• Travel Insurance Blog

  • Monday, August 21, 2017

With natural disasters like the Japan tsunami, the Australian floods and the earthquake in New Zealand fresh in people’s minds, more and more are recognizing the benefits of travel insurance and trip cancellation insurance. Many people are seeing that the chance of a weather event affecting their trip is reasonably high.

In times of economic hardship and uncertainty, more and more people are making sure their hard earned money is protected should they need to cancel a trip. And awareness is growing about how expensive it can be to treat illness abroad without insurance.

Because an increasing number of people are traveling abroad, everyone knows someone who had a bad experience with weather, health or crime abroad. Travelers are looking to comprehensive travel insurance to meet their needs should the worst happen.

Gone are the days when most people would travel without insurance unless they were traveling to the most inhospitable places in the world. Today travel insurance is as much a part of the vacation as the suitcase and carry-on bag.

You are planning a trip overseas and start completing your “to do” list of tasks before you set off. One thing you think about is health insurance. Do you need to worry about international medical insurance? Surely you’re covered under your own health insurance policy?

The answer is, probably not. And you do need to be concerned about medical coverage abroad. You may get sick or be injured while you are away. You need to make sure you have a way of paying your medical bills aboard.

The Medicare program will not cover you for any medical costs you incur while abroad. And other health care plans will not provide coverage for medical treatment abroad. If you don’t have adequate travel medical insurance, you could end up paying the bill yourself.

You may be refused service if you are uninsured abroad. And you may end up with a huge medical bill if you require an evacuation to a better medical facility. Your medical care abroad is your responsibility, not your health insurer’s, so make sure you have travel medical insurance before you leave.

Don’t assume that your regular health insurance plan will help you when you travel abroad on vacation or business. It’s important to check before you leave. It is more than likely that you will need an international medical insurance plan because most health plans don’t cover international travel like a travel insurance plan will.

Ask your health insurer, will my policy be valid outside the United States? Will my policy cover medical emergencies like treatment in hospital abroad or evacuation in an air ambulance?

Also ask if your policy covers you for injuries sustained during activities like scuba diving, climbing and parasailing. You need specific cover for these activities if you are going to be enjoying them.

Check if your health insurer has a support centre or helpline you can use abroad. And make sure your insurer guarantees medical treatment abroad and doesn’t make you pay the full cost of your medical bills. If it doesn’t, you need to buy a specialist travel insurance policy.

International travel insurance is for covering risks, not covering situations, so it has traditionally not covered people for pre-existing medical conditions. These are conditions that the insured knows they have at the time of applying for insurance. How does international travel insurance exclude these conditions, and why?

Most travel insurance policies won’t pay for treatment that arises out of a condition for which the insured previously was diagnosed, experienced symptoms or had treatment. For example, you suffered a heart attack, you were treated, and you will not be able to find an insurance policy to pay for treatment for a second heart attack unless many years have passed.

If you are fully recovered from your previous condition, you still may not be covered. The insurance coverage generally depends on if you have had any treatment within a couple of years, whether or not you have been given the medical all-clear.

You may be able to get coverage for a pre-existing condition on the payment of a higher premium. If you are older, there are a number of policies that specifically cater for people who have suffered ill health in the past.

If you think the only way to buy travel insurance is separately, every time you travel, think again. Annual travel insurance can be a much more economical and convenient alternative for business people taking a lot of work trips abroad and families who enjoy more than one overseas vacation each year. Annual travel insurance takes the hassle out of buying a separate policy each time.
Annual travel insurance covers you for multiple trips of less than 30 days each. You’ll be surprised at how much your travel insurance bill can add up to if you buy a separate insurance policy each time your travel – with an annual insurance policy you can benefit from some significant savings.

If you take a lot of short trips each year it can be a hassle to purchase travel insurance for each one. There may be occasions when you forget to buy insurance, leaving you open to high medical bills.

Buy one annual policy a year then forget about buying insurance for 12 months. You can concentrate on planning your trips, rather than standing in line or spending time on the phone setting up your policy.

Many international travel insurance policies don’t cover you for winter sports activities and the injuries you may sustain while on the slopes. With these injuries likely to result in hospitalization, the chances are high that you suffer large medical bills if you take part in winter sports without international travel medical insurance.

The combination of many skiing and snow boarding injuries being quite serious – like a broken leg or arm - and the quite frequent need for evacuation by air ambulance creates the potential for some serious medical bills. If you’re not covered, you will have to meet this cost yourself.

Many standard policies don’t include winter sports because insurers see them as too risky. You need to check and ask for a winter sports insurance package to make sure you are covered on your winter vacation.

Most policies like this cover skiing and snowboarding. Other policies include glacier trekking, ice skating, riding on snow mobiles and heliskiing. If you think you will be taking part in activities like these, check you are covered before you have a costly accident.

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Trip Cancellation Insurance
International Medical Insurance - Short Term