Passport Health: The Importance of Travel Insurance
While traveling abroad can be exciting, there are unfortunately times when we have to think about the unpleasant “what ifs” that may occur that could ruin our wandering adventures around the world. What if I get sick or injured abroad? What if my luggage is lost or stolen? What if my trip has to be canceled or interrupted? What if mother nature acts up and an unforeseen natural disaster occurs? What if I require an emergency evacuation back to the United States?
While most travelers already have a domestic health insurance plan; the issue is whether this said plan will cover any doctor or hospital visits while traveling abroad. Generally speaking, most major insurance companies will only cover care needed to treat an emergency, while co-insurance, deductibles, and other plan requirements still apply. Also, most insurance companies require that you pay out-of-pocket abroad and submit your claims for reimbursement when you return home. Note that each health plan has different inclusions and exclusions and definitions of what an emergency is.
So what exactly is travel insurance and why should I get it? Travel insurance can help fill in any coverage gaps in your current domestic health insurance plan and can also act as a primary health insurance policy for full-time travelers such as myself. In addition to acting as medical insurance, some travel insurance policies can also help cover trip cancellations or trip interruptions due to a sickness or injury before you leave (other reasons may include the death of a family member or an unforeseen natural disaster), baggage protection (a reimbursement to you for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage), political, natural disaster and emergency medical evacuation, and felonious assault benefits. This list goes on and on.
There are a plethora of travel insurance companies to choose from and it can seem very overwhelming. Travel insurance is the single most important thing that you will need for your trip when traveling abroad. Why? We are talking about your life, your health, and, let’s be honest, your bank account and your future ability or inability to travel this great big wonderful world again if you choose to not insure yourself.
Let’s face it, getting sick is expensive, but having to be airlifted to a hospital because of a motorcycle injury while on vacation or having open heart surgery because of an unexpected heart attack while enjoying your time in Italy can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even non-health related events like losing your luggage or having to cancel your trip to Bali and fly back home because of an unexpected death in the family can be very costly. Having travel insurance can help offset these costs greatly and ensure that you and your family will not be burdened with costly medical bills and/or untraveled, expensive trips.
Prior to leaving the U.S. back in February 2017, I did extensive research on many travel insurance companies so that I could get the most comprehensive travel insurance plan that would provide the most benefits for both my husband and I. We decided to go with Seven Corners. Seven Corners offers high coverage limits on your medical expenses (up to $5,000,000) for the plan we chose (Liaison Majestic– up to 364 days of coverage, renewable up to 3 years). Although $5,000,000 is extremely high, this is extremely important for circumstances when you are sick, injured, or hospitalized and your high medical bills add up quickly. I chose a $1,000,000 policy which was probably more than we needed but I wanted to err on the more cautious side. Seven Corners also offers deductibles ranging from $0 – $5,000 which is great for many different budgets. Another perk offered by Seven Corners is that they offer Hazardous Sports Coverage as an add-on to their travel insurance for a nominal fee. This was very important for us as we like to occasionally rent a scooter and explore the towns we visit. Without this type of coverage on a travel insurance plan, if we were to get injured during a scooter ride, we would not be covered.
A great travel insurance policy should always cover most countries throughout the world. Seven Corners does just that; it allows you to choose each country you will visit individually from a drop-down box and list them on your policy. A great travel insurance policy should always offer emergency evacuation to the nearest medical facilities or from the hospital to your home and should provide 24/7 emergency services to arrange said evacuations and other travel advice. It should also provide trip reimbursement for travel expenses due to a sudden illness, injury, emergency, etc. and replacement of lost checked luggage.
The reason I chose Seven Corners travel insurance is that in addition to the aforementioned benefits I just discussed, Seven Corners Liaison Majestic Plan also provides dental coverage, a local ambulance benefit, emergency medical reunion (if medically evacuated, a person of your choice is to be beside with you, while hospitalized), return of mortal remains to home country, replacement accommodation if there is a natural disaster, pre-existing illness coverage up to $20,000, medical expenses due to an injury or illness related to a terrorist event, felonious act, or political evacuation, and medical coverage for illness or injury during visits back in the United States.
Know that even the best travel insurance companies have their limits. Make sure to read the fine print. Medical travel insurance is more about EMERGENCY situations you hope you never find yourself in. You cannot get an annual physical or a dental cleaning with travel insurance. There is a 99.9% chance you will never need your travel insurance but accidents happen and when you do need it you and your wallet will sure be glad you purchased it.
Be smart, buy travel health insurance and have safe and happy travels.
*Legal Disclaimer: Even though I have my Doctorate, the contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the website (“Content”) are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.