Safetywing: Is It a World Nomads Alternative?

safetywing world nomads alternative

Ask any travel blogger ever and they'll tell you all about the advantages of World Nomads – I myself even wrote a blog post about them and being injured abroad (including my own experiences in Australia, in Slovenia, in Italy, etc.). But, when new-kid on the block SafetyWing rocked up offering similar advantages and more I knew I had to check them out and find out if SafetyWing is the new World Nomads alternative. So, here is my SafetyWing review and comparison to World Nomads.

1. Why Do We Need Travel Medical Insurance?

First things first: why do we even need travel medical insurance? As someone who hails from the UK (where our healthcare is free for everyone, always) it always pains me to fork out on healthcare, and it's not just any healthcare: it's future healthcare that I may or may not ever need. I don't know what's worse: paying for something I don't ever use or actually needing to use it (which, of course, means I've been injured). Okay the latter is worst, but paying-for-something-I-don't-ever-use being the best case scenario is not even bad if you consider the third option: not getting travel medical insurance and having to live with the consequences – depending on what kind of injury you get and where you are, medical care abroad can cost anywhere in the ballpark of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.

Put simply, you have to get travel medical insurance – if you can't afford it, perhaps you shouldn't travel (unless you're okay with the possible risks). While many travel medical insurances aren't suitable for digital nomads, both SafetyWing and World Nomads offer something that most other insurances don't: you can get your insurance once you're already abroad and you can extend your trip with them as long as you like. But which one is better?

2. Is SafetyWing a Good World Nomads Alternative?

Do we need an alternative to World Nomads?

As much as I like the ideals behind perfection, when it comes to consumerism choice is key – everyone's different and different people need different things. Furthermore, the idea of there being just one good insurance out there just doesn't sit right... what if they up the prices or down the services? World Nomads has reigned for a long time, is SafetyWing up to competing with them?

safetywing review

SafetyWing is both travel insurance and medical insurance, meaning that you're not only covered for travel emergencies (like flight cancellations) but medical emergencies too (and not just visiting hospitals, it also covers getting to the hospital, too). Founded in 2017 by nomads for nomads, SafetyWing, in  my experience, is flexible, affordable and always available: they offer 24/7 support (which is very helpful if you need help finding a doctor abroad). 

Safety Wing vs World Nomads: Price

First things first, what are their prices like? We all know we'd rather spend our cash on anything other than insurance (regardless of how important it is), so of course, people are going to swing towards the cheaper one: what I like about SafetyWing is how simple their prices are: $37/4 weeks. With World Nomads their prices are from $43/4 weeks but it all depends on where you're from and where you're going. $43/4 weeks doesn't seem that much compared to $37/4 weeks, however, and this is a big however, if you leave Europe (to say, Thailand) the price skyrockets to nearly $100! This is a giant leap. 

As for the price being dependent on where you're from for World Nomads, this always worked well for me (being from the UK gives you cheaper insurance from World Nomads than say Germany or the USA), but unlike many Brits, I try to think about people other than myself. Why should the price of my insurance be cheaper because of where I was born? Okay sure, it's always going to be cheaper for Brits than Americans because their whole healthcare payment system is messed up, but why is the price for me lower than the price for a German citizen? 

Another thing I don't like about World Nomads is that you have to pay extra for their explorer package. Firstly, it adds extra time onto an already boring task (researching insurances) and it's not very flexible (I don't know if I need certain features or services right now... however, I might in the future). Also, not buying the more expensive one makes me feel guilty towards myself. Long story short: SafetyWing is cheaper and their prices are simpler than World Nomads. 

SafetyWing vs World Nomads: What they cover

safetying travel medical insurance

But what's the use of cheaper travel medical insurance if it doesn't actually cover everything you need? When it comes to everything you need it depends on the person in question, let's compare: 
World Nomads has worldwide coverage, compared to SafetyWing which excludes North Korea, Cuba and Iran (if you're not planning to go to these countries this makes no difference to you). World Nomads covers you for travel delays, including missed flights, whereas SafetyWing does not. However, I always book my flights through flight comparison site Kiwi and their guarantee covers delayed flights (and, put frankly, it's a lot easier to go through them than it is to claim back from World Nomads). SafetyWing has limited coverage for sports and adventure activities (e.g. boxing isn't covered). But again, if that isn't your thing that won't matter to you. 

SafetyWing vs World Nomads: Other advantages

SafetyWing has a bunch of other advantages compared to World Nomads, including, but not limited to the following. They offer an automatically renewing monthly subscription which means that you can be flexible about how long you're travelling for, you don't risk forgetting to renew and, of course, that you don't have to pay out a big lump sum all in one go. Planning on going away for a year and run out of money half-way? Don't worry, you haven't paid for a year's travel medical insurance in advance (which I always used to do with World Nomads because their yearly prices are cheaper, though still not as cheap as SafetyWing's).

Because it's a single price for worldwide travels (not including the USA), it means you don't have to know where you're travelling in advance. Travelling around Europe when your new friends invite you to Morocco? Don't worry, you don't need more travel medical insurance. This is a gigantic advantage that World Nomads doesn't offer (they charge more for certain destinations). SafetyWing offers coverage in your home country for 30 days out of every 90 days (or 15 days if you're from the USA), this is unique to SafetyWing. Home-sick on your year out? Unexpected event back at home (birth, death, etc.)? You can travel home without worrying about being insured.

3. Verdict: Is SafetyWing a World Nomads Alternative?

All in all, both SafetyWing and World Nomads do what you want from a travel medical insurance: they have travel medical and accident coverage, emergency evacuation, 24-hour assistance and more. Additionally, they both are designed for nomads: you can extend your trip whilst you're abroad or even buy your insurance once you're already abroad. When it comes to differences in what they cover, there really isn't that much ultimately (unless of course, you're going to North Korea to do a boxing match) and you can focus on what all nomads like to focus on most: price – where SafetyWing are the clear winners. 

In conclusion, I like both SafetyWing and World Nomads (hence why you're reading about them here) and I encourage you to choose either of them. Personally, I choose SafetyWing because it's the clear winner for nomads, it's cheaper and has more advantages. But as long as you make sure you have travel medical insurance I am happy with you :) Let me know if you have any questions about either travel or medical insurance in general.  

Have a safe trip! :)

Share this:


We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


    Disqus Comment
    Facebook Comment
comments powered by Disqus