Things you need to know when buying travel insurance.

Before embarking on travel, it is recommended to secure travel insurance, even for local travel but definitely for international travel. Travel Insurance can arrange medical treatment in an emergency, monitor your care, serve as interpreters, help you replace lost passports and so much more.  There are many pointers that you should know and there many facts you should find out prior to travel. A few things you should know about travel insurance:

  • Benefits vary by plan. It’s important to choose a plan that fits your needs, your budget and your travel plans. Here are definitions of all available travel insurance benefits.
  • Coverage – Travel insurance can’t cover every possible situation. Allianz Global Assistance offers named perils travel insurance, which means it covers only the specific situations, events, and losses included in your plan documents, and only under the conditions we describe. Travel insurance is designed to cover unforeseeable events— not things you could easily see coming, or things within your control. If, for example, you wait to buy insurance for your beach trip until after a named hurricane is hustling toward your destination, your losses wouldn’t be covered.

First before leaving your country take some time to review your own local insurance policy. Consider calling your insurance representative if you’re not quite sure about what or how much your coverage allows. Also it’s important to note the difference between travel protection, Which includes coverage for a trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delay benefits, baggage loss or damage or delay, change fee, frequent travel loyalty plan coverage  and travel  insurance, which is akin to health insurance coverage and includes travel protection. The following items are worth checking:

  • Does your local insurance provide medevac transportation from out of state or out of country locations?
  • Does your local insurance cover for emergent care in foreign countries or out of state?
  • If your local insurance provider does not directly pay out of state or foreign countries, do they allow you to provide a claim for reimbursement once returning home?
  • Does your local insurance provider offer reciprocal coverage in other countries, this is because some local insurance carriers have a global presence?
  • Can your local insurance carrier suggest preferred physician clinics or hospital organizations in foreign countries that they would recommend for care if needed?

Secondly, you need to review your travel style and plans for travel Because it’s impacts your cost:

  • Are you a careful planner where you need to have every aspect of your vacation preplanned including hotels, tours etc.
  • Are you a spontaneous adventurous risk-taker traveler, more of a free spirit with flexible travel plan dates with frequent extension of your visits and changes to your return date?
  • Are you more concerned with saving money?
  • Where are you more concerned with preserving your Peace of Mind and prefer to save well established hotel chains etc.
  • Does your trip have multiple segments?
  • Do you plan on taking multiple trips in a 12 month period?
  • Will this be a solo travel, travel with a partner or a stranger, travel with children?

Some recommended insurance carriers for international travel:

Allianz global assistance (owned by Allianz SE)

Generali global assistance – Parent cpy The Europ Assistance (EA) Group

Seven corners

Travelex (Australian owned parent company Cover-More Group)

Travel guard (Parent company)

World nomads

MedjetAssist – medical evacuation membership, has access to over 250 private air ambulances that evacuated hospitalized patients

What is the significance of Including your primary care doctor in your travel medical decisions?

Because you have a relationship with your primary care physician and he or she knows your history and has had a professional relationship with you over many years it’s important to include this person in your decision-making. Part of the reason for including your primary care physician in your decision-making as it relates to medical care being sought abroad is that he or she is familiar with you and is incentivized to steer you in one direction or another. The recommendations will be solely based on what is in the best interest of you and your health.

What is important to note is that for various reasons complications can occur upon returning home to your original country. You may need extensive follow-up care on return. This situation can be very problematic for your primary care physician upon your return. It may be necessary just to monitor the course of an uneventful recovery however problems can arise when confronted with the fact that returning medical tourists often do not have records of the procedures that you underwent and/or the medications that you received nor contact information for the foreign health care professionals who provided the services. When your primary care physician at home is asked to make right what went wrong when you have experienced complications as a result of the medical travel, this can be very difficult and problematic. The reason is, if your primary physician has not been previously informed about your plans or about your travel or your procedure and he/she has not been a part of the decision-making process.

Some of the risks involved in travel overseas for medical care as mentioned involve the post treatment care which will then be the responsibility of the medical care system in your home country under your primary physician. If your physician is not willing to assume this responsibility, then you may have to return to the country that provided the medical care initially. This could obviously pose a lot of problems for you. Other concerns are that foreign laws governing medical liability are not as strict as those in the United States which is one of the reasons why their costs are so low, but this could leave you with limited recourse for compensation if medical malpractice is suspected. Additionally, there is no one to complain to because many of these physicians over in other countries are not regulated by the same organizations and boards that your primary care physician may be.

Lastly, having a team to coordinate your care that has worked with the physician and team who provided your care to begin with cannot be emphasized enough. Preferably if your physician had been involved in the decision-making process in the beginning this following through afterwards especially with coordinating care with the doctors in the foreign country, this could provide a seamless course of care upon your return.


Healthcare beyond borders