First, let’s define what an International Travel Medical Insurance is. International Travel Medical Insurance is a short-term medical insurance plan that provides among other things medical coverage associated with international traveling. It is sometimes known as Travel Medical Insurance for short.
Do not confuse Travel Medical Insurance with International Health Insurance which typically is an annual plan that provides more comprehensive medical coverage for people living abroad. This is sometimes known as the Expatriate Health Insurance or Global Health Insurance.
The following are some of the typical benefits found in International Travel Medical Insurance:
- Reimbursement of eligible medical expenses,
- Trip Interruption,
- Lost checked luggage,
- Emergency medical evacuation,
- Emergency reunion,
- Emergency dental,
- Accidental death and dismemberment,
- Return of remains.
More and more International Travel Medical Insurance plans are also providing the following additional benefits as their standards:
- Terrorism coverage,
- Hospital indemnity (or hospital daily cash),
- Complications of pregnancy,
- Acute onset of a pre-existing condition,
- Natural disaster,
- Travel assistance such as pre-trip health and safety advisories, emergency cash transfers, lost passport or travel document assistance, bail bond assistance, etc.
Some may even provide:
- Incidental home country coverage for a short return to home country during coverage period,
- End of trip home country coverage of say, an additional 30 days at an extra premium.
Just like all medical insurance plans, there are deductibles, coinsurance percentages and overall maximum limits associated with International Travel Medical Insurance. Different levels and combinations of these benefit features will give rise to different premium rates.
The detailed explanations of these benefit items are beyond the scope of this paper. For more information, readers are encouraged to refer to the link provided in the resource box.
Now back to the question of “Do I need an International Travel Medical Insurance?” Before we answer this rhetorical question, let’s examine some of the real risks associated with international traveling. We are talking about risks of:
- Not knowing where to go or who to turn to when you have a medical situation in a foreign country;
- Exposing yourself and your loved ones to sub-standard medical care that may further exacerbate your pain and suffering and putting your life at risk;
- Emergency medical situations that may require you to be evacuated to save your life;
- Emergency situations that develop due to act of war, terrorism or natural disaster.
Unfortunately, the above calamities are real in the world that we all live in today. From the financial point of view, it is not wise and illogical for an individual to assume all these risks. Furthermore, some of these risks are far beyond financial and in the case of an emergency it could mean live or death.
In short, whether you travel for business or pleasure, international travel involves risk. You may arrive at your destination to find that your luggage with personal items has disappeared. A personal emergency may necessitate your early return to your Home Country. A medical emergency may require hospitalization or even air evacuation. In most cases, your existing insurance will not provide adequate protection for these and other risks. Without appropriate travel insurance, you may be exposed to significant financial risks.
Fortunately, with a quality International Travel Medical Insurance plan, the above risks can be mitigated cost effectively. For example, you can get U$1,000,000 International Travel Medical Insurance coverage at as low as $1.50 per day. This is probably less than the cost of a bottle of mineral water!
So, do you need an International Travel Medical Insurance to cover you and your loved ones? The answer is obviously!
Go see the world, but don’t leave home without a good International Travel Medical Insurance!