Thought I would put up this post-Thanksgiving note to remind all my traveling friends why it is so important to get travel insurance when you travel. Take a second and read this story (that you may have seen already, as it got a LOT of press) about a couple who were being “held prisoner” by a hospital in Mexico, then close the window and come back here. If you haven’t read this before, you should know that the couple eventually got to go home, thanks to the coverage on Good Morning America (GMA). Actor/Director Tyler Perry saw the story and paid their hospital bill.
If you don’t know Tyler Perry or think you could get coverage on GMA you should definitely make sure you have travel insurance when you travel. I can’t believe the number of people who think that travel insurance is only for those who might have to cancel their trip and want to be reimbursed. I have had clients tell me that “We can afford to lose the money on this trip if we can’t go.” But travel insurance covers so much more.
For instance, a good travel insurance policy should cover the following:
- Trip Interruption (example: covers you if your flight gets cancelled or rerouted).
- Trip Delay (example: your plane is grounded due to weather and you miss your cruise—they will get you to your ship).
- Missed Connection Baggage & Personal Effects Baggage Delay
- Emergency Medical & Dental Expenses (this one is the biggie, especially if you are over 65 and from the USA).
- Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation (they will fly you home if you are sick or injured).
- Accidental Death & Dismemberment
- Travel Assistance & Concierge Services (The best companies provide this—for instance, they will help you find a good doctor in another country).
The biggest of these benefits are the Emergency Medical and Dental. As the couple in the story found out, costs for medical treatment can vary drastically in other countries and on cruise ships where a doctor visit and an aspirin can run over $100. If the folks who were rescued by Tyler Perry had travel insurance, they would have contacted their insurance company who would have made arrangements for payment with the hospital and everything would have been just fine. But they didn’t.
BIG MESSAGE—in bold so my friends who are US citizens and over 65 all see it: If you are sick or injured outside the USA, Medicare will NOT pay your medical bills. You are on your own. I had an 86 year old client going on a horse tour in Israel who didn’t get travel insurance???
I watch for these kind of stories and I am building a long list of them for the next time a friend or client tells me, “We never get travel insurance. We will be fine.” Well they might not be. I am sure the couple in the story didn’t think they would finish their vacation with 14 nights in a Mexican hospital. And the people who tell me they “never buy travel insurance” may not have Tyler Perry to bail them out.
Traveling anywhere in the world involves some risk. You could always opt to spend your life cowering under your bed. —Joe Haldeman