SafetyWing Nomad Travel Medical Insurance: Emergency Evacuation

Many of us have lost baggage, been in an accident, or have been sick while traveling. While traveling around the world, we didn’t want to be in a situation when we had to pay loads of money to handle these situations. Even though we didn’t expect to need travel insurance, it really shined when we had to make a claim to evacuate Argentina during the global pandemic. Here is our story.

Whether you are a long-term traveler or a digital nomad, it might be hard to find a good insurance policy. We were specifically looking for insurance to cover medical emergencies in case we were sick or injured. Lots of companies offer travel insurance, but normally it isn’t catered to people without a permanent residence. Luckily, there are more and more companies who offer good insurance. SafetyWing Nomad Insurance was our choice.

Two Days Before Our Antarctica Cruise

When we were in Patagonia, we ended up in Ushuaia, Argentina, which is the edge of the world and the gateway to Antarctica “El Fin del Mundo” or “the end of the world”. While there, we pondered whether we should try to get on a boat to see the continent. It was surely going to be very expensive, but how often would we be that close to this otherworldly place?

Usuaia fin del mundo sign, meaning the end of the world. | BIG tiny World Travel

So we found a great deal on a cruise and would depart on March 17, 2020. This was very exciting for us and we looked forward to the trip of a lifetime. COVID-19 cases weren’t much of a problem in Argentina just yet and we were hopeful our trip would go as planned. Nope!

The boat we were going to board had COVID-19 cases upon returning to port, and they canceled our trip to Antarctica two days before our departure. We were distraught and tried to figure out what we were going to do next. Were we going to travel more or was this the end?

Ushuaia Argentina sign with Aaron on top | BIG tiny World Travel

Meanwhile, Argentina was closing its borders and canceling flights. The unfortunate next step was to go home because we sure didn’t want to get stuck in Ushuaia. This was the end of 9 months of our planned 14 month trip around the world, and we already canceled a flight to our next stop in South Korea. It was time to go home and wait it out.

Our Emergency Evacuation

Now that Argentina was a level 4 (do not travel) country, according to the US State Department, we could use our SafetyWing Nomad Insurance to get evacuated home. This insurance has political evacuation to get you to a safe country if it goes to level 3 or 4. Thankfully, this paid for our flights from Argentina back to the USA ($1,825 USD). We made it home, but it was an eventful journey.

A description of some coverage options for SafetyWing insurance. | BIG tiny World Travel

The Claims Process

When we first started the process of booking flights, there was a lot of confusion for us and even them. We were trying to navigate a situation that was unprecedented for everyone. We weren’t sure if we were supposed to book the flights ourselves, or if they were going to do it. After a lot of messaging back and forth, we concluded that we would book the flights ourselves and get reimbursed. 

The claims process was pretty straightforward since we met the qualifications for political evacuation insurance. Once we filed the claim for our flights home, it took about 3 months, which is more than normal because so many claims were being filed at once. Under normal circumstances, they resolve these within 20 days of filing. They have an excellent customer support team that helped us with any questions we had while filing the claim, and they were easily reachable through an online chat on their website.

The claims process for SafetyWing Nomad Insurance | BIG tiny World Travel

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links

What We Love About SafetyWing Nomad Insurance

The main reason we like this insurance is the affordable price and the flexibility of the coverage dates. We know if we have any serious injuries or need an emergency evacuation; we are covered. This was especially helpful for our planned 14-month trip because you never really know what could happen. We sure didn’t predict a pandemic.

Aaron & Brianna in front of Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina | BIG tiny World Travel

The Uncertain Future

With travel being more uncertain during the Pandemic, SafetyWing is providing coverage for COVID-19. We’re sure many people out there will be ecstatic to hear about this. It also will cover you for unexpected quarantines in any country you visit. Keep in mind that this insurance covers you outside of the USA or your home country if you are not American.

A description of benefits for SafetyWing Nomad Insurance | BIG tiny World Travel

More about SafetyWing

SafetyWing covers many medical and travel-related mishaps. We had a friend who got in a major traffic accident and had to go to the hospital in Pakistan. Thankfully; she had her visit covered by insurance and has recovered from the accident. We never know when something like this can happen, especially in a country that differs from our own.

When I was driving on the left side of the road in Africa and the UK, I was very nervous about making a wrong turn, or accidentally being in the wrong lane. I fortunately didn’t have any problems and eventually got used to it, but mistakes can happen. It is better to be covered when the things go wrong.

4x4 truck at the top of a hill in Namibia | BIG tiny World Travel

What is covered and NOT covered Under SafetyWing’s insurance policy?

The plan we used was the Nomad plan. It’s just $42 USD for four weeks of travel (outside the US), but increases for those over age 39.

At the time of this writing, the plan includes the following:

  • $250,000 USD in emergency medical coverage
  • $100,000 USD for medical evacuation
  • $50,000 USD for death or dismemberment
  • $10,000 USD for a political evacuation
  • $5,000 USD for a trip interruption
  • $3,000 USD for lost luggage ($500/item)
  • $1,000 USD for emergency dental care
  • $200 USD for a travel delay

SafetyWing Nomad Travel Insurance is not a primary health insurance. Notable exclusions include:

  • Cancer treatment
  • Routine check-ups
  • High-risk sports activities
  • Pre-existing conditions (limited coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions, but not chronic or congenital conditions)
  • Phones, laptops, and cameras in lost checked baggage (we use another insurance for these)

The pricing varies depending on age, and they do not cover people over the age of 69.

A more comprehensive plan: Remote Health

SafetyWing also offers a more comprehensive health plan for remote workers called Remote Health. This isn’t something we have used, but it is for more long-term living and working situations abroad, and acts as your primary health coverage. You don’t need to find local health insurance every time you move to a different country; SafetyWing covers about 175+ countries.

Travel insurance is something we always have before any international trip. It saved us thousands of dollars when we evacuated from Argentina, and gives us the peace of mind knowing we will not go into financial ruin on hospitalizations or other mishaps.

Have you ever been stranded during your travels?

Check out our related video on 6 Common Travel Fears and How to Overcome Them

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