Most of us travel for fun and adventure. Although no one wants to think about getting sick or injured on vacation, sometimes life happens. Financially savvy travelers know that it pays to be prepared so before your next trip, consider investing in travel medical insurance and save yourself the hassle. For peace of mind, travel knowing that you’re prepared if you have health issues on the road.
There’s a chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
What is travel medical insurance?
Travel medical insurance is commonly confused with travel insurance.
Travel insurance is the coverage you purchase to protect your trip. For example, travel insurance covers the cost of lost luggage, canceled flights, or if you have to cancel your trip at the last minute. It usually does not include coverage to reimburse you for medical bills or emergency medical care you receive while traveling internationally.
On the other hand, travel medical insurance takes care of medical costs while you travel. Before you head out, ask your healthcare provider what expenses, if any, they cover while you are traveling abroad. Most healthcare providers will not pay for any medical expenses outside of the United States. However, they may cover vaccinations before you travel. Check with your health insurance provider for details.
Why You May Need Travel Medical Insurance
1. Your insurance company doesn’t cover you overseas
If your healthcare provider does not cover medical expenses incurred overseas, invest in travel medical insurance. Travel medical insurance will allow you to get the medical attention you need while traveling abroad. The right policy also covers you if the worst happens and you need a medical evacuation (a.k.a. medevac).
A medevac is when you are transported to another city or country where you can receive medical care because the place you’re located cannot meet your medical needs. In some cases, a medical evacuation can cost more than $50,000 depending on your location and medical condition. Although some healthcare providers cover standard or routine care overseas, most do not cover medevac.
If you need to be transported by helicopter or air ambulance transport with specialized medical professionals on board, the cost of your medevac could be higher than $50,000. Travel medical insurance covers this expense.
In the event you’re lucky and your healthcare provider covers overseas medical expenses, make sure to travel with your health insurance card and a claim form just in case you need it. Confirm before departure if medevac is covered too.
2. Where you’re going, you can’t enter without it
Believe it or not, some countries can refuse you entry if you don’t have proof of travel medical insurance. Whether or not you need coverage and for how long, depends on your purpose of travel and where you are going.
Countries that are known to have a travel medical insurance requirement include Schengen countries that require a Schengen visa for entry. Schengen countries want your travel medical insurance to cover urgent medical care or costs associated with your death during your stay.
Cuba, Russia, and even Antarctica require travel medical insurance to enter too.
Before you travel, check a country’s entry requirements on the country’s official immigration website.
3. You’re studying abroad
Most countries want students studying abroad to have coverage for the full length of their program. Even the United States has this requirement for visiting foreign exchange students. So the same may be required for you if you are studying abroad for a few weeks, a semester or a year. Being a student in a foreign country is adventure enough. Don’t add the hassle of handling medical issues to your plate as well.
4. You’re cruising
Cruises can be a lot of fun but believe it or not, people get injured and sick on board too. A full-service ship has a medical unit, but the cost of a visit may not be cheap. When you are out at sea, don’t jeopardize your ability to get the medical care you need. Contact your cruise line and see what they recommend just in case any medical emergencies come up.
Read Next: How to Find the Best Cruise Deals
5. You’re on a do-good mission
If you are traveling overseas for a mission trip it’s smart to buy travel medical insurance first. It’s especially important to take heed of this advice if you’re traveling to lesser developed countries.
While you’re off helping those in need or building homes, you could experience an injury or something worse. Travel medical insurance can make your search for medical care and paying the bills hassle-free.
Remember healthcare in countries overseas can vary depending on where you go. Give yourself options to get better medical care if you need it.
6. You travel often
If you are constantly on the go, consider buying medical coverage that covers you for six months to a year at a time. Buying for longer periods of time rather than per trip can save you money. Longer-term policies are designed for savvy travelers that take several short trips a year.
7. You’re planning the group trip of the year
Are you the financially savvy traveler in your group that’s always planning the annual getaways? Well, now you can be the savvy traveler that ensures everyone is covered too. As a trip planner, it’s important to think of the things guests will not focus on such as travel medical insurance. Trust me, if something happens, your group will love you for your forward-thinking and swift action.
Why You Should Choose SafetyWing
When searching for the right travel medical insurance the options available online can be overwhelming. You want a company that is easy to work with and a policy you can understand.
SafetyWing is the world’s first international travel medical insurance developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and nomads traveling and living abroad. The company provides access to a qualified global network of hospitals and doctors for unexpected medical problems and accidents.
Coverage is pretty extensive. It includes coverage for doctors, hospitals, and medevacs. At the same time, it also includes travel delay, lost checked luggage, emergency response and natural disasters, and personal liability. Read through your policy and know what’s covered.
If you ever need to file a claim they process them daily and provide customers 24/7 support.
SafetyWing affordability and other benefits
The best part is, SafetyWing is affordable and flexible. Plans are as low as $37 for four weeks. That comes out to $1.32 a day for coverage. You can sign up for a subscription or a specific start and end date.
The subscription service works best for long-term travelers and those who might not know where they’re going next but want to remain covered. For those who are on the go and unsure when you are coming back, there’s also no max on the duration of travel.
You can purchase SafetyWing before you travel or while traveling. Available in 180 countries, you get limited home country coverage up to 30 days every 3 months. If you need to cover a group, that’s easy too. Get coverage for yourself or your travel group. Kids are covered too! One young child is covered per adult up to two per family. The little ones can be as small as 14 days old and up to 10 years old. Their coverage is at no additional cost.
While you can’t plan for everything that will happen on your next adventure, travel medical insurance helps you prepare for the worst and can save you a lot of headaches and money if you need emergency medical care. Get covered with a travel medical insurance company like SafetyWing and don’t forget to include it in your travel budget before you go.
This is a collaborative post with SafetyWing, all opinions are my own.
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, author, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.