When you travel to a foreign country you do not expect to be hit by a serious disease or suffer an accident. You don’t expect to be caught up in a political or environmental disaster. These disasters are far from your mind when you book your vacation or business trip. But it is important to consider that while these events may be rare, they could happen – and the cost to you could be high.
In particular, it is important to consider how you may need emergency evacuation or repatriation if you suffer an accident or illness abroad. You may need to be airlifted to a hospital or taken home in a private plane. Emergency evacuation can be extremely costly. Different types of travel health insurance exist and there are many medical evacuation and insurance companies to cover this risk.
But many people simply do not realize they need this type of insurance. Discover more about protecting your health abroad and the different types of evacuation insurance coverage you can purchase to safeguard your trip and your wellbeing.
1) Medical Evacuation
This type of insurance coverage is mainly tailored to providing air transportation to the closest suitable medical facility when a person suffers a severe and unexpected illness or injury. For example, you may fall and hit your head in a remote area of a foreign country where the nearest hospital is four hours by road. Or you may suffer a heart attack on board a cruise ship and need to be flown ashore.
Medical evacuation insurance gives you the assurance that you will be treated in a hospital with the necessary facilities, even when you have to fly to get there, and you won’t have to pay for it out of pocket. In many cases you may need to be transported not to the nearest facility but to the most appropriate treatment center. This would usually cost tens of thousands of dollars, and can be covered by medical evacuation insurance.
In the case of some types of cover, you may receive the money to be transported back to your home country after your condition has stabilized. This is part of some plans and not others, so it is useful to check with the insurance company.
2) Emergency Evacuation
Another type of evacuation coverage is emergency evacuation. This type of cover is for travellers who are threatened with natural disasters or environmental problems that require immediate evacuation because their safety is at major risk. This could occur if a hurricane struck a tropical island, or a terrorist attack occurred in a city. In the case of this type of cover, there is not necessarily injury or illness involved. The cover helps to protect a traveller by ensuring they are removed from the location of risk.
3) Political Evacuation
Another type of situation where evacuation may be required is in cases of political crisis. This situation is much like the emergency evacuation cover, and it means that the traveller will be removed from the location where political events or emergencies put their safety or life at risk.
4) Emergency Reunion
This type of cover allows for a family member to travel with you when you are being evacuated due to a medical emergency. They may also receive living expenses such as accommodation costs.
Also known as return of mortal remains or repatriation of remains, this is cover which is created to cover the cost of transporting your body back to your home country should you die overseas.
Why Is Evacuation Insurance Important?
A major event like serious illness or accident is stressful at the best of times but it is 100 times worse when you are overseas, where you do not speak the language, and where you do not know which medical facility is best. Emergency evacuation insurance helps make certain that you will be given the best treatment, wherever that may be situated.
Emergency evacuation insurance also ensures you do not get faced with a huge bill for an air ambulance. It saves having to use life savings or remortgage the house in order to get the right treatment. It could ultimately save your life.
Do I Need Emergency Evacuation Insurance?
In many cases, such as the requirements for international students, it is necessary to have evacuation cover as part of your overseas health insurance. In other cases it is not necessary, but it is probably highly recommended to have evacuation cover.
Check whether your insurance covers evacuation. Insurance policies will usually cover medical treatment at a suitable facility, but they may not cover transport to your home country if the facilities are not adequate, or to a facility which is further away but better equipped to handle emergency cases.