When you go on vacation, you don’t leave anything to chance.
You make sure you have your reservations in place, all down payments squared away, an itinerary set up, and everything you need to take with you all ready to go. But if you skimp on medical insurance, you may be setting yourself up for some trouble, even if you already have a regular health insurance policy in place.
Travel insurance is common enough, and it takes care of things like property damaged during travel or cancelled trips, that sort of thing. But travel health insurance takes care of those medical emergencies otherwise not covered by your normal medical policy.
It Could Happen To You …
They’re called “accidents” and not “deliberates” for a reason. No one plans for these sort of things to happen.
For example, this man was attacked by a shark while surfing in Indonesia (the man was surfing, not the shark). The travel health insurance covered the hospital stay and all of the expenses incurred as a result of the incident, even including his airfare home.
Or the problem can even be something as trivial sounding as getting bonked on the head with a coconut, an incident that in this particular case cost almost a thousand dollars as well as some nasty headaches, no doubt.
But Isn’t A Regular Health Plan Enough?
The funny thing about health plans is, each one has its own set of rules, including what’s covered, and where’s it covered. It’s a prudent idea to check out your policy and see what the rules are concerning emergency medical treatment outside of your country.
Furthermore, some vacation activities are considered hazardous, and may be specifically ruled out by your insurance company, things like bungee jumping, parachuting, mountaineering, or hang gliding. Again, check your policy.
Different Countries, Different Standards
As if the idea of “anything could happen” isn’t scary enough, remember that not every country has the same standards for health care. As much as people like to moan about America’s health care, for instance, it’s a far cry better than what you can expect, say, in Hong Kong, which is reputed to have the most expensive health care in the world. Ambulance drivers in China aren’t even required to have first aid training, or any medical training, for that matter. You need to make sure you have adequate protection for the place you’re going to.
Travel Health Insurance
These are the most popular insurance types you can get. There’s Travelers Health Insurance, that covers hospital visits, doctor visits, and accidents. Then there’s Medical Evacuation Insurance, that covers transportation to hospitals (and those expenses are definitely different than the actual visit, mind you). In addition, there’s also the insurance types that aren’t directly health-related, Trip Cancellation Insurance, and Baggage/Property Insurance, which cover exactly what their names imply. The latter two are important to have if your medical emergency ends up ruining your trip, or your property was somehow lost or stolen during the incident in question.
Knowledge Is The Cure-All
In many of these cases, a lot of headaches (and other types of aches!) can be avoided by the simple act of being better informed. Research your insurance policy’s limitations. Research the place that you intend to go for your vacation, with an eye towards the risks and the medical/health care practices. Know what it is you’re getting into. An informed traveler will avoid unnecessary risks and expenses.
Oh, and then definitely get some travel medical insurance…