You’ve booked that cruise, or purchased plane tickets for your dream vacation to Ireland and are now faced with the question: “Should I buy travel health insurance?” Travel insurance can help keep you covered for those times when you can’t control the weather, or your health, or when tragedy strikes. Travel health insurance, especially, can allow travelers to take control when circumstances change unexpectedly.
Whether your trip is a week or 6 months, and you plan to stay in one country or explore the region, you need to make sure your health needs are covered. You don’t want to be stuck in Mexico with a ruptured spleen, in China with a broken leg, or in France with pneumonia and not be able to pay the necessary expenses to have your issue examined.
The fine print on page two of your U.S. passport warns of traveling without health insurance. It states, “HEALTH INSURANCE. Persons considering foreign travel should determine what health insurance coverage, if any, they require while outside the United States. Medicare does not cover health care costs outside the United States and its territories, except under limited circumstances in Canada and Mexico.”
Travel insurance has been around for a long time. In 1864 a company was founded in Hartford, CT to provide insurance for people traveling by railroad. That company, still known as “Travelers” was also the company that sold the first auto policy.
According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, around 30% of Americans purchase travel insurance for their vacations, or other trips. The majority of travelers who do not are simply unaware of the benefits that they are passing up by failing to buy coverage. No matter the destination, travel insurance should be on peoples’ priority list when making travel plans. An experienced independent insurance agent will assist travelers in understanding the different kinds of travel insurance, and what is covered under the terms of a policy.
When choosing travel insurance, it is important to know the kinds of emergency situations that could occur before a trip, or while traveling domestically, or abroad. Many people are unaware that their health insurance may not cover them while they are visiting another country, and this is where travel insurance can come in. An independent insurance agent will tell travelers about how travel insurance may be a lifeline when the unexpected happens during a trip, such as if baggage containing necessary medication is lost.
You need to expect the unexpected when it comes to travel. Especially when it comes to your health. There are a variety of policies available on the marketplace today that can provide you with proper medical coverage. In general, however, there are two different types of coverage: Travel Medical and Major Medical. Both will protect you against illnesses and injuries while traveling, but the difference lies in the duration of your stay. Travel medical is for five days to a year, while major medical serves those who plan to be away for six months or longer.
The advantages of having either travel or major medical insurance are as follows:
- Coverage for medical expenses
- Assistance in locating doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities
- Evacuation or transportation to a healthcare facility (generally an additional insurance purchase)
- Specialized coverage for those traveling for business, sports, and high-risk activities.
Make sure you speak with an independent insurance agent and review the fine print of the policy before purchasing. Sometimes, certain pre-existing medical conditions will not be covered.
The costs for travel insurance vary widely and are based on several factors. These include your age, your intended destination, and your home country. If you live in the US and are planning a trip to Canada, the health insurance you already have will probably be enough coverage. However, traveling further abroad, or to a less developed country will mean purchasing a separate travel medical policy. Those countries with lower healthcare standards will reflect in your policy payments. Other countries have agreements with one another to provide free health care, such as the UK, Australia, and Sweden.
Speaking in real dollars, the cost of travel insurance is usually about 4 to 8 percent of the overall total cost of your trip. So, if your week-long trip to France costs $3,000, then your out-of-pocket payments for insurance will be between $120 and $240.
The next time you plan to travel anywhere, as yourself the following questions to determine whether your not you need to purchase travel medical insurance.
- Will I be traveling overseas?
- Will I be participating in any extreme sports?
- Can I afford to travel home for a medical emergency?
- Can I afford medical care abroad if I get sick or have an injury?
Don’t let your exciting, once-in-a-lifetime trip turn into a nightmare because of an illness. Purchase travel medical insurance today.
In meeting with an independent insurance agent, travelers can better understand the potential risks and incidents that they should prepare for when traveling. A local independent insurance agent not only understands that travel insurance can save a trip to New York when a snowstorm stops all air travel around the East Coast, but also how everyday insurance policies typically leave off where a travel insurance policy picks up.
Certainly people never plan to get sick right before a big vacation, but illness is sometimes unavoidable, even despite months of planning. An independent insurance agent will help travelers understand how travel insurance can protect their vacation in case they end up stuck in a hospital, or otherwise unable to travel due to illness. Medical emergencies before or during a trip may not be avoidable either, but peace of mind can be maintained with the purchase of a quality travel insurance policy.
By working with a local independent insurance agent to understand the options for travel insurance that are available in their area, travelers can plan a trip knowing that they can be covered in case of an unanticipated event. An experienced independent insurance agent will help travelers understand why travel insurance can be an essential purchase to offer them a more secure vacation experience.
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