International Travel Medical Insurance 101: Why You Need It And How to Get It

International Travel Medical Insurance

You’ve packed your sunscreen, walking shoes and tiny travel bottle of shampoo… but is there something you are forgetting before you head on your next travel adventure? What about international travel medical insurance?

Travel medical insurance is one of the important things you need to have before you set off on a trip. Hopefully you will never have to use it, but if you get sick or injured while you are abroad, you don’t want to be caught short in a foreign country without it!

Choosing the right international medical insurance can be somewhat overwhelming. There are many different types of plans, and it is hard to know which one is best for you.

Keep reading to learn more about travel medical insurance and get some tips and suggestions for the best plans for your trip.

Why You Need International Travel Medical Insurance

The odds are your trip will be safe, but there is always the chance that something can go wrong, and you can get sick or injured.

Travel medical insurance plans provide emergency medical coverage for anyone who is outside of their home country. Your health insurance from your home country probably will not cover you when you are abroad, which is why this is such an important consideration. Most plans will typically cover medical emergencies, as well as emergency evacuations.

For example:

  • Imagine you are on a cycling tour of the Palace of Versailles in France and you fall off your bike, break your arm and need to be rushed to a hospital.
  • Or you get bit by a too-friendly monkey in Borneo and need to get stitches and a post-bite rabies treatment.
  • Or a dodgy street empanada in Chile gives you severe food poisoning.

If that happens, you will not only be navigating unfamiliar hospitals and clinics and dealing with language barriers, but there will also be the question of how you will pay your medical bills.

Without travel medical insurance, you will likely be stuck with all hospital, ambulance and surgery costs. This could cost you anywhere from hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on which country you are in.

But when you have international travel medical insurance? Things are a lot easier. All you need to do is call the 24/7 assistance line. They will help you find the nearest hospital, arrange transport, overcome language barriers and arrange your care. Any expenses will be covered, even if you need surgery or have to be transported back home.

This is why it is so important to have worldwide medical insurance before any trip you take!

Travel Medical Insurance vs. Trip Insurance

There are a couple of options available when it comes to travel medical insurance. You could purchase it on its own or as part of comprehensive trip insurance. Here’s what the difference is.

Travel Medical Insurance:

  • This type of insurance focuses on the medical aspects of your trip.
  • The policy will usually cover medical emergencies, evacuation and assistance services.

Trip Insurance:

  • This type of insurance primarily focuses on the prepaid and non-refundable costs of your trip that you could lose if the trip is canceled.
  • So, for example, if your trip is canceled because of pandemic restrictions, or any other reason, you will be compensated for any expenses.

There are some comprehensive travel insurance plans that will cover travel medical insurance, as well as trip insurance, but this isn’t always guaranteed, so it is important to read the fine print before you buy.

Top International Travel Medical Insurance Plans

So, how do you select the right worldwide travel medical insurance for your needs? There are a lot of options to pick from, and each one is suited to a slightly different type of trip.

When it comes to choosing the right travel medical insurance plan for you, here are a few of the top options to consider.

1. Seven Corners — Best Value for Overall Travel Medical Coverage

Seven Corners is a travel insurance company that offers comprehensive medical plans that cover almost anything that could go wrong on your trip. Their RoundTrip Choice plan will also cover trip cancelation or any delays for specific reasons, such as COVID-19.

The Pros:

  • You’ll be covered for any COVID-19 delays and interruptions.
  • The website is easy to navigate and understand.
  • If you are traveling with friends and family, they offer great budget-friendly options for groups of 10 or more.

The Cons:

  • If you do any risky activities or sports, etc., you will need to add those on for an additional cost.
  • They don’t provide coverage for travelers from certain states, or for trips to certain destinations.
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2. WorldNomads — Best for Digital Nomads and Long-Term Travelers

This backpacker-friendly insurance company offers long-term policies tailored to adventurous travelers, which cover over 200 plus activities, including surfing and scuba diving.

They are one of the only companies that allows you to purchase policies during your trip. This is very helpful if you are a digital nomad who is on the road for months or even years at a time and want to extend and keep on traveling.

The Pros:

  • Coverage is very simple and affordable.
  • When you buy your plan, you can make a micro-donation to various human rights and health charities around the world.

The Cons:

  • Their insurance plans do not cover people over the age of 66.
  • General doctor visits and check-ups (such as a routine physical exam) are not included in your policy.

3. Generali Global Assistance — Best for Active and Sport Trips and Overall Ease of Use

If you are planning to do any skiing, golfing, hiking or other sports on your trip, take a look at the Preferred Plan from Generali Global Assistance. It will cover you for these activities, as well as for trip cancelation, interruption, delay or baggage theft.

This company has been around for 30 years, so you can trust that they are established and reliable.

The Pros:

  • They offer 24/7 multilingual customer service to help you with medical arrangements.
  • They have an easy-to-use online claims process, where you can file a claim and monitor the status while it is being processed.

The Cons:

  • If you have a pre-existing condition, it will only be covered if you choose the Premium Plan.
  • The premium costs can be somewhat higher than some of the other options.

It’s Worth Finding the Right Travel Medical Plan for You

Every trip (and every traveler) is different. It’s important to think about the type of coverage you need for your trip, so that you can find a policy that is a good fit for your needs.

You might think, “Nothing will happen, I’ll be fine!” But you never know what is around the corner and accidents do happen. It’s good to know that you have insurance to protect yourself, so you can relax and enjoy your trip!

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