SafetyWing Review: Quality Travel Medical Insurance for Extended Travel
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In this SafetyWing travel medical insurance review, we’ll explore two of their plans, explain what’s covered in each, and help you decide if SafetyWing meets your needs.
If you’ve read our other travel insurance reviews, you know our stance: We recommend travel insurance for most international travel.
The cost of emergency medical care outside your home country can be staggering, even in the cheapest travel destinations. It usually just isn’t worth the risk. Yes, you can save a few bucks by skipping travel insurance, but taking a chance on financial disaster just doesn’t make sense.
The good news is that coverage for short trips usually isn’t too expensive. The best travel insurance companies offer options to fit every budget. But long-term travelers and digital nomads sometimes face a challenge: Their odds of needing coverage increase with the length of time they’re away from home, and often, so do the costs.
SafetyWing offers two types of coverage for the long-term traveler: Nomad Insurance and Remote Health.
In this SafetyWing travel insurance review, I’ll explain these two types of coverage, their pricing models, and the pros and cons. Hopefully, this will help you decide if SafetyWing is the right fit for you.
- SafetyWing at a Glance
- SafetyWing Travel Insurance Products
- What Is Included
- How Much Does SafetyWing Cost?
- SafetyWing Travel Insurance: What Isn’t Covered?
- SafetyWing Travel Insurance: Who Is Covered?
- SafetyWing Travel Insurance: Pros and Cons
- Who Should Buy SafetyWing Travel Insurance?
- Who Should Skip SafetyWing?
- How to Buy SafetyWing Travel Insurance
- How to Make a Claim
- SafetyWing Travel Insurance: Do You Need It?
SafetyWing at a Glance
- Two types of international travel medical insurance: Nomad Insurance and Remote Health
- Free coverage for up to two children under 10 years old with the Nomad Insurance plan
- Convenient and affordable monthly payments available
- Worldwide coverage
- No exclusions for pandemics under the Remote Health Plan
SafetyWing Travel Insurance Products
SafetyWing offers two straightforward products called Nomad Insurance and Remote Health.
Nomad Insurance is a renewable travel medical plan designed to provide extendable coverage for emergency medical treatment outside your home country, along with some travel benefits. The plan maximum is $250,000, and the deductible is $250, although it doesn’t apply to every type of claim. Subscription-style pricing is simple and affordable.
Remote Health is described as global health insurance for remote workers and nomads. Annual contracts include flexible, worldwide coverage with a $1 million maximum and $250 deductible.
This screenshot shows key differences in these two products:
Please note that as of August 01, 2020, Nomad Insurance now covers COVID-19. So, if you get sick with the coronavirus while traveling, you will be covered — provided you did not become ill prior to your travels.
What Is Included
SafetyWing Nomad Insurance includes emergency medical and travel benefits that protect you while you’re abroad. Visits to your home country lasting up to 30 days are covered every three months (15 days if you call the United States home).
Medical benefits include:
- Hospital stays, including intensive care unit
- Ambulance transport
- Urgent care
- Physical therapy and chiropractic care
- Emergency dental
Emergency travel benefits cover you for the annoying inconveniences that can accompany travel but also for huge expenses that you hope will never arise:
- Trip interruption
- Travel delay
- Lost checked luggage
- Natural disaster (new place to stay)
- Political evacuation
- Emergency medical evacuation
- Personal liability
- Accidental death and dismemberment
The overall plan maximum is $250,000, but some benefits have their own maximums. Make sure you refer to the description of coverage for complete details.
SafetyWing’s Remote Health is described as global health insurance. While Nomad Insurance is geared toward travelers who want emergency medical coverage, Remote Health is for people and teams who need primary health insurance while traveling or living abroad. Coverage includes trips and longer-term stays in every country in the world and full-coverage in more than 175 countries.
The Remote Health plan includes:
- Hospital treatment and accommodation
- Prescription drugs
- Cancer treatment
- Surgery, including reconstructive
- MRI, PET, and CT scans
- Organ transplants
- Evacuation to a medical facility
- Repatriation following evacuation
- Emergency treatment outside the coverage area
- No exclusions for COVID-19 or other pandemics
- Outpatient services
- Long-term coverage in the U.S., Singapore, and Hong Kong
How Much Does SafetyWing Cost?
Nomad Insurance Pricing
You can purchase SafetyWing Nomad Insurance upfront for a minimum of five days and a maximum of 364 days. The default way to purchase it, though, is in renewable four-week increments. Every four weeks, your credit card is charged, and your coverage renews, unless you cancel — just like a subscription. Coverage is renewable to 364 days, after which you’ll have to purchase a new policy.
The price of coverage is based on your age group and whether you’ll be traveling to the U.S. (hint: that makes it more expensive).
Here’s how it breaks down for four weeks of coverage, excluding travel to the U.S.:
Every covered adult can get one child who’s under 10 years old (but at least 15 days old) covered for free. That means a couple can insure two kids for no extra charge. Babies less than 15 days old are not covered and extra kids are charged the 10 to 39-year-old rate.
The price of Remote Health varies based on age, number of members, and the add-ons you might select.
The screen shot below shows the starting monthly price:
SafetyWing Travel Insurance: What Isn’t Covered?
Here’s a list of some exclusions of the Nomad Insurance and Remote Health plans. These are not exhaustive lists, so check the policy details before you buy.
Seniors Older Than 69: Seniors in the 70-plus club aren’t eligible for SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. As an alternative, travelers in this age group should check out Atlas travel insurance.
Pre-Existing Conditions: SafetyWing doesn’t cover treatment of pre-existing medical conditions except in the case of acute onset. Acute onset means there’s a sudden, brief flareup that gets progressively worse, requiring immediate treatment.
Note that SafetyWing considers a condition pre-existing if you’ve had symptoms or sought treatment within the two years prior to the beginning of coverage. That two years is called the look-back period, and it’s on the lengthy side. Some providers have look-back periods that are as short as 60 days.
High-Risk Activities and Professional or Organized Sports: SafetyWing Nomad Insurance covers an impressive range of sports and activities but doesn’t cover professional or organized sports. Not sure what qualifies as an organized sport? If there’s a scheduled practice involved, it’s not covered. While not as robust as World Nomads, SafetyWing has a much bigger list of covered activities than most policies.
There’s also a list of excluded high-risk activities that you can refer to on the website. Some examples include:
- Running with the bulls
- Whitewater rafting
Cancer Treatment: This is standard fare, but cancer treatment isn’t covered by SafetyWing. The policy is really only meant to cover treatment of acute illness and injury that could pop up while you’re away.
Seniors Older Than 79: Remote Health coverage is limited to those aged 79 and younger.
Some Extreme Activities: There is a relatively short list of extreme activities that Remote Health does not cover. Anything not on the list is fair game. Consult the SafetyWing website or contact the team for more info.
Full Coverage for Long Stays in the U.S., Hong Kong, and Singapore: Remote Health provides worldwide coverage with the exception of the United states, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The standard Remote Health plan offers emergency medical coverage in the U.S., Hong Kong, and Singapore for trips lasting up to 30 days. That’s enough to protect you from unexpected medical expenses during short trips. If that won’t cut it, you can purchase an add-on that grants full coverage in those countries for up to six months per year.
There are also some countries that have restricted coverage based on residency. See the details here.
SafetyWing Travel Insurance: Who Is Covered?
SafetyWing Nomad Insurance will cover travelers between the ages of 15 days and 69 years from any home country except:
- North Korea
They also can’t cover Cuban citizens, regardless of where they’re living. Other than that, there are no known restrictions.
Remote Health covers anyone aged 79 or younger, as long as the don’t reside in a country that isn’t eligible. Find the details here.
SafetyWing Travel Insurance: Pros and Cons
|Extendable coverage||Seniors over 69 aren’t covered|
|Free coverage for kids under 10 (conditions apply)||No trip cancellation|
|Coverage available in the U.S.||$250 deductible|
|Reasonable number of sports and activities are covered||No customization|
|Coverage for a trip home every three months||Long look-back period for pre-existing medical conditions|
|Full coverage in more than 175 countries||Seniors over 79 aren’t covered|
|Add-ons available||No travel insurance|
|Reasonable number of sports and activities are covered||Annual contract|
|No exclusions for pandemics|
Who Should Buy SafetyWing Travel Insurance?
Anyone Looking for Simple, Affordable Coverage — SafetyWing Nomad Insurance doesn’t offer a pile of customization options, but for some, that’s a plus. It’s straightforward, easy to understand, and priced competitively.
Nomads and Long-Term Travelers Needing Emergency Medical Coverage — SafetyWing offers an affordable, practical solution to the long-term traveler or digital nomad. Because Nomad Insurance renews automatically every 28 days, you don’t need to worry about specifying a coverage termination date if your trip is open-ended. Coverage must begin outside your home country, but every three months, you’re covered for an incidental trip home lasting up to 30 days (15 days for the U.S.). This works really well for people who are spending extended periods outside their home country.
Remote Workers and Nomads Who Need Full Coverage — If you live abroad and don’t have primary health insurance, you might need more than emergency medical. Remote Health provides full coverage in more than 175 countries.
Families — Because Nomad Insurance includes free coverage for one kid per adult, it’s a great deal for families. Remember, this only applies to children who are older than 14 days and younger than 10 years, and only for a maximum of two kids. If you go the Remote Health route, you can add dependents, including newborns.
Companies and Teams with Employees Working Internationally — If you have an international team that needs health insurance coverage, SafetyWing’s Remote Health plan is a good option.
Who Should Skip SafetyWing?
Travelers Looking for Trip Cancellation — Neither SafetyWing policy includes trip cancellation insurance. If that’s a deal-breaker, you’ll need to look elsewhere. (Psst …you might want to check out these Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits!)
Seniors Over Age 69 (or 79) — If you’re over 69, Nomad insurance is off the table. The upper age limit for Remote Health is 79.
People With Pre-Existing Medical Conditions — Not saying you should skip it, but travelers with pre-existing medical conditions need to be wary of the two-year look-back period on Nomad Insurance. This is important because it means any conditions for which you’ve sought treatment or had symptoms in the past two years won’t be covered. That’s a long time. Other providers have much shorter look-back periods. Remote Health might cover pre-existing conditions on a case-by-case basis.
How to Buy SafetyWing Travel Insurance
You can purchase SafetyWing Nomad Insurance online upfront for a minimum of five and a maximum of 364 days. People who are traveling long term, though, have the option of buying and renewing in 28-day (four-week) increments.
If you opt for the subscription-style setup, your credit card will be charged three days before your coverage renews. You can cancel within that three-day window and get a full refund. If you want to cancel once a renewal has kicked in, you’ll have to pay a $25 cancellation fee.
You can keep renewing every month up until 364 days. After that, you’ll have to buy a new policy. Note that you can purchase insurance even after you’ve started your trip.
A Remote Health policy is an annual contract. You purchase online and choose between paying for the year upfront or making a monthly payment. Each application is subject to full medical underwriting and must include a medical declaration.
How to Make a Claim
Tokio Marine handles claims and is available around the clock to provide assistance. To file a claim, fill out a claimant’s statement (available on the website) and upload it to the online portal along with photos of your receipts. You can also mail the form along with the original itemized bill and payment receipts.
You have 60 days from the last day of coverage to submit a claim. The exception to that is if medical treatment is administered after the insurance end date. In that case, you have 60 days from that date.
You can make outpatient claims through the user-friendly online claims portal or the mobile app. Inpatient claims must be preauthorized before the treatment or procedure to ensure direct billing. In the case of emergency medical treatment, you or the hospital treating you should contact SafetyWing’s 24/7 emergency assistance service to arrange direct billing where possible.
SafetyWing Travel Insurance: Do You Need It?
Well, let’s put it this way: If you’re traveling outside your home country, you need travel medical insurance. Whether that’s SafetyWing or another provider is up to you.
SafetyWing Nomad Insurance is a good choice for long-term travelers and digital nomads because it’s extendable and affordable. Short-term vacation travelers, however, might prefer a policy with trip cancellation that protects their financial investment in their trip.
Remote Health is a solid option for nomads, remote workers, and companies with international employees seeking a global health insurance policy that extends beyond emergency medical.
Have you purchased a policy from SafetyWing? Share your experiences with us below!
Covered Activities & Sports
Other Coverage Options
SafetyWing Medical Insurance Review
SafetyWing is a very solid option for travel medical insurance coverage, especially if you are planning extended travel or if you have a company who employs international workers remotely. They offer two types of plans: Nomad Insurance and Remote Health.
Although SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance option offers limited emergency travel benefits (like lost checked luggage coverage), their focus is on travel medical insurance for long-term travelers. Anyone between the ages of 15 days to 69 years can obtain coverage, and coverage extends almost everywhere outside of the insured’s home country. If your main concern is having emergency medical coverage while you travel, a policy from SafetyWing deserves your consideration.
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Nice review on Safetywing, good stuff! I have researched them too and consider them a great insurer overall. We’re collecting and have collected a ton of user reviews for them and most are positive. Just a couple people we’ve heard from who had a negative experience regarding safetywing not paying out on claims.
The problem with Nomad Insurance is that is subject to reimbursement. You go to any Clinic and pay upfront, then present the invoice and expect a refund by the company.
I am familiarized with Assist Card that they preauthorize the visit to a specific doctor or clinic and you don’t pay anything. The con of that system is that you have to hire on your home country and have to be time specific on your arrival date back home as you can’t extend beyond. On that matter Nomad Insurance is a prior as they are flexible.
As you can see both have their pros and cons….Not an easy decision to make.