Why you need travel health insurance abroad

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether you need travel insurance. Per Breiehagen/Getty Images

When planning a trip, especially an international one, you might just want to worry about packing your passport, sunscreen, and other essentials—but you might be missing something essential: travel insurance.

While cancellation insurance may be the main reason many travelers buy insurance, there are other perks such as: In particular, emergency medical insurance and medical evacuation can potentially save you thousands.

To learn more about affordable travel insurance options, visit a marketplace like SquareMouth. Just fill out your journey and travel information to see dozens of options now.

Why you need travel health insurance

Travel medical insurance can help cover the costs of an unforeseen event or emergency that results in injury or illness while traveling. It includes things like an ambulance, X-rays and tests, medical bills, and more.

Squaremouth suggests purchasing a policy with $50,000 in emergency medical insurance and $100,000 in medical evacuation insurance for international travel.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether you need travel insurance. But here are some of the main reasons.

1. Your current health insurance may not cover you

Americans traveling abroad are often encouraged to purchase travel insurance because Medicare and Medicaid generally don’t cover medical expenses outside of the country, the U.S. State Department says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reflects this on its website, warning Americans that they may be forced to pay for medical expenses abroad out of their own pockets.

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“Even if a country has nationalized health care, non-citizens may not be covered. Before you travel, you should review your insurance options in case you need care while traveling. Travel medical insurance is especially important if you have a pre-existing medical condition, are traveling for more than 6 months, or are doing adventure activities like scuba diving or hang gliding,” the agency writes.

If you have private health insurance, you should also check if it still covers you in different countries. In some areas it may even be required or at least require proof of health insurance.

You should take this into account if you are dependent on this type of health insurance. If you have concerns about health insurance, consider getting comprehensive travel insurance that covers all of your basics. It’s an extra way to protect yourself and your wallet.

2. You want to protect your health and your finances

Your health comes first. So if an emergency arises and you need to see a doctor or hospital abroad, you should do so. Worrying about possible medical expenses shouldn’t prevent you from seeing a doctor – that’s why travel insurance with medical benefits is essential.

“Perhaps the medical benefits of travel insurance are the most valuable because of the high financial impact a medical claim can have while traveling,” SquareMouth emphasizes.

CBS News senior travel consultant Peter Greenberg previously explained on CBS Mornings that travel insurance is “worth it” as long as you know exactly what you’re covered for and what you’re not covered for. He recommends speaking to a travel advisor to make sure you know the details of your coverage plan, which he says should include medical evacuation and repatriation insurance.

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“If you get sick or injured abroad, in the best policies, they pay to have you stabilized there,” Greenberg explained. “You consult your own doctor who knows your medical history, and then, if necessary, fly back to the doctor and medical facility of your choice in a medically-equipped jet.”

Find travel insurance now with these benefits included!

3. You plan to travel for a long time

Finally, the length of your stay abroad should influence your decision. The longer you are there, the higher the risk that you will need medical care.

The CDC recommends purchasing travel insurance with medical benefits if you are traveling for more than six months or if you are participating in any extreme sport or activity.

If you’re planning longer trips or typically take multiple trips over the course of a year, consider annual travel insurance, which may be more cost-effective than buying separate plans for each vacation.

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