Leaving for a long trip is nothing like a stroll in the park. Whether you want to start a digital nomad lifestyle or you're using a gap year to travel the world, there will be a lot of organization before your departure. And amongst all of the things you need to take care of, your long-term travel insurance is surely one of the most important.

A lot of backpackers still travel with no insurance at all, not aware that any minor issue could cost them thousands of dollars. And in this post-coronavirus period, having a good travel insurance is more important than ever.

In this guide, we will review two of the best travel insurance companies: SafetyWing and World Nomads. Both companies will ensure you, no matter where you come from. Most long-term travelers use either SafetyWing or World Nomads and never had any issue with them. This is why this guide is focused on those two insurance companies.

Do you have to take out travel insurance?

As long as you travel for more than 30 days in a row, then you absolutely need a travel insurance to get you covered during your trip. Most of Visa and Mastercard credit cards come with a travel insurance valid for 30 days, which may be enough as long as your trip doesn’t last longer than this.

Also, if you’re not sure what countries you’ll be visiting, if you plan on traveling in remote places or if you think you’ll be taking some risks during your trip (using a scooter or a motorbike, doing high risk activities like climbing or scuba diving, etc.), then taking out a travel insurance is a must.

Some travelers also decide to sign up for a travel insurance because they want their electronic gear to be insured, and this is indeed a very good reason.

In short, if you travel for more than a month, if you have no detailed plans about your itinerary or if you plan to visit remote places in different countries, then taking out a good travel insurance will be a real safety net.

Nomad travel insurance : how does it work ?

Here we’ll be focusing on two renowned nomad travel insurances: World Nomads and SafetyWing. Please bear in mind that we’re not insurance experts and that some conditions might change over time.

If you plan to hop on long-term travel wherever the wind takes you, the best way to protect your health during your whole trip is to take out travel insurance. You can easily ask for quotes online for free and thus compare the different offers. Once you selected two or three different companies, don’t hesitate to give them a call and ask all the questions you might have. This is what customer services are for.

Read between the lines

Some travel insurance policies are very complicated to understand. But bear in mind that you must know everything about your coverage before you sign the contract. If you have any doubt, make a list of all your questions and email or call the customer service. Here are some questions you need to be answered before you choose your policy :

  • What are the deductibles on the different situations ?
  • What’s the “book value” of your electronic gear ?
  • How much time does it take to be reimbursed on a claim ?
  • Does the insurance company provide a network so you don’t have to give an advance of money ?
  • Which activities are covered and which are not ?
  • What are the requirements if your luggage or your electronic gear are stolen ?

Be cautious

One of the most important thing, before signing your contract, is to read the reviews online, on websites like TrustPilot.

Also bear in mind that insurance companies are here to make money. If you have any doubt about anything, remember there’s no such thing as a stupid question. And if you have to make a claim, don’t forget that everything you say can and will be used against you. Be cautious with absolutely everything.

Keep an emergency fund

You should always travel with an emergency fund at hand. All travel insurance companies will ask you to pay for your medical expenses and will then reimburse you, unless you go to an in-network hospital. It can sometimes take weeks before you get your money back, so you absolutely have to be prepared.

Every opened claim has to be verified by the insurance company, whether it’s about a stolen luggage or a dental emergency. So make sure you have the necessary funds to cover the payments while your file is being processed.

Health insurance VS travel insurance

A lot of travelers still mix up health insurance with travel insurance. And it’s perfectly understandable as many insurance companies offer both. SafetyWing and World Nomads, for example, cover both travel and health insurance to different degrees.

Basically, health insurance covers any unexpected medical event like an injury, an illness or a dental emergency. It also covers physical extraction, like ambulance or helicopter evacuation.

Travel insurance is different in the way that it covers your trip itself. It often includes trip interruption, flight cancellation, lost, stolen or damaged luggage or electronic gear…

By the way, if you travel with a lot of electronic gear, World Nomads offers a much more complete coverage than SafetyWing.

Beware ! All insurance companies apply deductibles. A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay when you open a claim. If the hospitalization has a deductible of $500, then you have to take care of those $500, whether the hospitalization costs $1000 or $100,000.

SafetyWing and World Nomads : the best travel insurances

SafetyWing and World Nomads are amongst the best travel insurances you can find online. Both are very competitive on price, flexible, and offer a wide coverage. They’re 100 % online, which can explain their reduced price compare to physical insurance.

Both SafetyWing and World Nomads are perfectly adapted to digital nomads as everything can be done online, even the subscription. You still have to have a home address in your home country, but you won’t need it to sign up. On top of that, both offer travel insurance policies that can be renewed for as long as you want, with no maximum coverage term.

But even if both SafetyWing and World Nomads offer a great service, there are still some differences between those two, and this guide should help you make the smartest choice.

World Nomads

World Nomads is considered to be one of the best long-term travel insurances. It’s even endorsed by publications like Lonely Planet ! It has a great and wide coverage and a good customer services. If you’re looking for a complete coverage as well as an electronics coverage, then this is the insurance for you. However, World Nomads travel insurance is more expensive than SafetyWing’s one.

World Nomads prices

World Nomads insurance starts at around $100 / per month.

World Nomads reviews

Check World Nomads on TrustPilot and you’ll see they have 3 stars on 5. It’s not that bad for an insurance company but still, this could be way better.

What’s covered with World Nomads ?

  • Worldwide coverage except for Cuba, North Korea and Iran
  • USA covered for US citizens
  • Damaged, lost or stolen electronic gear like cameras, laptops, tablets, smartphones, lenses, etc., for up to $2000 per item
  • Unexpected health issues or illness, dental emergencies, hospital stay, emergency evacuation, doctors, prescriptions, injuries due to sports or adventure activities
  • Missed, cancelled or delayed flights

Beware ! : Pre-existing conditions, preventive care or cancer treatment are not considered as “unexpected” and are not covered.

World Nomads offers two different plans : one “standard”, and the other “explorer”, the latter offering wider coverage.

SafetyWing

SafetyWing is a pretty recent cheap travel insurance that comes with sufficient coverage for most travelers. Just like World Nomads, SafetyWing offers both travel and health insurance during your trip. The insurance company was created by nomads and for nomads.

SafetyWing prices

Depending on your age, SafetyWing travel insurance starts at around $37 / per month.

SafetyWing reviews

Check the SafetyWing reviews on TrustPilot and you’ll see they have quite a good rating with 4 stars on 5. It’s actually a lot better than World Nomads !

What’s covered with SafetyWing ?

  • Worldwide coverage except for Cuba, North Korea and Iran. Coverage in the US costs an extra $31/month
  • Lost checked luggage. Electronic gear is not covered.
  • Cancelled or delayed flights. Missed flights are not covered.
  • Unexpected health issues or illness, dental emergencies, hospital stay, emergency evacuation, doctors, prescriptions, injuries due to some sports or adventure activities
  • 15 days of medical coverage in your home country in the US or 30 days of medical coverage in your home country other than the USA for every 90 days.

Beware ! : Pre-existing conditions, preventive care or cancer treatment are also not considered as “unexpected” and are not covered. High risk sports or activities are not all covered.

COVID-19 travel & medical insurance

World Nomads did not change their policy and still don’t cover COVID-19. On the contrary, SafetyWing did change their policy in order to include COVID-19 travel insurance. So as long as you’ve taken out your SafetyWing travel insurance after the 1st of August 2020, then you’re covered for COVID-19 just like any other illness.

If you’ve taken out your SafetyWing travel insurance after the 1st of August 2020, then you have to update it to be covered for COVID-19. You can directly do that on the SafetyWing website.

The COVID-19 coverage doesn’t include the antibody test but will cover other tests as long as they’re deemed medically necessary by a physician. This means only life threatening situations will allow you to be covered for a COVID-19 test.

SafetyWing VS World Nomads : which travel insurance should you choose ?

A lot of travelers that used to be covered by World Nomads are currently migrating towards SafetyWing. Why ? Because World Nomads used to be one of the most serious options a few years back, and now SafetyWing seems to offer an even better service for a lot cheaper.

When you read the reviews, you realize SafetyWing offers a high-quality service. Claims are generally handled quickly, even if there are obviously some isolated cases.

All in all, SafetyWing travel insurance meets a need for long-term travelers who don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend to be correctly insured.

So if you’re a digital nomad or a backpacker and you have a limited budget, then taking out SafetyWing travel insurance will allow you to travel more safely and take care of your health no matter where you go.

Safe travels with SafetyWing or World Nomads !

Yes, cameras, laptops and all electronics are expensive. But do you really want to spend $100 per month instead of $37 just to cover your gear ? Remember, our bodies are one of a kind and they should always be the priority. How many times have we seen sad stories on the news or GoFundMe campaigns for hospitalized travelers that can’t pay for their bill ? This is why travel and medical insurance is for ! And now that SafetyWing is on the market, you don’t have to spend huge amounts of money to travel safely.

Are you still unsure about what travel insurance to choose ? Get a quote from SafetyWing and from World Nomads and compare their offers.

If your aim is to find the cheapest travel insurance you can find and still enjoy great coverage, then SafetyWing is made for you. If you want to get your gear covered and you plan on doing a lot of high risk activities, then we’d recommend you take a look at World Nomads travel insurance.