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Travel Health and Safety

Why Travel Insurance Is a Must-Have in These 4 Worst-Case Scenarios

Even the most well-thought-out travel plans can be upended by injury, illness, theft, weather or any number of unforeseen events. No one can predict exactly what might happen. What travelers can do, however, is protect themselves — their health, safety and investment — in case things go wrong.

Travel protection plans include insurance coverage coupled with assistance services. This can mean that you’re not only protected against out of pocket expenses if you have to change your travel plans or seek emergency medical care, you also have access to services to help coordinate emergency care, travel arrangements and even legal support. Find out why travel insurance is key in the following situations.

1. Illness or injury

Assistance services can help arrange hospital or other medical treatment and coordinate medical transportation to get you to a hospital with necessary care. Your travel assistance company will do what is medically indicated as the best option for the patient — whether an air ambulance or even a first-class commercial flight with a medical escort — the number one priority being your health, comfort and safety. Travel insurance can also fill the gap between what your health insurance covers and the actual costs of your care — including an air ambulance, which can easily cost $50,000 to $100,000 or more. Marcelline K. fell and broke her foot in Kenya. With the help of a travel protection plan and her insurance company representative, she was cared for in a private hospital, transported to Nairobi and flown back to San Francisco.

2. Natural disaster

With a call to the 24-hour hotline for travel assistance services, you can receive help to evacuate from an area that is in the path of a hurricane or other natural disaster, as well as make alternative plans, such as finding and booking a hotel and rescheduling flights.

3. Lost passport

Each year, more than 300,000 passports are reported lost or stolen by U.S. citizens, according to State Department statistics. Travel assistance programs can help locate the nearest embassy or consulate as well as help provide necessary paperwork to get a passport replaced.

4. Unforeseeable circumstances

When you have unexpected health concerns or certain other unforeseeable circumstances, such a terrorist attack or hurricane, that keep you from being able to take your vacation, travel insurance can eliminate another source of worry. You can be reimbursed for the costs of your cancelled trip, which in many cases can be thousands of dollars. This was the case for Marjorie D., whose husband ended up in the hospital the day before their planned cruise. “Yes,” she reports, “we definitely purchased insurance for the re-booking.”

While traveling, always keep the contact information for your plan’s 24-hour assistance handy so that you can seek help in a variety of situations.

Make sure you understand what your policy does — and doesn’t — cover as well as the limits of coverage, including any limitations on your destination or activities. If you are unsure of anything, contact your provider directly to ask.

SOURCE: United States Travel Insurance Association, [email protected]

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