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Do you need travel insurance? What risks will you take? White water river rafting, mountain climbing? What insurance do you already have?

Is travel insurance is really worth the cost? What a tough question because every trip and every traveler has different needs and different levels of comfort.

Know Before You Go: Before traveling out of your home state or internationally, take time to check with your existing insurance company (health, home, etc.) to understand exactly what IS covered. Medical evacuation? Is lost or stolen property covered in your home insurance plan? What’s your deductible?  Perhaps you need or want more coverage.

         Do you ask yourself:

  • What will happen if I get sick and can’t travel?
  • How much money will I lose (or not lose) if I don’t have travel insurance?
  • What miscellaneous expenses are covered by travel insurance?

I have purchased travel insurance but only for remote trips, not domestic or Europe. I’ve used Travel Guard and have adventure travel friends who have had good experiences with them. Also check out: World Nomad and this is worth a read: 

This new tool by lets you compare brands, features and read reviews from travelers.

Don’t let scare scenarios  keep you at home.

Surfers on Chesterman Beach, Vancouver Island. Photo: /Adrian Dorst.

I’ve only bought travel insurance a few times in my decades of travel to over 100 countries on 7 continents. I bought evacuation insurance when I traveled to remote areas in the mountains of Asia and I bought trip cancellation when my mother was very ill.

Only you can decide what’s best for you. I hope this tool is helpful.

People traveling domestically should check if their health plan offers a national or local network of hospitals and health care providers, and confirm what level of coverage is available at out-of-network facilities.

A case for protection abroad:  People can help alleviate financial and quality of care anxiety with international medical coverage. Global insurance companies can also provide foreign language translation, know where to direct you for treatment, and can work with local health care providers to coordinate and monitor care. Also, most domestic insurance won’t cover prescriptions abroad, so for long vacations ask your care provider for enough medication to cover the duration of the trip (as well as check that specific medications are legal in the countries on the travel itinerary). 

Get Your Credit: Even with international coverage, carry an extra credit card with a large limit to use for medical expenses. Foreign hospitals will typically want upfront payment, rather than billing the health plan. Get clear and complete copies of all bills and discharge notes for reimbursement from your health plan.

Be A Savvy Senior: Original Medicare in nearly all cases applies to the United States only and does not extend overseas or even across the border (other than in cases in the Northern U.S. where the nearest hospital is in Canada). Some Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement plans offer worldwide emergency coverage for foreign travel, although some have restrictions and a lifetime limit.



Thank you to UnitedHealthcare Global for background information.


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