Before you travel, consider getting travel insurance to cover yourself in case delays, accidents, or illness occur on your trip. Your current medical insurance may not cover care in another country. Also, some types of travel insurance help you cover costs if your travel is cancelled or disrupted.
There are different types of insurance you should consider: (1) trip cancellation or travel disruption insurance, (2) travel health insurance, and (3) medical evacuation insurance. These will cover different situations and may give you financial peace of mind, as well as allow for safe and healthy travel.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation insurance covers your financial investment in your trip, such as flights, cruises, or train tickets. Carefully examine the policy to make sure that it covers what you need it to cover, including cancellation if you or a close family member gets sick. Depending on the policy, trip cancellation insurance might not cover any medical care you need overseas, so you may need a separate travel health insurance policy.
Trip cancellation insurance may allow you to make a last-minute cancellation or changes to your itinerary in the event of a disease outbreak. Be sure to check the fine print to see if your coverage includes disease outbreaks at intended travel destinations and if there are any restrictions.
Travel Health Insurance
If you need medical care in another country, you will likely need to pay out-of-pocket for any services. Even if a country has nationalized health care, it may not cover people who are not citizens. Before you go, consider your insurance options in case you need care while traveling. Travel health insurance is especially important if you have an existing health condition, are traveling for more than 6 months, or doing adventure activities such as scuba diving or hang gliding.
Check if your current health care covers emergencies that happen while traveling. Ask if your policy has any exclusions, such as for preexisting conditions or adventure activities. If your health insurance coverage is not adequate, consider buying a short-term supplemental policy. Look for a policy that will make payments to hospitals directly.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
If you are traveling to a remote destination or to a place where care is not likely to be up to U.S. standards, consider buying medical evacuation insurance. This can be bought separately or as part of your travel health insurance policy. Medical evacuation insurance covers emergency transportation from a remote area to a high-quality hospital, which could otherwise cost more than $100,000. Medical evacuation insurance may also evacuate people with certain infectious diseases whereas other evacuation companies may not have that capacity. Make sure that the policy provides a 24-hour physician support center.
This list is not all-inclusive, but these resources provide information about getting travel health and medical evacuation insurance:
- Department of State
- International SOS
- International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
- American Association of Retired Persons