When traveling far from home, protect yourself and your stuff. You've packed clothes, a camera, your cellphone and sandals, but believe it or not, those aren't the most important things that should be on your list. Did you pack INSURANCE?
Visiting the doctor's office while you're abroad is probably not in your plans, but what if you get sick? Or hurt? Did you know that a medical evacuation back to the U.S. could cost $50,000 or more. Can you or your family afford this if you aren't insured?
Find out if you are covered for a medical emergency overseas BEFORE you leave. Many foreign doctors and hospitals do not accept U.S. insurance policies, and may require full cash payment in advance of your treatment. Your existing medical insurance company may require you to call back to an office in the U.S. for advance approval of any treatments or expenditures. Your policy may also set a dollar limit above which you'll have to pay. Read the fine print. You might need to purchase additional coverage.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE:
- Check your current health insurance policy. Are you covered under your parents' policy or through your school? Does it protect you outside of the U.S.?
- If your plan does not cover you fully overseas, purchase a short-term international insurance policy. Many travel agents and private companies offer plans that will cover health care expenses overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
A number of unexpected things could put a damper on your travels, from a natural disaster to illness.
Safeguard your trip and your belongings with travel insurance! This kind of policy can provide protection if:
- You get sick
- You are involved in a car accident
- Severe weather or a natural disaster causes travel cancellations
Other provisions of travel insurance usually include lost baggage coverage, missed flight connections and cancellation charges imposed by airlines. You have invested a lot of time and money into this once-in-a-lifetime experience—don't leave anything to chance!
Several private organizations will provide medical information and insurance for overseas travelers. Most charge a fee for this service. The list of service providers is FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, by the Department of State.
In addition, for basic insurance to cover sickness, accident and other emergencies while traveling outside the United States students and teachers can purchase international student or teacher identity cards. There are additional benefits to having a student card, including discounts on admissions, transportation, and accommodations. You can find more information about student identity cards online.