Is Travel Insurance too expensive?

Written by Olivia Boodram on Tuesday, 10 June 2014. Posted in Blog, Travel Insurance

Is travel insurance too expensive? Or is Emergency Care?

Your trip is booked… where you will be staying is arranged and the places you will be visiting are all taken care of. What a relief to have all of this completed and now you can relax and wait for the day to arrive. But… and there always is a but - is your trip financially protected? By this I mean, are you protected against, the misfortune of an illness, that unexpected accident, an unplanned cancellation or an unexpected interruption in your trip.

Many people; not you of course; either don’t think of getting any kind of travel protection for their journey, or think they won’t need it. After all, they believe, they have been on so many trips in the past, never purchased insurance and nothing happened to them. And do you know what? This seems quite understandable, because we all have the tendency to feel, it won’t happen to us.

But… and there always is a but - WHAT IF?

Can I take this moment to give you an idea of the average costs associated with a trip to an emergency medical facility, when you are out of the country?

  • Headache/Migraine - $238+
  • Treated for a sore throat/ear ache/fever - $575
  • Getting stitches in an Emergency room - $1,500
  • Sprained ankle - $2,750
  • Urinary Tract Infection - $3,600
  • Asthmatic attack - $3,700
  • Concussion - $4,500
  • Air Medical Transportation - $12,000 - $25,000
  • Heart Attack/Stroke - $17,400 - $96,575 +
  • Average emergency room visit - $1,265

Source: nih.gov/pubmed - *rates stated in US dollars

And think about it this way, you can travel from one gas station to another looking to purchase your gas at one of the advertised cheaper prices, but you cannot do this with a health care facility. Simply because they do not show their prices for any of their treatments, tests, therapy or care. You will only know the cost of your visit, when you return home and the bill arrives in your mail; which just might cause you to have a “heart attack.” Some countries have been known to refuse care until you show them you can pay either with cash or through your insurance company. There have also been cases of patients being detained until full payment for the medical intervention, has been received in full. And there is just one more consideration that you may be not be aware of. Many countries have two/three-tiered health care systems. If you cannot pay, your care could be transferred to a facility that may have standards possibly less than what you would expect or what you have come to expect.

This is not a risk that anyone should be willing to take, regardless of the age or health of the traveller. Coverage may seem expensive but it really isn’t, when you consider the alternative. Here are some examples of costs for health coverage and trip/interruption cancellation insurance.

  • Female healthy 16 year old, 10 day trip - $25
  • Male 76 year old with stable COPD/Heart condition, 6 week trip - $686

Most other travelers will fall somewhere in between these two extremes, but as you can see they come nowhere near the cost of an emergency room visit, while traveling outside of your country.

About the Author

Olivia Boodram

Olivia Boodram

Life Insurance and Investment Funds Advisor with Alliance Financial Group

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