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Travel insurance for digital nomads: is SafetyWing worth it?

In English | 10/11/23 | Atualizado em 04/04/24 | Deixe um comentário

Traveling is amazing but requires responsibility. If you’re on the road very often, especially outside your home country, not signing up for a medical travel insurance might result in serious problems. But if you’re a remote worker like me, it’s likely you travel without a clear itinerary, which means you might not be able to get a conventional insurance. That’s where the companies that offer insurance for digital nomads come in.

In this article, I’m going to talk about the Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing, a Norwegian company created by digital nomads to cater for the needs of people like us.

They already offered a great product, but the recently launched Nomad Insurance 2.0, includes new add-ons that make it even more appealing. Keep reading to find out if it suits your needs.

safetywing nomad insurance

What is travel insurance?

First of all, what exactly is a travel medical insurance? It’s like a temporary health plan to be used while you’re away from your home country. You can ask for compensation in case of illness, accidents, and other problems that may occur during the trip.

That usually includes medical treatments, ambulance and emergency transportation, emergency dental treatments and coverage for travel-related problems like lost checked luggage and evacuation from local political unrest.

Showing proof of having hired a travel medical insurance is a requirement for entrance in many countries around the world, depending on your nationality. But even in destinations where it’s not a prerequisite, I’ve never gone outside my home country without an insurance and don’t recommend you do it either.

After all, we always hope that nothing goes wrong, but unfortunately, we’re all susceptible to unforeseen events. And if you happen to be unlucky, it can be a nightmare: simple medical care can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in some parts of the world. Definitely not worth the risk, right?

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Why is there a special insurance for digital nomads?

Conventional travel insurance works fine for people who are going abroad on holidays, but usually it’s only valid in the destinations and for the period you inform at the time of purchase. Also, with most providers it’s not possible to hire a travel insurance once you have started traveling, nor to extend its duration while you’re away.

So if you go from one country to another frequently and change travel dates without prior planning, you need more flexibility. And since the pandemic, there have been more and more people working remotely and worrying about being left without insurance coverage somewhere around the world.

That’s why some companies have formulated products with world-wide coverage and the possibility of renewing or changing your policy online even if you are already on the road.

Currently, WorldNomads and SafetyWing are the best known when it comes to insurance for digital nomads. Both allow you to hire an insurance after you have already started your trip and do not have a maximum coverage period, so you can keep renewing the contract when necessary.

From my experience and that of many friends who are digital nomads, SafetyWing offers the best value for money. The company came strong on the market and offers several advantages, especially after the improvements implemented with Nomad Insurance 2.0.

How does SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance work?

SafetyWing’s travel insurance for digital nomads, called Nomad Insurance, is currently accepted in every country in the world except North Korea, Cuba and Iran.

It’s super easy to hire it online. The payment is done by a subscription system, without needing to specify where you’re traveling to and when you’ll return. Each billing period lasts 4 weeks, and it’s possible to set up automatic renewal so you don’t run out of coverage while you’re on the other side of the world.

Anyone who travels a lot knows that there is enough of bureaucracy to worry about whenever we move to a different place, so I find it great to have one less worry. And if you want to pause coverage, it can be done quickly on their website. Just log into your account and click the “Stop insurance” button on your profile, then your coverage will be cancelled at the end of your current period.

If you don’t like this system, you also have the option to choose set travel dates instead of a subscription. In that case, you pay for the whole trip upfront. The minimum duration of the trip must be of 5 days, and the maximum is 364 days.

travel insurance for digital nomads

What’s included in this nomad travel insurance?

SafetyWing’s medical coverage assists you if you are in an accident or fall sick while outside your home country. It includes care in hospitals and clinics, ambulance, dental emergency, among other services, with the maximum coverage limit of US$250,000.

Accidents resulting from professional sports practice, pre-existing illnesses and cancer treatment are not included. And like all other travel medical insurances I know, it doesn’t cover routine check-ups and preventive treatments, because it’s not designed to be a replacement for a proper health insurance.

Something that I really like about this insurance for digital nomads is that they cover visits to your home country. It works like this: for every 90 days, you are covered for unforeseen eligible medical conditions for up to 30 days in your home country (or 15 days if your home country is the US). If you stay in your home country longer than that period, your coverage is void until you leave, and it resumes once you’re out of the country again.

They do make it clear, though, that you can’t be going back home for the purpose of obtaining treatment for an illness or injury that began while abroad. It must be a problem that happened while you were there.

Besides medical coverage, the Nomad Insurance also covers you in case of unforeseen events related to the trip itself. Some examples are evacuation from local unrest, unplanned overnight stay and lost checked luggage. To see more details about coverage, access the Nomad Insurance web page.

Nomad 2.0 Add-ons

I already found the product quite good, but with Nomad Insurance 2.0 they came up with optional add-ons that make it even more appealing. The first one is adventure sports coverage, so you can practice over 30 adventure sports, like scuba diving, paragliding, skydiving, whitewater rafting and motorbiking, knowing you’ll be covered if there are any issues.

Another add-on that you can choose is the electronics add-on, so you can be reimbursed if your laptop, phone, camera, or other electronics get stolen. The coverage for electronics is up to US$ 1.000 per stolen item, with a total yearly limit of US$ 3.000 per policy (only available for policies of 28 days or longer).

Together with the launch of this add-ons they also redesigned their claims experience and reduced their turnaround to 7-10 business days.

These newer features are not yet available to U.S. residents, though, but hopefully they’ll be able to change that soon.

How much does it cost?

As I mentioned, this insurance for digital nomads offers good value for money, but the price depends on your age. It currently costs US$ 45.08 for 4 weeks for those aged 10 to 39 years old, US$ 73.92 for those aged 40 to 49, US$ 115.92 for travelers who are 50 to 59 years old and US$ 157.36 for 60 to 69. Check their website for updated prices.

If you are going through the United States, though, the prices are different, because their healthcare system is very expensive and has some peculiarities. For travelers from 10 to 39 years old, the total cost with the US coverage add-on is US$ 83.44 for 4 weeks.

How do you use this insurance?

If you have a medical emergency, you can call the local emergency number or go to any licensed hospital, clinic, or doctor of your choice, private or public. SafetyWing’s team can help you with recommendations, but you choose where to go.

The most usual procedure is to pay the medical bills yourself and claim compensation later by filling out a form on their website. Make sure you get the necessary documents, like a medical report. If you’re unsure about what you need, their team can help you.

If you are traveling in the United States., you can search for hospitals and doctors in their U.S. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) network, which are listed on their website. In this case, direct billing is often an option, so that you don’t have to pay upfront and wait for reimbursement.

2024 Update: SafetyWing Nomad Insurance used to work with a US$ 250 deductible, which was the amount of money that you have to pay yourself before they would reimburse you for a claim. But following user’s requests, they launched a “US$ 0 deductible policy”.  This means that you can now purchase insurance with zero deductible, so your claims are covered from the get go.

Please note, however, that the US$ 0 deductible policy is currently unavailable to U.S. residents. So if that’s the case for you, you’ll only be reimbursed when your expenses go over US$ 250. The good news is that the deductible is valid for your entire active insurance period (up to 354 days). So if you’ve already paid US$ 250 for claims that they cover during that period, you won’t have to pay it again during the same active insurance period.

digital nomad medical travel insurance

Pros and cons of SafetyWing’s travel insurance for digital nomads

So, is it worth signing up for SafetyWing Nomad Insurance? If you’re still not sure, here are the pros and cons I see in this product:

Pros of SafetyWing Nomad Insurance

It works on a subscription basis: you choose the start date and can cancel at any time. You can set up automatic renewal of payments to prevent coverage from expiring and you forgetting about it.

There is no limit to the duration of the trip and you don’t need to know in advance how long you will spend on the road.

Prices are quite reasonable, starting at $56.26 for four weeks.

The company has a good reputation: it was part of Y-Combinator, a renowned Silicon Valley startup accelerator, and the service is managed by Tokio Marine, one of the largest insurance companies in the world.

In addition to providing international coverage, the insurance also applies while you are in your home country (under the conditions I’ve mentioned above).

One child per adult (with a limit of up to 2 per family) can be included in the policy at no extra cost. The child must be between 14 days and 10 years old.

If you’re traveling with a group, you can purchase insurance on everyone’s behalf.

Cons of SafetyWing Nomad Insurance

As I’ve mentioned, this travel insurance for digital nomads used to work with a deductible of US$ 250, which in my opinion was its main downside. However, they recently launched the zero deductible policy (except for U.S. residents), which makes it an even more competitive product. Now you no longer need to pay for health or travel issues that cost up to US$ 250.

The only downside I still see is that it’s usually necessary to pay for medical care and only then ask for reimbursement. With the conventional travel insurance I used to hire, I would always look up their referenced providers and wouldn’t need to pay anything. However, if you need a world-wide ongoing insurance, it’s hard to find a company that works like that.

In conclusion, for a long-term trip with open destinations and dates, SafetyWing still seems like the best value for money. In my opinion, it’s totally worth your peace of mind.

For more information, check out their Frequently Asked Questions page. If you’re ready to get covered, click here.

Please note that this article was written based on information disclosed by the company as of November 2023 (updated in April 2024). It may be that over time some of the conditions, prices and other information on this article changes, so make sure you check all information in their policy before paying.

Disclosure: This isn’t a sponsored post, but I’m part of SafetyWing’s Ambassador program, which gives content creators that believe in their product some incentives to talk about the company. If you do sign up using the links on this article, I’ll get a small commission that helps me keep this blog up and running and you won’t pay anything extra. Thank you!

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