The rapid rise of remote work in recent years has created a need for a different kind of travel insurance. And this has only been exacerbated by the mass closure of offices in 2020 and 2021. If you work remotely for long periods of time, or you plan to travel long-term on a sabbatical, your insurance needs will be very different to someone who is going on a short weekend break or all-inclusive vacation. SafetyWing, launched in 2017, has stepped in to fill this gap. In this comprehensive review, we take a close look at SafetyWing insurance, what it covers, and why we think it’s an excellent option for remote workers and long-term travellers.
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In this article:
SafetyWing insurance: a quick background + how it works
SafetyWing was created in San Francisco, USA, in 2017, but its origins are in Norway. The Norwegian founders are long-term travellers themselves, and wanted to create an insurance product that would cater for the worldwide community of remote workers and digital nomads. The mantra has been “insurance for nomads by nomads” from the very beginning.
Then, in 2019, the team of founders were able to improve and expand their insurance offering after impressing investors and raising millions in funding. The wheels were well and truly in motion.
The acceleration of remote work as a result of the Covid pandemic in recent times has given an even greater relevance to the unique type of insurance provided by SafetyWing. With many more people now enjoying access to remote working arrangements, new opportunities have arisen to spend longer periods of time away from home while working.
Whether it’s the idea of taking extended workations for several months at a time, or joining the digital nomad revolution and working while permanently on the move, the need for remote work insurance is greater than ever before.
A robust and reliable underwriter
Worried that using such a new insurance provider might be risky? You needn’t be. Not only has SafetyWing passed all of the rigorous checks, standards and protocols required to become a legitimate insurer in the first place, it is also backed by Japanese insurance giant Tokio Marine, which is underwritten by Lloyds Bank and operates worldwide.
This not only means that SafetyWing’s policies are reliable, but also that there is no bureaucracy going on behind the scenes clogging the system. Working with a single provider for all geographic locations, their internal processes are simplified, and so you get the same level of quality no matter where you are.
How SafetyWing insurance works: the basics
SafetyWing offers two standard types of insurance: Nomad Insurance, which is its main and original product, and RemoteHealth, a newer policy that has been adapted for remote workers and remote teams, with more comprehensive global health cover. We look at each in more detail below.
Both options work on a subscription basis, which sets them aside from the ad-hoc kind of insurance policies you’re probably used to. This means that instead of paying a quoted price for fixed travel dates in specific locations, you pay an ongoing monthly premium. As long as you continue paying your premium, you are covered by the policy.
This also means that the price you pay is transparent and consistent. It’s the same regardless of where you travel. Nomad Insurance begins at $40.04 for four weeks, and RemoteHealth at $153 a month. The only other factors that affect the price of SafetyWing Nomad Insurance are your age group (it’s a little more expensive the older you are), and whether or not you need your cover to include the USA (it’s a little more expensive if you do).
This simplified model means that it is incredibly easy to apply, and you can do so from anywhere in the world. Once you’re set up, the payment comes out automatically every month, just like any other regular bill.
How does SafetyWing differ from regular travel insurance?
The founders have tailored the product to people who travel long-term and/or work remotely. By taking out some elements that are more geared to shorter-term travel and focusing on the needs of remote workers and nomads, they are able to offer a cheaper product. For example, as the insurance is designed to cover ongoing travel and remote work, it does not include trip cancellation – as you are not insuring a single trip with specific dates.
Effectively, SafetyWing blends travel insurance with health insurance, by providing cover for medical incidents anywhere in the world. Its travel cover is quite basic, but it does cover things like trip interruption, travel delays and lost checked luggage (more details on this below).
Cover for Covid-19
SafetyWing insurance includes cover for Covid-19 on any new policies. If you contract the virus, your treatment is covered in the same way as any other illness. Testing for Covid-19 is also covered if it is a medical necessity (verified by a physician).
You don’t need to add Covid-19 when booking your policy – it is already included automatically as part of all plans.
Who is SafetyWing insurance suitable for?
As we have already outlined, SafetyWing insurance is designed for people who are travelling long-term. This includes:
- Remote workers. If you work remotely and frequently spend long periods of time away from your home country, SafetyWing insurance covers you no matter where you are. To our knowledge, there is no other insurance for remote workers who travel that caters so well, especially with the introduction of the RemoteHealth policy.
- Digital nomads. Similarly, digital nomads – people who permanently travel and work – are a natural audience for SafetyWing’s global, subscription-based insurance model.
- Other long-term travel insurance. SafetyWing is also suitable for other types of long-term traveller, such as people taking a travel career break, sabbatical or extended workation.
- Travelling families. One really lovely feature of SafetyWing travel insurance is that one child under ten is covered for free with every adult. So, if you are a couple with two young children, the whole family is covered by two adult policies.
Pros and cons at-a-glance
To summarise, these are the biggest advantages of SafetyWing insurance:
- SafetyWing is the cheapest insurance option for long-term travel that we have found.
- You can buy it from anywhere at any time. It doesn’t matter if you have already set off on your journey.
- With a single simplified policy, the application process is very simple and the website easy to use.
- As SafetyWing works with a single globally recognised insurer and has streamlined processes, it’s also a reliable option, and very easy to make a claim.
- Coverage includes visits to your home country (more details below).
- SafetyWing provides high-quality support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
And these are the main disadvantages:
- As the Nomad Insurance is geared towards medical cover, it means that travel cover is quite basic.
- Pre-existing conditions are not covered (as is the case with most travel insurers).
- The one-size-fits-all nature of SafetyWing Nomad Insurance means there is limited flexibility for add-ons.
How much does SafetyWing insurance cost?
Before we get into the details of what exactly is covered by SafetyWing insurance, let’s talk about the cost. Because that’s going to be a big factor in your decision, right?
It’s very simple, and if you read the ‘how it works’ section above, you already know the basics. The table below shows the full pricing for SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance package, its flagship travel and medical incident insurance policy. In addition to the regular premium, there is also a $250 deductible applied, which we explain below.
|Age group||Price per 28 days of cover (not including travel in the USA)||Price per 28 days of cover (including travel in the USA)|
|15 days – 9 years||Free with an adult policy||Free with an adult policy|
How the deductible works
A deductible, sometimes also called excess, is a specific amount that you are liable to pay upfront in the event of a claim, before the insurance company pays out. It only applies when you make a claim; if you never have to claim, then you don’t pay a deductible.
With SafetyWing, a standard annual deductible of $250 is applied to all its policies. So, for example, if you break your arm and the cost to have it treated is $2,500, you pay the first $250, and you will effectively be covered for $2,250 by insurance. Once you’ve paid the full deductible amount, you won’t need to pay it again for any more claims for the remainder of the year.
And with SafetyWing’s policies, the deductible does not apply to every kind of claim. Some are exempt. Let’s explore further…
What does SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance cover?
Now for the all-important details. What are you covered for when you sign up for SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance policy? We’ll take each point at a time.
Medical incident coverage for accidents and emergencies
Comprehensive cover for medical emergencies is probably the most important consideration when seeking long-term travel insurance. This is where the biggest risk lies if you travel uninsured – medical fees can run well into the thousands.
Things can and will go wrong when travelling, especially if you are on the road long-term. We can tell you that from personal experience. If you get injured while hiking, find yourself in a car accident, trip over on the street, or just get badly ill, the physical consequences are enough to deal with on their own. You don’t want a mishap like this to leave you in financial ruin. Maybe you will get lucky, but is it really worth risking it?
If you have an accident or get sick, SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance covers your expenses anywhere in the world up to $250,000. This includes hospital fees, intensive care, ambulances, urgent charges and more. And, as we’ve already mentioned, medical assistance for Covid-19 is included too!
There are also a few extra features:
- If you need any continuous physiotherapy, you can claim up to $50 per day.
- Emergency dental care is also covered up to $1,000, with no deductible applied.
- Emergency medical evacuation is covered up to $100,000 (this is when you need to be relocated home or to another country to receive the care you need).
- Repatriation is covered up to $20,000 (this is if you die and your remains need to be returned to your home country – not nice to think about, but it isn’t a cost you’d want your family to be saddled with at such a difficult time).
What medical care is not covered? SafetyWing insurance does not cover you for any pre-existing conditions – but you will find this is standard for most insurance policies. The Nomad Insurance package also does not include routine check-ups or cancer treatment. For more comprehensive health coverage, the new RemoteHealth policy for teams and individuals has many additional features (more on this below).
See the Nomad Insurance policy for the full details.
What sports and activities are covered?
One of the common ways that travellers and nomads end up requiring medical care is due to accidents while participating in sporting activities. SafetyWing covers an extensive range of these.
Their coverage includes things like hiking up to 4,500 metres (this covers the Inca Trail!), cycling and mountain biking up to 4,500 metres, moped and motor biking (unless you are racing or intoxicated), scuba diving (as long as you are PADI or NAUI certified, or with a certified instructor), horse riding, recreational skiing, canoeing zip lining, canyon swinging, team sports like soccer or cricket, watersports like windsurfing or sailing, and many more.
What sports and activities are not covered?
Certain sports and activities of a more extreme nature are not covered on SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. This includes things like all-terrain vehicles, boxing and martial arts, parachuting, whitewater rafting, and mountaineering above 4,500 metres. For the full exhaustive list, check out the FAQs on their website.
SafetyWing’s policies include basic travel coverage. Nomad Insurance covers you for things like trip interruption (up to $5,000 with no deductible), travel delays of more than 12 hours, and lost checked luggage up to $3,000. You’re also covered for up to $100 for a lost passport or travel visa – one of the most common mishaps to befall travellers!
In the unlikely event you are caught up in a natural disaster, the policy covers emergency accommodation up to $100 a day for five days, with no deductible. Or, if you happen to require political evacuation, it allows up to $10,000 (lifetime maximum) without any deductible to take you to the nearest safe country or your home country.
What travel cover is not included? The most notable omission is cover for theft or loss of electronics. However, we have found that the maximum payouts included in most travel insurance policies is not adequate for the kind of equipment many remote workers and digital nomads use. As such, it’s often necessary to get separate gadget cover anyway (which we do whenever we’re travelling).
Home country visits
This feature is one that makes SafetyWing insurance stand out above others for long-term travellers, nomads and remote workers. For every 90 days you spend overseas, you are covered in your home country for 30 days (or 15 days if you’re from the USA). This gives you peace of mind for those trips back home.
Finally, SafetyWing is family-friendly, with one child under ten years of age included with every insured adult.View SafetyWing Nomad Insurance
RemoteHealth: global health insurance for remote workers
In 2020, SafetyWing launched a new RemoteHealth policy, designed to provide a more comprehensive global health insurance plan for remote workers and digital nomads. It was originally geared towards companies with remote teams, but has now been adapted for individuals too.
RemoteHealth offers more expansive medical cover than Nomad Insurance, including things like routine check-ups and cancer treatment. It may also include pre-existing conditions (applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis).
RemoteHealth works a little differently to Nomad Insurance, in that there are various premium add-ons you can tailor to your needs. For example, you can throw in outpatient care or remove the deductible from the policy. As such, it’s much more flexible. Unsurprisingly, it’s also more expensive – the policy begins at $153 a month for the 18–39 age bracket.
As it’s a new policy, RemoteHealth is still evolving. Take a look at the latest package and pricing options that work best for you.
We will keep this review updated with any new policy features, updates or special offers from SafetyWing. Looking for more resources for working and travelling? Check out our guide to the best laptops for remote working.
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