Safetywing vs World Nomads: Travel Insurance Battle

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If you’re looking to purchase longterm travel insurance or travel insurance for your gap year, you’re probably trying to decide between Safetywing and World Nomads. The question of whether to use Safetywing vs World Nomads is a big decision and can have major consequences down the line if you don’t choose the right option.

Not too many years ago, World Nomads was the main insurance provider for digital nomads and longterm travellers. That changed when Safetywing came onto the market.

It didn’t take long for the Safetywing vs World Nomads battle to begin.

Each company has their pros and cons, but for me there is a clear winner.

I think when choosing between World Nomads and Safetywing, Safetywing is the winner. It is more affordable, has amazing customer service, and offer coverage in your home country when you return from your trip.

That by no means Safetywing is perfect, and it may not be the right choice for everybody.

That’s why we’re going to have an in-depth discussion about each insurance program, their pros and cons, and then compare them head on to help you decide what travel insurance is best for you.

Hopefully by the end of this article, the Safetywing vs World Nomads question will be answered, and you’ll have a better idea who to trust with your health while you’re travelling the world and making memories.

Solo travel in Iceland

Safetywing Overview

Safetywing offers three different types of insurance called Nomad Insurance, Nomad Health, and Remote Health.

Each product is designed to suit a specific need, but most people looking for travel insurance find that Nomad Insurance is the best choice for them. It’s the insurance designed specifically for people who travel longterm.

Nomad Health is their newest product and is designed for people who both travel and live in a different country. Think expat. It’s the type of insurance you’d get for the first year you move to Europe when you’re required to have insurance before you’re able to access the insurance provided by the country you moved to.

Their final product is likely something you won’t need. It’s insurance designed for companies that have remote workers worldwide that require a specialized product to offer to their remote team. Unless you’re operating a business, you won’t need this one.

What Makes Safetywing Different

Payment

What sets Safetywing apart from it’s competitors is their payment model.

They have a monthly fee instead of paying for your trip all at once like most other travel insurance providers including World Nomads. I love this method because it gives you a lot more flexibility.

I know a lot of people who have set out on a world trip and then come home earlier than expected. Either because they didn’t enjoy longterm travel as much as they thought they would or something unexpected happened that they needed to return home for.

If you prepaid for your travel insurance in full ahead of time and had to return home early, you wouldn’t be able to get a refund for the amount of time you’re not using your insurance for.

With Safetywing, you simply cancel your policy if you have to return home early. You simply cancel your account, and you won’t have to pay the next instalment of your insurance.

You, unfortunately, won’t get a refund for any amount of time you didn’t use in the month you’d already paid for, but it’s better to overpay for a couple weeks of insurance than for potentially a couple of months.

One thing to note is that Safetywing has a policy to charge you for your next month’s instalment three days before it actually comes due. If you’re charged for your next month and know you won’t need it, be sure to contact Safetywing as soon as you realize you won’t need that insurance. If you contact them within three days of the charge and your new month hasn’t actually kicked in yet, they’ll happily refund you.

You just need to make sure you email them within that three day period. They send you an email every month letting you know that they’ve charged your card and giving you the dates of the next cycle. Check your emails often and make sure you don’t procrastinate in getting in contact with them.

Home Country Coverage

The other thing that sets Safetywing apart that I really like is that they cover you in your home country for up to 30 days as long as you’ve been out of the country for at least 90 days before returning home.

This gives you you opportunity to visit your friends and family at home without losing health insurance. It also gives you a month to try to find a job that provides medical insurance if you’re done your travelling.

This is a great feature that other travel insurance providers don’t have that makes Safetywing stand out.

It gives you peace of mind that you’re going to be covered when you’re in your home country and takes away a little bit of stress that you might have about coming home for a visit or coming home to transition to full-time employment.

You can use your home country coverage as many times a year as you need it. The only criteria is that you’ve been outside your home country for at least 90 days before you return to your home country. Your coverage for your home country only lasts for 30 days. If you’re in your home country for longer than that, you need to find other insurance or be uninsured during that time.

Buddha in the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai

Safetywing Nomad Insurance Highlights

  • Coverage can be purchased while you’re already abroad
  • Includes trip delay, trip cancellation, and lost baggage insurance
  • 24/7 customer service that is friendly and helpful
  • Home country coverage included for 30 days after being abroad for at least 90 days
  • Physical therapy and chiropractic coverage provided if ordered by a doctor
  • Emergency dental procedures covered
Safety Wing Digital Nomad Insurance

The Downside of Safetywing Insurance

Just like anything in life, Safetywing isn’t perfect, and there are some downsides to the product. I think the upside of Safetywing outweigh the cons, but that’s for you to decide!

Deductible

This is one area of the Safetywing vs World Nomads debate that Safetywing loses.

Safetywing has a $250 deductible that comes along with their Nomad Insurance policy.

This means that if you make a claim or multiple claims throughout your policy term, you need to pay the first $250 in medical charges before your insurance kicks in and covers the rest.

I don’t like this. You’re paying a decent amount of money per year to have travel insurance, and I wish that there wasn’t a deductible. Most other travel insurance companies, including World Nomads, don’t have a deductible.

A year’s worth of Safetywing cover is typically less expensive than a year’s worth of World Nomad coverage, but if you have to pay the $250 deductible for Safetywing, the price of both providers is pretty similar.

USA Coverage is Extra

It’s pretty common knowledge that medical treatment in the United States is absurdly expensive.

If you’re travelling in the USA, you need to pay extra for your Safetywing travel insurance. The price you pay doubles if you want to include travel in the United States.

I think this is absurd and way too much of an increase. Even though I understand from Safetywing’s perspective that they’ll end up paying more for any treatment you need than anywhere else in the world, paying double the amount than anywhere else in the world for coverage is a bit hard to swallow.

I don’t travel to the United States very often. I normally go once every year or two to go to Disney World or Disneyland. When I do go to the USA, I normally just purchase a single trip policy from the AMA that costs less than $20 CAD for the week I’m gone.

It’s way more affordable than increasing my Safetywing coverage to include trip to the USA. That’s what I recommend you do as well if you’re only visiting the United States for a short period of time.

If you’re staying in the USA for a longer period of time, Safetywing probably isn’t the best choice for you. I’d look at other providers like World Nomads or getting a single trip policy from the AMA or your car/house insurance provider.

World Nomads Overview

World Nomads offers two different types of insurance: Standard Plan and Explorer Plan. The two plans are based off how much coverage you’ll be provded.

The Standard Plan is their base plan. It has lower limits, and, honestly, will be the policy that most people will need. The Explorer Plan has much higher limits, but I don’t think many people will require those higher limits since World Nomads has such high limits anyways.

Library of Celsius, Ephesus, Turkey

What Makes World Nomads Different

Higher Limits

One major advantage World Nomads has in the Safetywing vs World Nomads debate is their coverage limits.

They’re consistently higher than Safetywing’s limits.

This, however, isn’t as straightforward as it seems. The reason World Nomads is able to offer such high coverage rates is because if you make a claim, they claim some of it back form your local, home provider.

For example, I live in Alberta. If I were to make a claim through World Nomads, they would turn around and make a claim to Alberta Health Services to be reimbursed for the amount that Alberta Health Services would have paid if I were injured in Alberta.

Not only does this make the claims process more complicated and drawn out, but it also makes it more invasive.

My dad made a claim through a travel insurance provider who also claimed a portion of the money back from Alberta Health Services. He had to give his insurance provider permission to request all of his medical records from his doctor and access all of his previous Alberta Health Services claims.

It was a long process, and he ended up dropping his claim and not being reimbursed for the medical expenses he paid when he got hurt in Dubai because he got fed up with the process, and his costs weren’t that high.

I’ve never made a claim through Nomad Insurance, so I don’t have first-hand experience with their claims process, but I imagine the process would be similar. I have heard from other people I know that it took them a long time to be reimbursed by World Nomads.

The other thing to keep in mind when signing up for World Nomads is that you have to have GHIP insurance in your home country. This means that you need to be covered by whatever healthcare is available in your province or state (e.g. Alberta Health Services).

If you’re not eligible for coverage through your home’s universal insurance provider, your coverage decreases drastically. You end up with significantly less coverage than you do with Safetywing.

On the flip side, if you do have the proper home coverage that World Nomads requires, you have a huge amount of coverage and don’t have to ever worry about hitting your lifetime maximums and running out of coverage.

USA Coverage

When you sign up for World Nomads, you have to select where you’ll be travelling and requiring travel insurance. You can select regions (such as Asia or South America) or select world wide.

From playing around with the numbers, I find that selecting world wide nearly always results in a lower price than selecting a bunch of specific countries or regions.

There isn’t a significant increase in price if you include travel to the USA compared to when you don’t include it.

This is fantastic if you travel to the USA multiple times a year or for long periods of time. It makes long-term travel insurance that includes the United States so much more affordable than Safetywing.

I think the reason they’re able to provider insurance for the USA at such an affordable rate is because they know they won’t be on the hook for all of the costs and can claim back a lot of the costs from you home insurance provider.

Without a doubt travel insurance for the United States is one place World Nomads shines in the Safetywing vs World Nomads comparison.

solo travel in Europe

World Nomads Insurance Highlights

  • High coverage limits up to $10,000,000
  • Trip delay, trip cancellation, and lost baggage coverage
  • Emergency dental coverage
  • Stipend for an emergency companion to fly to support you if you end up in hospital longterm
  • Affordable coverage for travel in the United States

The Downside of World Nomads Insurance

Just like Safetywing Nomad Insurance, World Nomads doesn’t offer perfect travel insurance either.

Up Front Payment

One of the major downsides to World Nomads is that you pay for the entirety of your coverage when you first sign up.

You select the length that you require your insurance (up to 364 days) and then pay for the total amount quoted. The quote depends on how long you’re gone, your age, your home country, and where you’re travelling to.

If you come home from your trip early, you don’t get refunded for any of the time you already paid for but don’t need travel insurance for.

Claims Process

The claims process is a little bit more complicated and time consuming with World Nomads than Safetywing. That’s because World Nomad makes a claim against your local healthcare provider (e.g. Alberta Health Services) to repay a portion of the claim you make.

This means there are multiple levels and organizations your claim has to go through, and the process can take a long time. Sometimes multiple months.

The flip side to the more complicated and time consuming claims process is that you get a huge amount of coverage. There is a bit of give and take between the claims process and the amount of coverage. A little bad with the good.

But, if you aren’t in dire need of any money you pay up front for a medical emergency or have family who can help you while you wait for reimbursement from World Nomads, it doesn’t have to be a major negative.

In the Safetywing vs World Nomads battle, I think that Safetywing wins when it comes to how easy and quick the claims process is.

Seoul, South Korea

Waiting Period

The final thing you need to be aware of with World Nomads is that there are waiting periods if you purchase your insurance while you’re abroad and after you’ve left for your trip.

The waiting periods aren’t long, and you can read about them in depth here. The most important thing to note is that there is a 48 hour period after you sign up before your coverage kicks in.

World Nomads says that this helps protect them from fraud and people who get insurance to immediately make a claim for something that already occurred.

Safetywing doesn’t have these waiting periods. You’re insured as soon as you pay for your first month’s worth of coverage.

A 48 hour waiting period isn’t a huge amount of time and isn’t the end of the world. It is something to keep in mind though. If you’re already abroad and know that you’re going to be partaking in an activity that make cause injury (e.g. going on a long hike), you want to make sure you sign up for coverage at least two days before that planned activity.

If you purchase World Nomads insurance before you leave for your trip, you don’t have to worry about any waiting periods. You can pre-purchase your travel insurance and select a date for it to automatically kick in (the first day of your trip). This way you can check getting travel insurance off your list a few weeks in advance and not have to worry about it right before you leave.

Safetywing vs World Nomads Comparison

In the below table, I’m going to compare the main features of Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance and World Nomad’s Standard Plan. These are the two plans that most people will be choosing between when choosing between Safetywing vs World Nomads.

SafetywingWorld Nomads
Max Limits$250,000*$5,000,000*****
Deductible$250$0
PaymentMonthlyUp Front
Hospital VisitsUp to max limitsUp to max limits
Ambulance RidesUp to max limitsUp to max limits
Physio/Chiro$50/day$250
Emergency Dental$1,000**$1,000
Medical Evacuation$100,000$500,000
USA CoverageNo***Yes
Home Visits IncludedYesNo******
Trip Interruption$5,000$2,500
Trip Delay$100/day$700
Lost Baggage$3,000$1,000
Natural Disaster$100/day for 5 daysYes*******
Political Evacuation$10,000Yes*******
Scooter AccidentsYes****Yes****
Personal Liability Insurance$25,000No
Accidental Death/Dismemberment$25,000Will return body to home country
24/7 Customer SupportYesYes

*$100,000 limits ages 65-69

**You’re not required to pay a deductible for dental coverage

***USA coverage can be added for an additional fee

****Must have insurance on the scooter and have a license to drive it

*****Must have insurance in your home country to have $5,000,000 limits. If you don’t, your limit is $40,000

******Includes insurance if you’re visiting your home country but not if you’re visiting your home province or state.

*******Policy indicates that it will provide coverage but doesn’t specify up to what amount

Disadvantages of Travelling

Do I Even Need Travel Insurance?

Yes. You absolutely 100% need to have travel insurance. Especially if you’re a digital nomad or freelancer and don’t have travel insurance through your employer.

I know we all think nothing is ever going to happen to us when we travel, but things happen. You don’t want to be caught out and not have insurance to cover you if you need to get medical attention.

It’s such a relief knowing in the back of your head that if something were to happen, it won’t financially devastate you. Even if you’re travelling to a country with a relatively low cost of medical care compared to your home country, that doesn’t mean you should take the risk.

I know people who have had a scooter accident in Thailand and ended up in the hospital for two weeks and had multiple surgeries and then a long recovery process. Even though the cost of seeking medical treatment in Thailand is significantly less expensive than in the United States, it still would have cost them almost $10,000 if they had to pay out of pocket for their treatment.

Travel insurance is the type of thing that you want to know you have but hope you never use. And when you do have to use it, you’re extremely thankful your past self was smart and bought it.

I know a lot of people are on tight budgets when they travel for long periods of time. I sure was when I first backpacked through Europe alone when I was 21. Even though I didn’t have much money, I always make sure I had quality travel insurance. It was an expensive that was worth every penny even if I didn’t have to use it on that trip.

Part of travelling is being responsible while you travel, and part of being a responsible traveller is having proper travel insurance.

The Importance of Internet Safety

If you’re trying to decide between Safetywing vs World Nomads, I’m guessing you’re going on an extended trip. You rely on public wifi all the time as a traveller, and you need to make sure you’re using the internet safely when you travel.

Even if you rely mostly on esims, which I highly recommend you do, you still rely on public wifi some of the time. You should be turning your esim off at your hotel or hostel to save it for when you don’t have reliable wifi and use the wifi at your accommodation at a minimum.

Using public wifi puts you at a higher risk of having your private online information and data stolen. Even if you’re using public wifi that has a password, anybody who knows that password can access the wifi network, and it isn’t safe or secure at all.

Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to have your banking information stolen while you’re abroad. It’s a nightmare to have to deal with your bank and try to get replacement cards. Especially if you’re abroad for an extended period of time and don’t have a mailing address to get replacement cards sent to.

The only way you can protect your online information from prying eyes when using public wifi networks is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for prying eyes to see your information. It makes using public wifi networks just as safe and secure as using your home wifi network where you’re the only person who knows the password.

Installing a VPN on your devices is one of the simplest and affordable ways you can make sure you’re safe while travelling.

I always say that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online information and data.

NordVPN

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my years of travel. Most of them are awful.

VPNs are notorious for slowing down your internet speed, and you can really feel it with most VPNs you use. Honestly, I used to just turn off my VPN and put myself at risk because the VPN was slowing down my internet so much.

That all changed when I started using NordVPN.

NordVPN is consistently ranked the fastest VPN on the market. I’ve never noticed a slowdown in my internet speed when I use my NordVPN, and I’ve never once been tempted to turn it off and put myself at risk.

I’ve been using NordVPN since 2018, and I have no intention of ever switching to another VPN provider. They’re the company I personally use and the one I set all my family and friends up with.

The best part about NordVPN (other than it being so reliable and fast) is that it is super affordable. A two-year subscription costs less per month than a single Starbuck’s latte!

Plus you can protect up to six devices with a single subscription. You can protect all your devices for one low fee.

It’s a super small price to pay for the peace of mind and comfort you get by knowing all your online data and information is safe and secure and away from prying eyes.

Solo Travel

Conclusion

I know this was a bit of a long post, but I really wanted to give you as much information as I could to help you decide between Safetywing vs World Nomads.

Neither company offers a perfect product. I don’t think digital nomads or longterm travellers would be having a conversation about the best travel insurance if there was a perfect product on the market.

I spent a lot of time trying decide between Safetywing vs World Nomads when I first signed up for digital nomad health insurance.

Ultimately, Safetywing was the right the right product for me.

I like that I can pay by the month, that I don’t have to be eligible for insurance in my home country, and that it allowed me to visit my friends and family at home a couple times during the year without being uninsured.

But just because that was the right choice for me, doesn’t me that it is the right choice for you.

The fact that World Nomads includes coverage in the United States for a more affordable rate than Safetywing is a huge selling point for a lot of people. It would be for me if I spent a significant amount of the time in the USA. I don’t, so it isn’t a selling feature for me, but it is for a lot of people.

Choosing the right travel insurance is more important than a lot of people think.

You want to know that if anything happens, you have the right coverage that is going to protect you. You also want to choose a company who is reliable, trustworthy, and makes the claims process as easy as possible. Nobody wants the stress of making a travel insurance claim, so the easier the better!

When push comes to shove, I don’t really care what travel insurance you think is best for you. It’s such a personal choice.

All I care about is that you have travel insurance because it’s so important and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Hopefully, this post made it a bit easier for you to decide between Safetywing vs World Nomads.

Safetywing vs World Nomads: Travel Insurance BattleSafetywing vs World Nomads: Travel Insurance BattleSafetywing vs World Nomads: Travel Insurance Battle
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