Tag Archives: health insurance

Travel Insurance – Should I Buy It?

travel-insuranceThe question pops up every time you buy a plane ticket.

Would you like to add travel insurance?

It’s not free, of course. Credit cards may offer you coverage for free, but add-on travel insurance is another matter. Is it a complete waste of money? Or can it truly save your trip?

There’s no easy answer. There are factors, or rather situations, that call for travel insurance and there are cases when it’s unnecessary. Most importantly, it also depends on what the insurance policy covers. So it’s really not about whether or not you should get travel insurance. Instead, it’s about knowing which kind of insurance to choose.

Here are some situations when it makes sense to buy a travel insurance policy.

An Expensive Vacation or Cruise

You’re going to gift it this season. Or you’ve beensaving up for the trip of a lifetime, which is going to be an incredibly huge investment. That around-the-world cruise vacation or African Safari will cost you $15,000, but it will create memories that are truly priceless.

Should you buy a travel insurance policy? Definitely yes. The important factor here is the price. It’s a hefty amount and you ought to protect it with trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Let’s face it, the unexpected can happen no matter how thorough you are in planning your trip.

What if you suddenly get sick? Or what if an emergency such as a crisis in the family occurs? Or the cruise line or airline goes bankrupt? In these cases, travel insurance can safeguard your well-earned money so that you can simply move your travel date, book another ticket and go on the vacation of your dreams.

Additional tip: don’t buy this insurance from the cruise ship company. You won’t get your money back if that same company goes out of business.

Trip Not Covered by Health Insurance

Most people assume that their existing health insurance covers medical expenses abroad. In almost every case, it won’t. Traveling outside the country, including on foreign-flagged cruise ships, demands caution. And one of the most important areas you should safeguard while traveling is your health.

In this case, because your current health insurance policy most likely doesn’t cover medical expenses abroad, you should definitely get a travel medical insurance policy.

Most travel insurance policies of this type will fly you to the doctor of your choice but you should thoroughly read the fine print to understand what you’re getting. In case you get sick or require urgent medical attention abroad, the insurance should cover your initial treatment, free and quick transport to a hospital or medical facility of your choice and other adequate medical resources.

What about getting sick in a developing country? This is another situation where getting a good travel medical insurance policy makes sense. Not only will the policy pay for your care. The insurance company can also help to ensure you won’t get overcharged.

Extreme Sports Travel

Do you love mountaineering? Ice or rock climbing? White water rafting? Adventure racing? Frozen lake kite winging? The list goes on. What all of these activities share in common is this – they’re all extreme and put a traveler’s life at risk.

If you’re the adventurous type who loves taking part in extreme sports abroad, then you should definitely get insurance. A basic travel insurance policy may cover “some” specific adventure travel, but the company will usually ask you how high the mountain is or how deep will you scuba dive. If the basic package doesn’t cover your adventure and extreme sports, be sure to purchase additional coverage. It’s more expensive, of course, but it can save your life. In fact, most people buy it for the peace of mind it affords.

There are many other situations when travel insurance is necessary. Understand your travel needs and research your options so that you can spend your trip relaxing rather than worrying out insurance coverage.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

International Travel Tips

We’ve received quite a few requests lately about International Travel, with questions ranging from safety issues to health insurance accessibility.  Traveling abroad is the experience of a lifetime. Ensure it’s a positive one by following these recommendations.

Obtaining a Passport

If you need a passport, you should apply for one well in advance of your trip—passport processing takes 6 weeks or longer. For information on the requirements for and steps to obtaining a U.S. passport, visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/.

Before You Leave

  • Ÿ Sign your passport and fill in your emergency information.
  • Ÿ Give copies of your itinerary and passport data page to family and friends for emergency use.
  • Ÿ Let your bank and credit card company know your travel plans to avoid having your accounts frozen for unusual activity.
  • Ÿ Contact your health insurance provider to find out if your policy applies overseas and, if so, what it covers. If travel is not covered, you may want to consider short-term supplemental insurance.
  • Ÿ Carry a letter from your physician describing your prescriptions and medical conditions.
  • Ÿ Learn about necessary vaccinations and health precautions.
  • Ÿ Research your destination to stay safe. For information on travel safety and warnings, go to www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_1168.html and click on the country you are visiting.
  • Ÿ Find out customs restrictions for the country you are going to, as well as for returning to the United States.
  • Ÿ Put together a first-aid kit with diarrhea medication, antihistamines, antibiotics, etc.
  • Ÿ Pack wisely. Many airlines charge to check bags, and heavier luggage costs more.

While on Your Trip

  • The best currency exchange rates will be at local banks and ATMs, not at airports or hotels.
  • Ÿ Avoid flashy clothing and jewelry to discourage theft.
  • Ÿ Appear confident, even if you’re unsure about where you are going. Always carry a map.
  • Ÿ Select food with care; all raw food is subject to contamination.
  • Protect your passport!  Your passport is the most valuable document that you will carry abroad. It confirms your U.S. citizenship. When entering some countries or registering at hotels, you may be asked to fill out a police card listing your name, passport number, destination, local address and reason for travel. You may be required to leave your passport at the hotel reception desk overnight so that it may be checked by local police officials. These are normal procedures required by local laws. If your passport is not returned the following morning, immediately report the impoundment to local police authorities and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, you should report the loss immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.


Assistance Abroad

The State Department strongly encourages American citizens to register their travel in case of an emergency. Register online at: www.travel.state.gov/travel/tips/registration/registration_4789.html. Consular officers abroad can aid with passport replacement, contacting family or friends in the United States, financial emergencies and obtaining appropriate medical care.

Contact information for U.S. embassies, consulates and consular agencies overseas may be found at www.state.gov/countries.

If your family needs to reach you in an emergency, they can call 888-407-4747, and the State Department will relay the message to consular officers in the country you are visiting.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,