Since we’ve started traveling full time nearly three years ago we get a lot of questions. Like what do we do for travel and health insurance? Is it expensive?
We understand this is a big concern for many people as they travel abroad, especially if they’re planning an extended trip that lasts longer than one week. It can be quite overwhelming to think about. In fact we realized we didn’t really even understand the difference between travel insurance and travel medical insurance!
So let’s talk about what we do for travel medical insurance while we travel. In doing so we will also look at Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing and compare it with the travel benefits from your credit card.
Primary Medical Insurance in your Home Country
Let’s start with primary medical coverage. Depending on where you live you may have coverage just in your home country. As we are both American citizens that is the case for us. Joel has coverage through the Veterans Administration since he was in the military. Michelle on the other hand has a health insurance policy in the state of Tennessee which is where we keep our residency.
For our stateside travels within the U.S. and its territories Joel is covered 100%, whereas Michelle is only covered in Tennessee. Yeah so that means we are on our own if we have an emergency or urgent care visit like we did in 2021.
As for our travels outside the the United States neither one of us is covered by our United States health plans at all. You can see how this could be an issue if a health problem arises while on a trip like our current trip out of the United States.
Why do you need Travel Medical Insurance?
Unfortunately since the pandemic started there are even more restrictions on entering countries and some countries even have mandatory medical insurance requirements to cover covid related costs.
As much as we wish this pandemic was over, it still is a fluid issue and yet just one of the reasons you would need travel medical insurance in 2022 and beyond.
To help understand why you need travel medical insurance let’s look at the main categories that can affect you as you travel away from your home county.
Travel Medical Benefits
Think of this as emergency health insurance for any injury or illness you might be afflicted with while traveling away from your home county. Including coverage for: Doctors, Hospitals, Emergency medical evacuation. Generally these do not cover any pre existing conditions you might have, but they often cover an acute onset of a preexisting condition while away from your home country.
Travel Accident Coverage
Travel accident coverage pays you or your beneficiary for a loss of life, limb, eye(s), hearing, etc. while on a trip. This is not medical insurance and does not cover injury or illness. It pays for a loss only.
Travel insurance is the general category that covers your trips delay, trip interruption, lost visa’s and lost luggage. This is also where you will find travel accident coverage included.
Can You Just Use Your Credit Card’s Travel Benefits?
Most of you probably have some kind of travel credit card which offers travel insurance coverage. We are big fans of travel credit cards. Just make sure to book all of your travel on your credit card so your trip will be covered by the card’s insurance. The Chase Cards have been our main cards over the years and our primary travel card now is our Chase Sapphire Preferred.
As great as our travel card may be, what does it actually offer? Does your travel credit card provide enough coverage? How does it compare with the coverage you can get from a Travel Medical insurance policy like Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing? Let us take a look.
What are Your Credit Card Travel Protection Benefits?
As we started planning our 6 month trip out of our home county we first thought we would be covered using the travel protection benefits offered through our credit card. Well, we quickly realized that was not going to be enough.
The problem with just using your credit cards travel protection benefits is there is no coverage for injuries or illness while you are away from your home. No emergency medical coverage!
To illustrate this lets compare our Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s Travel & Purchase Protection Benefits policy with a medical travel insurance policy, Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing. SafetyWing provides actual emergency medical coverage while out of your home county. Whereas your travel credit card does not.
SafetyWing is one of several companies that offer medical policies for travelers whether you are a remote worker, nomad, or just on a sweet vacation. One thing that is really great about SafteyWing is you can purchase Nomad Insurance even after you’ve left on your trip!
Comparing Travel Credit Card Benefits and Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing
Let’s take a look at this chart comparing the main policy benefits of our travel credit card and Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing:
|Benifit/Coverage||Chase Sapphire Benefits||Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing|
|Emergency Quarantine – Covid-19||Not Clear, See Trip Cancellation/Interruptions||$50/day up to 10 days. (Min 28 days coverage)|
|Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver||YES, Rentals up to 31 consecutive days||NO|
|$500 Max after 12 hour delay w/ overnight stay||$100/day after 12-hour delay w/ overnight stay (max 2 days)|
(due to accident/loss)
|$10,000 per person/$20,000 per trip. |
Up to $250 transportation reimbursement
(60 days max trip length)
|$5,000 (no Deductible)|
|Trip Cancellation |
(due to loss prior to trip)
|$10,000 per person/$20,000 per trip. |
Not covered: country closing borders, travel supplier canceling/changing travel arrangements due to epidemic or pandemic & more (60 day max trip length)
|Baggage Delay||Yes, $100/day up to 5 days if delayed more than 6 hours.|
Reimbursement for essential items only.
|NO, unless lost for more than 10 days see Lost Checked Luggage|
|Lost Luggage||$3,000 per trip; $500 jewelry, watches, electronics||$3,000 per period; $500 per item. Checked items only$6,000 lifetime|
|Lost Stolen Passport/Travel Visa||Not directly, Possibly via Lost Luggage||Yes, $100|
|Travel Accident Insurance|
(pays for a loss, not illness or injury)
30 day max consecutive days
|$25,000/ $250,000 max family/group|
(medical coverage for illness or injury)
(14-65 years of age)
100% eligible expenses after deductible up to maximum limit
|Emergency Medical Evacuation||NO||$100,000|
|Emergency reunion||NO||$50,000 up to 15 days|
|Personal Liability||NO||$25,000 lifetime max|
|Crisis Response/Kidnapping||NO||$10,000 max lifetime (no deductible)|
|Political Evacuation||NO||$10,000 max lifetime (no deductible)|
|Maximum Coverage Length||Between 30 – 60 days||364 days|
Travel Insurance with your Credit Card
As you can see the travel insurance provided by our credit card is pretty decent, but it is simply not enough for any peace of mind if we have an accident or illness. It offers good coverage for:
- Trip delays
- Trip interruptions
- Trip Cancellation
- Baggage delays
- Lost luggage
- Travel accident coverage (catastrophic coverage if you suffer loss of life or limb)
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
Travel credit card benefits also come “free” with the annual fee of your credit card. Maybe not entirely free but it certainly is a good value in our opinion!
But, it offers no coverage when you need it like if you break your arm while slipping on a wet cobblestone street. Any medical costs you incur while on your trip will be yours alone to bear.
Essentially the travel credit card does not offer any emergency medical coverage or personal liability.
Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing
Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing combines some of the same travel coverage that your travel credit card offers plus it adds Medical benefits to give you Travel Medical Insurance and so much more. Here are some of the travel benefits Nomad Insurance provides:
- Trip delays
- Trip interruptions
- Lost luggage
- Travel accident coverage (catastrophic coverage if you loss of life or limb)
And there are also a ton of additional travel benefits you get with the Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing that your credit card’s travel insurance does not offer.
- Emergency Quarantine for Covid-19
- Lost Stolen Passport/Travel Visa
- Travel Medical (medical coverage for illness or injury)
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
- Emergency reunion
- Personal Liability
- Crisis Response/Kidnapping
- Political Evacuation
The the most important benefit to us is the travel medical benefits! Looking at that same broken arm senario, Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing would cover your injury with a $250 deductible for your whole policy period, good if your accident prone like Joel.
We also like that in addition to travel medical coverage SafetyWing also provides travel coverage for some of the same things like lost luggage, trip interruption and trip delay.
So is it Worth it to Purchase Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing?
In our opinion it is. There are multiple reasons why we went with Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing.
Since we’re on a rather epic six month plus journey we decided to not leave our health to chance and purchase Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing. It gives us peace of mind as we travel to multiple countries. We are covered for illness, injury and even for an acute flare up of a pre-existing condition. Joel is a bit clumsy so it is nice to know we are covered.
If we are hospitalized we are covered 100% up to $250,000 after our small deductible.
Covid-19 Quarantine Coverage
Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing also meets the coverage requirements you may need to enter some countries due to the covid pandemic. If you test positive for covid and are required to quarantine, there is specific coverage for that too.
Children are Covered Too
If you are traveling with children then the good news is children aged 14 days to 10 years are covered too. Actually one child per adult can be added to your Nomad Insurance policy free of charge. You can even purchase coverage for the whole group you are traveling with.
We also love that Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing has Emergency reunion coverage. So if one of us is relocated to a hospital away from our accommodations it will cover the costs for the other person to travel to the hospital and be together.
Crisis Response/Kidnapping and Political Evacuation
No one wants to think about the dire circumstances while on a short trip or the trip of a lifetime. Just as we are not planning to travel to any places known to be dangerous, but as we have seen, sometimes a safe country can turn unsafe for tourists quite quickly.
The icing on the cake is the Crisis Response/Kidnapping coverage and Political Evacuation. With all that is going on in parts of our lovely world we are glad to know we can get to safety if need be.
Personal Liability Insurance
It is nice to know we have coverage against personal liability claims. Honestly the coverage is not much, but it certainly is better than none at all.
Coverage for Short and Long Trips
Whether you are planning a quick getaway to the Caribbean or a longer multi month adventure like ours you can get coverage for various trip lengths. You can purchase coverage for as short as 5 days all the way up to 364 days at a time! There is no cap on the duration of travel.
For longer trips coverage even begins as low as $42/28 days
Just enter your specific dates and age below or on SafetyWing’s website and get a quote for your desired trip.
Buy abroad, stay abroad
It is available for purchase in 180 countries and can be purchased when already traveling. So if you’re already on the go and realized Travel Accident Insurance is not enough, you can purchase it and have peace of mind.
Monthly Option for Nomads, Remote Workers and Travelers
If your trip will last for several months you can even go with SafetyWing’s monthly option.
Yep, they even have a monthly option! It is great for remote workers, digital nomads, travel bloggers like ourselves or just your once in a lifetime tour of Europe!
The monthly option even renews automatically every 28 days and we can cancel it anytime. We can even restart our coverage after a break to see family in the States when we are ready to begin the next big adventure.
Home County Coverage
Speaking of seeing family, if you’re on a long trip or a perpetual nomad, you get home country coverage every 90 days. For residents of the United States Nomad Insurance actually offers 15 days of coverage while returning to the United States. If you are a resident outside the U.S. you actually can get 30 days coverage in your home county every 90 days.
Just note that you can’t start your initial coverage in your home country. Your coverage will start once you leave.
SafetyWing is a Y-Combinator company and the policy is administered by Tokio Marine which is one of the largest insurance companies in the world. The Policy is underwritten by certain underwriters at Lloyds. Read the Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing policy here
- The great thing is you can combine the benefits of both your travel credit card and Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing.
- While you’re at it use your travel credit card to pay for your SafetyWing Nomad Insurance and earn those points!
- Whatever coverage you decide to purchase, be sure to read through your entire policy so you are aware of what you need to do in case you must use your coverage.