Medical Evacuation Insurance – an Overview of Medevac Plans

Medical Evacuation Insurance – an Overview of Medevac Plans

Medical evacuation insurance plans, often called Medevac plans, are focused on emergency medical evacuations, international security evacuations and repatriation.

Contents (click to jump down)
What is Medical Evacuation Coverage
How does Medical Evacuation Coverage Work?
What makes Medical Evacuation travel insurance unique?
Why would you need Medical Evacuation travel insurance?
What coverage is included in Medical Evacuation travel insurance?
Who should buy Medical Evacuation travel insurance?
How much does Medical Evacuation travel insurance cost?
Where should you buy your Medical Evacuation travel insurance?
Which companies offer Medical Evacuation travel insurance plans?

What is Medical Evacuation Coverage

Just because you get injured and require medical transportation doesn’t mean you will be sent all the way back to your home. When a well-planned trip goes awry and you, or someone you love, desperately needs immediate medical attention, this is where medical evacuation coverage comes through.

Most travel insurance policies cover transportation to the nearest facility and leave you there for treatment. They decide where you go, not you. They decide what is considered an acceptable medical facility for your care, not you. Once they get you to the hospital, their obligation is finished. You will then be liable to cover the cost of getting home or getting transported to a hospital at home that can complete your treatment.

Medical evacuation coverage gets you transported to the hospital of your choice and then, after you are well enough to be repatriated, it transports you to your hospital at home.

How does Medical Evacuation Insurance Work?

Most travel insurance plans include basic coverage for medical evacuation. According to the terms of your contract with them, they take you to the nearest facility that can handle your emergency.

This means you have:

  • No choice in where you go
  • No guarantee of going to the best medical facility
  • No one to walk you through the process or translate the language for you

Medical evacuation insurance is important because each year over 10 million travelers are hospitalized abroad and over two million require emergency medical transportation. And medical transport is not cheap.

When you need a medical evacuation, you will contact your plan provider and they will coordinate your medical evacuation, handle family communications, provide translation services, and provide support every step of the way. When you’re well enough to travel home, they will arrange for medical transportation to your choice of hospital back home.

Different types of Evacuation Coverage

There are essentially two types of evacuation coverage:

  1. Medical evacuation coverage (also called medevac)
  2. Security/political evacuation coverage

Medical evacuation covers the coordination and cost of transportation to a medical facility. Depending on your need for treatment, it will also transport you either to your home or to a medical facility at home that can continue your care.

Security and political evacuation covers your transportation away from an unsafe place to a safe one. Depending on how the situation develops, you and your dependents can be returned to your trip destination or back home.

What makes Medical Evacuation unique?

A medical evacuation insurance plan provides coverage for evacuations and repatriation for individuals who travel either internationally and/or for business reasons on a regular basis.

Focuses on all types of evacuations

Medevac plans focus on emergency medical evacuations, international security evacuations, and repatriation. The travel insurance company must handle the coordination of these efforts and they usually take care of payments to the rescue team as well. Evacuations are covered up to the policy limits and only for covered reasons listed in the policy document.

Care for the important people in your life

Medevac plans often include emergency medical reunion benefits and return of minor children benefits, so you can care for the people who are important to you as well.

Often includes AD&D or term life benefits

Many medevac plans include AD&D and/or term life benefits as well. These are paid regardless of whether the insured has other AD&D or life insurance benefits to the beneficiary(ies) listed on the application form.

May include extra benefits

A few medical evacuation plans include  some package-like benefits, including:

  • Trip interruption
  • Lost baggage
  • Optional adventure sports coverage

Why do you need a Medical Evacuation Coverage Plan?

  • You are working on a volunteer project in the middle of the jungle and have a heart attack.
  • Your teenage son has an accident with a jet ski while on a family cruise and suffers a severe concussion at sea.
  • On a hike to a waterfall in Costa Rica, your wife slips off the trail and breaks her leg.
  • Your parents are traveling with you to Rome when your father experiences a stroke.
  • Your daughter’s graduation trip ends in a horrific traffic accident miles from home.

What coverage is included?

The following coverage is typically found in a Medical Evacuation travel insurance plan.

  • Coordination and payment for emergency medical transportation to get you to a medical facility or return you home where you can obtain medical care.
  • Language translation services when you are traveling in a foreign country and don’t understand what the local medical team is saying.
  • Communication to family members and business partners back home who are worried about you.
  • Repatriation arrangements, including proper handling, negotiations and payments necessary to return your body to your home or a nearby funeral home if you are killed or die on your trip.

Who should buy Medical Evacuation travel insurance?

Travelers like these should purchase medical evacuation travel insurance:

  • Individuals and families on a cruise. The medical facilities on a cruise ship are limited and if you experience a medical emergency, you’ll want coverage to coordinate and pay for your evacuation to obtain proper medical care.
  • Travelers headed to remote destinations. If you are planning to travel to remote regions of the globe, where medical care may be non existent, you’ll want assistance if you are severely ill or injured.
  • Missionaries and foreign aid workers. Often missionaries and foreign aid workers travel to politically dangerous areas or regions that are damaged by natural disasters. Be sure you can save yourself if something happens to you so you can continue doing important work.
  • Business travelers working abroad. When you work in a foreign country, you may have access to  your own health care or universal health care, but you won’t have coverage to be returned home if something truly terrible happens without medical evacuation insurance.

How much does Medical Evacuation cost?

The factors that affect the cost of a medical evacuation plan include:

  • The age of the travelers
  • Individual or family plan
  • Annual or single-trip
  • The length of the trip
  • Optional coverage

An annual medical evacuation plan will cost a traveler around $200.00 and cover all the trips taken during the year. A single-trip medevac plan will cost a traveler between $45 and $68 (depending on the factors above).

Where should you buy your Medical Evacuation travel insurance?

You have two options for buying travel insurance – the best option is to compare plans from all companies, get quotes, and purchase your travel insurance plan online:

  1. Compare plans from all companies: Compare travel insurance plans from all companies, get quotes, and buy online.
  2. Quote and buy direct: Review the travel insurance companies and plans and purchase directly from the company.

All travel insurance companies include a free look period with a refund that lets you review the plan documentation. If you decide you need something a little different, you can make changes to your policy or cancel it for a refund (minus a small fee).

Which companies offer Medical Evacuation travel insurance plans?

FrontierMEDEXPlus Scholastic
Safe Trip
IMGSky Rescue
Travel GuardMedEvac


  • Medevac plans focus on all types of evacuations – emergency medical, security, etc.
  • Often includes coverage for emergency medical reunion and return of minor children if you are hospitalized
  • Sometimes includes coverage for medical expenses and package-like benefits
  • Use a travel insurance comparison tool to find medevac plans and compare prices
Damian Tysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.