(This article begins a deeper dive into digital nomad travel insurance. I’ll be sharing thoughts during my month’s travels through Nepal, while covered by upstart Safety Wing insurance for the trip’s duration (and beyond?) Stay tuned for further updates from beautiful Nepal!)
Travel insurance is often an expensive afterthought for many travellers. Contrary to other useful travel aids and necessities, insurance is invisible, not fun, and not cool! What’s the joy in paying for something invisible, that isn’t exciting, even if it’s actually needed? Helicopter rescue aside.
For most of my trips since my annual (and endless) travel life commenced in 2014, I was covered by World Nomads. They helped me with emergency dental treatment when a tooth broke on a Cape Town biscuit back in 2015. World Nomads disappointed me during the Sri Lanka bombings in 2019. There was a complete lack of emergency coordination during the country’s federal communications embargo. Our policies were expiring that very week, but they wouldn’t allow a third party to extend them on our behalf – even though we couldn’t contact anybody. I had one or two flight cancellation disasters, but managed to solve them on my own.
I’m not partial to World Nomads in any way, other than I’ve used them, and they came through once when badly needed. Their interface and search are intuitive, and they’re a respected brand. Yet, there aren’t many alternatives in the field of digital nomad travel insurance.
In recent years, SafetyWing have entered the fold. I’ve been tracking them since their inception, and they invited me on several occasions to participate as an Ambassador. However, I’m loathe to endorse anything that I haven’t used myself, and wanted to try them out.
World Nomads Nomadic Travel Insurance Prices Have Skyrocketed
I’m presently on my first global trip since early 2020, when I departed Poland before two years of lockdown in Goa. For the first calendar year, I simply extended the original coverage at a reasonable rate, up to 365 days. The convenience was that I could extend the validity a few months at a time, at whatever rates I could comfortably afford.
Researching digital nomad travel insurance this time around, World Nomads prices had skyrocketed. Quotes for simply Nepal and India were 2-3x the previous amount I paid over past years. 3 months of World Nomads coverage for merely Nepal and India, became over $1000. Last year, it was in the hundreds of dollars. World Nomads customer service responded about “general price fluctuations”, but stated that no such extreme price changes were observed on their end.
Time to try Safety Wing?
Safety Wing Digital Nomad Travel Insurance
Safety Wing offers a handy instance travel subscription model, that has finally become competitive against World Nomads in the long run.
World Nomads replied to my concerns, stating that they hadn’t noticed major reasons for fees dramatically increasing, but this new price is 50% higher than when I originally wrote.
Consequently, 3 months of Safety Wing Nomads Insurance is under $200 (for 40+), and around $120 if you’re under 40 years old. Where the prices used to favour World Nomads over a 12-month period, there is now no comparison – comparably, the quote is over $2000 on World Nomads. Furthermore, Safety Wing includes all countries (except the USA), while my World Nomads comparison quote was simply for Nepal and India.
One Safety Wing downside: 28-day billing
After the first month of my Safety Wing subscription, I was surprised to be billed “early” for the next month. In fact, as the fee calculation is upon every 28 days, it’s less than a month. This means there are 13 payments in one calendar year, so explore your own price research accordingly. In my instance, it’s still miles cheaper than World Nomads.
One Month of Safety Wing: Initial Thoughts
Up to the hours before flying back to Goa, I experienced no detrimental accidents or mishaps. The low point was trying to break up a brutal group fight on the full moon / Buddha’s birthday. But both sides of the fight respectfully avoided me, acknowledging my efforts to calm things down. The other consideration is that medical treatment in India and/or Nepal is very inexpensive. I will consider this a little further when I return to India: Will I extend the coverage, or wait to renew until my next global travels?
So far, so good for Safety Wing.