Insurance for the American Traveler

The world is a dangerous place. And the insurance that covers you at home, probably does not fully cover you abroad. Of course, these days you can insure anything, anywhere, anytime. That includes you and/or your family for your overseas travel.

Your current medical/health/property insurance coverage probably doesn’t completely protect you when you travel outside your home country, if it covers you at all. An accident can completely wreck a vacation. An uninsured accident can completely wreck you financially. Because of this risk, insurance companies have created a variety of products to give you peace of mind.

Travel insurance can be beneficial even before your trip begins. You can get travel or vacation cancellation insurance, which will reimburse you the costs of things like your airfare, hotel reservations, and event reservations (basically any non-refundable prepaid trip arrangements) when a covered event prevents you from taking your trip (including terrorism, but not war).

However, the most obvious direct risk to insure against is medical emergency. If your domestic health insurance policy doesn’t cover you, or limits coverage, consider supplementing. There are many companies out there that will insure you for the duration of your trip, whether it’s 3 days or 6 months.

Medical coverage starts at $50,000 and can go up to $2,000,000, with deductibles starting at $100. For example, a 36 year old male traveling anywhere in the world for two weeks can get a $500,000 medical policy with a $250 deductible for between $25 and $160, depending on what additional services you want.

You can start with basic coverage and keep adding. Additional coverages include things like dental, medical evacuation, pregnancy complications, sudden recurrence of pre-existing conditions, and 24-hour emergency assistance.

Travel insurance can also cover you on your way there and back. You can insure against airline accidents, delays, and lost baggage. If your trip is cut short, you can have unrecoverable prepaid costs insured with trip interruption insurance.

Of course, you may not want or need all the variations of travel insurance available. You may also be covered for certain risks already. For example, by purchasing your airline ticket, you may be covered up to a certain amount for lost baggage or airline accidents. If you paid for your ticket with a credit card, your credit card agreement might provide limited coverage. You will have to review airline policies, your airline ticket, and your credit card agreement to know what is available. Finally, if you belong to a trade group or membership organization such as AAA, your benefits may include some travel insurance.

When traveling abroad, particularly in unfamiliar territories and cultures, it’s worth considering the old adage “better safe than sorry.” Travel insurance, particular given the cost, can provide American travelers with a great deal of peace of mind. Bon voyage!