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Travel Medical Assistance Coverage

28 September 2011
Travel Medical Assistance Coverage

This coverage provides assistance services for travel medical emergencies. Depending on the travel insurance provider, this will consist of locating local medical providers, arranging transportation and translation services, coordinating evacuations, relaying messages back to loved ones and friends, and more.

Contents (click to jump down)
What does Travel Medical Assistance cover?
Important notes about this coverage
What type of policy covers this?
Summary

Let us tell you a story

Ben and Melissa, a young couple from Arizona, were in rural Mexico on a church mission re-building homes damaged by a hurricane when Melissa suddenly experienced difficulty breathing and collapsed. Calling for help, Ben carried her to the center of town where they found a local taxi driver and managed to explain the need to get medical help immediately.

Once they were at the local medical clinic, which was minimally staffed, Ben called their travel insurance company and the representative helped locate and send a doctor to help Melissa. She then arranged transportation to get Melissa to a fully equipped hospital in the city. The representative kept in contact with Ben and let Melissa’s family back in the states know her condition. She also contacted the church group to make sure they knew Melissa would recover. As it turns out, Melissa experienced a severe allergic reaction to something in the environment where she was working.

What does Travel Medical Assistance cover?

This coverage typically consists of emergency medical-related assistance services, including:

  • Locating a doctor, dentist or local medical facility – when you or a member of your traveling party is injured or ill and you are traveling in an unfamiliar area, the assistance services team will help you find the closest appropriate medical help.
  • Help with translation services – if you’re traveling in a foreign country and don’t understand what the doctors and nurses are telling you about your condition, the assistance services team can help with multi-lingual translations.
  • Paying or guaranteeing your hospital bill – when you or a member of your traveling party has to be admitted to a hospital, this assistance will guarantee or make advance payments (up to the policy limit) to ensure your emergency medical or dental care.
  • Monitoring of your condition – when you or a member of your traveling party is hospitalized, the assistance services will stay in contact with you and/or the medical team caring for you and relay information about your condition to friends, family members and business partners as it changes.
  • Transporting you to a hospital or medical clinic – if you are seriously ill or injured and the travel assistance services team determines local medical care is unable to provide adequate treatment, they will identify the closest appropriate facility, make transportation (evacuation) arrangements, and pay for that transportation (up to your policy limit). A medical escort will also be arranged, as necessary.

In addition, and associated with the evacuation/repatriation coverage included in a travel insurance plan, this coverage may include the following assistance services:

  • Returning you home after your medical care – after you are medically stable, the travel assistance representatives will determine whether you can go home via commercial transportation or another option, they will arrange and pay for (up to the policy limit and less any unused ticket refunds) the transportation necessary to get you back home or to a medical facility close to your home.
  • Returning your body if you die – if you die on a covered trip, the travel assistance services team will arrange and pay (up to the policy limit) to have your body prepared and then returned to your home or a local funeral home.

Important notes about this coverage

  • This coverage is service-focused and directly involves the travel insurance company’s travel assistance services representatives.
  • You’ll find the worldwide assistance numbers in your insurance certificate – it’s important to print the certificate (or store it on your mobile device) so you have it when you need it.
  • Often, travel plans will have a toll-free number in addition to a number you can call collect.

What type of policy covers this?

All travel insurance plans – package and medical – have an assistance services line where you can receive help with travel medical emergencies, but the level of service provided by each company will vary depending on their resources.

See this table for travel assistance services contact phone numbers.

Summary

  • This coverage is focused on assistance services, not actual medical care
  • It’s important for the insured to have their travel assistance services contact numbers and their policy number handy when making the call
  • All travel insurance companies come with this type of assistance, but the level of service will vary depending on resources
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Damian Tysdal
Author
DamianTysdal

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.