Travel insurance is a crucial consideration for any globe-trotter. It cushions you from financial shocks that could arise from unexpected incidents during your trip — whether it’s a medical emergency or theft of a laptop.
In this guide, we look at SafetyWing vs World Nomads — two major players in the global travel insurance industry mainly catering to backpackers, digital nomads, and long-term travelers. However, occasional travelers on short-term vacations can also benefit from their comprehensive travel insurance plans.
I’m not just comparing SafetyWing and World Nomads for the sake of a blog post and some search engine traffic; I’m a current customer of SafetyWing and previously with World Nomads. Plus, I’m a former backpacker (Asia, Europe, Central and South America), but now I just work remotely while traveling, so I’m more of a slowmad. I’m hoping to get my game back and backpack through Africa.
A few things to note: SafetyWing has three main plans: Nomad Insurance, Nomad Health, and Remote Health. For the simplicity of this comparison, I will compare SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance vs World Nomad’s Standard and Explorer Plans. This is to make this comparison simple and relevant to most travelers.
If you want to know the difference between all of SafetyWing’s coverage options, read my comprehensive SafetyWing review, which also shows proof of my coverage.
If you don’t want to read the entire SafetyWing vs World Nomads comparison, then the best tip and cost-effective option depend on the countries you visit and how long you travel. Otherwise, the plans are pretty similar and competitive.
World Nomads can cost more if you visit certain regions, for example, some Asian countries. Also, World Nomads costs more for shorter trips. You save on premiums with World Nomads when you travel for extended months.
On the other hand, SafetyWing Nomad Insurance has a set price depending on your age. The countries you visit and the trip length doesn’t matter.
One caveat: there are a few countries that neither SafetyWing nor World Nomads provides travel insurance coverage: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. This is due to sanctions and may change. Of course, other countries at war will not be covered.
Highlights: SafteyWing vs World Nomads
- SafetyWing has a higher Trustpilot score of 4.2 compared to World Nomads 3.4.
- World Nomads has better trip cancellation and interruption insurance (in my opinion).
- World Nomads already covers several extreme sports in their Standard and Explorer Plans, whereas you have to buy the adventure sports add-on with SafetyWing Nomad Insurance for about $10 more a month. Most travelers won’t require the adventure sports add-on unless you’re scuba diving, skydiving (anything in the sky), and more.
- Adding to the above, theft of electronics is already included in both World Nomads’ plans. With SafetyWing, you have to buy the electronics-theft add-on for another $10 extra a month.
- Both SafetyWing and World Nomads allow you to buy travel insurance while already abroad.
- Both SafetyWing and World Nomads cover COVID-19.
- Expect to pay a higher premium for both if you’re traveling in the United States.
- SafetyWing has a faster claims processing turnaround: roughly 7 to 10 business after they revamped Nomad Insurance 2.0. World Nomads can often take one or two months for a claim to get processed, depending on your home country and who the underwriter is.
SafetyWing vs World Nomads Fast Chart Comparison
|SafetyWing Nomad Insurance
|World Nomads Standard Plan
|World Nomads Explorer Plan
|From $45/4 weeks
|$250,000, $100,00 for ages 65 -69
|100% covered up to $750
|100% covered up to $750
|100% covered with add-on up to $500
|100% covered with add-on up to $500
|One child older than 14 days, but less than 10 years old, per adult, is included for free
|None, only with family coverage
|None, only with family coverage
SafetyWing, a travel and medical incident insurance provider, was founded by three Norwegians to cater specifically to the needs of digital nomads — individuals who work remotely while traveling globally.
Recognizing the unique challenges faced by this group, SafetyWing constructed its policies to offer flexibility and comprehensive coverage.
For example, their insurance can be purchased even when the policyholder is already abroad and covers home trip visits.
Over time, SafetyWing has evolved its offerings, keeping pace with the changing dynamics of the nomadic lifestyle.
In 2023, the company launched Nomad Health, a more comprehensive travel insurance plan for digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers, including preventative care like dental cleanings. This new initiative offered a better health coverage option, reflecting SafetyWing’s commitment to providing tailored solutions for its clientele.
The company remains popular for many digital nomads, offering a unique blend of flexibility and coverage that caters to their needs.
While the coverage is marketed towards remote workers, any traveler can get SafetyWing Nomad Insurance coverage.
World Nomads History
World Nomads was founded in 2000 by adventure travel blogger Simon Monk. His experiences as a global traveler inspired the creation of World Nomads, an international travel insurance and safety service provider.
The company’s mission centers on providing comprehensive coverage for independent travelers and their families. Its services are designed to meet the unique needs of long-term nomadic travelers, including coverage for overseas medical emergencies and over 200 adventure activities.
Over the years, World Nomads has built a reputation for inspiring, enabling, and protecting independent travelers. They offer simple and flexible travel insurance and safety advice, which have been trusted by many since their inception.
World Nomads has positioned itself as a significant player in the travel insurance industry, catering specifically to the needs of independent and adventurous travelers.
SafetyWing Nomad Insurance Pros and Cons
- One child over 14 days old and younger than 10 years old is covered for free per adult. A maximum of two free children are covered per group or family.
- For every 90 days abroad, you’re covered for 30 days (15 days in the US) in your home country for medical emergencies.
- Ability to obtain coverage while already abroad.
- Premiums generally cost less than competitors due to adventure sports and electronics theft being premium add-ons.
- Perks and discounts for co-living and working abroad.
- Premium is charged every four weeks, which can be annoying to some travelers, with the billing date being different every month.
- No option to increase the coverage amounts for the electronics-theft add-on.
- You are not eligible for coverage if you’re 70 years old.
- Coverage not available for North Korea, Cuba, Syria, and Iran
World Nomads Pros and Cons
- Includes comprehensive trip cancelation, delay, and interruption insurance.
- Includes coverage for theft of gear and most adventure sports.
- You can buy coverage while already abroad or extend it.
- Competitive pricing.
- 24/7 emergency medical assistance.
- You have to pay the full premium upfront.
- Premium gets cheaper as you travel longer. It may be expensive if you only travel for one or two months.
- You have to be covered by your home country’s government health insurance plan to be eligible for maximum emergency medical benefits.
- Claims can take one or two months to be processed.
My Personal Experience with SafetyWing and World Nomads
I’ve had two or three different policies of several months to a year with World Nomads, including coverage in Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America.
Unfortunately, I did have to make two health-related claims throughout my policies with World Nomads — coincidentally, both in Medellin, Colombia, about six years apart. World Nomads, through the Canadian underwriter of AIG (Travel Guard), paid out both claims in full. The only downside was how long the claims took to process, about one to two months. The amounts paid out were both under $500, so not financially dreadful.
However, if World Nomads takes a month or more to pay out a claim in the thousands of dollars, this will be a financial burden to most travelers — especially their target market: backpackers.
Underwriters in different countries for World Nomads may pay out the claims faster or slower.
On the other hand, I have only been with SafetyWing for a few months, mainly because World Nomads is annoying to extend with after the one-year mark and requires proof of government-issued health insurance in your home country for claims, which I do have, but I am a little hesitant. That’s why I went with SafetyWing, they’re a bit more transparent.
I haven’t had to make any claims with SafetyWing, but their pricing and vision towards working remotely and traveling are appealing.
Honestly, both SafetyWing and World Nomads are great travel medical insurance providers. It will really come down to the premiums for most travelers via the planned countries to be visited.
If you can’t pay an entire travel insurance premium upfront or don’t know when your trip will end, then go with SafetyWing. If you’re traveling in countries where travel insurance premiums are usually cheaper, Europe or South America, then go with World Nomads if you’re traveling for at least six months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is SafetyWing or World Nomads cheaper?
SafetyWing will be cheaper for most travelers with the Nomad Insurance plan starting at $45 every four weeks for ages 18 to 39.
World Nomads can be a bit tricky to price out depending on how long you travel and the countries you visit. If you travel for one or two months only, then the World Nomads Standard Plan will cost about $100/month for young travelers. However, if you plan to travel for 6 to 12 months, it is possible World Nomads may be cheaper than SafetyWing.
Does SafetyWing or World Nomads cover pregnancy?
The short answer is no.
SafetyWing Nomad Insurance covers complications and illnesses arising from pregnancy for the first 26 weeks. Whereas, World Nomads covers the first 31 weeks. Coverage depends on each individual’s policy and if you’re medically allowed to travel as determined by a licensed physician.
If you’re looking for coverage during your pregnancy with pre and post-natal care, then opt for the SafetyWing Nomad Health Premium Plan, which includes maternity benefits up to $7,500 with a 20% co-insurance. There’s a 10-month waiting period for this maternity coverage.
What is the best travel insurance for digital nomads?
SafetyWing Nomad Insurance and Nomad Health are currently the best insurance plans for digital nomads. They offer coverage for medical emergencies, trip interruptions, pregnancy, and coverage in your home country.
In addition, with Nomad Insurance, you can purchase the electronics-theft add-on for $10 more a month. This ensures that you will get some money back in case you get robbed of your livelihood.
What is the best travel insurance for backpackers?
SafetyWing is affordable with its subscription-based service, which can be an excellent fit for backpackers. It allows travelers to extend or cancel their coverage anytime, making it flexible for those with uncertain plans.
SafetyWing also covers various medical expenses, including unexpected illness or injury, and provides travel benefits such as trip interruption and lost checked luggage.
World Nomads, another popular choice, is best for trips from six months to one year. This company is known for offering extensive coverage, including emergency medical and dental expenses, trip cancellation, theft or damage to personal belongings, and even adventure activities that other insurance providers might not cover.