Travel Insurance: Peace of Mind While You Travel
If you are planning an international trip, you should consider getting travel insurance to cover yourself against accidents or illness while you’re abroad. Even if you already have medical insurance back home, it may not cover you when traveling outside the United States, or if it does cover you that coverage may not be enough.
There are 3 types of insurance you should consider: trip cancellation insurance, travel health insurance, and medical evacuation insurance. These will cover different situations and may give you financial peace of mind, as well as allowing for safe and healthy travel.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation insurance covers your financial investment in your trip, such as flights, cruises, or train tickets. Carefully examine the policy to make sure that it covers what you need it to cover, including cancellation if you or a close family member gets sick. Depending on the policy, trip cancellation insurance might not cover any medical care you need overseas, so you may need a separate travel health insurance policy.
Trip cancellation insurance might help ensure you are able to make a last-minute cancellation or change your itinerary in the event of an international outbreak, such as the current outbreak of Zika. Be sure to check the fine print to see if your coverage includes disease outbreaks at intended travel destinations and what any restrictions might be.
Medical evacuation insurance covers emergency transportation from a remote area to a high-quality hospital.
Travel Health Insurance
If you need to go to a hospital or clinic overseas, you will probably be asked to pay out-of-pocket for any services, which could be very expensive. Even if a country has nationalized health care, it may not cover people who are not citizens. Before you go, you should consider your insurance options in case you need care while you’re abroad, especially if you have existing health conditions, will be away from home for a long time, or will be engaging in adventure activities such as scuba diving or hang gliding.
If you have health insurance in the United States, find out if it will cover emergencies that happen abroad. Ask if your policy has any exclusions, such as for preexisting conditions or adventure activities. If your health insurance coverage is not adequate, consider buying a short-term supplemental policy. Look for a policy that will make payments to hospitals directly.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
If you are traveling to a remote destination or to a place where care is not likely to be up to US standards, consider buying medical evacuation insurance. This can be bought separately or as part of your travel health insurance policy. This insurance will pay for emergency transportation from a remote or poor area to a high-quality hospital – which could otherwise cost more than $100,000. Make sure that the policy provides a 24-hour physician support center.
This list is not all-inclusive, but these resources provide information about getting travel health and medical evacuation insurance:
- Page last reviewed: May 22, 2018
- Page last updated: May 22, 2018
- Content source:
- National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs