We’ve been travelling full-time and relying on travel insurance since 2017. Initially, we chose SafetyWing for its budget-friendly rates, ease of use, and comprehensive medical coverage.
However, as we’re both now over 55, we’ve transitioned to World Nomads due to age-related pricing and the need for more extensive coverage.
Our extensive travel experience highlights the crucial role of travel insurance in handling unexpected medical and travel issues. Understanding your policy’s details is essential to ensure it fits your travel needs.
💡 If you are a more mature traveller, you might be better getting a quote from World Nomads.
Quick Overview: Our Travel Insurance Journey and Insights
In this post, we discuss our journey with travel insurance, detailing why we initially chose SafetyWing for its cost-effectiveness and straightforward policy and later transitioned to World Nomads as mature travellers.
We delve into the specific features and limitations of SafetyWing, share personal anecdotes demonstrating the importance of coverage, and offer tips on understanding policy details.
Additionally, we discuss supplementing with Garmin evacuation insurance for remote travel and provide insights from other travellers’ reviews to help you decide about your travel insurance needs.
More Important Travel Tips: If you plan on travelling as a couple, check out our post on How to Travel With Your Partner and Stay Sane! 😂
WHY DO YOU NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
In this post, we’ll discuss why we always have travel insurance and why we chose SafetyWing, but to start, let’s look at why you need travel insurance at all.
We don’t want to think about worst-case scenarios. When you are travelling, however, knowing that those unthinkable possibilities are covered by insurance means you can enjoy your journey so much more without niggling worries going on in the background.
Travel insurance isn’t cheap, but neither are hospital bills in another country, which can soon ramp to thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the injury. We all want to travel cheaply, but cutting out travel insurance isn’t a good move.
When I had chest pains while we were road-tripping in Portugal, and the doctor I went to see thought I was having a heart attack, I was rushed to hospital.
Luckily, it wasn’t a heart attack — but the costs of the ambulance, numerous hospital tests and scans soon mounted up. There is every possibility that I might well have gone into cardiac arrest at the sight of the bill if I hadn’t known our travel insurance would cover the costs!
We’ve had to use our travel insurance on several occasions:
- Those chest pains in Portugal
- Lars tore his knee tendons when we were house-sitting in France
- Stolen bikes in Rotterdam
- Covering the insurance excess on our hired motorhome for damage and best of all
- Claiming on our photographic insurance when a parrot swallowed Lars’ shutter button on his new camera.
Luckily, we caught the sneaky thief on camera, so there was plenty of proof for our seemingly bizarre claim.
Why We Used SafetyWing Travel Insurance
There are so many travel insurance companies out there to choose from, and it can become overwhelming trying to compare policies, prices, benefits and exclusions.
We’ve set out all the reasons below as to why we initially settled upon SafetyWing travel insurance.
We are by no means experts on travel insurance policies, and sometimes, reading through the jargon feels like you need a Law Degree. And, even though I have one, that doesn’t stop me from getting irritated scrolling through small print and phrases that make no sense to the general public.
Luckily, SafetyWing is pretty straightforward in its policy document wording, so reading through isn’t too demanding. The document isn’t thousands of pages long — I swear companies do that on purpose, so you miss all the small print.
Who in their right mind can wade through hundreds of pages full of hitherto and aforementioned mumbo jumbo?
Reasons We Chose SafetyWing Insurance
The policy details are easy to decipher, and the application process is simple. But let’s get down to some of the nitty-gritty as to why we chose SafetyWing Travel Insurance.
- ✅ Automatic renewal every 28 days until you pick an end date or 364 days have passed.
This is useful for us because our plans are always subject to change, so knowing that we don’t need to keep applying for more travel insurance or have paid for longer than necessary is a bonus.
- ✅ There’s no limit to how many years we can keep re-purchasing (until we reach the age limit of 69 years old)
Many travel insurance companies have a limit on how long you can use their travel insurance. When we first left Australia, we were insured through HBF (which no longer offers travel insurance). The maximum time we could use their travel insurance was two years.
This might not be a problem for some, but for those of you who are long-term travellers, it saves having to look around for new insurers.
- ✅ After being abroad for 90 days, you keep your medical coverage for 30 days when you visit your home country. (15 days if your home country is the U.S.)
Again, this suited us down to the ground. If we wanted to pop back to Australia for a visit, then we were still covered for emergency medical situations. It is nigh on impossible to get private medical insurance if you are only going to be in your home country for a short period.
For example, in Australia, most private health care insurers require you to be staying in the country for at least 6 months. We have our HBF private health insurance on hold and it can only be reinstated when we return home for long periods.
- ✅ SafetyWing has Covid-19 coverage
Many travel insurance companies don’t give you coverage for Covid 19, so knowing that we were covered if we caught COVID (again) set our minds at rest.
We were both fully vaccinated, but knowing how quickly a new strain can develop did put our minds at ease, knowing that SafetyWing had us covered. Their COVID-19 cover also includes any mandated quarantine period imposed on us for up to 10 days ($50 each per day).
- ✅ You can easily download a ‘Visa Letter’ which shows proof of travel insurance.
This is becoming increasingly important as many countries ask for proof of insurance to enter.
Is SafetyWing Good Travel Insurance?
This is for you to decide, but if you are travelling long term, a nomadic traveller or need to arrange travel insurance out of your home country, read through their policy to see if it will suit you.
Many insurance companies in your home country won’t offer you travel insurance if you have already left the country.
The SafetyWing policy offers basic travel insurance, with mainly medical coverage at a competitive price. Good for those travelling on a budget.
(Update 2024: If you are a more mature traveller, the rates of SafetyWing increase, so maybe get a quote from World Nomads and compare. And if you are over 70 and living in Australia or NZ, then it will be worth looking at Probus, which offers comprehensive Travel Insurance with no age limit. )
Other Advantages of SafetyWing Travel Insurance:
- If you are a family, then two children under the age of ten can be included in the policy free of charge (one child per paying adult up to a maximum of two children per family)
- You can choose to have recurring insurance payments every 28 days or pay for specific travel dates (5 days minimum required).
- 24/7 helpline
What SafetyWing is NOT Suitable for or Does Not Cover
- Extreme sports or activities (examples include white water rafting, parasailing, parachuting, running with the bulls and such)
- Travel to Cuba, Iran, Syria, and North Korea
- Does not cover routine medical checkups
- Accidental damage to or theft of personal belongings. (We always take out separate insurance for our electronics and camera equipment)
- Car rental excess fees
* If you are looking for more comprehensive travel and medical insurance that also covers loss and damage of personal belongings and extreme sports, then perhaps get a quote from World Nomads. You can check their reviews on Trustpilot here.
How Much is SafetyWing Insurance?
SafetyWing offers one of the best rates of travel insurance and is great for younger travellers (rates increase with age) and those who don’t need extensive medical coverage and comprehensive travel cover.
The premium payable increases with age and also if you plan to travel within the US.
Note that there is $250 USD excess, (or deductible) on many, but not all, claims.
Here is an example of the USD pricing for different age groups for a period of 28 days:
|10-39 years old
|40-49 years old
|50-59 years old
|$115.92 (That’s us)
|60-69 years old
About SafetyWing Cover
SafetyWing provides both medical and travel benefits. The travel benefits are minimal compared to what some other travel insurers offer.
If you want more comprehensive travel benefits such as compensation for cancelled travel plans, then SafetyWing might not be for you.
Summary of SafetyWing Medical Cover
SafetyWing medical cover is more extensive than its travel cover and includes the following:
- Overall maximum limit: $250,000 ($100,000 for 65 -69-year-olds)
- Maximum per Injury / Illness: $250,000 ($100,000 for 65 -69-year-olds)
- Hospital costs include room and nursing services (semi-private room rate)
- Intensive care: Up to the overall maximum limit
- Ambulance: Usual, reasonable and customary charges when covered illness or injury results in hospitalization
- Outpatient Physical Therapy and Chiropractic care: Up to $50 per day. Must be ordered in advance by a physician
- Emergency medical evacuation: Up to $ 100,000-lifetime maximum.
- Medical Expenses: Covers hospital, doctor and prescriptions
- Urgent charges: $50 co-payment, (Excess/ deductible doesn’t apply)
- Outpatient Physical Therapy and Chiropractic care: Up to $50 per day. Must be ordered in advance by a physician.
- Emergency dental: Up to $1,000. (Excess/ deductible doesn’t apply)
- Emergency Eye Examination: Up to $150 $50 deductible/excess (not the plan $250)
- Acute Onset of Pre-existing Condition: Up to the overall maximum limit (excludes chronic and congenital pre-existing conditions)
- Terrorism: Up to $ 50,000-lifetime maximum for eligible medical expenses
- All Other Eligible Medical Expenses: Up to the overall maximum limit
- Note these items are NOT COVERED
- High-risk sports activities
- Pre-existing disease or injury
- Cancer treatment
- Routine checkups
- Preventative treatments
Have a read of the full Inclusions and exclusions of SafetyWing Travel Insurance here.
Summary of SafetyWing Travel Benefits
- Emergency Medical Evacuation: Up to $ 100,000-lifetime maximum (no excess/deductible)
- Repatriation of Remains: Up to $ 20,000-lifetime maximum (no excess/deductible)
- Crisis response: Ransom, personal belongings up to $10,000 (no excess/deductible)
- Emergency Reunion: Up to $50,00 max 15 days (no excess/deductible)
- Trip interruption: Up to $5,000. No deductible
- Accidental death & dismemberment: Depending on the type of accidental death, with a max of $25,000
- Lost checked luggage: Up to $3,000 per certificate period; Maximum of $500 per item. Up to $ 6,000-lifetime limit. No excess/ deductible
- Travel delay: Up to $100 a day after a 12-hour delay period requiring an unplanned overnight stay. Subject to a maximum of 2 days. (no excess /deductible)
- Lost or Stolen Passport or Visa: Up to $100 (no excess/deductible)
- Natural disaster — alternative accommodation: Up to $100 a day for 5 days. (No excess/deductible)
- Political evacuation: Up to $ 10,000-lifetime maximum. (No excess/ deductible)
- Mandated Quarantine Covid 19: $50/day max 10 days (Must have at least 28-day insurance cover)
- Personal liability: Depending on the type of liability, with a lifetime max of $25,000 (no excess/ deductible)
Why We Topped up Our SafetyWing Medical Evacuation Insurance
I need to explain why we took out additional Garmin evacuation insurance. This insurance covers evacuation for any reason.
I spoke to SafetyWing directly to confirm the below first-hand, which prompted my decision to add Garmin insurance.
Should you require medical evacuation and expect SafetyWing insurance to cover the claim, then a physician will need to state that it is medically necessary for you to be evacuated. In no circumstances can this be avoided, no matter what the situation. And even with the physician’s approval, your claim may still be rejected.
If you’re stuck in a remote area, this will pose a big problem. Maybe there’s no access to a physician, or the area is without a network signal. Then, what happens?
Worry no more. The Garmin InReach Mini has you covered.
Signing up for the satellite communication subscription automatically includes SOS coverage, providing global 24/7 monitoring and dispatch when SOS on the device is activated.
Update – we changed to World Nomads Insurance because it worked out cheaper due to our age.
The Garmin InReach Mini device is reliable because it uses the Iridium satellite system, which provides 100% global network coverage. Once the Garmin device distress signal (SOS button) is triggered, the Garmin 24-hour emergency coordination centre communicates with you to provide the appropriate evacuation service.
The basic Garmin coverage does not include costs incurred following an SOS activation. However, this can be added. This is exactly what we have done. Garmin offers differently priced plans for both light and heavy network users – take a look at the different Garmin plans here.
So, in the end, we chose the Garmin Freedom Safety Plan at £14.99 per month + an annual subscription fee of £34.99 and added the SAR 100 Search and Rescue Insurance Plan (USD$43 annual fee).
When evacuation costs can run into thousands of dollars, having Garmin insurance really gives us peace of mind.
SafetyWing Travel Insurance Reviews
SafetyWing Trustpilot reviews show the company has an excellent ⭐️ 4.2/5 star rating.
74% of reviewers ranked SafetyWing as Excellent, 7% as great, 2% as average, 2% as poor and 15% as bad. (updated Dec 23)
What did SafetyWing Trustpilot Reviewers Like?
- Customers liked the easy, fast and efficient application process
- Great customer service
- Fantastic insurance for those on the move
- Easy to reach and fast online chat system
- Affordable rates
- Easy-to-use website interface
“SafetyWing is a great company. I use them every time I travel outside of Canada. I’ve met many people who work there and they are kind and authentic. Insurance and claims are not easy to navigate and despite not being perfect yet I truly believe they’re trying to make the industry better. I would highly recommend SafetyWing to anyone!n.”Sam – Trustpilot Review 1st Nov 2023
What Were Some of the Negative Experiences of SafetyWing Trustpilot Reviewers?
- Long wait time for payout
- Having to register a claim through the insurance partner, World Trips
- Insurance payouts were only made in USD
- Kitesurfing is considered an extreme sport and is excluded
I did read that one Trustpilot reviewer said it was difficult to claim his emergency dental expense because he hadn’t seen a doctor to verify that he needed emergency treatment within the 24-hour required time limit.
So, whatever travel insurance you choose, make sure you read the fine print of your policy.
Note down certain claim requirements and conditions that you may need to comply with. Keep those notes handy so that in the event of an emergency or claim, you know what you must do to satisfy the paperwork and conditions for a travel insurance claim.
It goes without saying, make sure you keep all relevant paperwork, receipts, etc., to use for your claim.
Why we Chose SafetyWing Travel Insurance … That’s a Wrap
In conclusion, our shift from SafetyWing to World Nomads was a decision driven by our need for more comprehensive coverage as we aged.
SafetyWing travel insurance was our initial choice because it was budget-friendly, flexible, easy to arrange, and covered the main medical emergencies we needed coverage for.
We learned the importance of aligning insurance with our travel style and needs, emphasizing the significance of understanding policy specifics.
While SafetyWing offered affordability and essential medical coverage, World Nomads gave us more economical and increased coverage, given our maturity!
We opted for additional insurance for personal belongings and considered other providers for more extensive needs.
Whether you’re a nomad or a casual traveller, carefully assess your requirements and explore all options to ensure your journeys are as safe as they are exciting.
In Short, if you need:
- Insurance for age 50+, or
- Cover for extreme sports or
- More comprehensive travel coverage, such as travel cancellations or
- Car rental damage excess
… then ❌ Safetywing won’t be the right choice for you. 👉 ✅ Try World Nomads Instead
✅ Here for a quote from World Nomads.
If you are in the UK, check out Confused.com to compare travel insurance quotes and determine the best option.
We never travel without travel insurance because we believe it’s a vital part of travel. We hope this information is useful for you when considering your travel insurance requirements.
Happy and safe travels
Shelley and Lars
NOTE: This article does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.
World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
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PLANNING YOUR TRAVELS?
These are the travel resources we recommend and use when planning our trips.
- 🚘 Car Hire: We use DiscoverCars.com
- Motorhome/Campervan Rental: We highly recommend the Motorhome Republic
- 🛏 Book Accommodation: We use Booking.com to find accommodation that suits our budget
- 🐶 Pet Sitting/Pet Sitters: Check Out TrustedHousesitters here (Use our Discount code: LIFEJOURNEY25 for 25% off. )
- Activities and Experiences: Get Your Guide and Viator
- Travel Insurance: Safetywing or World Nomads
- 🥾 Travel Gear and Accessories: Check out our top picks here — Lifejourney4two page on Amazon
For a more thorough list visit our Travel Resources page here.