Do you know what your company covers when you travel on business? Many companies provide travel insurance for its employees during business trips, but whether it is insurance you are purchasing yourself for vacation or insurance your company is providing for business travel, it is important to know what is covered. Shopping for travel insurance requires some research and it is always best to check your existing insurance plans, like your homeowner’s insurance or your medical insurance, to see what is not covered overseas. Many medical plans do not cover out of network doctors but will cover emergencies. Your homeowner’s policies may cover lost or stolen baggage but won’t help when it comes to other travel issues such as canceled flights, medical issues, etc. Some credit card companies, such as American Express, offer travel insurance to card members as well.
There are 4 main types of travel insurance:
- Short-term or single trip – Will cover trips up to 90 days
- Long-term or multi-trip – Will cover trips up to one year
- Expatriate – Covers people living overseas
- Foreign national – Covers non-U.S. citizens
The covered elements within each plan are the most important considerations even if you don’t think you’ll need each one.
- Medical & Dental Care
Usually includes only emergencies, not routine check-ups. Know what is included and the dollar limit.
- Medical Evacuation
Covers the cost of transporting you due to an emergency or unforeseen circumstances such as injury or natural disaster. This is especially important if you will be doing anything high-risk, such as hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, etc., or traveling somewhere that is prone to natural disasters or inclement weather. However mundane your plans, accidents do happen; a simple fall can be costly. Make sure that evacuation also means from the hospital to your home country and not just from the site of pickup to the hospital.
- Emergency Cancellation
Covers the cost of canceling a trip due to sudden illness, death, unforeseen flight delays, cancellations, or other unforeseen circumstances, including returning from an area experiencing social unrest.
- Lost or Delayed Baggage
Covers only a certain dollar amount and has a limit on most items or electronics. If you travel with a lot of valuables, you might want to invest in a plan that will cover the cost replacing those items.
- Repatriation of Remains
Assists with the cost and red tape of returning your remains to your home country
- Legal Aid, Referral Assistance, and Multilingual Help
Can be invaluable in an emergency
- Auto Insurance
Most travel plans exclude coverage if you injure someone on the road, or are involved in an alcohol- or drug-related incident or if you are reckless. Additional auto insurance may be required to cover property damage or injury to yourself or others while operating an automobile.
Be sure it provides financial protection should an airline, hotel or tour operator go bankrupt and leave you stranded.
Common exclusions with many plans are prior medical conditions, pregnancy, sports activities (such as scuba diving, rock climbing, and organized sports), self-inflicted injury, suicide, mental illness, and claims arising from war (declared or undeclared).
Don’t settle, if you think the plan only covers minor mishaps but won’t truly help in an emergency, it might be worth paying a little extra for one that will. When it comes to safety and health, don’t skimp. Emergencies are rarely anticipated so better be safe than sorry.