Do I Need Travel Health Insurance?

Cost, country requirements, and language barriers are just a few factors to consider when determining if you need travel medical insurance. Ask yourself these questions before making the decision.

Sep 26, 2017, 14:53 PM

Travel health insurance — or travel medical insurance — is short-term coverage designed to provide emergency medical benefits in the event you become sick or injured while traveling internationally.

Often, people confuse travel health insurance with travel insurance. The plan that's right for you depends on what you wish to protect:

Travel health insurance concentrates coverage on key medical expenses, such as emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, emergency room visits and more. Travel insurance covers more than your health; it is designed to also protect your trip investment, providing coverage for trip cancellation or interruption, missed connection, travel delay and more.

Both are effective in providing coverage, so you’ll want to compare the two types of plans before making a decision on what’s right for you.

Can I afford to pay for medical expenses?

While you may think you’ll save a few bucks by opting to travel without medical coverage, you could end up spending a lot more money if you experience a medical emergency away from home.

Consider this: If you get sick or injured internationally, the cost of your claim could range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the services performed.

On the other hand, IMG travel medical insurance plans can cost less than $3 per day, based on an average plan.

It’s also important to consider the costs of an emergency medical evacuation, which can range between $20,000 and $170,000 USD, depending on where you are located and how far you need to be transported to the nearest qualified medical facility.

Ask yourself this: Can you afford these expenses? If not, you should consider purchasing a travel medical insurance policy.

Am I required to have travel health insurance?

Most countries do not require travel health insurance, but there are a few for which coverage is mandatory for entry. Here are the details on Countries that Require Travel Medical Insurance for Entry.

Schengen countries are one example, as they require visa applicants to prove they have travel medical insurance to cover expenses for repatriation, urgent medical attention, emergency hospital treatment and more.

If your destination isn’t on the list of countries that require travel medical insurance, it’s still a good idea to protect your health with an IMG plan.

What barriers will I face at my destination?

Some destinations lack access to high-quality medical care, while others pose health and safety risks for travelers. Consider global pandemics, the risk of terror attacks, political climate and more.

Additionally, travel to certain destinations can also introduce language and currency barriers. Nearly 7,000 languages are spoken around the world, while 180 currencies are used across the globe.

Some of the top countries visited by IMG’s U.S. members in 2016 included China, Israel, Canada and Italy. Each of these countries have different official languages and currencies, posing challenges for many travelers.

With an IMG plan, if you needed emergency medical treatment in a foreign country, our multilingual staff could assist you with communication and payment, as they are accustomed to working in many languages and currencies.

Does my existing insurance plan provide the international coverage I need?

Most people assume they will be covered by their standard medical plan or Medicare when traveling internationally, but that isn’t always the case. While traditional plans may offer adequate domestic coverage, they aren’t designed for international travel.

In fact, they may offer very little coverage outside of your country of residence, and none of the emergency assistance you would require when facing an emergency abroad.

Travel insurance provided by credit card companies leaves gaps in coverage too. It often includes limited international medical benefits and, in some cases, will only provide coverage if you booked your entire trip using the credit card. You may also have to pay a deductible or fee to use your credit card travel insurance benefits.

Without even realizing it, you may be putting your health and finances at risk while traveling without the proper coverage.

If you’re not sure whether travel health insurance is right for you, contact IMG today to learn more. To browse IMG’s coverage options, visit our Travel Medical Insurance page.

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