Should I buy travel insurance or expat medical insurance?

Let’s define travel cover: Travel insurance is usually for short intervals but some policies from Australia I’ve seen can be for up to 3 years. Travel insurance covers accidents and emergencies only, and won’t cover urgent or elective medical problems. Travel insurers expect you to end your trip and return home for elective or urgent treatment, and some policies require return immediately upon diagnosis. . . .

By Alex Routh, President

Let’s define travel cover: Travel insurance is usually for short intervals but some policies from Australia I’ve seen can be for up to 3 years. Travel insurance covers accidents and emergencies only, and won’t cover urgent or elective medical problems. Travel insurers expect you to end your trip and return home for elective or urgent treatment, and some policies require return immediately upon diagnosis. For example, if you were diagnosed with cancer while on a travel policy, there might be an urgent requirement to commence treatment, but it is not life or death to wind up your affairs and then return home to commence treatment after several weeks. Travel insurance is also not renewable, if you have a serious medical problem, your cover will end at expiry or when you return home. The underlying assumption behind travel cover is that you have proper medical insurance at home to return to in the event of an urgent or elective medical condition. For more information, check out more travel insurance basics.

Ready to buy travel insurance? Get a quote now.

Expat medical insurance covers everything travel insurance covers plus urgent and elective medical treatment. Importantly, it is guaranteed renewable if you are in the midst of a course of treatment at renewal time. If you have international medical insurance, you don’t need travel insurance unless you are traveling outside your area of cover.

Expat Insurance for Americans

For Americans, because insurance law is governed at the state level, there are laws prohibiting outside insurers from insuring residents in any state. Policies therefore have provisions limiting cover if you are outside of your state for more than 6 months. The assumption is that you are a resident in another state, and if they are covering you, then they are violating that state’s regulations and subject to huge monetary penalties. They don’t seem to consider that you might be living out of the country! So the danger is that they might cancel your policy if they learn you are resident out of your home state for more than 6 months. That’s where expatriate medical insurance comes in to replace your stateside insurance. If you are only resident outside your home state for less than 6 months, then travel cover will do, so long as you maintain your cover back home.

Expat Insurance for Canadians and Brits

For the Canadian case, if you are resident outside Canada for 183 days annually and satisfy a few other conditions, then you can live tax free. The downside is that you can’t be on your provincial medical plan back home, and it takes 3 months to enroll again after returning permanently. Until you are back on the roster, you could be paying thousands of dollars per day for a hospital bed in Canada. Canadian hospitals charge American pricing to non-resident Canadians and foreigners. So if you are still paying Canadian taxes and a resident, you can buy a “Snowbird” travel policy meant for older travelers otherwise a regular policy. If you are not tax resident, then you need medical insurance. The British case is similar in that a few years ago the National Health Service changed the rules regarding residency. If you are not “ordinarily resident” in the UK, then you’re not entitled to free NHS treatment and you’re going to pay high prices unless you have expat medical cover.

For more information on international expatriate medical insurance, please visit Protexplan.com

Ready to buy medical cover? Get an expatriate health insurance quote.

 

Safety concerns grow for travellers in Thailand

According to a recent article from the International Travel Insurance Journal, westerners travelling to Thailand in the coming months are at increased risk of being victim to scams, particularly for rental of water sports.

According to a recent article from the International Travel Insurance Journal, westerners travelling to Thailand in the coming months are at increased risk of being victim to scams, particularly for rental of water sports.


There has also been an increase in the number of foreigners falling victim to violent crime in the country. Travellers are being encouraged to avoid Koh Phangan, as it has been a hot spot for attacks.

While the Thai government says it is prioritising the safety of foreigners, has set up a goodwill insurance fund to assist travellers, and is asking its people to help protect travellers, be sure to check that you have appropriate health and travel insurance and that all your activities will be adequately covered.

Gatinsure offers affordable travel insurance for individuals and families as well as groups. If you are planning a trip with loads of adventure, we do provide adventure travel insurance.

For more information about travel advisories for Thailand, please see:

Thailand advisories for the USA

Thailand advisories for Canada

Thailand advisories for Great Britain

Thailand advisories for Australia

Why buy travel insurance?

From emergency health expenses, including air evacuation, to losses or damages of luggage during travel, you are not protected unless you have a quality travel insurance plan.

When you’re on holiday, or preparing for a holiday, the last thing you may want to think about is how your best-laid plans could go wrong. But, a new study shows that while travelling you may not be as protected as you think you are.

A recent study done by ABTA, the UK’s leading travel association, shows that travellers are increasingly opting out of travel insurance. As much as 48 per cent of travellers between the ages of 15 and 24 years old regularly travel without travel insurance. These numbers are increasing, too.

According to an article in the International Travel Insurance Journal, many travellers wrongly believe that their domestic insurance, including national health care or the European Health Insurance Card, will cover emergency expenses abroad—including airlift evacuation. Sixteen per cent of those surveyed by ABTA even thought their government would assist with the costs.

With a quality travel insurance plan, you should be guaranteed protection if:

  • your flight is cancelled or interrupted;

  • you lose your baggage or any valuables during travel;

  • you become ill, are injured, or become disabled; or

  • you die and need to cover foreign funeral expenses and repatriation of remains.

 

Not all plans are fully inclusive. If you plan on participating in adventure activities or you have a pre-existing condition, enhanced travel insurance may be necessary.

 

For more information about international travel insurance or to get a travel insurance quote, visit our homepage.

 

International Travel Insurance Basics

What is international travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a medical and financial safeguard, usually bought prior to travelling, that protects travellers from unexpected emergencies that may occur during their trips. Travel insurance can be bought to cover trips lasting a few days to a couple years and can be limited by activities and locations. International travel insurance includes packages and plans that cover travel world wide.

What does travel insurance cover?

The coverage provided by travel insurance will depend on the plan or package bought; however, some risks that are often covered by travel insurance include:

  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption (missed connection due to airline schedule, travel delays caused by weather, etc.)

  • Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal effects or travel documents and delayed baggage (and emergency replacement of essential items)

  • Medical emergencies caused by accident or illness, often including emergency evacuation

  • Return of a minor

  • Overseas funeral expenses and repatriation in case of death

  • Benefit for accidental death, injury, or disablement

Additional coverage can usually be added to enhance benefits for already covered risks as well as to protect travelers with pre-existing conditions or who want to participate in activities with an element of danger (diving, water-skiing, trekking, etc.).

Key facts about buying international travel insurance:

  • Insurance should cover all planned activities for the duration of the trip. So, be sure to double check that your skiing or ski-diving will be covered by the plan you buy.

  • For most companies, insurance must be purchased prior to travel. (Gatinsure allows travellers to purchase insurance after starting their trips.)

  • Also, many travel insurance providers require customers to be members of their national health insurance program. (Gatinsure provides travel insurance policies without this requirement.)

  • Most companies also require that the insurance be purchased in the traveller’s home country. (Gatinsure allows travellers to purchase insurance from anywhere in the world.)

For more information about buying travel insurance and to get a travel insurance quote, please visit our homepage, Guardian Angel Travel Insurance.

 

Forgotten to buy travel insurance!

Travel insurance should be top of your list when going on holiday or leaving your home country. Travel insurance is cheap and can be purchased online; it can save you an absolute fortune if you do face issues while abroad. However, despite the potential dangers involved in failing to take out insurance, so many travellers leave it to the last minute or even worse fail to take it out altogether because they cannot see the benefits straight away.

If you have an accident or medical issue while abroad and receive medical treatment, the costs can quickly shoot through the roof. Even for something which seems straight forward, the costs can soon escalate into thousands of dollars. Shocking stories regularly show in the papers about young graduates who set off on an adventure of a life time, have an mishap and end up forcing their parents to remortgage the family home in order to pay the medical fees. With all this popping up in the press there are still people who don’t take out, or forget to take out travel insurance for their travels.

Travel insurance should be the next priority once a trip is booked!!

What can I do?

If you have forgotten to buy travel insurance you still do have an option, all is not lost! Many standard travel insurance plans will require you to take out the plan before you leave, which is now not available if you have already left. The answer is to look at the Patriot Travel range of plans we offer here at gatinsure.com, as these can be taken before you leave or even once you have reached your destination. The only point is that it will not cover you in your home country. This is a saviour for all of you that have arrived without travel medical insurance. You can jump straight online and purchase a plan to be effective the following day with documentation emailed to you almost instantly. With cover options from $50,000 through to $2,000,000, there is a coverage level for all requirements. To view the Patriot Travel Medical plan benefits and to receive a free quote click here.