Healthy Travel: Why You Should Be Using Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is one of those extra expenses that most of us elect to go without. But it could be a real lifesaver should you run into trouble when traveling abroad. Here’s why you shouldn't leave home without it.

June 14, 2016
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Traveling to a foreign country can be one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences ever—exposing us to new cultures, fascinating history, and breathtaking landscapes that just aren’t available back home. But those travel experiences can turn into a horrible nightmare if plans go awry and we end up facing health issues while on the road. Purchasing travel insurance can help alleviate the worries that come with dealing with those issues, however, helping to keep you safe, get you proper medical attention, and cover unexpected expenses. Here’s why you should be using travel insurance when you go abroad.

Unexpected Medical Expenses

While you’re traveling domestically, your usual medical insurance will typically cover your costs should something go wrong and you end up needing to see a doctor. But most policies don’t extend coverage to overseas travel, leaving you in the lurch if an emergency occurs. Travel insurance can pick up the slack in this department, however, providing coverage for those unexpected trips to the emergency room after you accidentally turn an ankle while walking the gardens of Versailles or get run over by a bull in Pamplona. Having travel insurance means you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to afford to pay those bills.

Prescription Medications

Inpatient and outpatient care isn’t the only expense that travel insurance will cover. Most policies will also pay for any medications that you might need should you get injured or become ill while traveling overseas. If a doctor writes you a prescription for just about any kind of drug, your travel insurance will pick up the tab or reimburse you for the expense. Once again, this can end up saving you a lot of money and help you to stay healthy while visiting another country.

Emergency Evacuation Coverage

You could potentially be hundreds—if not thousands—of miles from the closest hospital if you suffer an injury or become ill while traveling through a remote region of the world. But with the proper medical insurance, you can get emergency evacuation coverage too. That means that should you find yourself in need of medical attention and unable to reach a medical center on your own, a helicopter or other form of transportation will be dispatched to retrieve you and deliver you to the nearest facility. In some cases, you can even request to be transported home to the hospital of your choice. Be careful, though. Not all policies offer evacuation coverage, and an emergency flight can cost a pretty penny.

Emergency Reunion

Should you experience a serious illness or accident that prevents you from being able to travel home, most travel insurance policies will cover the expenses for a family member, such as a parent or spouse, to come visit. Those expenses include airfare and accommodations to your destination.

24/7 Emergency Hotline

Most travel insurance companies offer a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week emergency hotline that is available to answer questions, recommend hospitals and doctors, provide directions to pharmacies, and coordinate evacuation or rescue operations. That same hotline can also help you recover a lost passport, wire money if yours is lost or stolen, help recover lost travel gear, and more.

Other Benefits

Purchasing a travel insurance policy brings some extra benefits aside from health and medical coverage. For instance, it also protects your investment. We all know that travel can be expensive, and unexpected things can happen along the way, so most travel insurance plans also offer trip cancellation coverage to reimburse your expenses if for some reason the trip doesn’t move ahead as expected. The coverage will typically pay out if flights are cancelled due to bad weather, a natural disaster occurs, a tour operator scams you out of money, or other issues bring your dream vacation to a halt.

Other common benefits include reimbursement for expenses brought on by a trip being delayed by missed connecting flights and for lost luggage. With a travel insurance policy backing you up, the sting of those disappointments is greatly diminished, as is the strain that is put on your savings account. Many travel insurance policies will even provide a life insurance payout to a beneficiary if someone should pass away while traveling.

The cost of travel insurance varies depending on the length of the trip, as well as the destination and planned activities. Generally speaking, though, it is usually priced competitively enough that just about anyone can afford it. Considering the coverage it provides, good travel insurance is probably something that most people can’t afford to be without.

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