWing
Our experience with SafetyWing has been overwhelmingly positive so far!
We were looking to try out a new insurance provider, and have been really pleased with the experience. We haven’t run into problems, and find that navigating their website and processes have been very easy.
What We Like
Not only does SafetyWing provide coverage that suits our needs, it’s also easy to use with a great platform that makes getting started really easy.
We really like the option to make payments every four weeks, with the option to cancel at any time. Having no long-term, set in stone contract is super useful, especially for those just interested in trying it out or people traveling for a short term.
The subscription model is also super appealing for long-term travelers who don’t know when their globetrotting will be coming to an end. This allows you to stay covered for the entire time you’re abroad, without having to worry about falling under a certain plan or set time frame.
If you stay on board for a little while though, you get certain perks like being covered for 30 days in your home country for every 90 days of coverage abroad (15 days, if you’re a U.S. citizen).
We also really like how easy it is to understand SafetyWing’s policies and all that is covered. The policy breakdowns on the website are straightforward and easy to understand, without all the insurance jargon that’s generally included with this information.
If you’re interested in taking a look at the full policy, that’s provided as well, but we like having a guide to understand what we’re getting.
Because it’s available for purchase in 180 countries and you can buy coverage even when you’re already abroad, SafetyWing is very appealing for those who may be lacking insurance but already out on their adventures (like me!).
You don’t even need proof of residency in your home country, or anywhere else for that matter, making signing up and receiving coverage extremely easy and hassle-free.
Finally, SafetyWing covers a lot at a low price.
A premium of $37 every four weeks is an incredibly reasonable deal and much cheaper than the alternatives out there, making it an appealing option for digital nomads and full-time travelers like us!
This value is something we really love about this provider, and is a good incentive to renew our coverage.
The Claims Process
The claims process is simple, which is another reason why we love these guys.
To start the process, all you need to do is send the claim to the email address provided and SafetyWing will get back to you quickly to let you know that it’s being reviewed. We got our confirmation within 24 hours!
Once your claim is being reviewed, you can visit the Claims section of the website to see live status updates. It’s nice to be informed throughout the whole process instead of just being notified when your claim is either accepted or rejected.
Should You Choose SafetyWing?
If you’re a long-term traveler or digital nomad, you should absolutely consider SafetyWing as your insurance provider. Their simple, inexpensive, and widely-covered insurance will make our lives that much safer and easier anywhere in the world.
The only travelers I wouldn’t recommend SafetyWing to are those who constantly participate in adventure sports or move around with lots of expensive equipment, as these are not covered in their policy. If you want more information on SafetyWing, you can also check them out on Trust Pilot to see unbiased reviews.
Otherwise, SafetyWing is a great option for long-term travelers and digital nomads if you’re looking for medical coverage during your adventures abroad.
It’s also great that they’re committed to improving their product offering. In 2019, SafetyWing aims to enhance their policy by having zero deductible, raising coverage to $1 million USD, and adding the option to add cover for extreme sports.
As far as travel medical insurance goes, SafetyWing offers a great deal for those who like to bounce around, explore the world, and work remotely and is a great option due to its affordability.
Learn more about their coverage, policy, and pricing on their website to see all they have to offer. Stay safe and happy travels!
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