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Travel Insurance with Emergency Medical Benefits: The Simple Guide

medical emergency while traveling
Allianz - medical emergency while traveling

When you buy emergency medical travel insurance, what’s covered? What’s not? And how does it help you?

Here’s everything you need to know about travel insurance with emergency medical benefits.

What is travel insurance with emergency medical benefits?

When you get seriously sick or hurt during your trip, you need help. Emergency medical benefits are the part of your travel insurance that covers the cost of medical evacuation and/or medical care in an emergency.

To get a little more detailed:

  • Emergency medical and dental benefits can reimburse you for the cost of eligible medical care if, while traveling, you experience a sudden, unexpected illness, injury, or medical condition that could cause serious harm if not treated.
  • Emergency transportation benefits, sometimes called medical evacuation insurance, can pay for pre-approved, medically necessary transportation to the nearest appropriate hospital or other healthcare facility. These benefits can also pay for your transportation home.

What does emergency medical travel insurance cover?

True to its name, it covers medical emergencies that occur while you’re traveling. We define a medical emergency as a sudden, unexpected illness, injury, or medical condition that occurs while you’re on your trip and could cause serious harm if it is not treated.

There are a few key words in this definition:

  • Sudden and unexpected: Emergency medical travel insurance is not the same thing as travel health insurance. It’s not designed to cover treatment for chronic conditions, normal pregnancy, or preventive care.
  • On your trip: Travel insurance can’t cover your treatment for medical emergencies that occur before you leave, or for your continuing treatment once you’ve returned home.
  • Serious harm: Minor illnesses (such as colds or stomach upset) and injuries (a scraped elbow) aren’t covered.

Dental injuries or infections, lost fillings, and broken teeth that require treatment can be covered by emergency dental benefits.

Each plan has a maximum dollar limit for emergency medical and emergency transportation benefits. Please read your plan documents for specific details and exclusions associated with your plan.

Read more: Travel Emergency Medical Insurance Explained

Can my emergency medical travel insurance benefits cover COVID-19?

Yes. If your plan includes emergency medical benefits and the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, then you can be reimbursed for costs for emergency medical care for COVID-19.

What else does emergency medical travel insurance cover?

It includes some extra benefits that can be really helpful! These include:

  • Paying to bring a friend or family member to your bedside, if you’ll be hospitalized for more than 48 hours
  • Making (and paying for) travel arrangements to send your dependents home, if they’re traveling with you and you’re hospitalized for more than 24 hours
  • Medical repatriation, which means transporting you home after an illness or injury, once you’re well enough to travel. If your medical condition requires extra care, repatriation can involve arranging a private air ambulance and/or a medical escort.

Do I need international travel medical insurance if I’m traveling overseas?

Yes! Did you know that in most other countries, medical providers do not accept American health insurance plans? Medicare doesn’t provide coverage outside of the United States, either. Instead, the hospital or doctor’s office will ask you to pay with a credit card or cash. If you can’t pay, you may be refused treatment.

No one wants to pay thousands of dollars for emergency treatment (or even hundreds of thousands, for some medical evacuations). With emergency medical travel insurance, you don’t have to worry.

Do I need emergency medical travel insurance for a U.S. trip?

That depends. If you have a good health insurance plan, you may not need emergency medical insurance while traveling within the U.S.

However, it’s still a good idea! Allianz Travel Insurance’s emergency medical benefits have a few advantages your regular health insurance may not provide:

  • There’s no deductible or copay for covered emergency medical expenses. (There is, however, a maximum limit for your emergency medical/dental and emergency transportation benefits, which you’ll find in your plan documents.)
  • Depending on the plan you choose, your travel medical insurance may be primary That means it pays your covered medical expenses before any other insurance coverage applies.
  • Emergency medical transportation benefits can cover medically necessary medical evacuations. This is a must if you’re traveling to any remote locations—such as fishing in Alaska, or backcountry camping in a national park.
  • Your travel insurance also can cover special medical transportation home after an emergency. Your regular insurance may not.

Do I need emergency medical travel insurance if I’m healthy?

Yes! We get more than 4,000 calls each year from travelers who need help with a medical emergency. The most common emergencies we see are things that can happen to anyone, even people who are generally healthy and fit: fractures from falls; trauma (often from motor vehicle accidents); cardiovascular problems, such as a heart attack or stroke; and pulmonary/respiratory problems, such as a collapsed lung.

Active travelers especially need travel medical insurance, if you plan to participate in activities such as hiking, cycling, skiing, horseback riding, etc. on your trip. Just make sure you read the exclusions in your plan. Certain high-risk activities are excluded from coverage.

Do I need to buy emergency medical travel insurance for my kids?

Yes! Children aren’t immune from medical emergencies while traveling, whether a tummy bug or a fractured wrist. Luckily, two of our plans offer free coverage* for children 17 and under when traveling with a parent or grandparent: OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier, which doubles most OneTrip Prime post-departure benefit limits (*not available on policies issued to Pennsylvania residents).

Can emergency medical travel insurance cover my pre-existing medical condition?

Yes, but you have to make sure your plan includes the existing medical condition waiver and meets all the requirements. If you insure your full nonrefundable trip costs within 14 days of paying your first trip deposit, and you’re medically able to travel when you do so, you can be covered for most existing medical conditions.

An existing medical condition is defined as an injury, illness, or medical condition that, within the 120 days prior to and including the policy purchase date:

  1. Caused a person to seek medical examination, diagnosis, care, or treatment by a doctor;
  2. Presented symptoms; or
  3. Required a person to take medication prescribed by a doctor (unless the condition or symptoms are controlled by that prescription, and the prescription has not changed).

The illness, injury, or medical condition does not need to be formally diagnosed in order to be considered a pre-existing medical condition.

Read more: When Does Travel Insurance Cover Existing Medical Conditions?

What happens if I have an emergency while traveling somewhere without high-quality medical facilities?

In situations like these, your emergency transportation benefits can be life-saving. If you suffer a serious illness or injury on your trip and the local medical facilities can’t provide the medical treatment you need, our medical team will arrange and pay to transport you to the closest appropriate facility. Please note, however, that we must make the medical evacuation arrangements — if you do it yourself, your insurance may not pay for it.

What should I do if I have a medical emergency while traveling?

If you need help urgently, call your destination’s equivalent of 911. The free Allianz TravelSmartTM app makes it easy to reach local emergency services with a single tap, wherever you are.

Then, contact 24-hour assistance. Our team of experts can arrange emergency medical transportation, if needed; refer you to pre-screened local medical providers, provide an interpreter, guarantee advance payment for medical care (where accepted), monitor your condition, update relatives back home, and arrange your transportation home. In short, we’ll do everything we can to make sure you’re getting the care you need.

Read more: What To Do In A Medical Emergency

Can I buy affordable emergency medical travel insurance?

Yes! Allianz Travel Insurance offers plans for every budget. Low-cost emergency medical travel insurance plans include:

  • OneTrip Basic, an economical plan with limited post-departure benefits
  • OneTrip Emergency Medical, a flexible plan that includes only post-departure benefits
  • AllTrips Basic, an annual travel insurance plan that provides emergency medical benefits for frequent travelers

If you’re planning more than two trips in the next 365 days, you can save money with an annual travel insurance plan:

Wondering which plan is right for you? Get a quote for your next trip.

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