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The Insurance Nerd – Know Before You Go: Health Insurance While Traveling

You are ready to go: You’ve bought your ticket, packed your bags, loaded up your electronic devices with books and music, and…wait, what? You didn’t check your how your health insurance covers you?

The Insurance Nerd wants you to know that you need to check this out. If you are traveling within the USA, you should have some coverage with either a PPO or HMO plan. In general, a PPO will have out of network coverage at a higher cost share than your in-network benefits back home, while a HMO will only cover emergency services, because there are no provisions for out of network services. Make sure you pack your insurance card! Whatever benefits you have will be much easier to verify if you have your information at your fingertips.

**NERD TIP: Many health insurers now have phone apps where you can pull up your insurance card when you need it. If your carrier has one, make sure to download it.**

If you are traveling outside of the United States, chances are high that you have no coverage for medical costs, not to mention other expenses associated with having a medical emergency in a foreign country. A good travel insurance can help you with medical expenses, it can reimburse you if your flight is canceled, if something gets lost or stolen on your trip, or if you need to return home early for a family emergency.

When you look for a travel insurance plan, make sure you find one with a high limit (at least $100,000) for medical expenses. You want to verify that there is evacuation coverage and care that is not included in the medical coverage. $300,000 is a good limit, as a rule of thumb. Make sure that evacuation will help you get back to your home country as well.

Great travel insurance should always:

•Cover most countries in the world

•Some coverage for your electronics (and have the option for a higher coverage limit)

•Cover injury and sudden illnesses

•Twenty-four hour emergency services and help (you don’t want to call to be told to call back later)

•Cover lost, damaged or stolen possessions like jewelry, baggage, documents, cameras, etc.

•Cover cancellations such as hotel bookings, flight, and other transportation bookings if you have a sudden illness, death in the family, or some other emergency

•Cover emergencies, strife in the country visited, etc., that cause you to head home early

•Have financial protection if any company you are using goes bankrupt and you are stuck in another country

**NERD TIP: Most policies don’t include accidents sustained while doing extreme activities, such as parachuting, extreme hiking, etc. These things can also be a factor in life insurance applications.**

It’s best to buy travel insurance as soon as you can after booking your travel, in case something comes up shortly after booking. Check with your independent insurance agent and on travel blogs to find reviews on the best travel insurance companies. Of course you will ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT, since you love nerding out about insurance almost as much as I do. Know what is and is not covered, and if you have questions make sure you ask your agent or a company representative.

Safe Travels!

<3 Emily, the Insurance Nerd



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