Every country in the world has their own sets of laws and policies that govern how residents pay for medical care. Some have socialized care which is provided by the government or privatized care where the patient pays for the care out of their own pocket or through insurance.
So, what happens if you are visiting a country and need medical attention?
In most cases even if the country has free healthcare for its own citizens, a foreign visitor will have to pay for their own bills. This is one of the leading reasons that vacationers purchase travel insurance. They want to avoid the bills and costs associated with an unexpected medical expense abroad.
Medical Expense Coverage
When planning a vacation, tourists always think of the great time they are going to have. Whether that includes lounging at the pool, getting a tan on the beach or enjoying a drink at a trendy bar, most dream vacations do not include illness or injury. However, it is a risk we all take when we leave our homes. This risk is most amplified when we are in unfamiliar locations or taking part in activities that can lead to getting hurt. Since we have no control over accidents or illness, it is best to be prepared.
Medical expenses coverage is there to pay for emergency treatment in case you fall sick or get hurt on holiday. Depending on the type of cover you have purchased, the following protections are included:
- Emergency Treatment and Medical Expenses
- Travel and Accommodation Costs
- Search and Rescue Costs
- Hospital Expenses
- Travel and Accommodation of Companion (Someone to stay with you while In the Hospital)
Exceptions for Medical Cover
It is important to read the wording of your policy carefully before departing on your trip. This makes sure that you know exactly what is covered in case of an issue during your holiday.
A common thing that vacationers overlook is that some travel insurance does not offer benefits if you are found to be under the influence of alcohol when injured. Most people will probably have a glass of wine or some scotch if they are on vacation, so it is something to be aware of when traveling. Some policies also do not cover accidents that happen if the insured is under the influence of recreational or illegal drugs.
Activities not Covered in Medical Expense
Some other points to keep in mind is that travel insurance policies also have language that points out that injuries sustained because of violent activities or behavior will not be covered. Insurance providers also have restrictions on what type of activities they cover during your vacation. So normal sightseeing and tours may be covered but you could be denied medical expenses if you injure yourself in a high-risk activity like mountain climbing. Always check the language in your policy about what type of activities are covered. You may need to upgrade your policy if you plan on going for example on a ski trip instead of regular visit to a city like Paris.
Medical expenses are standard for most travel insurance policies. What you need to keep in mind is that the coverage level and other restrictions vary. The best way to avoid being blindsided by a refusal from the insurance company for a medical expense is to go over all the details before making a purchase.
Emergency & Necessary Treatment
Travel insurance policies cover emergency or necessary treatments that are needed in the case of an illness or injury. Basically, this means that any medical procedure that is required to treat you after getting hurt or sick is covered. Emergency treatments are where you need immediate medical attention. Necessary treatments are ones that are needed and cannot be delayed or averted. However, anything beyond that is not covered. For example, cosmetic procedures or a regular medical checkup will not fall under this cover (with the exception of our wellness checkup benefit.)
Medical repatriation is the act of bringing the insured back to their country of origin because of an illness or injury that cuts their trip short. Many travel insurance policies have medical repatriation as part of medical expenses cover. In some cases, repatriation can become quite expensive especially if they require new tickets or travel plans that need to be arranged in a short period of time. Special chartered flights with the proper medical facilities may be needed to transport a patient. These special flights are called air ambulances and you should check the language in your insurance to confirm that they are included as part of repatriation. However, these sort of travel arrangements may not always be approved by the travel insurance company. If the movement of the patient is deemed harmful, alternative solutions may be provided. This is usually decided on a case by case basis so you should keep in mind that an air ambulance is not always the best solution.
Travel Insurance medical expenses may also cover a few other items like the cost of tickets and accommodation that must be forgone because the policy holder had to leave early. Another aspect of this is when a tourist receives treatment and is not fit to travel. They may need a few days or weeks to recover before they can depart for their home country. Travel insurance also covers these expenses and you should always speak with your provider about these points before purchasing a plan.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
Some travelers may have existing medical conditions that can be a problem or may make their travel riskier when compared to a healthy individual. It is best to speak with your insurance provider and tell them about your pre-existing condition so that they can help you get the right coverage. If you do not do this, it is likely that any medical emergencies that may arise during your travel because of your condition will not be covered by travel insurance.
Steps to Take During a Medical Emergency
Even though insurance providers try to be as customer friendly as possible, you cannot just call up the company and expect benefits. In case of an emergency you must follow certain steps to ensure that you get reimbursements and the coverage that you are entitled to under your policy. There can be variation between travel insurance so always read your policy documents, so you know the procedures for your specific plan. If you are not sure what to do, you can always contact the sales or support team and ask them directly before you travel so that you are prepared.
If you are on vacation and are faced with a medical emergency, then follow the below steps and you should have all your bases covered:
- Immediately call the hotline for your travel insurance provider. Normally there should be a customer support person that can help you through a medical emergency. Make sure you keep the contact number and contact method readily available at all time while traveling. If you are unable to do it yourself have a relative or travel companion do it for you.
- Always keep cash or credit card on hand to pay for certain expenses on the fly. Sometimes you cannot wait or delay while waiting for the insurance company. In other cases, it is not possible for the medical staff to take payment from the insurance. So, it’s best to make these smaller payments yourself and then get reimbursed by insurance later.
- Depending on where you are vacationing, the hospital may not offer any medical assistance unless they are assured that you can pay for the bills. You should relay this information to the travel insurance hotline so they can guide you on how to give the hospital staff this confirmation.
- The bulk of your treatment and medical bills will be covered by insurance. The hotline will arrange for guarantees to present to the hospital or clinic.
- Always document everything. This includes itemized bills, doctors’ notes, lab reports and receipts for medicine and other medically necessary items. The more proofs you have the better it is when filing claims. The travel insurance provider will require all this information when you reach back home.
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at 6 May 2020
Traditional Travel Insurance vs Airline Insurance
Buying airlines tickets has become incredibly easy. Most people don’t even use travel agents anymore. They simply hop online, search using a flight aggregator and select a flight that best fits their needs. In most cases they pay for the ticket online through the airlines website and receive an email with confirmation and a digital ticket. No human interaction whatsoever. Airlines have kept up to speed with the behaviors of their customers and are offering more and more options to travelers on their websites or through their apps. One such added value is the ability to purchase travel insurance right after your ticket.
For most people this may seem like a great deal and a convenient solution. However, is the airline insurance really just as good as traditional travel insurance? We explore the difference between the two in this post.
Airlines are not obligated to offer their passengers any sort of travel coverage. This is an extra service they offer as a convenience to their customers. There is no standard or baseline travel insurance on offer by all the airlines. Some carriers do not even offer travel insurance. While others use third parties to give coverage plans to people that are interested. With such a large spectrum of insurances on offer it becomes difficult to compare plans.
As mentioned above, airline travel plans can vary in many ways including benefits, costs and types of coverage. For example, one carrier’s insurance may cover the entire cost of your trip while another may have a set limit of up to a $1000. There can also be difference in benefits, like medical coverage or lost baggage. Plans also come in many different price points, from the very cheap to fairly expensive. All this can once again make it hard to understand or compare plans.
Lack of Choice
Another problematic part of buying airline insurance is that travelers have no choice. In most cases an airline has an underwriter to their insurance and that is the only one a ticket holder can select. This means even if the insurance company is not your first choice, you are forced to go with them if you buy through the airline.
More Lack of Choice.
The lack of options does not stop with just the underwriter or third-party provider. Most airlines only have one plan that you can avail. A one solution fits all approach is used which can leave you exposed to risks that you would normally want to have covered. Since there is no customization of plans you may find that sometimes many of activities you wish to participate in during your trip are not covered. One common example is if you are into adventure sports and take a trip on which you will be rock climbing, the airline insurance may not cover this type of high-risk activity.
Independent Travel Insurance Offer True Choice
One of the great things about purchasing traditional travel insurance is that you have actual choice. A traveler can easily shop around for price, benefits and plans. There is no limit on who you purchase from and what type of coverage you get. When buying regular travel insurance, you can work with agents to find the plans that suit your needs and give you coverage where you need. Whether that is higher reimbursement for baggage because you are carrying expensive camera equipment or better medical coverage because you are taking a trip to an area that has a high chance of disease. Traditional travel insurance gives you the ability to make choices that will reflect the risks you expect to face.
Expertise in Travel Insurance
Airlines are essentially middlemen for the insurance provider. This means that they are not the most knowledgeable about the coverage. When you deal with a travel insurance provider directly, you get the massive benefit of interacting with experts in the field who have firsthand knowledge. They can offer guidance and recommendations that will save you time, money and headaches.
So the next time you need travel insurance, weight the pros and cons of airline travel insurance and traditional travel insurance and make an informed decision that is best for your circumstances.
Talk to one of our expert customer service specialist about what plan works best for you here
at 31 Mar 2020
Essential Travel Documents: A Quick List for Every Traveler
Traveling to new country for the first time is always a thrill. Most tourists plan for months in advance. They work out their itinerary from departure to return making sure they have all the tourist hotspots mapped out and scheduled. Hotel bookings are another priority and travelers browse online forums and review sites to find the right location for their stay. However, one thing many people don’t pay attention to are their travel documents. In many instances it is the last thing on their mind hastily grabbed on the way out the door. We suggest that a little more importance is given to these documents. They could end up saving you a lot of headache when you travel abroad or domestically. Here is our list of the must have documents for you next trip.
Government Issued Identification
The most important document that you should have with you is an official Identification. In most cases this will be your driver’s license or Passport for international travel. Some experts advise travelers to carry their birth certificate also in case they lose IDs and need to prove their citizenship. If you have served in the armed forces than having your U.S. Military ID is also a good idea.
Visa and Green Card
When going to a new country it is always important to have the correct visas in place. This makes entering and leaving foreign countries smooth and easy. When coming back to the United States, permanent residents should have their Green Card ready or other visa documents on their person to present to immigration officials.
Credit Card and Copies of Credit Card
With credit card scams becoming a global issue, some airlines in certain countries will request that passengers show the credit card or proof that the ticket was purchased properly. Carrying a copy of the credit card or the actual card itself can be very helpful in these situations.
Remembering the details for even a single flight can be troublesome. Imagine having to keep details of multiple international flights with connecting flights in your memory. The best approach to avoid forgetting any detail is to keep a photocopy of your itinerary with you along with a digital copy on your mobile device.
Many travel insurance documents are quite long and lugging around the pages may be a hassle. However, having this information on hand can be very useful when in a tough spot. Insurance providers may also have digital versions of the document for you to keep in your email or phone. This way you don’t have to keep bulky documents in your luggage but have the details you need anywhere you travel.
the Yes, a hard copy of your travel insurance certificate can often be very long (30-60 pages depending on the plan). If you should need to read the fine print of your travel insurance plan due to a stressful situation, you may be glad you have a copy. Also make sure to have the contact information of your travel insurance provider on hand so that you can call them in a pinch.
Copies of All Documents
One final tip is to make sure you have photocopies of all your travel documents. Keep these separate from your original documents so that if one set gets lost, you have a backup in place. Another recommendation is to keep a digital copy of these documents on your phone. To be even more safe, save the documents to your email or a digital drop box so that you can access it from anywhere, even if you don’t have your phone.
at 18 Mar 2020
The global COVID-19 outbreak has put air travel into a tailspin. Nervous passengers are cancelling flights or postponing trips. Airlines themselves have been forced to drop routes to countries heavily effected by the pandemic and offer free cancellations. Now that the disease itself has moved on to other countries from China, people find themselves questioning whether they should even leave their homes. If you are one of these concerned people, here are some tips on protecting yourself while traveling and also keeping you calm.
Pre-departure Coronavirus Checklist
- Look at your departure date and see when you are travelling. If you have a month to go, it may be best to keep an eye on the situation and see how it develops before cancelling or rescheduling your flight.
- Get in touch with your travel provider or airline to make sure that your flight will be running, and no change has taken place.
- Make sure you are up to date on travel advisories by the State Department or CDC. You can also check the WHO website to get details on the situation in countries around the globe.
- Make sure to protect your trip with Travel Insurance. Contact your travel Insurance provider to ensure you have the proper coverage for your trip.
Healthy Practices When Traveling
- Practice good personal hygiene and wash your hands properly. This means making sure you use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after being in a public area like an airport or airplane.
- Do not touch your face, especially If your hands are not clean. The virus is transmitted through the eyes, nose and mouth and the best way to avoid this is to not directly put your hands on your face.
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. It is recommended that you don’t cough into your hand and instead use a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Use a hand sanitizer that works to kill off viruses. Check the label to see how well the product works.
- Carry a roll of sanitizing napkins so you can quickly wipe down areas where you sit and eat.
- If you would like to use a face mask, get one that fits your face properly and is meant to prevent spread of disease. Not all masks are made the same so some research should go into your purchase.
At the end of the day, deciding to travel is dependent on you. If you feel comfortable traveling, then you can make the choice. However, if you do not wish to take the risk then staying at home is the best course of action. However, staying calm is important whether you are on a plane, at the airport or at home.
at 17 Mar 2020
Cash has been replaced by plastic in most aspects of our life. From online shopping to paying bills, many of us use credit cards to make transactions. As credit cards become more accepted across the globe and easier to use, travelers have started to ditch cash and just rely on cards. They are just easier to carry, don’t have the same risk associated when lugging around a large amount of cash. Credit card companies have noticed the behavior of their customers and offer travelers many different perks and incentives. Some credit cards give away airline miles, while some offer trip protection. Many travelers wonder if credit card travel protection is the same as standard travel insurance. In this post, we will see how the two products differ from each other.
When you rely on credit card travel insurance you have no choice in what type of coverage you get. The card has a set policy which all users are offered. It cannot be customized or tailored to fit your specific needs. When you buy travel insurance you have the ability to pick and choose a plan that fits your criteria. You can look at getting higher coverage for specific things like baggage, medical or extreme sports. You do not have to accept a one-size fits all policy.
Credit cards usually have fewer benefits when compared with regular travel insurance. Generally speaking, card protection can include trip cancellation or interruption, trip delay, lost luggage, rental car protection, and medical protection. However, when you put these benefits next to traditional travel insurance they are usually lacking. In some cases, these benefits do not exist at all with credit cards.
Some credit cards only offer protection for travel and trips that have purchased through their card. That means if you rent a car with cash, it will not be covered under your credit card. Additionally, most credit card plans only cover up to a specific dollar amount, not 100% of the trip cost. With standard travel insurance, you can use whatever mode of purchase you like and insure the total amount paid for your trip.
Credit card trip insurance and normal travel protection have specific covered reasons that trigger benefits. Credit cards once again lag in this area and have fewer covered reasons while traditional travel insurance can trigger benefits with a wider set of reasons.
Credit Card companies are generally not experts in the field of travel insurance. They offer trip protection as an added benefit. Travel Insurance providers are professionals in the field and have the resources and knowledge to guide you when you have questions about your plan or are stuck in a emergency situation in an unfamiliar place.
Get the Details
In order to make the best choice, we recommend getting in touch with your credit card provider and ask them about their travel coverage. This is the only way you truly know what they have to offer. And when you want to get information about Travel Insurance, you can get in touch with the customer support team at Trawick International. We will guide you to the right plan that will offer the benefits you need for you next trip.
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at 13 Mar 2020