A Backpacker's Tale

SafetyWing: (The Best Insurance for International Travel)

Trying to find the best insurance for international travel, then get ready for a treat. Over the next few thousand words, we’ll do a deep dive into one of the newest players on the market – SafetyWing.

2020 hasn’t started out the smoothest for our ol’ planet. 

We are only a few months into this new decade, and Australia’s already been ravaged by bush fires, which devastated massive parts of the country. 

Now COVID-19’s running rampant throughout America, Asia, and Europe. Putting us on the brink of a global pandemic. I say that not to make you panic. 

But to make you realize that there hasn’t been a better time – in recent memory – to get insurance for international travel. I mean, these two events alone have travelers nervous. 

With many of us, myself included, wondering if it’s really a good idea to hop on that plane and venture across the world – and rightly so. Whatever side of the fence you land on about the safety of traveling, one thing’s for certain, now’s the time to travel smarter than ever.

That’s why today I wanted to talk about SafetyWing. A travel medical insurance company that I recently learned about.

BreakDown of SafetyWing Insurance for International Travel

Being a long term WorldNomads customer, when I first started researching SafetyWing, I came in a little skeptical. But after a week of looking into their coverage, plans, and prices, I have to say they have converted me into a believer.

And at the end of the month, when my current insurance for international travel expires, I’m switching to SafetyWing. And that, my friends, is the highest recommendation I can give.

What makes them stand out from other nomad insurance companies like WorldNomads or RoamRight. Let’s find out as we breakdown the travel medical insurance for international travel that SafetyWing provides.

What is SafetyWing

Started by three Norwegians, SafetyWing has exploded onto the travel medical insurance scene. Being Silicon Valley nomads themselves, they came up with a mission. 

A mission to put together top-of-the-line travel medical insurance at prices that both long-term nomads and budget travelers can afford.

And while any type of traveler could (and should) use SafetyWing. 

However, the company has a focus on ensuring long-term international travelers. 

They understand the gripes of people addicted to the nomadic lifestyle; those who choose not to live without a set location. 

SafetyWing strives to solve this problem by creating a global safety net that caters to freelancers, digital nomads, and travelers.

SafetyWing keeps low prices by eliminating unnecessary costs. For example, they’ve cut out the agents or middlemen. Instead, they sell insurance straight to travelers. Eliminating those costs help them pass on the savings to you.

What Does Their Insurance for International Travel Cover? 

SafetyWing provides travel medical insurance at unbelievable prices (but more on cost later). They cover unexpected sickness, qualifying expenditures at hospitals, physicians, drugs, and injury. \

Let’s get a small glimpse at what’s covered and what isn’t.

SafetyWing Review: Medical Insurance

Rule number one of traveling is protect yourself. And while I hope you never have to use it, it’s smart to have an insurance plan just in case the unthinkable happens. This way, if you get hurt, sick, need emergency transportation, medicine, those expenses are covered.

And while it’s crucial before buying any insurance to read the fine print, and make sure it is right for you. Here’s a quick overview of what SafetyWing travel medical insurance for international travel covers.

Hospital 

Your visit, room and board, and nursing services are covered. Knowing hospital bills are covered if needed gives you a lot of peace of mind and letting you enjoy your travels even more. 

Intensive Care

Covers up to your maximum limit for your plan. 

Ambulance

This is vital as in some countries * the USA … cough cough * as an uninsured ambulance ride in some areas can set you back over $2,000.

Urgent Care

A modest $50 co-payment applies, but if you’re at the point when you need Urgent Care or an Emergency room, who cares. The $50 co-payment isn’t subject to a deductible.

Physical Therapy

Covers up to $50 a day when ordered by a physician.

Emergency Dental

SafetyWing covers up to $1,000 in emergency dental.

Everything Else

 Up to the Maximum Limit.

Even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. And that’s why having travel medical insurance while traveling is so vital. 

SafetyWing Review: Travel Insurance

Yes, we live in the days of Brexit, the days where airlines like WOW Air and TUI go bankrupt at a moment’s notice leaving thousands of travelers stranded and no compensation. 

SafetyWing knows that unforeseen things sometimes happen, and when it comes to traveling, it is often out beyond your control and that sometimes they happen to the best of us. 

That’s why they cover everything from travel delays to natural disasters. Let’s take a look at their insurance for international travel.

Travel Delay

Get up to $100 a day for a 12-hour delay or longer for a maximum of 2 days.

Trip Interruption

Get Up to 5,000 dollars for trip interruption with no deductible.

Lost Luggage

Get back up to $3,000 per period. This is up to $500 per item. (There’s a lifetime limit of $6,000, and no deductible. 

Like most other travel insurance companies the lost checked luggage does not cover phones, laptops, and cameras (Which should be in your carryon and not checked luggage anyway.)

Political Evacuation

In case of political upheaval, emergency, or any other reason you might need to be evacuated for political reasons, then you’re covered. SafetyWing covers up to $10,000 Lifetime maximum. 

For people like me who like to travel to the risker, no touristy countries, knowing I am covered in case I need to get out of the country quickly is very comforting.

Emergency Medical Evacuation

Knock on wood, you won’t ever need this, but it’s one of the most important insurances that people are traveling international can have. 

And if you need emergency medical evacuation, that last thing you want to be worried about is how you are going to pay for it.

Personal
Liability

SafetyWing also covers personal liability for a lifetime maximum of $25,000. Including up to 25,000 for third people injury or property. And dismemberment and accidental death payouts to your family of up to $50,000.

So what does SafetyWing cover? 

Well, everything. Which is perfect since you should adopt the boy scouts mindset of “Be Prepared” when choosing your insurance for international travel.

What Isn’t Covered By SafetyWing

SafetyWing isn’t meant to substitute your primary health insurance. 

This means things like routine check-ups, pre-existing conditions, and cancer treatments aren’t covered. 

As well as direct and indirect expenses that arise which they categorized as general exclusions.

SafetyWing’s Strengths for Inernational Travel

SafetyWing isn’t meant to substitute your primary health insurance. 

This means things like routine check-ups, pre-existing conditions, and cancer treatments aren’t covered. 

As well as direct and indirect expenses that arise which they categorized as general exclusions.

Buy It While you’re Traveling

One outstanding thing about SafetyWing is that you’re able to buy it while traveling. So even if your journey has started SafetyWing’s available to buy in 180 countries.

It is also activated as soon as your payment is processed. Most insurance I’ve used had a two day waiting period before coverage started. 

Insurance for Your Kids

Traveling with a family? 

SafetyWing is an excellent option, as they provide coverage for up to 2 kids per family at no extra cost. 

Yep, if you’re traveling companion age sits somewhere between 2 weeks to 10 years, they’re insured for free. Cool, right?

Home Coverage

Home coverage’s without a doubt one of the major strengths of SafetyWing. You’re covered for part of the time in your home country.

For every 90 days, it covers you the first 30 days in your home country. 

America is the exception to this rule, and American citizens traveling in the USA are only covered for the first 15 days they are in their “home country.” (But hey, that’s still enough time to explore some of the best places to visit in the United States.)

Automatic Payments

You can set up SafetyWing like a subscription. With it coming out of every month. Making them perfect for long term nomads -like me – who don’t know when their trips are coming to an end.

It’s as easy as setting it and forgetting it! And say you return home, but forget to cancel your monthly payments. Well, SafetyWing charges your card three-day early; this gives you up to 72 hours to get a refund before the new policy begins.

Or you can pay the lump sum if you know you’re traveling X amount of months. Just pay it all at once and have the peace of mind that you’re covered.

Of course, there is no limit to how many years or times you can re-purchase SafetyWing Insurance (until the age of 69 years).

A variety of options set SafetyWing apart. The travel insurance I’ve had in the past have been more work. Either they require me to personally renew them by buying a new policy at the end of the month. Or spend a ton of cash paying for a year at once.

24/7 Support

Their reps are always there – 24 hours a day, seven days. They are the help you need. They also have an extensive network of medical partners.

At the time of writing – March 10, 2020 – the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has issued a Level 3 travel warning to Europe due to COVID-19. 

And I’m dealing with both SafetyWing and their partner Oncall right now, as I am getting evacuated from Europe. 

Both companies have been insanely helpful, even though the process is taking a little longer than I thought.

On the flip slide I wanted  to comapre SafetyWings coverage with WorldNomads. WorldNomads has no chat support. I emailed them asking about coverage three days ago…. and I still haven’t heard anything. 

Does SafetyWing Cover CoVid-19

Speaking on COVID-19, the question on everyone’s mind.  SafetyWing covers you for tests and treatment. Yes, but under these conditions.

You are eligible for coverage of coronavirus-related expenses unless either of the following applies to your situation

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a Warning Level 3 for your location, and you arrive there, or purchased your policy after it was issued

The CDC issued a Warning Level 3 for your location while you were already there, and more than 10 days have passed since the warning went into effect

The CDC has issued a Warning Level 3 for the following countries (last updated March 13th 2020): These will likely  change so stay updated on the COVID-19 Pandemic here

China on January 27, 2020
South Korea on February 24, 2020
Italy on February 29, 2020

As of March 11th, the following European countries:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City.

Keep an eye on CDC’s Travel Health Notices to check whether any travel plans you have are affected by the coronavirus.

What if I’m already in a location that receives a CDC travel warning?

After a CDC Warning Level 3 has been issued, you have 10 days to depart the warned-against location to remain eligible for coverage of coronavirus contracted there. If you stay beyond 10 days, you are no longer eligible for coverage of coronavirus contracted in that location.

You also have relevant coverage under the “Political Evacuation” benefit in the SafetyWing policy, which means you may be eligible for evacuation (people in the mentioned European countries* from the March 11th CDC warning are eligible if they contact +1 800 605 2282 in the 10-day time span).

You must contact +1 800 605 2282 within 10 days of the U.S. Department of State (not the same as CDC) issuing a new Level 3 or 4 travel advisory for the country you are located in. The Political Evacuation benefit provides coverage for the most economical means of transportation to take you to the nearest, safest country or your home country. 

The travel assistance team will determine which country you will be evacuated to. Contact Emergency travel assistance at +1 800 605 2282 to arrange the evacuation. Because of the current situation, there might be a wait on the phone. You have the option to type your phone number and have them call you back. Check the U.S. Department of State government-issued travel advisory for all countries here.

*Italy is not eligible as a Department of State Level 3 travel advisory has been in place as of February 29th. If this affects you, contact support@safetywing.com to get assistance with exploring options.

 

My Experience Getting Home From Europe During the COVID-19 Outbreak

So, I’m currently writing this from quarantine. Freshly back in America from visiting my wife in Sweden. SafetyWing got me back home safe and sound. Their evacuation was being handled by their partners OnCall. Oncall was helpful, but not quick in responding – and in all fairness I don’t blame them; they have to be slammed with people trying to get home. 

The major hiccup was that OnCall wants to pick your flight home. So they send you a range of options, you pick one, and they book it. Some options didn’t work. Sometimes they didn’t respond until I called and called. And more than once I was told they were waiting on approval. After a few days, I got frustrated and contacted SafetyWing – luckily, I was connected to Filip. I can’t say enough marvellous things about Filip.

He called OnCall. He quickly figured out the situation and got Oncall to agree to let me book my own flights own to speed up the process. He literally chatted with me from the time I contacted him until I was safely at home. I mean, just look at this conversation! 

Customer Support like that is what I am looking when picking insurance for international travel. 

So to Filip, I say thank you! And you have made me a SafetyWing customer for life! 

So to Filip, I say thank you! And you have made me a SafetyWing customer for life! 

Is my insurance cancelled if I am in a location that is affected by a level 3 travel warning from CDC?

If you choose to stay (and not be covered for coronavirus), the rest of your insurance coverage will function as normal.

Cost of SafetyWing travel medical Insurance

Now to the big question. How much do you need to pay to get all these perks? Stick with me, and the answer might surprise you.

Like most insurance companies on the market, people are charged differently based on different factors. For SafetyWing, age is the determining factor of how much you pay.

So how much is SafetyWing?

 

Age

18-39 

40-49

50-59

60-69

Price

$37

$60

$94

$128

W / USA

$68

$111

$184

$251

That’s a modest fee to protect yourself and your loved ones. And guess what! SafetyWing is one of the best, but also the CHEAPEST insurance for international travel.

If you are traveling inside the US the prices are higher. Add-on of $31/4 weeks

Let’s take a look at their price compared to other companies.

Note: These prices below based on my age and home country so that prices might vary slightly.

Compare Prices

SafetyWing: $37
World Nomads: $120  
Allianz: $76
Travelex: $81 

Other FAQS About SafetyWing

I was charged, but no longer need insurance for international travel… Can You Get a Refund?

Refunds; another cool perk that sets SafetyWing apart. SafetyWing charges your card 3 days before your policy extension becomes active. Which gives you three days to get a refund. 

After the three days, your extension becomes effective at which point a refund’s no longer an option. There’s also a $25 cancellation fee.

How do I find a Medical Provider?

Being insured with SafetyWing means, you can get coverage at every hospital. Once you have coverage, head to your profile and select the option to “Find a Hospital.” 

This shows the options from their extensive network of doctors and hospitals. However, you can go to the closest hospital for treatment.

Is it Easy to Make a Claim?

Again, SafetyWing’s all about streamlining the process. Making it possible to get the help you need fast. At the same time, allowing them to keep their cost low. So making a claim is as easy as sending screenshots and an organized bill by email.

Is it Easy to Make a Claim?

Again, SafetyWing’s all about streamlining the process. Making it possible to get the help you need fast. At the same time, allowing them to keep their cost low. So making a claim is as easy as sending screenshots and an organized bill by email.

Is there a Fee to Cancel?

No, there’s no cancellation fee as long as you cancel your payment before your card is charged.

Are Adventures Covered?

Ah, the big question for those of us that thrive on adventure, have tattoos of adventure quotes, and feel most alive when there’s a slight risk to our travels! I mean, many of us run around the world, checking dangerous things off our bucket list, while at the same time adding new bucket list ideas to our travel plans.

Many adventures covered by SafetyWing. But like other travel insurance providers out there, not everything is covered. You can see a full list of what is and isn’t covered below. But check their website for updated information.

Covered Adventures

  • – Angling
  •  – Archery
  •  – Badminton
  •  – Ballooning
  •  – Baseball
  •  – Biking – includes touring and organized tours
  •  – Bowling
  •  – Bungee jumping
  •  – Bushwalking up to 4,500 meters
  •  – Camel riding / trekking
  •  – Camping under 4,500 meters
  •  – Canoeing
  •  – Canyon swing
  •  – Canyoning
  •  – Capoeira dancing
  •  – Clay pigeon shooting
  •  – Cricket
  •  – Cycling under 4,500 meters
  •  – Deep sea fishing
  •  – Dirt boarding
  •  – Dog sledding (not racing or competing)
  •  – Fell running / walking
  •  – Fencing
  •  – Fishing
  •  – Flying as a passenger
  •  – Football (Soccer)
  •  – Glacier walking up to 4,500 meters
  •  – Golf
  •  – Gymnastics (only as exercise or for fun; not competitive or organized)
  •  – Hiking up to 4,500 meters
  •  – Horse riding
  •  – Hot air ballooning as a passenger
  •  – Hunting (excluding big game)
  •  – Ice skating (indoor or outdoor)
  •  – Ice climbing up to 4,500 meters
  •  – Jet boating
  •  – Jet skiing
  •  – Kayaking
  •  – Land surfing
  •  – Moped biking except as excluded below
  •  – Motor biking except as excluded below
  •  – Mountain biking up to 4,500 meters
  •  – Netball
  •  – Orienteering
  •  – Outdoor endurance except as excluded below
  •  – Paint balling
  •  – Rambling
  •  – Rap jumping
  •  – Rifle range shooting
  •  – Roller blading
  •  – Roller skating
  •  – Rowing / sculling
  •  – Safari tours
  •  – Sailing
  •  -Sandboarding
  •  – Sandskiing
  • Scuba diving (sub Aqua Pursuits involving underwater breathing apparatus) as long as you are PADI/NAUI certified, or if you are not certified you are covered for up to 10 meters when accompanied by a certified instructor.
  • – Sea canoeing
  •  – Sea kayaking
  •  – Skateboarding
  •  – Skiing (only covered for recreational skiing. No cover provided while skiing away from prepared and marked in-bound territories (off piste) and/or against the advice of the local ski school or local authoritative body)
  • – Sleigh rides
  •  – Sledding
  •  – Snorkelling except as excluded below
  •  – Snow rafting
  •  – Snowboarding (only covered for recreational snowboarding skiing. No cover provided while skiing away from prepared and marked in-bound territories (off piste) and/or against the advice of the local ski school or local authoritative body)
  •  – Soccer (Football)
  •  – Speed boating
  •  – Squash
  •  – Stand up paddle surfing
  •  – Stilt walking
  •  – Surfing except as excluded below
  •  – Swimming
  •  – Table tennis
  •  – Ten pin bowling
  •  – Tennis
  •  – Trail bike riding
  •  – Trekking up to 4,500 meters
  •  – Tubing
  •  – Tubing on snow
  •  – Ultimate frisbee
  •  – Via ferrata up to 4,500 meters
  •  – Volleyball
  •  – Wake skating
  •  – Wakeboarding
  •  – Walking
  •  – Water skiing
  •  – Weightlifting, cardio and classes at the gym (note that training for or attending a powerlifting competition is excluded.)
  •  – Windsurfing
  •  – Yachting (coastal waters only)
  •  – Yachting (outside coastal waters)
  •  – Yoga (in class or alone)
  •  – Zip line
  •  – Zorbing

NOT COVERED ADVENTURES

– All-Terrain Vehicles
– American Football
– Aussie Rules Football
– Aviation (except when traveling solely as a passenger in a commercial aircraft)
– Base Jumping
– Big Game Hunting
– Bobsleigh
– Boxing
– Cave Diving
– Heli-Skiing
– Heli-gliding
– Hot Air Ballooning as a Pilot
– Ice Hockey
– Kite-Surfing
– Martial Arts
– Luge
– Motorized Dirt Bikes
– Mountaineering at elevations of 4,500 meters or higher
– Outdoor Endurance Events
– Parachuting
– Parasailing

– Powerlifting (lifting at max weight with the intention of attending a competition)
– Quad Biking
– Racing by any Animal, Motorized Vehicle, or BMX, and Speed Trials and Speedway
– Rugby
– Running with the Bulls
– Skeleton
– Skiing off piste (outside prepared and marked in-bound territories) and/or against or against the advice of the local ski school or local authoritative body
– Snowboarding off piste (outside prepared and marked in-bound territories)and/or against or against the advice of the local ski school or local authoritative body
– Sky Surfing
– Snow Mobile
– Spelunking
– Sub Aqua Pursuits involving underwater breathing apparatus (unless accompanied by a certified instructor at depths less than 10m, or PADI/NAUI certified)
– Tractors
– Whitewater Rafting
– Wrestling

So basically, all your base adventures are covered. If you’re doing some extreme adventures like Running with the Bulls you need specialized insurance from a company like WorldNomads Explorer insurance, which starts at $220 a month. (The price of safety wing for half a year)

Final Thoughts About SafetyWing

SafetyWing realizes that we often fall through the cracks, often forced to pay thousands in the year in insurance coverage. So have gone above and beyond in fixing this problem with great coverage and low rates.

I can honestly say they are a fantastic company, and as of last week, I am a SafetyWing Customer. Hands down, they are the best insurance for international travel.

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