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The Insurance Nerd – Travel Insurance

‘S’up, Nerds?

I was talking with a friend recently, and she was telling me how excited she is to be going to Italy for her sister’s wedding next year. As it so often does when I’m around, the subject of health insurance came up. I asked her if she planned to purchase travel health insurance for her trip. She hadn’t really thought about it. I explained that normally, your domestic insurance won’t cover you overseas. She was shocked to find out that her employer-offered plan would have little-to-no coverage if she became sick or injured on her trip.

I explained that she should contact her insurance company directly to find out the specifics of her coverage out of the country, but that in most cases, regular health insurance won’t cover you outside of the US. In the case of travel within the US, you still need to be careful about your network. If you have a PPO with a strong presence in most states, you will be able to find in-network coverage, or at least have some coverage at out-of-network levels. If you have an HMO, most likely you will have some emergency coverage, but that’s about it.

Aside from your typical, “what if I get sick or injured?” concerns that you may have, you may also find yourself stuck with paying for a vacation you didn’t get to enjoy, paying for medical care at whatever the going rate is where you are, and paying to get back home. A good travel insurance plan will cover:

  • Medical costs up to $100,000
  • Emergency medical evacuation up to $300,000
  • Cover most countries in the world
  • Cover injury and sudden illnesses
  • 24hr emergency services
  • Cover lost, damaged or stolen possessions (jewelry, baggage, documents, cameras, etc.) Check your coverage limits on electronics, as most companies start with a small limit as part of their basic coverage, but you can buy up.
  • 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

In general, always read the fine print. As always, if you need help understanding the language in an insurance policy, contact your independent agent.

My friend purchased her travel insurance shortly after making her first booking for the trip, so she could make sure to cover anything that happened. If a natural disaster were to strike, or she became ill and couldn’t travel, she wouldn’t be able to make a claim on a policy she hadn’t bought yet! That’s why it’s important to purchase your travel insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Safe travels, nerds!

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