If you’re a digital nomad fortunate enough to be working in the ‘Gig Economy’, then it’s likely that you have the opportunity to blend your working endeavors alongside frequent travel. If this sounds like you, and you find yourself moving from country-to-country, then it’s crucial that you plan for the unexpected.
By this, we mean arranging a comprehensive travel medical insurance plan that will protect you in the event that you require medical assistance. Failure to do so could result in significantly high medical bills – something that, depending on the severity of the issue, you might not be able to cover.
With that being said, the likes of SafetyWing tailor its travel medical insurance package to those that live the nomad lifestyle. With a headline pricing structure of $68/4 weeks for travels within the US, and $37/4 weeks for everywhere else, we sought to explore whether or not SafetyWing is a notable option for your travel medical insurance needs.
As such, if you’re thinking about using SafetyWing, be sure to read our comprehensive review. Within it, we cover everything from fees, what you are covered for, who is suitable, and more.
What is SafetyWing?
- 1 What is SafetyWing?
- 2 What Does SafetyWing Cover?
- 3 Medical Cover
- 4 Travel Cover
- 5 How Much Does SafetyWing Cost? Is it Worth the Money?
- 6 Specific Travel Dates
- 7 Does SafetyWing Have any Country Restrictions?
- 8 How Does the Medical Claim Process Work?
- 9 SafetyWing
- 10 Pros
- 11 Cons
In its most basic form, SafetyWing is a travel medical insurance provider that is suited for those living the digital nomad lifestyle. With the provider recognizing that freelancers based in locations other than their home country will often fail to obtain the required medical insurance, SafetyWing targets its coverage specifically to this niche area.
Take note, you don’t need to be a freelance worker per-say to consider obtaining cover from SafetyWing, as the provider is still suitable if you’re simply living abroad.
Nevertheless, on top of offering medical insurance, SafetyWing also covers a number of other travel-related events. This covers unfortunate events such as long travel delays, lost luggage, evacuation requirements linked to political unrest or terrorism, and more.
As we will discuss in more detail further down, SafetyWing has grown in popularity since its inception in 2017 due to its super-competitive pricing structure. When you first head over to the provider’s website, you’ll instantly be presented with its proprietary offer of $37/4 weeks, or $68/weeks if your travel plans includes the US.
Ultimately, the overarching selling point from the team at SafetyWing is to provide its customers with travel medical insurance that is reliable, flexible, and perhaps most importantly – affordable.
So now that you have an overview of what SafetyWing is, in the next section of our review we are going to explore what the provider covers in more detail.
What Does SafetyWing Cover?
SafetyWing offers ‘Travel Medical Insurance’, meaning that it provides both medical cover and travel cover. In order to understand how the two differ, we have broken down the most pertinent points below.
In a nutshell, SafetyWing will cover you in the event that you fall sick, or are involved in an accident, when you are outside of your home nation. This will include the costs related to hospital visits, such as nursing services and the room/bed itself, as well as intensive care.
Moreover, SafetyWing will also cover the costs if you are charged for utilizing an ambulance in your respective location, albeit, the provider does state that this needs to be “Usual, reasonable and customary charges when covered illness or injury results in hospitalization.”
If you require care from a chiropractic specialist or a physician, SafetyWing will cover you up to the first $50 per day. Furthermore, if you are required to seek emergency dental care, your SafetyWing plan should cover you up to the first $1,000.
In terms of notable exclusions, you won’t be covered if you engage in high-risk sporting activities. This would include the likes of freestyle skiing, advanced hiking, or street lugeing. It is also important to note that you won’t be covered on any pre-existing injuries or conditions, which is industry standard anyway. Finally, cancer treatment will not be covered by SafetyWing.
On top of covering sickness and injury-related expenses, SafetyWing also offers comprehensive coverage on a range of travel-related costs. First and foremost, if you experience a travel delay that exceeds 12-hours – and you require an unplanned overnight stay, then your SafetyWing insurance will cover you up to $100 per day. Take note, this can only be claimed for a maximum of two days, which is reasonable.
If you are unable to leave your current location due to a natural disaster and thus – require a new place to stay, then you can claim up to $100 per – for a maximum of 5 days. On the other hand, you will be accustomed to higher limits if you are required to leave your current location due to a political evacuation, which amounts to a lifetime limit of $10,000.
When it comes to lost luggage that was checked-in with your respective airline, the SafetyWing plan offers up to $3,000 per certificate period. This amounts to a maximum of $500 per lost item, with consumers restricted to a lifetime limit of $6,000. However, the lifetime limit is per person meaning that if you are covered on a family or group basis, the lifetime limit extends to $250,000.
In terms of the fundamentals, you will not be able to claim electronic items, which includes cameras, laptops, and phones. This is somewhat frustrating, as it is likely that these items, in particular, will yield the greatest loss of value.
If you are ever in the need to claim for personal liability, then the maximum limits will depend on the specific circumstances. For example, while related-third-person property claims are capped at $2,500 – third-person property and third-party injury claims will yield a maximum limit of $25,000. Moreover, when it comes to accidental death or a loss of two limbs, SafetyWing covers up to $50,000. A loss of one limb comes with a limit of $25,000.
How Much Does SafetyWing Cost? Is it Worth the Money?
Although we have already presented the SafetyWing headline offer that is displayed across its homepage, it is important to note that the specific cost can vary depending on your age group.
As such, let’s breakdown the fundamentals in more detail. To clarify, the below prices are based on 4 weeks, which amounts to 28 full days of cover.
All Travel is Outside of the US
- Aged between 10-39: $36.96/4 weeks
- Aged between 40-49: $59.92/4 weeks
- Aged between 50-59: $94.08/4 weeks
- Aged between 60-69: $127.68/4 weeks
Travel includes the US
- Aged between 10-39: $67.76/4 weeks
- Aged between 40-49: $111.44/4 weeks
- Aged between 50-59: $183.68/4 weeks
- Aged between 60-69: $250.60/4 weeks
As you will see from the above figures, there is quite a premium if you are planning to travel to the US. The overarching reason for this is that medical care in the US is typically much higher than the rest of the world.
Nevertheless, the good news is that irrespective of where you are traveling, those aged 10 years old or below will be covered at no extra cost. This will only be the case if the respective child is traveling with an adult, or with a group.
Take note, you can only benefit from the $0 under-10 offer up to a maximum of two children. As such, if you require cover for three or more children under the age of 10, each subsequent child will revert to the regular price for 10-39 year old’s. Finally – it is important to note that children aged under 15 days will not be covered by SafetyWing.
In terms of the plan itself, SafetyWing will automatically renew the 28-day coverage until you cancel it. This is actually beneficial if you are based abroad or you are traveling overseas for a long period of time.
This auto-renewal option takes away the risk of forgetting to extend or renew your policy and accidentally finding yourself without coverage, which can be an issue with other travel insurances
Specific Travel Dates
If you don’t want to take out the 28-day recurring plan with SafetyWing, the provider also offers a tailor-made package that covers specific travel dates. For example, if you were looking to travel to South East Asia for 13 days, there would be no point in taking out the full 28-day plan.
If you do opt for this route, then you can take a plan out from just 5 days, up to a maximum of 364 days.
Does SafetyWing Have any Country Restrictions?
First and foremost, if you get sick or injured in your home country, it is important to clarify that you will only be able to claim on your SafetyWing coverage plan if the accident happened ‘incidentally’.
For example, if you were to pick up a serious injury while traveling and then came home with the specific purpose of receiving treatment domestically, you would not be able to claim your costs back from SafetyWing.
On the contrary, if you were traveling home to visit, and you became sick or encountered an accident, then this might be covered. However, you will only be covered in your home country for 30 days every 90 days of insurance cover – or 15 days for every 90 days of insurance cover if your home country is the US.
Nevertheless, you can travel with SafetyWing insurance anywhere in the world apart from Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. We should also note that kidnapping-related cover cannot be claimed if the incident started in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, or Venezuela.
How Does the Medical Claim Process Work?
The claim process at SafetyWing works largely the same way as any other insurance provider. With that being said, here’s a quick breakdown of the key points that you need to be aware of.
Step 1: Is it an Emergency?
Firstly, if your sickness or injury is of a serious nature, you should proceed to call the emergency services as per the country you are based in.
If it is not a serious injury and thus – you are able to walk into your nearest medical center or hospital, then you should log into your SafetyWing account and use the “Find a Hospital” option.
The provider has a global network of hospitals, doctors, and even medical specialists (such as physicians) within its database. As such, simply enter your exact location and the SafetyWing system will point you in the direction of the nearest center.
If for some reason the system is unable to locate a suitable hospital or doctor, you should proceed to use the nearest center that you can find. Failing that, you can contact SafetyWing directly via their telephone hotline.
Step 2: Show Your SafetyWing Card
When you arrive at the hospital or medical center, you should present your SafetyWing card at the earliest possible opportunity. While it is unlikely that the medical provider will have heard of SafetyWing, it will at the very least indicate that you have the required medical travel insurance in place to pay for your treatment.
This is a further reminder that you should always carry your SafetyWing card with you. Always prepare for the unexpected!
Step 3: Ask the Medical Provider About Payment
In some cases you can inquire whether or not the medical provider is able to take up payment with SafetyWing directly. This will depend on a range of factors, such as the respective country, whether you are at a hospital or medical center, and the type of treatment you have undergone.
In an ideal world, the provider will take the claim up directly with SafetyWing, meaning that you won’t be required to pay for it out of your own pocket. You can find doctors with direct payment in their database when you look for “direct bill”, only then it is possible. Alternatively, if you are required to pay for the bill yourself before leaving, you will have no option but to do this.
Step 4: Submitting the Claim to SafetyWing
If you have paid for the treatment yourself, you will then need to file a claim directly with SafetyWing. You can send an email directly to the claim team at firstname.lastname@example.org, which needs to outline details of the treatment, alongside screenshots of the itemized bill, as well as any payment receipts.