Although travel medical insurance is not typically included as part of a trip’s itinerary, it is an important aspect of anyone’s plan to leave home. Travel insurance can cover a wide variety of people, destinations and circumstances, and since every trip and traveler is different, it is a good idea to have some guarantee of protection. One part of travel insurance is assistance coverage for medical emergencies.
Why Medical Assistance Coverage Matters
When far from home, it can be both nerve-wracking and expensive to deal with an unexpected medical emergency. Travelers are often in an unknown region, encountering new physicians and facilities. They may not even know where to go should a medical situation arise, forcing them to call for emergency services that may be expensive and unnecessary.
The risk for such an occurrence is even higher when traveling out of the country. Travelers abroad may find themselves unable to communicate with local transportation or medical personnel, causing potentially dire delays in medical treatment.
With medical assistance coverage, however, travelers can rest easier knowing that they can call their travel insurance company for help. An insurance representative who understands the assistance policy will make arrangements, helping a bad medical situation more manageable.
Typical Medical Assistance Coverage
Although actual services and costs vary by policy and provider, most insurance plans provide assistance services for:
1. locating medical providers – Insured travelers and their companions are provided with assistance in finding the closest and most appropriate facility or practitioner that can handle the medical issue. This can save valuable time in an unknown or a remote location.
2. arranging transportation – Some policies will locate the appropriate provider and coordinate travel to that location. Those traveling alone may also be given a medical escort to assist in the transport.
3. finding translation assistance – Travelers in a foreign country who do not understand the local language will be contacted by a translator. This can be great help for understanding medical personnel.
4. coordinating necessary evacuations – If it becomes necessary for a seriously ill or injured traveler to return home immediately, this insurance will help arrange the evacuation plan.
5. relaying information and messages to family and friends – The policy may also provide communication services between the medically affected traveler and his or her family or friends.
It is important that travelers have all the information that they might need in order to purchase the right type of medical assistance coverage for their trip. By making a comparison of several policies and by carefully reading all the terms and conditions of those policies before purchase, travelers can be sure that they are protected against unforeseen and potentially damaging circumstances.