Shockingly, most travelers do not protect themselves or their families with travel insurance!
Whether you’re a vacationer, a travel agent, a tour leader, or an employer, when your family and clients are traveling for work or vacations abroad, your number one priority is that they return happy, healthy, and on time.
One of the things you can do to ensure safe returns is to educate travelers about the differences between Trip Insurance and Travel Insurance, and how traveling insured can save their lives.
What’s the difference between trip insurance and travel insurance?
Trip Insurance and Travel Insurance are frequently used interchangeably. Here’s a quick guide on how to tell them apart.
Trip Insurance — used to protect travelers from financial loss due to trip related issues. Sometimes this is called Travel Assistance.
Trip insurance protects purchases. This type of insurance usually protects travelers against financial losses suffered due to unexpected situations that might include trip cancellation, interruption, or delay; missed flight connections; or lost baggage. Most often, trip insurance is not an option if something like a hurricane warning is already called.
Travel Insurance — used for health-related issues a traveler encounters while out of the country. Sometimes this is called Travel Medical Insurance.
Travel medical insurance protects people! This type of insurance protects travelers from unforeseen health issues that may arise while they’re traveling abroad. This would include sickness, injuries, and accidents. Often these plans will cover medical treatment and emergency evacuation, accidental death repatriation, etc.
Insurance price versus value
As with all insurance, price and plans can vary greatly depending on the benefits offered and the coverage you’re looking for. Cheap does not mean better, and it may not offer the coverage you need.
If you’re in the market for travel insurance, it would be smart to investigate a plan that covers both travel assistance and travel medical insurance. This is where premiums can get tricky based on whether you prepay for medical care, or what the limits are for emergency evacuation. Here’s a quick guide on travel insurance qualifiers that are important:
- One million dollars emergency medical evacuation or repatriation coverage
- All-inclusive hospital and medical services (Check deductibles)
- Direct pay to foreign providers
- Air ambulance to the best care and/or home
- Bedside assistance for your emergency contacts if you become ill or hurt
- A travel card and assistance app
- Electronic destination specific threat updates
- Mental health support – psychiatric trauma is a leading cause of evacuations
- Trip cancellation refund
- Lost or stolen personal property replacement
- Express kidnapping or ransom supplemental insurance
- Legal support – don’t get caught guilty until proven innocent
- Strong prompt claim payment reputation
- 24X7 hour concierge and hotline with translation services
Check the fine print! Some policy exclusions might be surprising, like blood alcohol levels, zip-lining or scuba diving, mental health, pregnancy, and prior conditions. If you have a health condition you need to disclose this to your insurer prior to purchasing a policy. You can usually get a rider on the policy for your special circumstances.
All travel insurance companies are not created equal. You wouldn’t want yourself or your employees to buy homeowners insurance with a click – they shouldn’t buy travel insurance with a click either. Encourage travelers to pick up the phone and create a dialogue to qualify the insurer. They should get specific on their needs and desires.
How do you use travel insurance?
Should you or your travelers need to go to a hospital abroad, what should be done? Should you call an ambulance, or call your travel insurance provider if you get hurt or become ill? The best course of action for injured travelers varies depending on which country you are in.
Most plans will give travelers a hotline to call and a list of situations when they should use this hotline. This could cover everything from canceled flights to hospital trips. We recommend travelers contact the travel insurance hotline before the three-digit emergency number. Otherwise, you might not get the right care when you need it most.
For example, you could be transported to a public despite your travel insurance covering you for a private hospital with priority care – or you might wait for an ambulance while your travel insurance hotline could have expedited an air ambulance for earlier crucial care. Oftentimes, your travel insurance will know the best course of action for your situation and location.
Should your travelers buy travel insurance?
If they can’t afford travel insurance – they probably can’t afford to travel. It can cost upwards of $50,000-300,000 for a life-saving emergency evacuation. On average, 70% of all international travelers are at risk because they travel ‘believing’ their company health insurance has them covered abroad, and often it does not.
The U.S. State Department recommends travelers contact their insurance companies to see what types of medical coverage their regular plan includes while they’re overseas. If your employees have their medical coverage through your company plan, you can take this step for them and provide them with the information they need to make their decision.
You can go a long way to build employee loyalty by giving them the facts they need to make informed decisions about their health and safety abroad. If an injury, illness, natural disaster, or worse affects an employee or their family member on vacation abroad, having the right travel insurance is vital to their safety, health, and convenience. When your travelers travel adequately insured, they are more likely to return happy, healthy, and on time to the jobs they love.
How else can you protect yourself and your travelers abroad?
To help ensure you, your family, and your travelers return to work healthy, happy, and on-time, prepare for travel abroad with travel safety training. Depart Smart’s Travel HEROES Safety Course is a quick, inexpensive, and thorough way to increase your safety abroad. Organizations and employers can add Travel HEROES to their company’s health and wellness, assistance, and education arsenal. Join the Depart Smart travel safety movement today and help save lives.
Travel HEROES Safety Course was made possible by the generous support of AIG Travel.