Should You Buy
Overseas Travel Insurance?

The decision whether or not to buy overseas travel insurance can often be con-fusing. And like most 'at risk' decisions, also a bit complicated.  

Whether to buy international travel insurance is a purely personal decision based on factors surrounding how you plan and execute your overseas trip.

There's no black and white answer for each traveler and every travel situation.

It's more about the comfort level you have for your personal safety, the financial situation governing yourself and those you leave behind, and whether or not you're 'risk averse' to what could happen, when you travel. 

Springtime Arrives In Bruges

Your personal comfort level, along with the details and information of your trip, should help you decide if buying overseas travel insurance is the best use of your time and money to provide you with peace of mind.

As with any type of insurance, when you buy travel insurance you’re buy-ing travel protection

Protection for your health, the pos-sessions you take with you, your travel funds, even your physical re-mains, should you happen to pass away while overseas.

No, it’s certainly not pleasant to consider dying while on your long-anticipated international trip. But sadly, it happens.

More than you'd think.

And from the least of the potentially bad possibilities [maybe, a broken bone] to the very worst [you or a traveling companion develop a life threatening illness], if you purchase only international travel medical insurance, it will make a difference not only in your recovery, but in your potential risk of financial harm.

Which Overseas Travel Insurance Should You Buy? 

There are several types of travel insurance coverage you can [and should] consider purchasing, when you travel overseas:

1 - The most important to contemplate is international travel medical insurance.

Of the different kinds of overseas travel insurance available, interna-tional medical coverage should almost always be an automatic 'yes'.
Check with your regular health insurance provider to see if your policy includes benefits for over-seas travel insurance. Most don't.

But if you happen to have coverage that does protect you out of the country, be sure to check directly to see what is and is not covered, when traveling overseas.

The older you are, the more important having international travel medical insur-ance becomes, especially if you qualify as a 'senior'. 

If you're over 65, neither Medicare – and probably not your supplemental policy – will cover you when traveling out of the country. 

As an older traveler, it's imperative to protect yourself with some type of senior travel insurance to cover your health and medical needs. 

With any type of chronic health condition, purchasing international medical coverage should be the most important step in your travel planning process.

Conversely, if you’re young and healthy, your risk aversion is low, but the chances you take often tend to be high. Accidents and illness can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time.

There's no age or stage in life when the decision to purchase international travel medical insurance should automatically be 'no'.

Entering Bethovens Birth House

– Travel insurance coverage for trip cancellation, delay of travel, and/or trip interruption become increasingly important, if you pay up front for airline tickets, tour deposits, or other non-refundable travel expenses. 

Once you pay any travel costs in advance, it's smart to protect your investment against having to can-cel your trip before you travel.

You must read the fine print, but these types of low cost travel insurance can cover you for illness or death of a family member, the loss of your job, work  responsi-bilities, or personal health issues, any of which might prevent you from traveling.

The best way to protect the funds you pay up front is with trip can-cellation insurance. This coverage is usually part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan, but can sometimes be included with international medical coverage.

– Airline travel insurance, one type of Accident Insurance, provides coverage for personal loss of life, limb, or sight, when you travel on regularly scheduled [and often chartered] passenger aircraft. 

But before you buy airline travel insurance, check to see if it's offered through the credit card you use to purchase your airline ticket.

It's often automatic coverage, when using your card for flight purchases, but confirm with your card-issuing company for details and coverage limits.

Also check to make sure your card's airline travel insurance is good on all airlines you fly and whether you must purchase tickets only in the U.S.

– Often overlooked as part of overseas travel insurance, especially when travelers are on a budget, is travel baggage insurance. This generally low cost travel insurance will cover you in case your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged.  

Before discounting this coverage, think about the electronic accessories you plan to travel with: your laptop, digital camera, iPod, iPad, bookreader, and/or cell phone.

Airlines almost never reimburse you for electronic items, even when they're damaged or 'go missing' during your flight.

Be sure any overseas travel insurance you purchase covers all the items you can't afford to lose. 

Create a written list showing proof of purchase and value for each electronic item you take with you, in case you need to file a claim. [A copy of your purchase receipt is the perfect record of ownership and value.]

– Other types of overseas travel insurance to consider, especially if purchasing senior travel insurance, are medical evacuation or repatriation of remains

While not specifically directed toward older travelers, this is probably more of a consideration for the over 65 crowd, than for younger travelers.

But remember, anyone can have an accident, especially when skiing, hiking, mountain trekking or biking, or any of a number of other adventurous and physically challenging travel itineraries, often embraced by a younger crowd. 

Some activities are considered to have an 'element of risk' and may not be included in normal travel insurance coverage [think white-water rafting, scuba diving, bungee jumping, etc.].

Compare travel insurance policies and choose coverage for sports-related activities you plan to participate it, adding them to a basic plan. Coverage for these activities will increase the cost of travel insurance proportionate to their perceived danger. 

The more rural, rustic, or primitive your adventure, the less likely you may be to find qualified physicians and medical facilities to treat you, if an accident occurs.

– Other travel insurance coverage you might want to consider is having the ability to access emergency help and information 24/7.

This benefit of overseas travel insurance is usually part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan and may be included with some combination of coverage options.

Looking for the Autobahn

If you plan to rent a car overseas and purchase the Collision Damage Waiver protection, it can often be cheaper to buy this coverage from a third party provider, rather than directly from the rental car company.

Before buying the rental company's Collision Damage Waiver [often called by different names, like Loss Damage Waiver, Personal Damage Waiver, etc.],  check with your personal auto insurance for coverage you may already have when renting a car. 

Also check with the credit card company you plan to use for your rental.

If you already have coverage, be sure it extends to overseas rentals, and whether your coverage is primary or secondary. And request information on how to file a claim overseas

There are additional kinds of overseas travel insurance you can consider, like coverage for a pre-existing medical condition, missed flight connections, high-end electronic or sports equipment, or even travel to politically unstable destinations.

Not all travel insurance policies offer all options for coverage.

Take the time to compare travel insurance plans, policies, and providers to make sure what you buy is what you need for your particular travel situation.

Then go and enjoy your trip, knowing you, your gear, and your health are all protected in case the worst occurs.

For more information to help decide whether buying overseas travel insurance is right for you, see the following articles:

How to Buy Travel Insurance, where to get it, who to buy it from. Beware insurance sellers who can neither advise you, nor explain the benefits of travel insurance coverage.

Learn which kind of International Travel Insurance is important for your trip, and which travel insurance coverage may not be necessary.

Trip Cancellation Insurance protects you from loss, when you pay up front but are unable to travel. Learn how and when to protect yourself, if you have to cancel your trip.

Consider both Trip Interruption Insurance and Travel Delay Insurance for seamless protection on your overseas trip.

Buying Travel Baggage Insurance is a smart move to protect your travel possessions. While airlines offer meager coverage, you're only protected for your flight - not your entire trip.

Travel Insurance Cost is determined by what, when, and where you buy. Always compare travel insurance plans for need vs. value.

Travel Insurance For Europe is not a clear cut choice. Consider the possibilities for harm or loss, before deciding whether to buy.

Travel Tip

Once you purchase overseas travel insurance, make sure you understand the conditions of coverage and do everything required, if you need to file a claim. This means reading the fine print, following procedures thoroughly, and having the appropriate documentation to substantiate your loss. 

Your word alone will not be sufficient!

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