First rule of international travel: organise your documents before reaching the airport! Faced with a choice of group cover, multiple destination premiums and even cover for known war zones, the finer points of international medical travel insurance often become blurred – usually prompting holidaymakers to settle for one of the many ‘all inclusive’ options available. Invariably for most, internet comparison sites have somewhat triggered greater confusion, since they rarely illustrate a complete rundown of package benefits. According to Foreign Office findings for 2010, pre-existent medical conditions, terminal illness and medication cover ranked as the most prominent areas of confusion for holidaymakers seeking international travel medical insurance.
A common misconception among credit card holders extends to the free travel insurance medical offered with balance transfer deals. Usually coupled with an enticing air miles points conversion system, this variant of free cover can seem like a gift wrapped alternative to ‘all-inclusive’ premium. Although basic, this complimentary card extra provides “Emergency Transportation Assistance” in the event of an accident and “Medical Referral Assistance” to hospital facilities. In fact, this form of international travel medical insurance guarantees neither. “Emergency Transportation Assistance” merely hooks you up with trusted contacts for the arrangement of emergency travel – the cost of which is borne by you. Similarly, “Medical Referral Assistance” extends to the assignation of a trusted (usually fluent) medical professional to a case of accident or illness – the expense of which is your own responsibility. Suddenly, those basic freebies seem far less appealing!
Are you considering traveling abroad for cosmetic or dentistry treatment? You’d do well to read the small print of any insurance policy prior to boarding your flight. Few insurance policies extend their terms for this increasingly popular motivation for travel, leaving many unprotected in the event a complication should prolong their trip. A few companies have extended their terms to fill the void, however you should certainly check for the fundamental basics – such as the coverage of accommodation and travel expenses in the event of unforeseen delays to your return. This is also applicable to those whom receive medical treatment whilst abroad. Should any aspect of ill-health prevent you boarding pre-booked flights, you’ll need adequate international travel medical insurance protection.
Pre-existant medical conditions rank highly on the list of travel insurance misconceptions. Terminal illness carries with it a great many necessities, including access to drug dispensation centers and specialist treatment should an individual’s condition deteriorate whilst on holiday. World First are an exception to most major travel insurance providers, catering for both the longterm disabled and those with pre-existing medical conditions. They also fair cheaper than most major insurance companies, whom usually offer illness-specific premiums at inflated prices, or bolt on extras to the standard international travel medical insurance package. In the vast majority of cases, standard cover does not insure those with longterm health problems.
Standard health insurance for everyday life is a no-brainer. It also fairs as a great option if you regularly travel abroad. Contrary to popular belief, standard health insurance doesn’t cover every aspect of treatment abroad and often excludes accommodation and transportation expenses. Introduced in 2010, the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) for UK citizens could assist with care costs, however can only be used within European Economic Area (EEA) countries. Many insurers now require applicants to hold an EHIC card, before they can arrange cover. It must be stressed the EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance cover, however does offer access to state health facilities and treatment in the event of accident or injury. For transport and accommodation cover, you will need international travel medical insurance, but the premium quoted will be far less!