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When it comes to traveling internationally, most people forget to think about what could go wrong during their trip . But the truth is that while we may wish to suspend reality a bit while we travel, life goes on with its usual unpredictability. A vacation is an investment in your well-being, so it deserves the same level of protection as any other investment. Purchasing the appropriate travel medical insurance policy can help shield you from a huge economic loss and give you peace of mind about your upcoming travel plans. There are policies that reimburse pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs if you cancel or interrupt due to illness, and those that pay medical expenses if you get sick or injured while on the trip.

From fevers to accidents, there are a number of unexpected mishaps that can waylay the best of plans.

Here are ten reasons you should consider obtaining travel insurance before traveling abroad:

Sudden illness – Debilitating illness could prevent you from being able to leave on your scheduled trip. While the airline or hotel may feel sympathy, there are few that will refund prepaid fees for missed flights, cruises, or hotel rooms. Travel insurance policies with trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage are fairly inexpensive, and will reimburse you the cost of your lost bookings if you cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason.

Family emergency – Similar to the above scenario, you stand to lose your at risk trip costs if you can’t leave on time due to the illness or death of a family member. For instance, if your son develops appendicitis or your grandmother suddenly passes away, you obviously will have to forgo any previous plans. While these types of events are hard to predict, don’t rely on hope and good luck. Certain policies (if they include trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage) cover for these types of events.

Hospitalization abroad – Something many people don’t realize is that their regular domestic medical insurance policies often do not cover medical services provided in foreign countries. This can be terrible news if you or your family member suddenly needs life-saving intervention. Travel medical insurance covers the cost of necessary emergency medical treatment abroad, or fills the gap where your own insurance denies coverage.

Lost or forgotten medications – Certain policies will cover the cost of lost, stolen, or forgotten medications from reputable pharmacies. To ensure timely replacement, especially for critical meds, take a printout of your current medication list from your pharmacist with you on your trip and keep photos of each bottle on your phone.

Dental emergencies – A broken or abscessed tooth qualifies as an emergency like any other medical mishap. Many travel insurance policies include dental coverage as well as a referral service to a reputable, English-speaking dentist.

Trauma / evacuation – If you get seriously injured on your vacation, such as in a car accident, your personal health insurance may deny transportation charges billed from a foreign healthcare provider. To avoid this, purchase a plan with emergency medical evacuation coverage that will pay for costs associated with transporting or evacuating you to another (approved) facility.

A poor healthcare reputation – Unfortunately, some of the most interesting vacation spots on Earth also have abominable healthcare. Your policy can include services that locate more reputable care for your safety.

Pre-existing health conditions – Although anyone can find themselves in need of healthcare, those with pre-existing medical conditions are at higher risk of an event abroad. It is important to note that most travel insurance plans will exclude pre-existing conditions and some will offer a waiver of the pre-existing condition exclusion if you purchase the policy within a set amount of days (typically 21 or less) from the date you first made a payment towards your trip. In addition, you’ll need to be medically able to travel at the time of the policy purchase and it is a requirement that you insure 100% of your pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs.

Foreign epidemics – If you’re traveling to a developing country, you may run the risk of contracting a local illness, such as malaria or typhoid. Travel insurance can help cover the specialized care you need.

Accidental Death and dismemberment coverage – If your trip involves some degree of physical risk, such as diving, cycling, third-world medical missions, or even just riding on a common carrier such as an airplane, ship or train, you may need to purchase more protection than usual. A accidental death / dismemberment policy can help protect you and your family from financial repercussions if an accident occurs, which results in loss of limb, sight or life.

Not all policies cover the types of events listed here, so make sure to compare your options side by side before purchase.

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