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We travel multiple times a year and that is why we have continuous travel medical insurance even though it is not necessarily required by anyone. Our travel medical insurance is always valid whenever we exit Finland. In this article, we describe why it is important to have insurance even if you are visiting only your neighbouring country. Read this article and learn what you should know about travel insurance.
Covered in the Article
- What is Travel Medical Insurance?
- Understanding Insurance Terms
- Why You Should Never Travel Without Medical Insurance
- Our Incidents During Journeys
- Where to Buy Travel Insurance?
- European Health Insurance Card vs Travel Medical Insurance
- Bottom Line
What is Travel Medical Insurance?
Travel medical insurance is a way to limit your unexpected health-related expenses. When an accident or illness happens on a journey, it usually comes with costs. These unexpected costs arising from needed treatments and other related costs can be so high that you probably can't easily afford to pay them from your pocket. This is when travel medical insurance becomes so important to have one. It will help you to cover the majority of the extra costs of any related sudden illness or accidents while travelling abroad. Even though most trips are incident-free, travel medical insurance is a way to prepare for the worst providing you peace of mind throughout your journey.
Travel medical insurance covers unexpected health-care costs and sometimes also an insurance holder's belongings to a certain amount. The exact terms vary between the insurance plans so it is important to understand what is the real coverage of certain travel insurance before purchasing one.
Majority of leisure travellers have only short-term trips lasting only a few days to a few weeks. Choosing the right type of travel medical insurance for you is affected by how often you travel abroad in a year. If you do a trip only once a year, it may be wise to have fixed-term insurance covering only that certain trip period. On the other hand, if you travel multiple times a year, having continuous travel medical insurance is the best option. Continuous travel medical insurance is always valid whenever you are travelling and there is no need to renew the plan every time before every single journey. For example, we have continuous travel medical insurance valid always when we are outside Finland.
Nomad life is a special case of travelling. You are not anymore just travelling but living abroad in different destinations. Since remote working is becoming hugely common worldwide, there are more and more people living a nomadic lifestyle. Your "trip" may last for years in a foreign country and you need travel medical insurance that is valid all the time.
Many usual travel medical insurances have a limit for the maximum duration of the journey but some insurances are suitable also for nomads. SafetyWing's Nomad Insurance is a very good example. Regardless of which kind of traveller you are, it covers both short-term trips and nomadic travel journeys.
Understanding Insurance Terms
You should never buy any insurance abruptly without first understanding fully what the insurance covers. Especially, pay attention to the following things when buying travel medical insurance:
Good travel medical insurance covers costs related to accidents and unexpected medical conditions such as sudden illness. The upper limit must be high enough to cover even the most expensive treatments. Pay attention if the consequences of natural disasters are covered and if the insurance covers an ambulance flight back to your home of residence.
Less important things to be covered are your belongings and delays during your travel period. It is a common fact that the majority of travellers nowadays are travelling with expensive phones, laptops and drones. What if any of these valuable devices get stolen?. With this in mind, it is therefore a wise decision to have travel insurance that covers also your belongings.
Insurances always come with limitations. Typically, travel medical insurance has geographical restrictions. Insurance is not valid in certain areas of the world. Pre-existing health conditions are usually excluded. Accidents caused by taking alcohol, drugs or other similar behaviours are probably excluded.
When buying travel medical insurance, read the terms carefully to understand what is covered.
Often, insurance's compensation amounts include an excess part. This is part of the costs that you must pay yourself in the case of an incident. For example, think of a situation where your medical incident costs are 5,000 euros and the excess is 50 euros. Your part of the cost will be 50 euros and the insurance company will pay the rest of the bill.
Excess may be charged from every incident or once on the insurance term. Refer to the terms of your insurance plan.
Excess is a way to limit incidents. When a small part of the costs is to be shouldered by the traveller, the travel insurance holder will be more careful while travelling which technically means, minimizing the chance of any untoward incidents. This factor will lead to a lower insurance price.
Why You Should Never Travel Without Medical Insurance
With the information already presented, it is becoming obvious why you should never travel without valid travel medical insurance. You probably just can't afford a serious health issue. Depending on your country of destination, hospital treatments can cost more than 100,000 euros and an ambulance flight back home 50,000 euros. Most likely, you won't even get treatment if you do not have valid medical insurance. So it can be a matter of life and death.
It is also mandatory to have travel medical insurance to enter certain countries. Because travel insurance costs less than 100 euros per month, there is no need to consider whether to buy one. You just need to select the best travel medical insurance which has the most suitable coverage according to your needs.
Our Incidents During Journeys
Our trips are covered by continuous travel medical insurance. We have been lucky not to have serious issues up to this time but because we travel a lot, small incidents did happen. For example, our laptop got serious water damage in Bali and got broken. The event was caused by the bad lighting near a water pool in the hotel's restaurant. We have also got flu-like symptoms during journeys in Cape Verde. It is always wise to have doctor's checkups even if you have basic symptoms while abroad like diarrhoea or flu-like symptoms just to confirm you don't have any serious conditions. For instance, you might think you just have a common cold presenting a fever as initial symptoms but it could be even more serious, say malaria or dengue fever if you're destination has this disease being endemic. With travel medical insurance, costs related to your medical treatment stay low.
Travel medical insurance gives us peace of mind.
Where to Buy Travel Insurance?
Countless insurance companies sell well-covering travel medical insurance. Every country has their own local insurance companies but there are also global travel medical insurance providers which target specially to nomads and frequent travellers.
SafetyWing is our favourite global travel medical insurance provider. It is a travel medical insurance that was created by nomads for nomads. You can purchase a policy even if your trip has already started, and pause and resume coverage with flexibility. You’re covered in 185 countries and don’t need to inform them about your itinerary in advance.
Even though the insurance was created by nomads, it is also suitable for infrequent travellers. If you travel only once or a few times a year, you can buy fixed-term plans to cover just your travel date.
In our opinion, SafetyWing has a few pros that make it suitable for travellers and nomads. The insurance is inexpensive compared to other similar products. Still, it covers the most important parts of your journey. Because the people behind SafetyWing are nomads, they know what kind of protections nomads and travellers need.
SafetyWing has cons too. For example, the excess amount is higher than with a few of its competitors. This has been compensated with a lower insurance price. The majority of the journeys are incident-free so higher excess is not an important factor. You can afford small costs yourself. But if something serious happens, SafetyWing will be there to help you with the high costs that medical treatment can generate.
We recommend reading reviews of SafetyWing on TrustPilot and Product Hunt. Check out also an interesting vlog how SafetyWing covered costs caused by Measles and Pneumonia.
European Health Insurance Card vs Travel Medical Insurance
EU citizens who travel only in the EU area may apply for a free European Health Insurance Card. It guarantees health care in the EU area in the same terms as locals would get.
Even though the European Health Insurance Card is practical, it is not enough. It does not cover belongings, ambulance flights, delays and many other things. In addition, you need real travel medical insurance like SafetyWing to get the gaps covered.
- Is travel medical insurance necessary for travelling abroad?
- Yes, it is vital. You can't afford medical treatment costs yourself if the worst happens while travelling abroad.
- Is having a European Health Insurance Card enough in the EU area?
- Unfortunately, no. Even though the European Health Insurance Card is nice to have, it does not cover everything. You also need to protect your belongings by purchasing travel insurance.
- How do I know what my travel medical insurance covers?
- The only way to know is to read its terms carefully. Pay attention to the restrictions.
- Where to buy travel medical insurance?
- Why not get an instant quotation from SafetyWing? It is a travel medical insurance made by nomads for nomads.
Holiday trips may cost you a lot of money. Travel medical insurance is just a small extra cost which gives you peace of mind while you are travelling abroad. The majority of the trips go perfectly fine but you must be prepared for any unexpected events, too.
The most important thing is to have coverage for health-related issues like sudden illness and accidents. Secondly, you should protect your belongings and protect yourself from extra costs caused by possible delays during your travel period. As smart travellers, we always have valid, well-covering travel insurance while travelling giving us peace of mind!
We hope you ound this travel medical insurance information helpful. What are your tips for other travellers? Share them in the comment section!