You’ve got your passport, the tickets are booked, and your luggage is packed. In short, you’re all set to take a whirlwind trip around the globe — or are you?
Have you thought about what would happen if you were to get hurt or fall ill on your international tour, or if a terrorist attack interrupted your itinerary?
Perhaps the most important reason to purchase a travel insurance policy for your overseas trip is the medical coverage and emergency medical evacuation insurance that comes with most travel insurance policies.
"International travelers, even in these unpredictable times, simply do not have appropriate insurance protection," says Zain Jeewanjee, Founder and CEO of Go One Global, an insurer specializing in travel insurance and medical insurance for Americans on extended stays overseas. The following 5 tips are key to making intelligent travel insurance choices before you even think of boarding that plane.
1. You’re taking a serious risk traveling without travel health and accident insurance
Employer-sponsored health insurance programs rarely cover medical care received in a foreign country, and many private health insurance plans (whether provided through employers or purchased individually) limit overseas coverage to emergencies — and it can be your responsibility to prove the emergency. Do you know the difference between "emergency" and "urgent care" under your health insurance plan? Regardless you would need to pay for the expenses out of pocket, and file for reimbursement when you return.
The best idea is to check with your health insurer to see what is covered before you go overseas. If you’re concerned that your health insurance might not be enough on your trip, you’ll want to find a travel medical insurance policy to fill in the gaps.
Also remember that, in some parts of the world, your health insurance might not be accepted as a guarantee of payment, which is required by some hospitals before they’ll treat you. So while your insurance might reimburse you after the trip, you could be stuck first paying out of pocket for your medical care. Most travel insurance policies, however, will provide these guarantees and even offer the option to pay from the very first dollar in medical expenses you incur.
Along with health and accident insurance, many travel insurers provide a 24-hour assistance telephone line to help international travelers find their way to the local pharmacy, get a replacement set of glasses, and find an English-speaking doctor or reputable hospital.
2. Medical evacuation coverage is essential