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What is Travel Insurance and Why might you need it?

By Jim Gilbert

The answers to these questions will depend on many factors, including your current Health Insurance and where you are traveling to. If you are currently covered by Medicare, you need to know Medicare does not provide ANY coverage outside of the United States. If your Health Insurance is provided by any one of the major insurers, you likely have zero coverage outside of your carrier’s network, including outside of the country.

While with some carriers it may be possible to submit the bills to your carrier for re-imbursement when you get home, you may be required to make cash payments up front before receiving any treatment or being released from a hospital. Health care providers and facilities will be looking for a guarantee of payment which could run into the thousands of dollars. You can only hope your credit card limit is that high and the provider or facility will accept a foreign credit card. What a relief to have a travel medical insurance plan that can provide this
guarantee of payment without you having to make payment up front.

If you become seriously ill or critically injured while traveling abroad and you need to be taken via helicopter to the nearest hospital, the cost can be enormous. In some parts of the world a medical evacuation can potentially cost six figures – and that doesn’t even include the cost of getting you home again.

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Travel insurance with emergency medical transportation benefits can pay for you to be transported to the nearest appropriate facility if you suffer a covered illness or injury during your trip and your travel insurer’s medical assistance team determines that the local medical facilities are unable to provide appropriate treatment. It can also pay for specialized transportation to bring you home, once your condition is stable. Some plans will even pay for a family member to come from home to stay with you while you are recovering. Other benefits include repatriation if you should expire while traveling. Twenty-four-hour help lines that can direct you to the nearest English speaking, western medicine practicing facility, or even arrange an appointment or transportation for you is another benefit I recommend looking for when shopping for travel insurance. Additionally, some plans can even assist in other areas such as with lost passports or credit cards, or legal problems while travelling outside the US. Many of these plans can be written for 1-day through 6 months.

If you or someone you love is traveling abroad, please strongly consider protecting yourself with some good quality travel insurance. If you are interested in obtaining travel insurance, contact Jim Gilbert at Grant Smith Health Insurance Agency at (810) 984-1373 for more information.


Jim Gilbert has been employed since 2014 with The Grant Smith Insurance Agency in Port Huron, Michigan. Jim is an avid motorcycle rider, and is a 30 year veteran of the motorcycle industry. He has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Ridercoach for 10 years.


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