By Ingle International
What To Do When Sickness Strikes Overseas.
You’re at your dream destination, enjoying the gorgeous view from a pebbled beach while sipping on a mojito. Then, all of a sudden, the meal you ate a couple of hours before quickly changes your view to a less attractive one: the toilet. You have food poisoning and you need to see a doctor, fast. What should you do? You’re in a new country, you don’t speak the language, and now you’re in a vulnerable state.
If you have travel insurance, this scary scenario will be much less frightening, as your medical expenses will be covered in the event of an unforeseen illness… like food poisoning!
Here are some tips for making sure your travel insurance benefits you when you need it most:
1. Understand your policy information
It is important to read your policy booklet when purchasing travel medical insurance, as there might be some limitations that would leave you ineligible for coverage. For example, certain sports and activities, such as mountaineering or jet skiing, are often excluded from basic insurance plans. If you think you might partake in a risky sport, you might require Sports Rider insurance. If you’re not sure about a sport you will be participating in, call the insurance company and ask. A general exclusion is applied to accidents incurred while under the influence of alcohol (defined as exceeding 80 milligrams in 100 milliliters of blood).
2. Keep your wallet card with you at all times
Always carry your wallet card with you when travelling. This card has important contact information, such as the worldwide collect or toll-free number you will need in the event of an emergency. You can also find your policy number (which will tie you to the coverage purchased) on this card. If you leave for your trip before receiving your wallet card in the mail, ask your insurance broker to email you your policy confirmation document, which contains the above information.
3. Get the worldwide collect telephone number
When outside of North America, the 1-800 emergency assistance numbers will not work and pressing 0 to reach an operator to make a collect call is not an option.
4. Contact the Emergency Assistance line
In the event of unforeseen illness or injury, it is important to contact your insurance provider’s claims management department (also known as Emergency Assistance) prior to seeking medical treatment, if possible. If you are unable to get in touch due to the nature of your emergency, your travel companion can contact the insurance provider on your behalf.
5. Follow up with your insurance provider
After you have received treatment, you should follow up with the insurance provider to ensure that they have all of the information necessary to pay the hospital directly or to reimburse you if you were required to pay upfront.
6. Fill out your claim form ASAP
Most clinics will ask that you pay in advance of receiving the required medical service, which means you will need to be reimbursed later. Call your insurance provider and ask them to send you a claim form. Make sure to fill it out, and gather any necessary documents (e.g., original medical receipts) before sending it back. If all documents are in order, your claim will be processed right away.
Don’t let your dream vacation turn into a nightmare! If the unexpected does occur, let this article act as your guide to a worry-free trip.