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HEALTH | Travel Insurance, Don’t Leave the Country Without It

Many travelers are aware of trip cancellation travel insurance, where prepaid, nonrefundable expenses are reimbursed if travel is cancelled for a covered reason. Prepaid, nonrefundable expenses are capped, so exposure is limited. Trip cancellation insurance may not be the right decision for all travelers. If you do not purchase extended warranties on electronics, you are not likely going to be interested in trip cancellation insurance.

The most valuable aspect of travel insurance for international travelers is emergency medical coverage including both treatment and medical transport if necessary. Many health insurance plans have limited, or no, international medical coverage. For travelers over 65, Medicare does not have any international medical coverage. Medigap policies Plan F, offer limited international medical coverage.

Travel insurance does not have to be expensive. In 2017, a couple both 65 or older traveling to Europe for two weeks could purchase a medical travel insurance policy that included $1 million in medical evacuation coverage and $1 million of medical coverage for $400. The same couple could purchase a policy that included $100,000 of medical evacuation coverage and $50,000 of medical coverage for $145.

My family has spent some time in foreign emergency rooms. We were fortunate that we were fully recovered before we were scheduled to return home and were able to return home of our own accord. However, if either of those situations required medical evacuation, without coverage the costs could have been devastating. Incidentally, one of the hospitals required payment before treatment, so our son was literally having an asthma attack and they would not help him until after we had prepaid for services.

It is unlikely your international travel will include a medical emergency, but if it does you will be very glad you had international medical coverage travel insurance. Our office has an outstanding healthcare consultant who is available to help identify optimal travel insurance policies. Other resources include

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