What to avoid when traveling abroad.

What is Travel Insurance and Why Do I Need It

  • Angela Borden
Mar 24, 2016

Travel insurance is an intangible protective tool that can help travelers in many different ways.

You pay a price (called the premium) for coverage in case an unexpected event occurs. As a traveler, your need for this seemingly obscure item is directly related to the need to protect your wallet, your health, and your safety. Most insurance plans are based in financial security or the need for it, such as a homeowner’s policy (if your house burns down, you likely won’t have the cash to rebuild it) or automobile policy (you may or may not be able to pay for repairs to your car or the other driver’s car). Travel insurance is no different in that it protects your wallet as well. However, it also provides other important types of protection as well.

YOUR WALLET
Most people are not aware of the potential for financial difficulties that can arise while traveling.
What can happen? For starters, you can get sick or hurt. It’s no fun to think about, but it happens all the time. And your health insurance in the United States may or may not cover injuries or illnesses that occur while you are traveling. The only way to know for certain if you’re covered while on your trip is to contact your insurance company and ask. Some insurance carriers cover emergency treatment only, and they define what an emergency is, so you need to understand that as well. What you think is an emergency may not fit their definition, which means it would not be covered.  

Bottom line, if you are sick or hurt, and your health insurance does not cover it, you are left holding the bag. Depending on what happens, the bill could be large for your medical expenses, and some foreign medical providers will require payment up front before they will treat you. And we haven’t yet considered what happens if you’re in a location that doesn’t have appropriate medical care for what is ailing you! If this is the case, you may require an emergency medical evacuation to the closest appropriate medical facilities or even a repatriation back home for treatment and recovery. The cost for this could range from $500 for a ticket upgrade to $200,000 for a complicated evacuation, depending on your medical situation and where you are going.

YOUR HEALTH
They say money makes the world go around, but they also say if you have your health you have everything. That being said, how will you know where to find a quality doctor or hospital when you’re on the road? You want to be certain you receive appropriate care to ensure a speedy and complete recovery. Fortunately, many travel insurance providers have relationships with physicians all over the globe. Here at Seven Corners, we have a network of international providers. We evaluate them and maintain relationships with them. This helps both your wallet and your health, as many of our providers have agreed to direct payment arrangements with us, so you do not have to pay for services up front. Also, while you’re traveling, you can call us or use our online tools to locate a doctor.  

YOUR SAFETY
The world can be a scary place, and a friendly voice means a lot if you need help.
Most travel insurance plans come with 24/7 travel assistance services. You can call, email or chat with a knowledgeable and friendly person who specializes in providing travel assistance. Seven Corners Assist offers a broad range of services, including help finding the nearest embassy or medical care, help with lost document recovery, and many more. 

Some travel plans also include benefits to cover unpredictable and scary events that can occur:

  • Natural disaster situations — this can include coverage for replacement accommodations and an emergency evacuation (if your host country is uninhabitable due to a natural disaster)
  • Political events — this can include transportation home if a formal recommendation by authorities is made for you to leave your host country.
  • Terrorism — if you are injured due to terrorist activity, this provides coverage for medical expenses.   
  • Personal liability —this covers losses or damages caused by your negligent acts or omissions. 
SHOULD YOU TRAVEL WITHOUT IT?
I can tell you I would never travel without a travel insurance policy, and I would not want my children to either. Like any other insurance product, it may not always be the perfect solution to every situation, but it is a safety net of protection you can take with you when you hit the road. I encourage you to read the fine print in the actual policy wording so that you understand what is and is not covered. I know that I feel better knowing I have a form of protection for my wallet, my health, and my safety when I am traveling.
About Angela Borden - Travel Blogger at Seven Corners.

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