International travel insurance is essential for U.S. citizens and residents traveling abroad.
More than 72.5 million U.S. travelers went abroad in the year 2016. The most popular destinations were Canada, Mexico and Europe. However, destinations such as India, China, Israel and South America are getting increasingly popular.
The United States has the best medical care available in the world, and most U.S. residents are in fact required to carry sufficient health insurance throughout the year. Many U.S. citizens and residents mistakenly believe that their U.S. domestic health insurance will provide coverage to them worldwide. While it is true that some domestic health insurance provides coverage outside the United States as well, treatment would be considered outside the patient's network, making him or her subject to a higher deductible, higher coinsurance and higher out-of-pocket maximums.
Nowadays, many health-insurance companies hardly provide any coverage outside the network. For example, if the medical facility charges $600 and the in-network charge is $40, the insurance company would pay only $40 outside the network, leaving you to pay $560 out of your pocket.
Medicare clearly does not provide any coverage outside the United States. The U.S. Department of State very clearly specifies this on U.S. passports.
Even health-insurance companies that provide some coverage outside the United States will not provide much of the essential coverage that may be necessary for international travel. Only international travel insurance can provide:
Emergency medical evacuation
Health-care facilities do not have the same standard everywhere in the world. If you were to get seriously sick or injured abroad, the medical establishments may not have the necessary skills, equipment or expertise to treat you properly. In that case, you may need to be medically evacuated to the nearest hospital where adequate care can be given. Such air evacuation can be very expensive, even $50,000 or more.
Most people are unlikely to have a significant amount of spare cash. Even if someone has it, just trying to make the arrangements on his or her own would be extremely difficult and next to impossible. International travel-insurance companies have the resources and necessary expertise to handle this efficiently and in an expedited manner.
Repatriation of remains
If you were to, unfortunately, pass away while on a foreign trip, international travel insurance would make arrangements to bring your remains back home.
Your baggage may be lost or may be delayed. International travel insurance can help pay for it.
U.S. citizens are especially vulnerable to pickpocketing, theft and mugging in various parts of the world.
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, routinely happen in various parts of the world. There is also a possibility of political unrest in some parts of the world. If you are traveling to any such locations, make sure that your travel insurance provides proper coverage.
The possibility of getting sick from contaminated food or water while abroad is very high. Upset stomachs, diarrhea and food poisoning are very common.
U.S. law requires that patients be treated in a life-threating situation even if they don't have health insurance or can't pay. Therefore, many people mistakenly believe that they will be treated the same way everywhere in the world. That is not the case. In some countries, you may be held hostage until you pay for the treatment. In other countries, unless you can pay, you simply will not be treated. They simply let the patients die for lack of money. There have even been inhuman instances where medical facilities continue to extract money from relatives with the excuse of continued treatment even after the patient already died. Alternatively, they may not release the body until payment is made. Foreign newspapers are full of such stories, and even some movies (e.g., "Gabbar Is Back") have covered such unfortunate incidents.
Sometimes, even if the international traveler has the money to pay for the treatment out of his or her pocket, in an unknown country, it may be challenging to arrange for the payment in the a timely manner necessary for urgent treatment, as international money transfer can take some time. In such cases, foreign travel insurance can be of immense help.
If you will be participating in any hazardous sports while abroad, most domestic health-insurance companies may not cover that. Even in international travel insurance, you may have to upgrade your coverage, as the standard travel medical insurance may not cover you. Make a list of all the activities you could be participating in, and make sure that your insurance will cover them in an unfortunate event.
U.S. citizens don't need a visa to travel to Schengen countries for up to 90 days. However, for a more extended stay, Schengen visa insurance is mandatory.
Many U.S. citizens and residents take short vacations to Caribbean countries or take a cruise to other destinations such as Alaska. That typically involves cruise, airfare, shore excursions, hotel booking and some local transportation. Such vacations usually consists of a lot of prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs. In such cases, trip insurance is highly recommended.
As there are many plans available, it is best to get quotes from various products, compare them side by side and make a purchase. You can do all of that quickly on this website. Therefore, purchase international travel insurance today for a worry-free vacation, and enjoy.