Travel insurance isn’t the same as health insurance
We should probably start this post with “WARNING, WARNING, WARNING!”.
Bit overboard? Not really.
If you’ve been in Asia long enough, or watched the news from afar, you’ll undoubtedly have heard of people that can’t get back home because something has happened when traveling overseas and their travel insurance won’t cover it. Hospital bills can be expensive, even in Asia. Your credit card limit may not be sufficient.
Travel insurance doesn’t cover everything you think it might
Travel insurance is great for protecting yourself against trip cancellations, lost luggage etc. but when it comes to covering accidents and illness, depending on your circumstances, you might find it’s severely lacking.
Many travel policies don’t cover existing illnesses, flare-ups of chronic illnesses, or even the odd ride on a motorcycle, moped or scooter (even if you’re licensed and wearing a helmet). For the odd trip, if you don’t have existing medical conditions, that’s all well and good.
If you’re traveling for a living, frequently traveling for work, or just wanting to enjoy yourself with a few of the activities travel insurance won’t cover, you need to consider taking out an international health insurance policy.
Assuming you buy an international health insurance policy before you fall ill, it will usually cover chronic illness, scuba diving, mountain climbing, motorbike riding (when licensed and with a helmet!) and so on. Check the policy wording or talk to your insurance advisor to be certain.
If you want to keep the premium to a minimum, focus on a plan that covers hospitalization, and maybe take a deductible. Make certain it includes emergency assistance benefits – medical evacuations, repatriations and so on.
And a note for the employers out there…
If you’re sending staff overseas on a regular basis and relying on a group travel insurance policy to cover any medical costs that arise, you need to ensure it covers pre-existing conditions (including congenital conditions found later in life) and flare-ups of chronic conditions.
You probably don’t know what illnesses your staff have, which leaves you exposed if your travel policy doesn’t cover all things medical. You might consider an international health insurance plan for your key people and staff that travel the most.
Safe travels and stay safe!