International Travel Insurance Protects Life and Pocketbook

Man stabbed in Ecuador
In a recent blog about an unprovoked attack on an American couple in Ecuador, Lisa – one of the victims — writes, “We recently received some good news that I would like to share–Britt does have some insurance coverage that should help cover medical expenses here in the US.”

Yet Lisa goes on to admit, “We cannot be sure what our ultimate financial burden will be right now, but have no doubt that the donations people have made in his name will be needed for his recovery.”

Lisa’s blog documents the medical progress of her fiancĂ©e, Britt Leis, who was violently attacked on a beach in Ecuador. In preparation for their year-long tour of South America, Britt and Lisa sold their American belongings, packed their bags and done their research. The day of the assault they had dressed down, so as not to attract unnecessary attention. Lisa was beat by the assailants and Britt was stabbed 18 times. Authorities have not discovered the motivation behind the attack nor its abrupt end. However, they have asserted that the attackers were intending to kill and not simply to rob Lisa and Britt. Even after undergoing three surgeries in Quito, Britt’s infections were so severe that death became an eminent possibility. Finally, he was medically evacuated to the States only two months after he and Lisa had departed.

The huge cost of medical evacuation
According to msnbc.com, the evacuation alone cost over $55,000. As Lisa mentions, they are currently heavily dependent on the will and generosity of others. However, even this generosity cannot completely erase the stress and difficulty that comes with unpaid medical bills. Thankfully, Britt does have some health insurance in the States. Nevertheless, the bills he accrued while in Ecuador still had to be paid out of pocket.

The inexpensive cost of international travel insurance
Do you want to avoid paying out $55,000 for medical evacuation? I do. And all I have to do to avoid that is to pay out $29 for a month of travel. Yes, that’s right … only $29! If you are older, say about 50, your worldwide travel insurance would only cost about $35.

A good global travel insurance plan can assist you in several ways:
1. Supplement your domestic health insurance policy. Many policies are limited in what they cover when you travel abroad.
2. Inform you about which hospitals and physicians meet your standards and aid you in getting access to them.
3. Provide trip protection against trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage protection, medical evacuation and other critical services.

Talk to a reliable insurance broker before you travel.

Things To Consider When Choosing An International Health Insurance Plan – Part 1

Most will agree that Insurance Contract can be a pretty complex document to comprehend and when it comes to Health Insurance things can get even more confusing with terms like Deductible, Coinsurance, Pre-existing Conditions Limitations, Exclusions, Waiting Period, Limits Per Claim, Limits Per Year, Limits Per Lifetime, etc.

The following are, in our opinion, some of the key features to be considered when choosing an International Health Insurance plan.

Insurer’s Financial Strength

There is no point having an insurance policy that covers “everything under the sun” but when it comes to paying claim the insurer can not meet her obligation. So, the first thing you should look for when choosing an International Health Insurance plan is the financial strength of the insurance company underwriting the risk.

You want to look for an insurer that has a credit rating of at least A or A- assigned by AM Best Rating Agency which means the insurer has “Excellent” financial strength.

Administrator’s Track Record

Unlike traditional health insurance plan that provides you coverage within your home country, International Health Insurance needs to cater you with worldwide protection wherever you are and whenever you need it. Hence, you want to make sure your plan administrator has the experience in covering worldwide travelers and able to provide worldwide assistance on 24/7/365 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year) basis.

Here are some of the indicators for you to gauge your Plan Administrator:

  • The number of Members covered,
  • The number of Countries covered,
  • Foreign language capability of their Customer Service Team,
  • Availability of medical professional and
  • Last but not least, testimonials from satisfied customers.


Worldwide Assistance

When you are in a foreign land, you are facing the risks of:

  • Not knowing where to go or who to turn to when you have a medical situation in a foreign country;
  • Exposing yourself or 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

So, being able to speak to someone that speaks your language when you are in any of the above situations can be reassuring and in the case of emergency it can mean live or dead.

Ideally, your plan administrator should also provide a worldwide toll-free number for you to call for assistance from anywhere around the world.

Geographical Coverage

Due to the high medical costs in the North America, typical International Health Insurance will have 2 separate plans; one covers USA & Canada and the other excludes. Obviously, plans that cover USA & Canada cost more than those that don’t. So, choose a plan that has the geographical coverage that matches your overseas itinerary.

It is important to point out that if you are a US citizen living abroad, traditional sources of US private health insurance will not meet your needs. Geographical exclusions and provider limitations common to these policies will restrict or even eliminate the coverage available to you while you are outside the US.

If you are a non-US citizen, you may need an international medical insurance policy to supplement the coverage available to you through a plan sponsored by your government or to provide coverage while you are outside your home country. Or you may wish to have access to health care in other countries, including the US, in the event you become seriously ill.

In essence, if your lifestyle knows no geographic limits, you need an international health insurance that knows no boundaries.

The Necessity of International Travel Insurance

Everyone has an innate desire to travel abroad and go to places they’ve never been before. It certainly would be an exhilarating experience worth remembering for life.

Indeed, traveling abroad is exciting but there are things you need to brace yourself up with before you fly. These include international travel insurance. It isn’t a scam. Actually, it can be considered as a life saver in some ways. You’ll fully understand its importance once you get to your destination.

Basically, if you have international travel insurance at hand, you will never be anxious instead, you’ll have peace of mind. This is not a sales pitch. Take note, you are traveling to another country. You don’t know what to expect, right? Driving your way to a different state that has unfamiliar symbols and signs around with different names and places can be very disorienting. Good for you, if they speak the same language as yours or at least know how to speak the language you speak of.

Being in a foreign land can be discomforting as well as alarming at times. But with international travel insurance it will make it less so. Therefore, never hesitate to apply for international travel insurance before you leave the country.

Aside from having peace of mind, international travel insurance can also grant you safety. You can be spared from many paradoxes you may encounter along the way. For example, you are looking for a doctor and since let’s say, you are in Portugal, it would be easy if you speak Portuguese. Now, what if you can speak Portuguese, would you still need an English speaking doctor?

Another example, let’s put it in this case, if you happen to lose your passport, the easiest solution would be to go to your Embassy. Now, how are you going to do that when you can’t get inside the Embassy without showing your passport?

This is where International travel insurance serves its purpose. It provides solutions to these paradoxes and helps you get away from these difficult situations. Aside from that, it helps youin recovering nonrefundable costs in delays and cancellation as well as it aids you with emergency medical care.

Indeed, going to places you’ve never been can be an exciting experience. Seeing the world’s best tourist destinations such as France and Italy will certainly be a memorable experience. You may bump into some unexpected and unwanted events, like what was above mentioned; having international travel insurance will be your guarantee for a safe and worry-free trip.