With the many recent bankruptcies in the travel industry, and with the increased threat of terrorism overseas, travel insurance has become one of the most important investments you can make before your next trip.
How much would it cost if you needed to cancel your trip or come home early? Who would you call if you suddenly fell ill in your overseas hotel room? How will you navigate the local health care system if you get run over by a local bicyclist? Travel insurance can cover a lot more than trip cancellation costs and lost luggage.
Unlike most insurance policies that are purchased annually, most travel insurance covers a single trip. Single trip travel insurance is designed for those of us who take one main holiday a year or who prefer to have a few short breaks from the daily grind.
However, if you travel often, you can purchase a multi-trip policy that covers all your travel for a specified period of time, depending on your needs. The right policy is the best way to minimize the financial risks of traveling overseas.
Although many people think of trip cancellation coverage when they think of travel insurance, the medical element of travel insurance may be more important, especially if your group health plan does not have benefits outside your own country. In fact, travel Insurance is highly recommended by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for all overseas travel.
Before going abroad, learn what medical services your own health insurance will cover overseas. If your emergency medical care and transportation are covered by your group health policy, you may not need a separate travel policy that covers your health. However, if you have an HMO or managed care plan, or if your health care needs are covered by Medicare or your national insurance plan, you should consider an international medical policy.
Your first step is to check with your health insurance company and see what it covers. Will they help you out if you lose your prescription medication along with your luggage? Will they help you find a good hospital or an English-speaking doctor in a foreign country? Will they cover emergency evacuations if the local facilities are unable to treat your illness or accident?
If your group coverage allows claims from other countries, how long will it take for you to be reimbursed, and how easy (or difficult) is it to file a claim? Once you have answers to these questions, you'll know if you should add medical coverage to your travel insurance policy.
If you travel for business or if you are taking an extended trip lasting for several years, you may need an international health insurance policy designed specifically for expatriates and citizens traveling around the world. There are many global insurance carriers that offer life, health, disability and travel insurance to individual travelers and to companies with employees overseas.
The coverage offered by different international companies will vary a great deal from one policy to the next, so carefully review all fine print before making your choice. You might also check to see if the company is regulated by your own national laws and insurance regulations.
In a world where anything can happen, travel insurance is your ticket to safeguarding your trip. Emergency medical travel insurance is essential to protect yourself, your family and your personal finances, and to give yourself peace of mind while enjoying your vacation or business trip abroad.
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