Anyone who knows me knows I always purchase travel insurance when going out of the country. Yes, it is an added expense, but I personally do not have extra funds in my account that would cover unexpected medical costs while traveling. Have you seen the price of having a baby in a US hospital? The same goes for a broken ankle or basic hospitalization. I could think of so many other ways to spend $30,000. We really are lucky here in Canada in that we do not have to pay for our basic medical care. Did you know that a basic x-ray can cost $200-$1000? So, where am I going with this?
This January I went away with just my family for a much needed sunny 7-night getaway. On the flight down I somehow ended up sitting directly in front of a young child who was throwing up for the majority of the flight and the adult beside them was coughing the whole time. I usually bring hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes on any flight to wipe all surfaces, but this time I forgot – possibly due to the fact that we had to leave the house by 3 am; it was all I could do to remember the passports! And yes, that’s right, it is normally me wiping down every surface of my seat before the flight takes off – the arm rest, the button on the arm rest, all parts of the tray – you really never know how clean they are.
I was okay for the first 2 days and then gradually felt myself getting worse. By the 4th day I couldn’t even leave the room. I was so achy and sore, coughing, sore throat, plugged and painful ears. I decided it was time to make the call. Well, let’s be clear – my husband made the call because by them I couldn’t even get up. After a quick call to our travel insurance company, less than an hour later there was an English speaking doctor in my hotel room. He was professional, thorough, and kind; I was so thankful. Thankful for a kind doctor who came to see me so that I didn’t have to go anywhere and of course thankful for my travel medical coverage. Do I have medical coverage available though my credit card? Yes. Does my husband have medical coverage through his extended benefits at work? Yes. Do I purchase additional travel medical insurance? Yes. Why? Because not all insurance is the same.
Not all credit card coverage is the same, nor is employee benefit coverage. Here are some things to look into? Will your coverage provide access to a 24 hour medical concierge service to help you find a doctor or service provider close to you should you need it? Will your plan cover the cost of medical evacuation should you need it? What about cancellation? Does it cover just yourself or will it also cover your family should something happen prior to your trip? These are all things that need to be looked into before deciding on additional travel medical coverage.
Nobody wants to be unprepared when an unexpected accident or illness occurs, and even more so when you are traveling out of the country. Please – do some research and be prepared, you will not regret it.