TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR NOMADS
No matter where you’re headed, travel insurance is one of the best investments you can make before a trip. While chances are you won’t need it (and our fingers are crossed that you won’t), having coverage for oopsies and uh ohs can save you from avoidable regret.
Now, there are plenty of convenient and affordable ways to get travel health insurance and travel insurance. Global companies have finally started catering to backpackers, nomads, and free spirits. It is now easier than ever to get coverage for medical costs incurred in the event of accidents or illness abroad.
As you head off to live the carefree life of a vagabond, treat yourself to some actual peace of mind.
Health Insurance vs. Travel Insurance
It’s important to note the distinction between these two things.
Travel Insurance typically focuses on issues met in transit such as lost baggage, lost travel documents, flight cancellations, delays, etc.
Travel Health Insurance typically focuses on medical or health-related issues that arise during a period of travel. This includes hospital or doctor visits, injuries from accidents, etc.
I thoroughly researched travel insurance options after my travel credit card coverage ended. Below are the two options that I found were most ideal for travelers, particularly long-term nomads. They met the following criteria that non-travel-oriented providers don’t:
Widely available to residents of most countries
Allow customers to buy and renew while already traveling
Will insure for an infinite length of travel (aka. you don’t need to have it all figured out)
SafetyWing is what I personally use due to a combination of affordability, convenience, and coverage benefits. The young startup launched a year ago but their insurance is backed by Tokio Marine.
Their mission is to build a global social safety net for freelancers and digital nomads and they specialize in digital nomad travel insurance. They seem to recognize that long-term travelers can fall through the cracks when it comes to accessing insurance or national safety nets.
I’ve found it to be more comprehensive than competitors for a fraction of the price.
The lowest cost of companies searched. For worldwide coverage excluding the US, the cost is $37 per month.
Covers medical and travel situations ranging from hospital visits to travel delay, lost luggage, and natural disasters.
Mountaineering below 4,500 meters is covered.
You can pay as you go on a monthly billing cycle just as you might for Netflix or Spotify. You are notified each time a payment goes through and can cancel at any moment.
There’s a low daily price in case you need some extra coverage for places outside of existing travel health plans.
They support direct billing to many hospitals and clinics in their worldwide network.
Private health care is covered, which can be a great perk depending on where you travel.
SafetyWing caps your deductible at $250 per policy period (which is 365 days if you’re on a subscription).
There is no deductible for many emergency claims including dental, medical evacuation, crisis response, trip interruption, lost checked luggage, and travel delays.
You’re covered in your home country for up to 30 days per 90 days of insurance, whilst most competitors void your policy if you make a quick visit home.
Things to note:
SafetyWing charges more for policies that include the US. Be sure to factor this in.
The best prices are for travelers 18-29 years old traveling outside of the US.
World Nomads were pioneers in offering insurance to travelers who were already on the road. Since offering this service a decade ago, they have built a reputable name.
They are widely advertised as they pay bloggers incentives to post about them (admittedly, not us). While their prices for general coverage (over $100/month) do not stack up against SafetyWing, they do offer extreme sport coverage options. Though the price reflects this, it may still beat out local insurance providers in terms of cost and perks.
Decent extreme sports coverage
Support direct billing
24/7 emergency line
Certain plans cover tech such as laptops, iPads, etc.
Things to note:
They use different insurance providers depending on the country of travel so prices, terms, and benefits vary from country to county. Keep a careful eye on this.
Extensions on pre-paid policies are expensive.
You’re only allowed one trip home during your policy, meaning that multiple trips home will require a string of shorter and more expensive policies.
Other options include Global Medical Insurance by IMG, International Health Insurance by Allianz Care, and the International Health Plan by Integra Global.
That said, we can vouch that SafetyWing tops every comparison charts we’ve seen and is easy to purchase. Fingers crossed we never make a claim but we’ll let you know how it goes if we do.