What needs to be covered by my travel insurance?
We believe emergency medical coverage is most important. Insurance policies vary, so read the fine print carefully to see exactly what is covered. Certain pre-existing medical conditions that increase the likelihood of a claim may be excluded. If you have a heart condition or terminal illness, you may need to provide additional information before you can be offered a policy. Sporty people, off-piste skiers and bungee jumpers should check if their activities are covered. And injuries occurring during professional sports are generally not covered.
Insurance premiums are calculated based on your origin, age, destination and duration of travel, with the world divided into different zones. When travelling to countries like the USA, where health insurance is a multi-billion dollar industry, or to less developed countries with a lower standard of healthcare to which you’re accustomed, look for a policy with a high level of cover. Some providers will offer ‘unlimited’ medical coverage for a higher premium, while a cheaper policy might cover up to US$10 million. The highest claims paid globally run into millions of dollars, but are very unlikely to run into the tens of millions.
Other things to consider
Will a provider airlift you home? Do they have doctors on the staff of their emergency hotline? Will they pay to fly your family to you if you’re unable to be moved? Read the fine print and choose what suits your needs.
Reciprocal healthcare agreements
Some countries have reciprocal healthcare agreements with others, meaning that if you’re from a participating country and travelling in another, you’ll be entitled to free or subsidised public healthcare to the same standard enjoyed by residents. Participating countries include (but are not limited to) Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland; Sweden, Norway and Finland; Italy and The Netherlands. Refer to your government’s traveller information homepage for details, noting that any reciprocal coverage will not be at the same level as facilitated by travel insurance. And if you’re an EU citizen, don’t forget to carry a European Health Insurance Card to entitle you to cut-price or free state-provided healthcare in EEA countries and Switzerland.