Most people don’t think about their medical coverage when planning a trip abroad. Between planning your itinerary, shopping for tickets, packing and making arrangements for the dog, there’s enough to think about. Plus, if you are like me you do everything last minute.
But do you know what you would do if you got sick in another country? How would you find a qualified doctor or hospital? And what about asking for help in another language?
Travel medical insurance from Travelex may make all the difference in helping you feel secure when you’re traveling abroad.
5 Reasons You Need International Travel Medical Insurance
1. Finding quality care
When you or a loved one needs medical care in another country, you want to make sure you are getting care from a reputable professional. Travel medical insurance links you with an emergency response team to help direct you to a doctor whose credentials have been verified.
My daughter got extremely sick while we were in Honduras, like scary sick. We were lucky because we were staying on an American army base at the time and had access to American doctors, but what if we hadn’t been. I wouldn’t have had a clue at the time of what to do.
2. Keeping costs in line
Doctors and hospitals in other countries will typically expect you to pay up front before starting any treatment. Everything comes out of your pocket while you are still traveling. But what would you do if the amount needed is more than you have? Or greater than the limit on your credit card?
You’d also need to keep careful records and submit everything for reimbursement once you get home. And because these doctors are outside of your plan’s network, you have no control over how much they may charge.
Travel medical insurance from Travelex is designed to help with these costs at the time of service. Depending on the plan you choose, you may have a deductible. But that’s a choice you make ahead of time.
3. Getting home in a medical emergency
Maybe it’s a broken arm from a hiking accident or something much more serious. You can get help with:
• Evaluating your medical needs
• Choosing the best method of transport — including emergency medical evacuation to get home or rejoin your trip
• Making travel arrangements for your family
• Having appropriate care once you get home
Even the cost of bringing someone from home to be with you may be covered.
4. Handling non-medical problems
The emergency response team can assist you — from a lost or stolen passport to emergency funds transfer or a referral if you need legal help. It’s a little like having a trusted friend back home to help you navigate in an unfamiliar land.
5. Safeguarding what you have already invested
For most people, traveling abroad is something they save up for, have fun planning and look forward to with pleasure. In addition to helping with medical situations, you can add coverage for lost baggage, trip cancellation or trip interruption to your travel medical policy to help with costs that may arise in those situations.
Even better? A basic travel medical policy can cost about the same as a nice meal at a restaurant. For a 7 day trip, that’s only a few dollars a day! When you think about how much you are investing in your trip, it’s a small price to pay for added confidence.
What to do next
Check out Travelex international travel insurance plans. You’ll have a choice of coverage and deductible levels, sports riders, lost baggage coverage, and more.
Travel Medical Insurance:
Provides coverage for travelers overseas for a minimum of 7-days and maximum of 365-days in 3 plan levels.Medical referrals (if you are in Central America this is a big deal.)
- Facilitation of hospital payments
- Transfer of insurance information to providers
- Replacement of corrective lenses and medical devices. Could you imagine not having something like this if you needed it!
- Replacement of lost or stolen travel documents!!!
- Emergency travel arrangements
- Translation services (I don’t know about you, but I can barely speak other languages and if you are in a stressful situation, it would be even harder to remember a language you do not know well.)
- Transportation after stabilization (read the story about my sister below to see why this is a big freaking deal)
My family learned the hard way how beneficial travel insurance would have been. A few years ago went went to Whistler up in Canada for a ski week. We were having the best week ever until my sister dislocated her knee. It was horrible. We were up on the tubing hill and the paramedics had to carry her down to the ambulance and take her to the hospital. When I met them at the hospital, I was told I needed to pay right there and then on the spot. It was several thousand dollars. I literally had to pull out my credit card and pay it before they had put her knee back in place, even though she was screaming and crying in severe pain. (I have never seen another person in that much pain before. It was horrifying.) If we had just bought travel insurance we wouldn’t have been out all that money.
In the photo above, you can see my sister with a crutch. She had to travel back to the United States in a 10 hour car ride with a brace on not moving. Then travel home across the country with an infant. If we had gotten travel insurance we probably could have gotten her home a better way. The whole thing was a nightmare.
Do You Know Your Airline Passenger’s Rights
Now we’ve gone in depth on what to do about travel insurance, but what about airline travel issues and lost bags? Both U.S. and Canadian travelers have some legal protections for common issues such as lost luggage, getting bumped from a flight or tarmac delays.
- Involuntary Bumping – If you are bumped from a flight due to overbooking and the airline is unable to reroute you to arrive at your destination within an hour of your originally scheduled time, you are entitled to compensation. If you are not rerouted to arrive within one to two hours of your intended arrival time, you are entitled to the value of your ticket up to $650. If your arrival time is not within 2 hours of your originally scheduled arrival time (4 hours for international flights) you are entitled to double the price of your ticket up to $1,300. If you are rerouted through a different airline, all expenses and additional charges must be covered by the airline. These rules only apply on overbooked flights and do not cover standard delays and cancellations.
- Tarmac Delays – There are limits to how long you can be delayed on the tarmac for reasons other than, “safety, security and air traffic control.” Domestic flights are limited to no more than three hours, while international flights are limited to four hours. You are entitled to updates on your flight status every 30 minutes, bathrooms must be available, and food and water should be provided for any delay lasting more than two hours.
- Delayed or Cancelled Flights – Unlike involuntary bumping, there are no federal requirements for how airlines manage passengers on delayed or cancelled domestic flights. This means the airlines set their own policies. You may check the airline’s terms and conditions to learn more about their specific policies. International travelers may be covered for, “reimbursement under Article 19 of the Montreal Convention for expenses resulting from a delayed or cancelled flight.” You would file a claim directly with the airline for reimbursement. If your claim is denied, you may have additional legal options including small claims court.
- Lost or Damaged Bags – If your bag is lost, the airline must refund any baggage fees. The airline is also required to compensate you for, “reasonable expenses for loss, damage or delay in the carriage of passenger baggage.” The airline is also required to compensate you for, “reasonable expenses for loss, damage or delay in the carriage of passenger baggage.” Also, there are set limits on an airline’s liability, so carefully consider the transportation of particularly valuable items. If the contents of your bag are damaged take photographs of the damage right away.
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