Safetywing: Is It a World Nomads Alternative?

safetywing world nomads alternative

Ask any travel blogger from the mid 2000s and they'll tell you all about the advantages of World Nomads – I even wrote a blog post about them myself and how I had been injured abroad. But, like any company that has the monopoly over an industry, World Nomads had a lot of disadvantages that they just didn't care enough to fix - and why would they when there were no real alternatives to them. Then, like an angel descending from heaven, SafetyWing appeared offering similar services and more, so I knew I had to check them out and find out if SafetyWing really is the new and improved World Nomads alternative. So, here is my SafetyWing review and my comparison of them to World Nomads. SafetyWing Vs World Nomads - let's gooooo!

Why Do We Need Travel Medical Insurance?

First things first: why do we even need travel medical insurance? As someone who comes from the UK (where healthcare is free) it always feels strange to me to pay for 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?

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, and this is kind of what happened to them. But is SafetyWing up to competing against 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: $45.08 /4 weeks (aka $11.27 per week). With World Nomads their prices are from $60/4 weeks but it all depends on where you're from and where you're going. $60/4 weeks doesn't seem that much more compared to $45.08/4 weeks, however, and this is a big however, if you leave Europe (to say, Thailand, or even Turkey) the price skyrockets to $149.42! 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?

safetywing vs world nomads

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.

What else do they cover?

  • the max medical limit covered by SafetyWing is $250,000 this is lower than World Nomads which covers up to $6,000,000;
  • taking your body back home if you die (eek): SafetyWing should pay up to $20,000 to get your body back home, or $10,000 to bury it locally. World Nomads should $30,000 to bring you home or $6,000 to bury you locally - personally, I feel like if I'm dead I'm dead, I don't care about this. But of course some people do. Let's move on;
  • Emergency dental: SafetyWing should pay up to $1000 for dental pain if you seek treatment within 24 hours of it starting, WorldNomads should pay up to $380 if you're on a Standard Plan and $630 if you're on an Explorer.

SafetyWing vs World Nomads: Do They Actually Pay Out Though?

It's all very well picking the cheaper insurance that covers basically the same thing, but what's the point if they don't pay out? That's the whole point of insurance right? (Personally, I kind of think of travel insurance like a good luck charm - if I get it, I won't get injured, hehe, of course this doesn't actually work but still) I hope that you get insurance and that you never need it. But what if you do? If you go on Reddit, you can find a lot of people talking about both SafetyWing and World Nomads and saying that neither of them pay out - it even goes so far as one guy saying that no insurance companies pay out any more, and you shouldn't bother with insurance. I can't speak to these Reddit guys or their trustworthiness (cause we all know Reddit guys and trust go hand in hand...) All I can speak to is my own experience: I've had to make claims with both SafetyWing and World Nomads. Put simply: both paid out. But I must say it was a lot easier with SafetyWing - there were fewer hoops to get through - all you have to do with them is get past their third-party operating system to an actual SafetyWing representative and boom, you should be paid no problem.

is safetywing a good world nomads alternative

I also have a 'friend' who actually to be honest is less of a friend and more someone I used to know who I now see on Facebook: she takes full advantage of being a Westerner buying property in Bali, but when Covid hit she ran straight back to her daddy's house in Ireland. (Now I'm not judging her for running away like a scardey cat, I'm judging her for buying property in Bali at the expense of the Balinese.) Anyway, the point is, SafetyWing fully refunded her for her flight back - and they did it quickly too.

This is probably a good time to mention though, that it's absolutely worth having some emergency savings that you don't touch, in case you get injured abroad - I think you should be paid by SafetyWing or World Nomads - provided you've met their conditions - but you will have to wait a while. I've met a lot of romantic people on my travels who travel with literally no money. It's romantic until you're waiting for your provider to pay out thousands of dollars.  Get a safety net. And I know that sounds like privileged hoo ha, but I'm sorry if you don't have a safety net, it's simply not safe to travel.

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.
  • SafetyWing wants you to pay in dollars (which was annoying the first time I paid because I paid with my normal card so it did that thing where it charges two random fees for a foreign transaction). This is easily solved by paying with a Revolut or Wise or other card where you have dollars on it. With World Nomads you can pay in pounds. Of course, even if I was paying the fee with my normal card, SafetyWing would still be cheaper than World Nomads.

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 are both 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 - also, if you might be interested in life insurance for travellers.

Have a safe trip! :)

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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.


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