Barry Kaufman – TravelPulse.com – May 13, 2014
Think your insurance will cover you if you get injured while traveling? Think again.
During an appearance on Fox Business’ “The Willis Report,” TravelPulse Founder and CEO Mark Murphy shared some surprising revelations on your insurance carrier, and offered tips for making sure you’re protected on your next trip.
1. Do not assume you’re covered
Despite what you may think, your existing insurance coverage may not cover you in the event of an injury or medical emergency overseas.
“Regardless of what policy you have, you should look into it. Call your insurance company,” said Murphy. “For the most part they don’t cover you in the event of a medical emergency overseas. It’s only here in the U.S.”
2. Shop around for trip insurance
3. Figure out what you need
Before you purchase insurance, assess your needs based on both your individual situation and the demands of the trip you’re going to take.
“You need to assess your needs,” said Murphy. “Is this going to be an active trip? An adventure trip? Are you going to be taking some risks? Is it going to be more of a sedentary trip? What’s your age? What’s your situation health-wise already? Figure out all those things and then look at some different levels of insurance coverage. You can have comprehensive coverage that covers virtually everything that can happen to you, just like your health insurance at home, or you can have emergency medical coverage.
“I would say look at it regardless of age or health situation, but especially look at it if you’re going to be active. If you’re going to be rock climbing or doing something like that, absolutely. Because you run a much higher risk of being injured. But people step off of cruise ships in a port in, let’s say, Italy and break their ankle. Now you’re at the emergency room and forget it; you’re going to get stuck with a huge bill so cover yourself.”
4. If the worst happens, seek a private hospital
With many countries utilizing a public health system, there can be a marked difference in the level of care between public and private hospitals. If the worst happens, Murphy recommended seeking out a private hospital.
“When my nephew got bit by a critter [while traveling in Mexico], he went to the private hospital. It was unbelievable care… it’s really set up there for tourists. Depending on the country you’re going to, they’ll have a level of hospitals for folks that can pay out of pocket and they’ll have a level for the common person that’s there. And you’re definitely going to want to pay the extra money and go to the private hospital because you’re going to get an excellent level of care.”
5. As always, talk to your travel agent
When host Gerri Willis asked Murphy how much travelers could expect to pay for travel insurance, he deferred her question to the real expert: your travel agent.
“You know it all depends on your age, your health, pre-existing conditions; I can’t quote you that. I’m not a licensed health care provider,” he laughed. “But you can talk to a travel agent and they can shop the plans for you. Then you can see inclusions and exclusions and really get a good picture of what the costs would be and the benefits.”