Many people are under the impression the medical care in regions like South East Asia or South America is relatively inexpensive, some might even say cheap, and because of this travel insurance is more of a luxury than a necessity. While this may be true to a point — care is inexpensive — it can also be very basic and may not be up to the standards that most of us are used to.
As an example, shared rooms are the norm in many developing countries, and it is common for the family to stay with the patient should they be hospitalized. Your privacy is a secondary consideration and you may find yourself with more company than you can handle for the duration of your recuperation.
The necessity for adequate travel cover also becomes significant in the event you actually do require some serious healthcare and the only option is to evacuate or transport you to another city, or even country, that has the facilities and expertise to provide proper treatment. It is at this point that proper travel cover stops looking like a luxury and becomes a necessity. And then there is always the issue of getting you home should that be necessary. Medical transport is never cheap.
We all would like to believe that nothing will go wrong, and of course we embark upon our journeys with a sense of optimism, but the fact of the matter is that the best hospitals and world-class healthcare are expensive no matter where you are. And if world class hospitals are expensive, medical evacuation to a world class facility is even more so.
But medical cover is not the whole of it. When considering what kind of travel cover it is you require, it is important to check whether or not your policy includes personal and third-person liability, what levels of excess your provider offers as well what kind of travel cover they offer. Are lost documents covered? How about that camera and ipod you plan to bring along? And what happens if the resort has taken your money but won’t give you a room?
Excesses are very important to keep your eye on, what is the point in saving 20 dollars on your travel policy only to pay an additional 200 should you require some sort of medical treatment. Insurers commonly offer low policy prices as an incentive to buy, but when you read the fine print, excess charges may well deter you from claiming altogether when you most need it.
Your journey is an adventure, and, for better or for worse, there is danger inherent in any adventure. Make sure you are prepared for the worst before you head off to seek the best the world has to offer.