• International Insurance Blog

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A visit to Berlin is incomplete without a visit to the Pergamon. To enjoy the museum, you must remain healthy, and international travel health insurance goes a long way in that department. But the trip actually starts when your airplane leaves the runway. You want to make sure that you are insured enough—perhaps with international flight insurance—that your mind is at ease.

The actual travel can actually be quite dreadful and can bring about some symptoms of illnesses. Unfortunately, this is also the most ignored part of the trip in terms of health. To stay healthy, pack a basic medicine kit in your carry-on luggage. Also ensure that you walk around the airplane from time to time.

Also, if you will be traveling to a different time zone, ensure that your trip is not too impeded by jet lag. Budget a day to recover from it. Think about life and flight insurance. Most plans offer AD&D, repatriation of remains, and emergency evacuation benefits. Some plans, such as Travelex Flight Plus, also cover limited emergency medical expenses for illnesses suffered during a flight.

However, not everyone will benefit from flight insurance, and it is best to check the level of coverage the airline provides. Be aware that the insurance provided by the airline typically features many caveats. As always, please read the fine print before purchasing any insurance policy.
In the last two posts related to international travel health insurance, we looked at Staying Cool when Sick Abroad: Destination and Travel Health Insurance. Now that you have asked the questions you need answered, you are ready to decide on the coverage that you will need when traveling abroad.

Just from your research and questions, you probably have a good idea of what situations insurance plans will cover and what they will not. Remember to purchase insurance according to your need and situation. Just because Joe Smith is buying an adventurous sports policy does not mean that you need it.

Usually, a higher deductible translates into a lower premium. So, if you want to insure against just the major occurrences, you might consider purchasing a plan with a $500 or $1,000 deductible. If you do not want to take that risk, and would rather pay the extra premium (especially in case of trips shorter than two weeks), it might be worthwhile to consider a lower deductible instead.

Also, depending on your destination, you might want to look for the following: coverage for pre-existing conditions (some plans offer limited coverage for the sudden onset of these), adventurous sports coverage (especially for seaside resorts featuring many water activities), medical and political evacuation coverage, in-network hospitals (for cashless settlement), and repatriation of remains.
In the last post, Staying Cool when Sick Abroad-I:The Destination, we looked at some ways you can prepare yourself for a healthy trip abroad even before purchasing international travel health insurance. Now that you’re set with the destination, you must purchase a suitable international travel health insurance policy.

When purchasing the plan, ask the most important questions right off the bat: What do I do when I fall sick? Ask the company to walk you through the steps required when you require medical assistance. If the company can dig up a list of hospitals at your destination, request them for a copy.

Also ask: How can I contact the insurance company when abroad? It is a good idea to purchase insurance from a company that has a presence, or at least a toll-free number, at your destination. Note down the number in your wallet or somewhere easily accessible.

Remember to specifically ask the company about typical situations that are not covered. While brochures may explain the benefits in detail, remember to read the fine print about exclusions as well. If your research has yielded information on infections you may be susceptible to, specifically ask if those conditions will be covered. Find out how much your international travel medical insurance will work for you.

Falling ill on an overseas trip can be nerve racking for some people, in spite of purchasing international travel health insurance. There is no need for it to be traumatic, say insurance experts, who suggest that all that is required is preparation and patience. So how can you ensure that you stay calm during a medical emergency abroad?

The preparation should start even before you leave for the trip. When you’re reading up on the destination, pay attention to its climate, altitude and common infections. Ensure that it is indeed a place that will agree with you.

If you think the place may not agree with your health, consider an alternate, or check if international travel insurance typically covers the condition. Remember that if you have a tendency toward vitamin D deficiency, you may not want to travel to a place with little to no sunlight.

Also check the Centres for Disease Control Web site to see if any health alerts have been posted for your destination. The Web site will also provide loads of information about immunizations required for visit to your destination, as well as a list of travel health insurance companies.

When you’re all set with the destination, ensure that you don’t obsess about the health aspect. Worry can make one more susceptible to illness. Next, you’ll need appropriate international travel health insurance.

You have trip cancellation insurance as part of your international travel insurance, and on the eve of your trip, a close family member passes away. Your insurance plan will cover a percentage of the expenses that are non-refundable, but the company will not just write you a check with a note of sympathy. You will need to prove to the insurance company that your claim is genuine.

For plans belonging to the Patriot group, you will need the following documents to buttress your claim: copies of credit card statements showing the booking and refund pertaining to the booking, all unused tickets and vouchers, and a copy of the terms and conditions pertaining to cancellation of the booking.

If the cancellation is due to a personal medical emergency, you must attach a medical certificate certifying the same, and if it is due to the death of a close family member, you must attach a death certificate along with proof of your relationship with the deceased.

Remember to include any relevant information in the claim form. If the incident occurs abroad, write down the incident as you remember it as soon as possible. Do not wait to return home. If you’re traveling, you’ll probably have a camera anyway, and be sure to take pictures of anything you might think is supporting evidence of your claim. Check claim procedures with your company before travel.
The Global Navigator missionary insurance plan specially created for missionaries and volunteers offers comprehensive benefits both within and outside the United States. Any U.S. citizen under the age of 75 years who resides in any of the 41 states specified can avail of the plan.

The plan effectively works as long-term insurance, providing benefits such as primary care office visits, preventative care, annual physical examinations, outpatient care, and hospitalization, ambulance, ambulatory surgery, and mental healthcare benefits including alcohol or drug abuse coverage. Other benefits include accidental death and dismemberment, repatriation of remains, and medical evacuation.

Coverage offered by the Global Navigator plan is highest outside the United States, followed by U.S. care within the PPO Network, followed by care in the United States outside the network. Global Navigator also offers group plans, in addition to the individual plans.

Exclusions include pre-existing conditions, with a look-back period of one year. However, the period can be reduced or eliminated if the applicant can prove that he/she was covered by a creditable insurance policy prior to application, with a Certificate of Creditable Coverage. For example, if the applicant was covered for four months, the look-back period is eight months only.

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International Medical Insurance - Short Term
International Health Insurance - Long Term
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