Insurance Blog

Posted: 05/25/20223,391 Views

Currently, over 70 countries around the world have mandates in place that require certain visitors to have travel medical insurance. However, these requirements can vary greatly. The country you are visiting, the country you are from, and the nature and length of your stay can all determine whether insurance is required for you.

Why do countries require travel medical insurance?

These requirements are primarily in place to protect hospitals, clinics, and doctors from being stuck with unpaid medical bills. If a visitor receives medical treatment in a foreign country, there is often little to stop them from departing with unpaid bills that can cost healthcare providers tens of thousands. Travel medical insurance requirements ensure that visitors have a certain minimum level of insurance coverage to ensure that their medical bills get paid.

How do I know if my destination requires travel medical insurance?

You can view an updated list of countries that require travel medical insurance here. However, it is always recommended that you check with the tourism board or government website of the country you are visiting prior to travel, to ensure that you are aware of all the requirements.

Also, do not assume that all countries have the same insurance requirements, as this is most certainly not the case.

For instance, visitors to any of the 26 Schengen countries in Europe are required to have compliant health insurance providing at least €30,000 in coverage, but only if they require a Schengen visa. Those who are permitted to visit without a Schengen visa can travel to Schengen countries for up to 90 days without insurance.

Many other countries, such as the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, and United Arab Emirates require visitors to have travel insurance that specifically covers COVID-19.

For those visiting the United States, insurance is only required for exchange visitors on a J visa. Tourists are exempt from the requirement. However, due to the incredibly high cost of healthcare in the United States, visitors insurance is highly recommended.

Why you should buy travel medical insurance, regardless of requirements

While it is compulsory to buy travel medical insurance to visit many countries, do not think that it is something you can go without if you are visiting a country with no such requirements.

First off, your domestic health insurance will be all but useless in a foreign nation. It will likely not be accepted. Even if it is, it will not provide sufficient coverage. What happens if you get injured or sick in another country without insurance and need treatment? You get stuck with a massive bill that you’re responsible for paying all on your own.

Consider this: Emergency medical evacuation can cost up to $250,000. Major surgery can cost in excess of $100,000. Even a minor issue can easily result in a bill that’s more than $10,000. Do you have the money to cover this yourself? Most people do not.

This is why it’s important to remember that whatever the destination, whatever the length of trip, and whatever activities you plan to take part in, you should always purchase sufficient travel medical insurance coverage. It’s essential to protect your health, and your finances.

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