The following is my SafetyWing review for 2020. Since I have been traveling with my two children for the past ~6 months, I have been using SafetyWing as my provider for travel insurance. This is a relatively unknown provider of travel insurance (most digital nomad types go for World Nomads instead, which is much more established), but at least in my experience so far — and in the experience of my friends and many others online — this is the best travel insurer for digital nomads as of 2019 and into 2020. In fact, I feel they are vastly superior to World Nomads and every other travel insurer I’ve researched.
Here’s what makes SafetyWing unique, and in my view, superior:
- Much lower prices than other providers. With SafetyWing your cost will be from $1.50 to $2.50 per day depending on what kind of coverage you get (the most expensive coverage covers practically everything you can imagine). That is much cheaper than World Nomads and other providers, as I invite you to see for yourself;
- You can purchase SafetyWing insurance while you are traveling, and at any time. There is no need to go back to your home country to buy an insurance package!
- Great service. I emailed the SafetyWing representative with some questions about coverage and got a reply within 2 hours with a detailed response. I have not yet had to make a claim, so I cannot comment on their processes there, but from what I have heard from others, it is a simple and fair process;
- There is comprehensive coverage – as mentioned above, SafetyWing can cover you for practically everything if you need it to;
- SafetyWing covers the vast majority of countries on Earth (it only excludes some outliners like North Korea, Iran etc), so if you’re going for a round-the-world-trip it’ll probably cover you everywhere
In doing my research for this review for SafetyWing, I reached out to a handful of travel bloggers claiming to use SafetyWing, and was able to verify that several prolific bloggers vouch for, and use, SafetyWing. In SafetyWing’s (admittedly short) history, I have not yet heard of any scam complaints or any reports of them not paying out when they should, so based on my own experience and the research I’ve done I certainly feel comfortable recommending it.
If you’re thinking of signing up to SafetyWing, I recommend it. If you’re the OCD-type like myself, though, and you’re not entirely sure about them, it’s fine to call them up or email them to answer all the questions you may have about the service.
The Verdict On SafetyWing
I have no negative words to say on SafetyWing, and can certainly vouch for it. I feel perfectly comfortable giving it a 5-star rating. If you happen to have a bad experience with SafetyWing, though, I would really like to hear from you – please reach out to me (my contact details are below) and we can chat over email. My research indicates SafetyWing to be the best and cheapest travel insurer, but since they are not as popular as others, I would really like to hear from more people about them. If I have any more information in future, I’ll update this post.
Finally, if you’ve used SafetyWing or have any comments on this SafetyWing review, please comment below.
We put out a request for travelers and digital nomads who have used SafetyWing to comment on their experience with it. Here is what we received:
After 6 years of travelling all over the world and visiting over 143 countries in 7 continents, sometimes insured but sometimes not, we eventually found ourselves in a situation where we really needed our travel insurance! We moved to SafetyWing because our previous insurer stopped insuring Filipino citizens, but also because they specialize in digital nomads (travel bloggers in our case) and long-term travellers like us.
Kach was travelling for 2 months in Central and South Asia on her own. While Kach was on a trip through the mountains of northern Pakistan, her car collided head-on with an oncoming 4-wheel drive. Her leg was trapped under the dashboard and later x-rays showed a badly broken ankle.
I was in the UK at the time, so as soon as I found out I called the emergency contact number given to us by Safety Wing and they immediately started helping us to arrange for hospital appointments and eventually surgery in the UK to pin her bones back together again.
Throughout the whole process, I was always able to speak to someone in the emergency team and they dealt directly with the hospital to send the Guarantees of Payment so that treatment would not be delayed.
It has been a difficult month, but if we hadn’t been insured then Kach wouldn’t have been able to fly back to have her surgery in the UK.
Few months later we were able to claim out-of-pocket expenses, Kach physiotherapy and all the Medical expenses that amounted to 16,000 GBP.
We have both just renewed our Safety Wing travel insurance policies for another year and we feel much safer knowing that they’ll be there for us if we ever need them again!
--Jonathan & Kach Howe, Mr & Mrs Howe
As full-time travellers and digital nomads running a travel blog, choosing the right travel insurance is critical. Unfortunately we only heard about Safety Wing after we had taken out long-term travel insurance with a competitor – they approached us to join their affiliate program which we declined since we only work with partners that we personally use. So it was with pleasure that we revisited Safety Wing’s proposition a few months ago. Essentially our existing travel insurance (Cover 4 You) was running out and after contacting them to request an extension, they declined our cover. This is since my husband, James, was diagnosed with a chronic illness called ulcerative colitis after we took out the policy, and they felt the risk was too high. We started looking around and found ourselves at a loss: most insurers won’t cover you if you are already travelling and definitely won’t cover you with a pre-existing condition.
And so, Safety Wing to the rescue. Remembering our discussion with them, we went online to get a quote. The online quotation process was easy and crystal clear – after a few steps you could choose your cover and, surprisingly, you could easily exclude any pre-existing conditions. With a few clicks, we had our insurance! What a painless, straightforward process.
What’s truly made us appreciate Safety Wing has been the recent Covid 19 situation. While we took out the policy to cover countries like South Africa and Turkey, our next steps on the journey, the virus and travel restrictions meant that we are stuck in lockdown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; a country NOT specified on our policy. However, we contacted Safety Wing through their online chat and got fantastic service from one of their agents who changed our policy with no issues or fees, and ensured that we are covered for the country where we are now travelling.
One of the key reasons we’re impressed with Safety Wing is their impeccable handling of the Covid 19 situation. We’ve felt their communication throughout this period has been world-class: Their website was immediately updated when the first cases hit to give clear guidance on what they offer (and its pretty comprehensive!). They have sent two proactive emails outlining their position and providing advice on what you should do in thi crisis, along with links to relevant resources. And, after contacting them online, even with a huge overload of enquiries, they were able to look at our case around staying in Malaysia and recommend a course of action for us.
While we haven’t had to make a claim just yet, we’re extraordinarily impressed with the calibre of service, communication and care provided by this insurer, and highly recommend them.
--Lee Nelson, The Travel Scribes
I’m a long term adventure traveler with over 3 years wandering the globe to 50+ countries and have maintained travel insurance for the major portions of my trip, so I have lots of experience with the good and bad travel insurance. With SafetyWing I was very satisfied with the coverages, customer support, and service up until recently.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m disappointed with how SafetyWing is handling the situation. According to SafetyWing’s policy, once a level 3 warning is given for a country by the State Department, policyholders have 10 days to file a claim for emergency evacuation – that’s it. On March 11, the US State Department issued a level 3 Global Travel advisory triggering the 10 day window for every policyholder – and I received no communication from SafetyWing about that trigger, until today. Now, I have 2 days to decide whether to fly home to the US, or wait things out in Asia – making for a very abrupt decision.
Additionally, if the CDC assigns a level 3 warning to any one country or the entire globe, SafetyWing will immediately cease coverage for the treatment of COVID-19.
Though I had a wonderful experience until this Pandemic, it is disappointing that the coverage I need disappears during the kind of crisis I have coverage for and forces such abrupt decisions due to lack of communication. I have just 2 days to cancel my trip of a lifetime, or risk it all in Indonesia during the pandemic.
--Carlos Grider, A Brother Abroad
It can be pretty difficult to find a good insurance policy being a digital nomad. Why? Several companies offer travel insurances but it is difficult to find the one that suits your needs and customized to your requirements. SafetyWing is one of those companies that offer insurances. SafetyWing offers medical insurance for digital nomads when traveling. It means that they would cover your travel insurance but made for you specifically. SafetyWing contacts you personally to enquire about your needs and interests and tailor the policies according to that. And the best thing is that it is slightly cheaper than the government and other insurances that are available in the market. You can visit your home but there are certain restrictions like the visits can take place every 90 days and not longer than 30 days at one time. What all is covered in the insurance? Accidents, unexpected injuries, and visitation, in relation to illness or injury, to hospitals, are covered. Travel related benefits are also covered like emergency medical evacuation, travel delay or lost checked luggage.
--Jennifer Willy, ETIA.com
Right around New Year’s I got in a nasty motorcycle accident in Thailand, fractured my wrist into many tiny pieces, and had to have a complicated surgery done in Bangkok. I had never made a claim with Safetywing before and was worried that they’d try to get out of paying. I was pleasantly surprised when they worked directly with the hospital to get pre-approval for my surgery costs so I didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket. I’ve had several follow-up appointments and a few physical therapy appointments since then, and everything has been covered.
So far, the total bill has been around $15,000, and I still will require another surgery in 6 months.
The only complaint I have is I had to constantly call their office to make sure things were moving along. There were a few appointments that they took too long to approve, so I had to pay out of pocket.
I was told it could take up to 60 days to get reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses, so if you have the option, I’d highly recommend trying to get pre-approval before treatment to avoid having to wait.
--Mitch Glass, Project Untethered
For almost a year I’m insured with SafetyWing and I’m real happy with this insurance. I went to the doctor a little while ago as I had a lot of pain in my belly. I was in Bali and preferred to go to a alternative doctor instead of the hospital. The doctor did a live blood analysis and gave me natural supplements and vitamins. I made a claim through the pdf file that is available on the website and within a couple of days I received an email that they would take care of my claim. Only 2 weeks later my parents received a letter that everything was covered, but that I just had to use my own risk first, which is obvious.
So, even though I went to an alternative doctor and the ‘medicines’ were all natural, everything was covered which I highly appreciate.
To be honest, filling in the form costs some time and feels a bit circuitous, but the pretty quick handling and full compensation makes up for a lot!
Currently, with the coronavirus, they also anticipate very well. I was in touch with them to ask if they would change the regulations of 30 days coverage in my home country if I would get stuck there due to border closure. I don’t have an answer yet, but they did point me on the fact that I have the right to make a claim for the expenses of my flight ticket back home due to ‘political evacuation’. I think they handle very very well in this situation as I have a lot of friends that were ‘just’ on a holiday and they don’t get any refund at all for rescheduling or booking new flights from their travel insurance. And that while SafetyWing is not even a real travel insurance, but more a travel health insurance!
When I was in Cambodia last year I had a sebaceous cyst on my back that got infected and grew to the size of a golf ball. So I called them and was directed to one of the few private clinics in Phnom Penh, Cambodia that had a dermatologist that could see me that week. During my appointment, the dermatologist said this would need to be removed with a small surgery, and I went ahead with it since it was driving me nuts. I think the total bill was around $800, including one night at the hospital. I paid only the $200 deductible and was ok with that since back in the US this would have cost me even more. Not to mention getting it resolved that quickly, without any bureaucracy about primary doctor referrals and that sort of thing.
I’ve used Safetywing for a long time now, and I would say they are a digital nomad’s best friend, in many scenarios. Their customer support is awesome, and I’ve never had any issues that were unresolved or took more than a few days. What’s important to keep in mind is they aren’t a full-blown health insurance, and also have their limitations. For me personally, $37 per month is hard to beat compared to most travel insurance. Most importantly, it serves its main purpose which is to allow us, digital nomads, to meet the VISA entry requirements for countries all over the world.
No one ever expects to get sick, but even if you do Safetywing serves it’s purpose. The only thing to keep in mind is the $200 deductible, so if you need a more serious procedure, you are capped at $200. In other words, don’t use it to visit clinics for common colds or for routine visits since it will cost you. Save it for emergencies only and to use on more expensive medical treatment.
--Philip Weiss, philipweiss.org
Over the years, I have experienced a LOT of Travel Insurance providers and let me tell you, they are NOT all created equally. I recommend Safety Wing to my readers because they genuinely understand the lifestyles and needs of Digital Nomads. I set of backpacking in 2016 and haven’t really been “home” to the UK since except for visits. This in itself actually disbars me from obtaining insurance with many providers but SafetyWing allow continuous open ended insurance and respect the fact that people like me move about a lot.
Some of my team also love the fact that they also allow young children onto policies. For Digital Nomads starting young families, this is a big deal. The monthly pricing is also very fair and affordable for such a helpful, niche policy. So far, we have never needed to claim with them and hopefully never will so I cannot comment on this side of things to date.
--Will Hatton, The Broke Backpacker
SafetyWing is the insurance provider I’ve been looking for for years. It’s a user-friendly, low-cost alternative to the traditional insurance firms. Its comprehensive policy covers my needs extremely well, and I’m a big fan of its helpful customer service and fast response times. Best of all, though, making a claim with SafetyWing is easy – all you have to do is fill out and email their form. As a fast-moving digital nomad, SafetyWing has been an excellent choice for me.
--Jordan Bishop, Yore Oyster
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