This article was written exclusively for Expat Network by Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers.
Of course, expats have more reason to travel. Not only do they have the usual business and holiday travel to do, but they also may end up taking an extra trip or two each year just to visit home and see family and friends. What’s more, they may not participate during some holidays in their new country of residence, giving them with extra days off that they can use to get out and see the world.
Of course, when this happens, many expatriate travelers will obtain a travel insurance plan to address any potential medical needs they may have during their journey. Is travel insurance really the best choice for protecting your health, though? Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers provides the relevant information below.
About expat travel insurance
Travel insurance is certainly an easy and convenient type of insurance to obtain. We say this because it is generally quite inexpensive to purchase and a cinch to apply for. Oftentimes all that one need do to secure a quality travel insurance policy is fill out a quick online form and provide their credit card information.
Ease of use isn’t the only good thing about travel insurance though. While it does provide medical insurance benefits during your travels abroad, it also features additional benefits that can greatly reduce the impact of problems during the course of your travels:
Flight delays cancellations
On top of medical benefits, travel insurance can also reimburse you for any loss you suffer due to the cancellation of a flight or other transport. In fact, there is a ‘trip cancellation insurance’ available that will cover policyholders just for the non-refundable, paid portions of your trip transportation.
What’s more, even if your travel plans are only delayed significantly, and not canceled, travel insurance may still provide you with a payout as a result.
Whether it’s your luggage, your laptop or cellphone, or just about any standard item you pack along with you, travel insurance may cover you for the cost of a replacement should the item be lost, stolen, or damaged. For example, if you are travelling and happen to drop your phone and crack the screen, your travel insurance may pay you enough for a new replacement.
Medical evacuation and repatriation
It’s one thing to have the peace of mind that you will be looked after should you have a medical emergency while travelling, but what if the area you happen to be travelling in doesn’t have the facilities, equipment, or know-how necessary to address your medical needs? Well, you will then have to go somewhere that does. This is what medical evacuation and repatriation coverage provides.
If you need to be transported to another country in order to received adequate medical care, this benefit will cover the cost of doing so. It will also cover the cost of sending your mortal remains home should you meet an untimely end.
Accommodations for you and/or others
In the event that medical needs dictate that you can no longer travel, travel insurance can cover the costs of any accommodations you are forced to secure as a result. It will even cover such costs for a travel companion so that you won’t have to be alone in such a situation.
Death and disability
It’s not fun to think about, but travel insurance will provide payment to you or your beneficiaries in the end of your passing or permanent disablement.
The drawbacks of travel insurance
That all sounds pretty great, right? Sure, but there is little in this world that is without drawbacks. Here are some associated with travel insurance:
While it’s true that travel insurance will cover your medical costs, it will do so only in the event of an emergency. This means that things like check-ups, standard lab testing and diagnostics, and just about any kind of outpatient medical care will not be covered. In other words, if you think your travel insurance is going to pay for a teeth cleaning, you’ve got another thing coming.
Limited to specific destinations
When you secure a travel insurance plan, you must explicitly state which destinations you will be visiting while abroad. If you deviate from this plan, enter an undeclared country, and subsequently have any incident occur that you would normally want to use your travel insurance for, your claim will likely be denied.
Coverage ends at your border
In the event that you either develop an illness on your travels that you seek treatment for after you’ve returned home, or worse yet, you are evacuated to your home country for treatment, your travel insurance policy will not cover you. This is because, once you have returned to your country of residence, travel insurance plans cease to provide coverage.
A new policy for every trip
Travel insurance is also known as short term insurance, because it is only intended to cover you for the short period of time that you are travelling. Generally, this means that you will have to arrange for a new travel insurance policy every time you leave you country of residence, or else be left without insurance coverage.
A better option?
So if the above drawbacks sound like limitations that you don’t want to deal with, what can you do? Fortunately, there is a type of insurance that can give you superior medical insurance coverage while you are travelling than what travel insurance provides.
International health insurance is a plan that you keep year round, just like a normal private health insurance policy. However, while travel insurance only covers you abroad, and private health insurance will only cover you at home, international health insurance provides medical insurance benefits in virtually any country, hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office around the world, including in your country of residence.
What’s more, international medical insurance benefits are not limited to emergency medical care while you are abroad. Got a sniffle and want to see a doctor about cold medication? Want to get that teeth cleaning? Angling to birth your baby in a foreign country? With the right international health insurance plan in place, all of this and much more is possible.
Find your best choice
Basically, this question this article poses to you as an expat jetsetter is this: How versatile do you want your medical benefits to be during your travels. If you only have a short trip where you don’t anticipate anything out of the ordinary to occur, perhaps travel insurance is the right choice.
However, if you decide you want expanded medical benefits, and the freedom to travel anywhere you choose at any time while still maintaining medical insurance coverage, you may want to look into securing international health insurance coverage.
Don’t know where to get started? Pacific Prime can help! Contact them today for answers to all of your medical insurance questions, as well as a free comparison of travel and international health insurance plans available on the market and a free price quote.