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International Medical/Travel Insurance Advice Needed

International Medical/Travel Insurance Advice Needed

Old Aug 20, 19, 10:07 am
  #1  
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International Medical/Travel Insurance Advice Needed

Good day,

My wife and I will be going to South Africa for about 10 days in February. Most of the time will be spent in/around Cape Town, with another two days out on a safari/reserve.

Now, we aren't ones to ever purchase any type of insurance when we travel internationally. If we are in Europe or Asia or what have you, and we needed to get home right away, splurging on a plane ticket home will not kill us.

With that said, I am interested in purchasing International Health Insurance (our domestic health insurance wouldn't suffice) for our travel to South Africa. If God forbid, one of us got ill and so forth, I want to be able to be treated (and evacuated if necessary) without having to worry about exorbitant out of pocket expenses. I'm just being very cautious on this trip given how remote we'll be for a couple of days.

So, who would you recommend for Health Insurance while we are abroad in South Africa for the approximate 10 days we will physically be in South Africa? I'm looking for a company that would be the most response and easiest to deal with. We are located in the USA.

Thank you for your feedback.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 10:37 am
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Travel insurance isn't just about the flight home...it's about emergency evac to that flight, which might involve say a helicopter or other urgent and expensive care.

Anyway, anecdotal crowd-sourced testimony (including here on FT), web reviews, and my personal experiences with various providers/policies all point to generally very high satisfaction. There seems to be no antagonism unlike with, say, auto insurance.

There are a few policy aggregators out there such as insuremytrip.com. And it's better to start off there as what's offered varies based on residency, country of coverage, etc. I've had success making claims from name-brand insurers offered through these portals.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 10:46 am
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Thank you, deniah.

I'll check out that website now.

Sincerely,
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Old Aug 20, 19, 10:48 am
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High quality medical, including medevac, coverage is quite cheap, particularly if one considers that Medevac from JNB to DFW will run in the $200K range. Other expenses might be spending 30 days in a hotel because one is out of the hospital, but can't fy, having a companion fly over, and the logistics of setting something up which one knows nothing about.Bear i

Bear in mind that flying at high altitude with a recent fracture (in a cast) may not be in the cards so even a relatively simple broken ankle may mean spending some number of days with little to do other than pay for room service.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
High quality medical, including medevac, coverage is quite cheap, particularly if one considers that Medevac from JNB to DFW will run in the $200K range. Other expenses might be spending 30 days in a hotel because one is out of the hospital, but can't fy, having a companion fly over, and the logistics of setting something up which one knows nothing about.Bear i

Bear in mind that flying at high altitude with a recent fracture (in a cast) may not be in the cards so even a relatively simple broken ankle may mean spending some number of days with little to do other than pay for room service.
I'm searching 'insuremytrip.com', but do you have any other websites/insurers that you would recommend? As you mentioned, it's the Medevac, Hospital stay/surgery that have me the most concerned and wanting to cover our tail. Again, likely nothing going to happen, but if one of us came down with something and had to be in the Cape Town hospital for a week, I'd like to have that covered.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 20, 19, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by cslovacek View Post
I'm searching 'insuremytrip.com', but do you have any other websites/insurers that you would recommend? As you mentioned, it's the Medevac, Hospital stay/surgery that have me the most concerned and wanting to cover our tail. Again, likely nothing going to happen, but if one of us came down with something and had to be in the Cape Town hospital for a week, I'd like to have that covered.

Thanks!
For starters, you might want to ask - and also browse! - on the travel insurance section of CruiseCritic.com - most of that is not "cruise specific":

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/foru...vel-insurance/

Also, we get our travel insurance through

www.TripInsuranceStore.com

They are a broker and they give excellent and individualized service. That is, they have the patience of Saints when answering questions like, "but what if..." ... "and then what if that?"

CALL them, as there is so much fine print, and in some cases major differences in policies; some may matter to you, some may not.

There can be deadlines to purchase if you want certain types of coverage, so do call promptly. Ordinarily, one only needs to insure any deposit, and then add to the coverage as one makes more payments.

We happen to have coverage through TIS from Travel Insured.
And what is important, is that we have had several claims, including large ones. All were paid promptly, with no nonsense, once we had submitted all the docs. And we didn't feel there were any inappropriate requests. The *claims paying* is what matters, after all.

GC
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Old Aug 20, 19, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
For starters, you might want to ask - and also browse! - on the travel insurance section of CruiseCritic.com - most of that is not "cruise specific":

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/foru...vel-insurance/

Also, we get our travel insurance through

www.TripInsuranceStore.com

They are a broker and they give excellent and individualized service. That is, they have the patience of Saints when answering questions like, "but what if..." ... "and then what if that?"

CALL them, as there is so much fine print, and in some cases major differences in policies; some may matter to you, some may not.

There can be deadlines to purchase if you want certain types of coverage, so do call promptly. Ordinarily, one only needs to insure any deposit, and then add to the coverage as one makes more payments.

We happen to have coverage through TIS from Travel Insured.
And what is important, is that we have had several claims, including large ones. All were paid promptly, with no nonsense, once we had submitted all the docs. And we didn't feel there were any inappropriate requests. The *claims paying* is what matters, after all.

GC
Thank you very much for this helpful information. I'll be researching them and reaching out to them via phone in the next few days.

Best regards,
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Old Aug 20, 19, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by cslovacek View Post
Thank you very much for this helpful information. I'll be researching them and reaching out to them via phone in the next few days.

Best regards,
Just in case you have made *any* payment toward this trip (even a refundable deposit), then call sooner rather than later, so you'll maximize your chance of having a full selection of plans available.

Have you made any payment yet? If so, when? If not, then don't worry about this (yet!).

GC
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Old Aug 20, 19, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by cslovacek View Post
Good day,

My wife and I will be going to South Africa for about 10 days in February. Most of the time will be spent in/around Cape Town, with another two days out on a safari/reserve.

Now, we aren't ones to ever purchase any type of insurance when we travel internationally. If we are in Europe or Asia or what have you, and we needed to get home right away, splurging on a plane ticket home will not kill us.

With that said, I am interested in purchasing International Health Insurance (our domestic health insurance wouldn't suffice) for our travel to South Africa. If God forbid, one of us got ill and so forth, I want to be able to be treated (and evacuated if necessary) without having to worry about exorbitant out of pocket expenses. I'm just being very cautious on this trip given how remote we'll be for a couple of days.

So, who would you recommend for Health Insurance while we are abroad in South Africa for the approximate 10 days we will physically be in South Africa? I'm looking for a company that would be the most response and easiest to deal with. We are located in the USA.

Thank you for your feedback.
If you travel internationally regularly and your USA health converage is domestic only, consider taking an annual travel insurance policy. You really shouldn't be going to Asia and Europe without health insurance to cover you outside of the USA.
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Old Aug 20, 19, 1:56 pm
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Don't rely on one-size-fits all websites. This is a big enough issue, that it is worth researching and reading policies.

Higher end policies also typically provide more support when you need it most,
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Old Aug 20, 19, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you travel internationally regularly and your USA health converage is domestic only, consider taking an annual travel insurance policy. You really shouldn't be going to Asia and Europe without health insurance to cover you outside of the USA.
You're right, I shouldn't. However, we are here now and I'm looking to obtain coverage for this nice trip we have coming up in February 2020.

Cheers
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Old Aug 20, 19, 3:42 pm
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Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
Just in case you have made *any* payment toward this trip (even a refundable deposit), then call sooner rather than later, so you'll maximize your chance of having a full selection of plans available.

Have you made any payment yet? If so, when? If not, then don't worry about this (yet!).

GC
Yes, I've paid for various parts of the trip as they've come up: So far, I've paid (using miles) for flights to/from Cape Town (Separate tickets) and 2 nights at the Reserve. I have a hotel booked for the rest of the trip, but it won't be paid for until we stay there/check out.

I'm less concerned about the travel protection from the stand point of reimbursing for flights and baggage, etc than I am about actual medical (hospital stay/ER Visit/Medivac out of the Reserve, etc). I can handle hotel and flight changes, but trying to avoid the large, unexpected expenses that could potentially come from an injury or illness while there that requires treatment.

Sincerely,
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Old Aug 20, 19, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Don't rely on one-size-fits all websites. This is a big enough issue, that it is worth researching and reading policies.

Higher end policies also typically provide more support when you need it most,

Thank you. Do you know of any website/brokers who handle these higher end and unique policies?
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Old Aug 20, 19, 3:51 pm
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Just a point of clarification: After doing a little more research, I suppose the main thing I'm looking for is Health Insurance that will cover us while abroad for a couple of week.

I'm not concerned about the trip cancellation insurance and such. If it has it, great, but I consider what I've spend on the trip already a sunk cost and isn't my primary concern.

Thank you,
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Old Aug 20, 19, 4:03 pm
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Originally Posted by cslovacek View Post
Yes, I've paid for various parts of the trip as they've come up: So far, I've paid (using miles) for flights to/from Cape Town (Separate tickets) and 2 nights at the Reserve. I have a hotel booked for the rest of the trip, but it won't be paid for until we stay there/check out.

I'm less concerned about the travel protection from the stand point of reimbursing for flights and baggage, etc than I am about actual medical (hospital stay/ER Visit/Medivac out of the Reserve, etc). I can handle hotel and flight changes, but trying to avoid the large, unexpected expenses that could potentially come from an injury or illness while there that requires treatment.

Sincerely,
Right. Thanks.

The reason I asked was that for two types of coverage, it's best if the insurance is started within 10-20 days of the *first* payment (refundable or not). The range depends upon insurance vendor and state.

But there is at least one insurer who can still provide the same range of coverages if the insurance is purchased by "within 24 hours of final payment" - but "final payment" is defined very narrowly (e.g., it wouldn't count paying for a single night's hotel stay immediately before leaving, etc.). Your situation could be a little tricky given the pre-booking of the flights with awards. We do the same thing, so we are well familiar with that!

One of the key coverages of interest/import is for "pre-existing medical conditions", which can be defined differently by different insurers. This is something we cannot be flexible about, no surprise, as we've gotten older.

The other type of coverage is less critical for most: Cancellation/Interruption For Any Reason (CFAR). There are some reasons one might want this other than "just changing your mind". However, for this, it's the cost of the trip (or cost of remainder of trip) that is at risk, and not potentially catastrophic medical expenses.

We also get an annual policy for MedJetAssist. This is specialized, and only kicks in if one is already admitted to a hospital as an inpatient (not ER, not Observation). At that point, if one is stable enough to be medevac'd in a full air ambulance with medical staff, then YOU get to make that decision. No beancounters "vote", and the local medical staff is not put in the possibly awkward position of acknowledging they aren't fully prepared to care for you, etc.
And... YOU get to decide which hospital (in the USA, for USA-based insureds) you want to go to: your "home hospital" or a specialized hospital elsewhere.
This coverage is whenever one is at least 150 miles from home, so we get the annual policy which then includes travel on business trips or to family/friends, etc.
We actually came close to calling MJA, when I was in hospital overseas. However, just as we were thinking, "yup, we should call them", I turned the corner, and with another week of rest, we were able to enjoy the final week of our trip, although I took it very easy.

TIS sells this coverage also, and there is a small discount for (I'm forgetting if it's AARP or AAA), so make sure to ask about that.
Given what you've said, you might only want the "per trip" coverage.

Enjoy your planning and then the trip!

GC
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