International travel brings with it the opportunity to see the world’s great sights, learn about different cultures, and perhaps put foreign language skills to the test. Overseas journeys can be thrilling adventures, though unforeseen events have the ability to cause greater disruption and trauma than similar occurrences at home would. The decision to purchase international travel health insurance can provide great peace of mind which comes from the knowledge that any expenses arising from unexpected medical situations will be covered.
Travelers engaging in adventurous activities such as scuba diving, rafting and mountain climbing may be surprised to learn that the medical insurance policy that covers them under typical circumstances does not extend to injuries sustained while engaging in unusually high risk physical activities. When venturing to nations with nationalized health care, travelers should realize that free or low cost healthcare services typically are provided only to citizens and not to foreigners. Overseas medical services providers may refuse or be unable to negotiate with the traveler’s domestic insurance company, and therefore require prepayment for services rendered. Further, should a traveler be unable to secure sufficient treatment abroad, they may find it difficult to marshal the resources to pay for transport home. Even those domestic insurance policies providing “customary and reasonable” medical costs while traveling abroad may decline payment for medical evacuations out of the country, which can run into several thousands of dollars. Unforeseen circumstances such as these make international travel health insurance a most prudent purchase for frequent adventurers.
Aimed at compensating travelers for unanticipated medical and health related expenditures while away from home, international travel health insurance is offered in a variety of different forms, depending on the length, nature, and specific circumstances of the trip or trips involved. It is typically possible to purchase short term coverage simultaneously with the booking of a particular travel event, or alternatively, a more expansive, ongoing policy may be available. Policies are typically offered by travel insurance firms, travel agents themselves, cruise lines, excursion operators, and even conventional insurance companies.
International travel health insurance policies are often further categorized by the type of traveler to be covered. Students, business travelers, leisure vacationers, adventure seekers, cruise ship patrons are all types of travelers to which specific types of coverage may be tailored. Among the common situations covered by this type of insurance are general medical expenses, accidental death or injury benefits, and even overseas funeral costs. Emergency dental treatment is included in many policies. Pregnancy related medical expenses are often included in this type of coverage, as long as the travel is within the traveler’s first trimester. Additional insurance may be required to assure coverage for pregnancy expenses after the first trimester, expenses relating to preexisting conditions, participation in high risk activities or sports, and high risk destinations. Common exclusions for this type of insurance include some preexisting medical conditions and injuries and incidents related to drug or alcohol use.