If you’re the type of traveler that saves up your leave from work and goes on a 10-day vacation once a year, then regular, short term travel insurance will cover you just fine. However, if you’re like us and traveling forms a significant part of your lifestyle, or you’re planning an extended holiday soon, I strongly recommend getting long term travel insurance.
For those who are location independent, it’s easy to get left behind without proper access to public safety nets or regular insurance. This can create a large and worrisome burden for many permanent travelers.
Fortunately, like-minded nomads and entrepreneurs have set out to solve this very problem, by creating long term travel insurance. In this post, we’ll discuss and compare our two favorite long-holiday insurance providers, SafetyWing and World Nomads, ensuring that you’re confident enough to make the right decision. I hope this offers some guidance while you plan your trip.
What is long term travel insurance?
It’s fairly simple really: long term travel insurance is insurance for long term travel. It’s designed for location independent nomads, as well as those who plan on spending a significant period of time abroad, and those who travel almost constantly as part of their lifestyle.
I think these providers offer the best travel insurance for long trips and nomadic travelers.
What You Should Know Before Buying Travel Insurance
- Understand the different types of coverage (medical, evacuation, cancellation, flight, baggage, etc).
- Know what you want to be covered for, and find a policy that reflects it.
- Find the cover that is right for the type of trip you’re taking and the destinations you’ll be visiting.
- Be sure to read the entire policy before purchasing any travel insurance, it’s important that you understand the perks and limitations of your cover.
- Travel insurance should not be considered a substitute for comprehensive medical insurance. Generally speaking, the treatment of pre-existing conditions is not covered by travel insurance. Be sure to read and understand what medical treatment is covered and how that may affect you.
- If anything about a policy is unclear or confusing, be sure to contact the insurance provider to ask questions and establish a strong understanding of your cover.
Long trip travel insurance can cover all of the usual stuff: medical emergencies, cancellation, luggage loss. I think that medical emergency cover is the most important. Not only can emergency medical cover be debilitatingly expensive, but without it, your health and life could be at stake.
Whilst I know how much you treasure your MacBook, and how having it lost or stolen would affect your online business activities, keeping yourself alive and your health intact should be your primary concern.
How Long Term Travel Insurance Works
Long term travel insurance works fairly similarly to short term travel insurance. The main difference, aside from the length of coverage, is that you can usually purchase long stay insurance from outside your own country, once your trip has already begun. It’s also generally possible to renew or extend while you’re abroad, which allows for more freedom and flexibility.
Generally, you can purchase long stay travel insurance for a specific set of dates, but some providers, such as SafetyWing, offer subscription models as well. The price can vary greatly depending on the type and extent of cover you want during your travels. Long term travel insurance generally offers similar coverage to regular travel insurance.
Travel Insurance Comparison
We’ve tried and tested several long term travel insurance providers over our several years as digital nomads. For us, SafetyWing and World Nomads have proven to be the best providers for our lifestyle, and we feel they offer the best travel insurance for digital nomads.
I’m going to break it down into a comparison, in order to help you choose the best long stay travel insurance for you!
Started by three Norwegian digital nomads, SafetyWing offers an affordable long term travel medical insurance that’s flexible and easy to set up. It’s designed specifically to offer a safety net for digital nomads and other remote workers.
It works on a subscription model, that continues to renew every 28 days until you decide to cancel it. So whether you’re looking for 6-month travel insurance, 3-month travel insurance, year-long travel insurance, or anything in between, SafetyWing is a great option.
There’s also an option to cover a one-off trip over a specific set of dates, so if you’re traveling for a specified amount of time, SafetyWing travel medical insurance has still got you covered.
SafetyWing is often considered the best travel insurance for long term travelers.
World Nomads provides long term travel insurance that offers high-value coverage for a higher price tag that SafetyWing. World Nomads offers 24-hour assistance 365 days a year to all of their long-term travel insurance clients.
Travel Insurance Coverage
SafetyWing and World Nomads offer fairly similar cover. The higher price of World Nomads, however, allows for coverage of lost/stolen tech items (laptop, phone, computer), and trip cancellation.
The medical coverage is similar, but varies for World Nomads, depending on your home country. There is a higher medical payout limit for SafetyWing if you’re an American citizen, but World Nomads offers a much higher limit if you’re from the UK or Australia.
If you fall ill or injure yourself while traveling, these providers will “fix” you up and if needed send you back home. Check all the coverage details below.
Note: You must be over 18 years old to purchase SafetyWing cover.
What does SafetyWing cover?
- Unexpected illness or injury (up to $250 000)
- Hospital, intensive care, ambulance, and urgent care
- Physical therapy and chiropractic care ordered by a physician (up to $50 per day)
- Emergency dental (up to $1 000)
- All other eligible medical expenses
- Injuries occurring during many different sporting and adventure activities (full list here)
- Trip interruption (up to $5 000)
- Travel delay (up to $100 a day after 12-hour delay requiring an overnight stay – 2-day maximum)
- Lost checked luggage (up to $3 000 per certificate period) (electronics not included)
- Natural disaster (5 days, up to $100 per day)
- Political evacuation (up to $10 000)
- Emergency medical evacuation (up to $100 000)
- Personal Liability
- Funeral expenses overseas or repatriation of remains
For every 90 days, SafetyWing will cover a visit to your home country of up to 30 days (15 days for the US). This is really helpful for nomads who only return home periodically and don’t want to invest in medical insurance in their home country.
SafetyWing also covers one child between the ages of 14 days and 10 years for FREE per adult on the policy, with a maximum of two kids per family (without additional cost). This is a real bonus, as other insurers often charge full price to insure a child.
What does World Nomads cover? (Standard Plan)
World Nomads cover varies depending on your home country, so be sure to visit their website to check what you’re covered for.
For example, residents of the UK and Australia are covered for medical expenses up to $5 000 000. The following is true for US residents.
For a more detailed breakdown of the coverage, click here.
- Medical emergency expenses while abroad (up to $100 000)
- Emergency medical transport (up to $300 000)
- Emergency dental treatment
- Emergency medical repatriation
- All other eligible medical expenses
- A range of sports and adventure activities (full list here)
- Certain work activities
- Compassionate emergency visit home
- Resumption of trip
- Trip cancellation costs (up to $3 500)
- Trip interruption costs
- Theft or accidental damage to baggage or personal items (up to $1000)
- Baggage delay longer than 12 hours
- Funeral expenses overseas or repatriation of remains
- Personal liability
What doesn’t SafetyWing cover?
- Routine checkups or preventative care
- Travel cancellation
- Treatment of pre-existing medical conditions
- Cancer treatment
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Substance abuse, addiction, self-inflicted injury
- Injuries resulting from intoxication
- Injury resulting from professional or organized sporting activities
- Injury resulting from certain high-risk sporting activities
- Loss or theft of electronics (laptops, phones, cameras, etc)
SafetyWing has an age limit of 69 years old.
What doesn’t World Nomads cover?
- Certain extreme sports
- Anything illegal (including drugs)
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Non-emergency treatment that can be left for when you return home
- If you’ve taken drugs or ingested alcohol
- Ongoing treatment at home
Long Term Travel Insurance Policy
Whilst World Nomads offers a bit more customizability, it is more complicated and less flexible than SafetyWing.
SafetyWing only offers one policy, with a maximum cover of $250 000 in payout per coverage period (four weeks). SafetyWing covers individuals from every home country in the world except Iran, North Korea, and Cuba.
You can also travel anywhere in the world outside of your home country with the exception of Iran, North Korea, and Cuba. Cover in the USA (for non-US citizens) comes at an additional fee, about $30 from travelers between 18 to 39 year olds.
World Nomads Policy
World Nomads offers two main policies: the Standard Plan and the Explorer Plan (the latter being the more advanced and comprehensive – and expensive).
Though World Nomads offers cover in most countries, you have to specify which countries you’ll be traveling to before purchasing the insurance. This can limit your freedom while you’re on the road, and put a dampener on spontaneity.
World Nomads also only covers individuals from 140 countries, so be sure to check their website to see whether or not you’re eligible.
Travel Insurance Price
While World Nomads offers a reasonable price for the cover they provide, SafetyWing cover is far more affordable. They also offer incredible cover and unparalleled value for money.
World Nomads may be more cost-effective for travelers over 60 years old, depending on which country you’re from, so get a quote from both providers.
SafetyWing works off a monthly subscription cost that varies depending on your age. It’s extremely affordable when compared to other long stay travel insurance providers.
If you’re between the ages of 18 and 39, each four-week period will cost $37. The price is higher for older travelers.
Price breakdown for each age group (each four-week period):
- 18 – 39 years old: $37
- 40 – 49 years old: $60
- 50 – 59 years old: $94
- 60 – 69 years old: $128
World Nomads Price
As with SafetyWing, the price of World Nomads cover is dependent on your age (though it doesn’t vary as greatly). For a 20-year-old American traveler, four weeks worth of cover will cost around $110 for the Standard plan or $200 for the Explorer Plan.
These prices are dependent on your home country and the countries you’ll be traveling to, so be sure to check out their website for more specific information.
Travel Insurance Claims Procedure
While both providers have a fairly straightforward claims procedure, the World Nomads procedure is a bit more streamlined.
The procedure for making a claim with SafetyWing is pretty simple. Just shoot an email (or regular mail) with the original itemized bill and payment receipts for your treatment, alongside a completed Claimant’s Statement form.
World Nomads Claims
Submitting a claim to World Nomads is even easier. All you have to do is sign into your account and attach your supporting documents. The exception to this is if you’re a Brazillian traveler, in which case the process involves filling out forms as well.
Travel Insurance Renew Procedures
SafetyWing offers far greater flexibility when it comes to renewing your policy.
SafetyWing renew procedure
Unlike regular short term travel insurance, with SafetyWing you can extend or buy more cover once you’re already on the road. This is ideal for travelers who head out abroad without a concrete plan or a date set for returning home.
SafetyWing grants long term travelers a kind of freedom with security. It allows you to know that you’ll be covered no matter how long you’re away from home. The name really symbolizes what this provider offers: security with freedom, safety with wings.
World Nomads Renew Procedure
World Nomads doesn’t allow you to adjust your policy once you’ve purchased it, so you either have to wait until it’s finished, or purchase additional insurance.
Long Stay Travel Insurance With Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
You may be looking to purchase long stay travel insurance, but you have a pre-existing medical condition and want to know how this will affect your insurance. The good news is that both SafetyWing and World Nomads will accept you as a client if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
- Unfortunately, however, World Nomads won’t cover you for treatment related to your pre-existing conditions or ongoing medical care.
- SafetyWing, on the other hand, offers limited coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions (providing it occurs after the effective start date of cover), but not for chronic or congenital conditions.
It’s important to remember these companies provide travel insurance designed for travel emergencies, they are not a proper medical insurance. Although, SafetyWing is planning to expand their product to a more comprehensive coverage, what is good news for all travelers.
Final Thoughts on Long Stay Travel Insurance
On the whole, I’d give preference to SafetyWing as the best travel insurance for long trips and long term travelers.
The flexibility SafetyWing offers is a real game-changer when travel plans are uncertain, and it’s just so much more affordable. You have the ability to stop your subscription if you’re placing your travels on hold, you’re covered in your home country, and your child is even covered free of charge.
If you’re a young nomad or traveler looking for a basic, comprehensive, and affordable travel insurance, that offers you freedom and flexibility, then SafetyWing is your best option.
World Nomads may be a better option for you if you’re from a country where they offer more extensive coverage (e.g. UK or Australia). It is still far more expensive, though, so consider how much cover you’ll actually need. WorldNomads may also be a better option if you’re over 60 years old.
Whichever insurance provider you choose, having travel insurance is always a good idea. It offers you security and peace of mind, so you can make the most of your travels without having to worry.
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