Safetywing vs World Nomads: Travel Insurance Battle

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


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!


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*****
PaymentMonthlyUp Front
Hospital VisitsUp to max limitsUp to max limits
Ambulance RidesUp to max limitsUp to max limits
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.


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


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.

Stay Protected: The Importance of Gap Year Travel Insurance

Taking a gap year and travelling is one of the most exciting things you can do! I absolutely loved my first few months of travelling after uni before entering the corporate world! One thing I wish I had more information about before my first travel adventure was gap year travel insurance.

Thinking about travel insurance for your gap year is frankly boring and definitely something most people put off.

I don’t blame you. I didn’t give it much thought either.

Even though thinking about what gap year travel insurance you should get isn’t as fun as choosing where to go during your gap year, it is still really important.

Perhaps even more important than choosing where you want to go. If you choose the wrong gap year travel insurance, you may end up with a serious health issue while abroad and be stuck paying the bill just because you didn’t put the effort into choosing the right travel insurance.

The good news is that you’re reading this article now, so you’re already taking your gap year travel insurance more seriously than most travellers!

And more seriously than I took it when I was 21 years old and heading to Europe alone for the first time.

This article will give you (hopefully) all the tools you need to choose the right gap year travel insurance for you!

Solo travel in Iceland

Do You Even Need Gap Year Travel Insurance?

Let’s start off with discussing whether you even need gap year travel insurance. You’re young, you’re healthy, and you may think the chances of you getting sick while travelling are slime to nothing.

But that simply isn’t the case.

You can get sick or injured at any time in any place, and trust me when I say you want to have travel insurance to help pay those bills. Especially when you’re young and, in theory, don’t have a lot of money.

I’ve heard horror stories of people getting into scooter accidents in Southeast Asia, needing surgery, and it costing almost as much as their entire gap year was supposed to.

If you’re going to South America, there is a good chance you’ll be doing some hiking, and it is super easy to injure your legs while hiking. Depending on how remote you are, that may require an air transport out of the area.

You can only imagine how expensive that is.

You may think that you don’t need gap year travel insurance in Europe because it’s super safe, and the healthcare is free most places.

Well, I got injured in Bucharest during my first solo trip to Europe, refused to see a doctor about it (even when I got home), and I still live with daily pain ten years later.

So, yeah, getting sick or injured is definitely a possibility, and you need to have travel insurance to help pay for any costs associated with your doctor visits or hospital stays.

I’m on My Parent’s Insurance. Is that Good Enough?

Generally, no. Being on your parent’s health insurance isn’t good enough for your gap year travel insurance.

The reason I say this is because most of the time the travel insurance included in your parent’s health insurance through work is only valid for a short period of time. Most of the time it is only valid for 30 days at a time and then you have to purchase additional travel insurance for the rest of your trip through someone else.

You could definitely use your parent’s travel insurance for the first 30 days of your trip and then purchase travel insurance for the rest of your gap year after that initial 30 days is up.

You do have to be careful with this though.

Your Options

There are two options you can take if this is your plan. The first is to purchase the rest of your travel insurance while you’re abroad after the initial 30 days of insurance is done. The second option is to purchase travel insurance before you leave that doesn’t kick in until those first 30 days are up.

If you choose to purchase the rest of your travel insurance while abroad, make sure you choose a company that allows you to start your coverage with them while you’re already abroad.

A lot of travel insurance companies don’t let you do that. Luckily, my favourite travel insurance company (and the one I personally use) Safety Wing does allow you to start coverage while you’re already abroad.

If you choose to pre-purchase your top up travel insurance before you leave, you may also run into a similar issue. A lot of companies (at least in Canada where I live), won’t let you pre-buy travel insurance that starts while you’re abroad. You have to purchase enough travel insurance for your entire trip.

Moral of the story is to make sure you do your research before making a decision about what gap year travel insurance is right for you.

And to read the fine print because you don’t want to purchase gap year travel insurance and then find out it’s void if you go to make a claim because of a technically like when you bought it and whether or not you were already abroad when the coverage started.

Solo Travel

Sometimes You’re Legally Required to Have Travel Insurance

You may still think that purchasing gap year travel insurance isn’t worth the money, but you may be legally required to have travel insurance before entering a country.

Here are a list of countries/areas where you are legally required to have travel insurance before entering:

Country/AreaConsequences of Not Having Travel Insurance
CubaEntry refusal (most of the time cost of medical insurance included in visa application)
Schengen AreaOnly required if entering on a Schengen Visa but €30,000 of insurance recommended for every traveller
TurkeyEntry refusal or deportation (have to indicate you have insurance while completing your visa application online)
BelarusEntry refusal (have to indicate you have insurance when completing visa application and border patrol known to ask for proof before entry)
UAEOnly need proof of travel insurance if entering on a visa

Please always check the entry requirements for any country you’re visiting to make sure you have everything you need to enter.

I’m not just talking about travel insurance but also whether or not you need a visa to enter. You won’t believe how many people show up to places like Turkey or Vietnam and don’t realize they need to apply for and be approved for a visa online before arrival.

What to Consider Before Purchasing Gap Year Travel Insurance

There are a few things to consider when choosing gap year travel insurance:

1. Coverage Types: Review the different types of coverage offered, such as medical expenses, trip cancellation/interruption, baggage loss/delay, emergency evacuation, and personal liability. Determine which types of coverage are essential for your trip.

2. Coverage Limits: Check the maximum coverage limits for each category to ensure they are sufficient for your needs. For example, medical coverage should adequately cover potential healthcare costs in your destination.

3. Deductibles: Understand the deductible amount you would need to pay before the insurance coverage kicks in. Evaluate if you are comfortable with the deductible level.

4.Pre-Existing Conditions: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, confirm whether they are covered or if you need to purchase additional coverage or a separate policy.

5. Trip Duration: Ensure that the policy covers the entire duration of your trip, including any pre-trip or post-trip activities.

6. Geographical Coverage: Check if the policy covers all the destinations you plan to visit. Some policies may have restrictions or exclusions for certain regions or countries.

7. Activities and Sports: If you plan to engage in specific activities or sports, confirm that they are covered under the policy. Some adventurous or high-risk activities may require additional coverage.

8. Exclusions and Limitations: Review the policy’s exclusions and limitations to understand what is not covered. Common exclusions may include pre-existing conditions, certain sports or activities, and acts of terrorism.

9. Emergency Assistance: Check if the policy provides 24/7 emergency assistance services, including a helpline for immediate support during emergencies.

10. Cost: Compare the cost of different policies while considering the coverage and benefits offered. Remember that the cheapest option may not provide adequate coverage for your needs.

11. Policy Terms and Conditions: Read the policy thoroughly, paying attention to the terms and conditions, including the claims process, documentation requirements, and any specific obligations or responsibilities.

12. Reputation and Customer Reviews: Research the insurer’s reputation and read customer reviews to assess their reliability and responsiveness in handling claims and providing customer support.

There are, of course, other things you could consider when choosing who to purchase your travel insurance through, but these are the main things you need to take into account.

Petronas Towers at Night

How to Choose the Right Gap Year Travel Insurance for You

Okay. I know the list in the previous section is a bit intimidating, but there aren’t really that many options for gap year travel insurance because you’re gone for so long.

The way I see it, there are two options:

1. Purchase a monthly travel plan through a company that specializes in long-term travel insurance.

2. Purchase enough travel insurance days through a provider like AMA, AAA, your bank, etc.

Both options have their pros and cons, and we’re going to discuss them next.

Option One: Purchasing Gap Year Insurance Through a Specialized Company

There are a few companies that specialize in travel insurance for digital nomads or long travellers (like people taking a gap year).

They normally operate on a monthly subscription model, and the entire focus of the company is making sure that you have good travel insurance while you’re abroad.

The two big players in this game are World Nomads Insurance and Safety Wing Insurance. World Nomads is the OG player in the space, but Safety Wing is really growing and becoming hugely popular.

I personally use Safety Wing. I love the price point, the coverage, and, most importantly, the customer service and how helpful and kind everybody I’ve dealt with is.

I also really like that they cover you in your home country for the first 30 days (15 days in the US) after being abroad for at least 90 days, you can start your coverage while you’re abroad, and you can cancel and restart your coverage at any time.

It’s super flexible, which is important for people taking a gap year. You may change your mind on where you’re going, when you’re coming home, or you may even travel for a few months and then decide travelling isn’t for you and need to cancel your insurance sooner than you anticipated.

But you should look into both companies and decide what is best for you if you choose to purchase your gap year travel insurance through a specialized company.


  • Amazing coverage
  • Expert support
  • Cancel anytime
  • Includes travel insurance


  • Monthly expense
  • Price may increase*
  • Prices in USD**

*You will always be given ample warning before prices increase

**Prices being in USD isn’t a huge issue. It just means that your credit card on file will be charge in USD, and your credit card company will automatically convert it to your home currency. It may result in small fluctuations in your monthly prices. I’m Canadian, and the charge on my credit card has only fluctuated between $3 each month based on currency exchange rates at the time.

Safetywing vs World Nomads

National Theater of Taiwan

Option Two: Purchasing Gap Year Travel Insurance Through a Large Company

When I first started travelling (for for more years than I’d like to admit after that), I purchased my travel insurance through the AMA (think AAA if you’re from the States).

It’s a members-only business that does thinks like car insurance, travel insurance, trip planning, and some other stuff.

I would purchase a policy for however many days I was travelling abroad for and then purchase another policy whenever I came back to Canada and was leaving on another trip.

The insurance is fine, but it was a hassle to make a claim because they needed my Canadian insurance information and health records because they would claim a portion of the money they paid for my services abroad through my provincial health care.

That’s getting a bit into the weeds of it all, but what you need to know is that it was quite the process to try to get reimbursed for any health expenses from abroad.

You can also normally purchase trip insurance through your bank, most insurance companies, or healthcare companies in your area.

They normally charge you per day, and you can either purchase a single-trip policy or a multi-trip policy.

If you purchase a single-trip policy, you purchase the exact amount of days you’ll be abroad for. If you purchase a multi-trip policy, you choose a certain number (normally either 7 days, 15 days, 30 days, or 60 days). Whatever you choose will be the number of days you’re covered for each time you go abroad. If you’re gone for longer than the number of days you chose, you need to purchase a top up policy that will cover you for the days you’re gone above the number of days you selected.

I hope that doesn’t sound too complicated.


  • Pay 100% upfront
  • Can get policy with zero deductible*
  • Know they’ll always have money to pay claim


  • Sometimes difficult to make claim
  • May take a long time for customer service
  • No travel insurance

*Getting a policy with a zero deductible often costs more. Be sure to price out what a policy costs with a zero deductible versus a small deductible like Safety Wing has and make sure you get the best price.

Flying Alone

What I Use for Travel Insurance

I’ve never not taken a trip without travel insurance, and I’ve used both options discussed above.

Both definitely have a place in the travel insurance world. People who aren’t travelling for very long or just need a top up beyond what their employment health insurance covers, should definitely purchase their travel insurance through a larger company.

However, since we’re talking about long-term travel and gap year travel insurance, for me, the clear winner is purchasing gap year travel insurance through a specialized company.

I personally use Safety Wing and don’t plan on switching from them anytime soon. Probably not until I settle down somewhere and start living a proper adult life.

Like that will happen anytime soon.

Reasons I Use and Love Safety Wing Travel Insurance

  • Very affordable when compared to other specialized companies
  • Great customer support and very quick to respond to inquires
  • Comprehensive coverage focused on and dedicated to long-term travellers and digital nomads
  • Easy to use and understand website and portal
  • Home country coverage for 30 days after being abroad for 90 days
  • Can be purchased abroad
  • Can cancel at anytime, which makes it very flexible

Important Things to Know About Safety Wing Insurance

  • Maximum limit of $250,000 ($100,000 for people 65+)
  • $250 deductible
  • Excludes pre-existing conditions and cancer treatment
  • Includes a lifetime amount of up to $50,000 for injuries caused by a terror incident (that’s not always included in other policies)
  • Includes trip interruption, lost baggage, trip cancellation, border entry protection, and loss passport/visa insurance

Three Apps You Absolutely Need During Your Gap Year

I’m just going to pop in here and tell you about a couple apps that I wish I knew about before my first long trip abroad. Knowing about these would have made my life so much easier.


I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I spent many years travelling abroad without a VPN protecting my online information. Now I love telling everybody that they absolutely need a VPN before they do any travelling.

If you travel without a VPN, you’re putting your online information (including your banking information) at risk of being stolen while you’re abroad. Trust me when I say it is zero fun dealing with stolen bank cards while you’re abroad.

The only way you can keep your online information safe while abroad is by installing a VPN on your devices. It essentially puts up an invisible forcefield around your devices that keeps prying eyes away from your personal information.

I’ve been using NordVPN for years and years now. I absolutely love it and have zero intention of switching to another VPN provider.



I discovered Airalo in 2022, and it literally changed the way I travel.

Airalo is an esim provider. You purchase an esim for wherever you’re travelling to either via their website or app, install the esim on your phone, and you now have access to data when you travel.

No need to get local sim cards, use a wifi egg like Skyroam, or rely on public wifi when you’re out and about exploring a new city.

It gives you so much freedom and flexibility when travelling. Especially if you’re a solo traveller like I am.

I no longer have to decide everything I’m doing for the day before I leave the hotel or hunt for public wifi when out and about.

I’ve eaten so many incredible meals I wouldn’t have had before just because I can Google restaurants around me.

Airalo esims are very affordable, super convenient, and I’ll never travel without one again. It’s the one thing I tell everybody in my life who is planning a vacation about.

Once you start using an esim, you won’t go back to how you used to travel.


Okay. This may seem like an odd one but hear me out.

The Google apps have become so much better the past few years, and you can’t travel without them anymore. Especially Google Maps, Google Translate, and Google Photos.

I’m obsessed with them all, and once you learn how to use them properly for travel, you won’t go back. You know all that delicious food I mentioned in the last section? All found using Google Maps and looking up menus through it.

I also recommend you get a Google Drive account. Store all your travel information in it. You can mark it to be viewable offline, which is super convenient.

This makes filling out custom forms and keeping track of your travel schedule easier than ever before. I used to just scroll through my emails to find my hotel and flight information.

Once you have your Google Drive account set up, share it with a loved one back home. This not only lets people know where you are and what you’re doing, but if something goes wrong, someone knows where you were supposed to be and can tell the authorities.

But of course nothing will go wrong on your amazing gap year, so it’s more about keeping the people who care about you informed of your movements.

Venice, view of grand canal and basilica of santa maria della salute. Italy.


Holy cow that was a way longer post than I intended it to be. I guess I have a lot to say about gap year travel insurance.

It’s definitely not the most exciting or fun thing to talk about, but it is extremely important to talk about it. You need to make sure you’re properly insured before you go abroad and have the most amazing gap year ever!

I know this post was long, and you probably skimmed a lot of it. So I’ll recap the most important parts of the article for you here.

1. You need gap year travel insurance. It isn’t negotiable. Go get it.

2. I recommend you purchase your long-term travel insurance through a specialized company like Safety Wing.

3. Make sure you read the fine print before purchasing a policy. Make sure you meet all the eligibility requirements. You don’t want to find out your policy is accidentally null and void because of a silly error when you go to use it.

I really hope this article has helped you develop the skills and knowledge you need to find the best gap year travel insurance for you.

It’s an important decision you need to make for your gap year, and the right or wrong decision could have a large impact on your trip.

Now go out, explore the world, and have the best trip ever!