You may be unaware that many health insurance companies do not cover emergency medical care outside of the United States. Depending on your destination and travel plans, purchasing an insurance policy to cover you while abroad may be a wise move. There are many insurance providers to choose from, so shop around. The cost is typically minimal.
There are four types of insurance to consider: trip cancelation insurance; travel health insurance; medical evacuation insurance; and baggage insurance.
Trip Cancellation Insurance covers your financial investment in a prepaid flight or tour if you cancel for an approved reason beyond your control. Acceptable reasons include illness or death of you or a family member. There may be other reasons that are covered depending on the insurance provider you select.
Travel Health Insurance covers medical expenses incurred while away from home. Before purchasing a policy, check with your insurance provider here in the US to see if medical care is covered should you need it while you are away. Be aware that if you need to go to a hospital or clinic overseas you will likely be asked to pay out-of-pocket for any services provided. If your home insurance covers the care you received, you will be reimbursed for the expenses you paid. Even countries with national health care do not typically cover non-citizens. You may want to consider a travel health insurance policy if you have a pre-existing medical condition, or will be participating in adventure activities like scuba diving, hiking at elevation, or hang gliding. When you purchase a travel health policy, make sure that payments will be made directly to the hospital or clinic, and that it covers the activities you are planning.
Medical Evacuation Insurance may be wise if you are traveling to a remote destination or an area where healthcare is not likely to be up to US standards. This insurance will pay for emergency transportation from a remote or poor area to a high-quality hospital. If you are traveling to a country where rabies is endemic and are bitten by an animal, you may need to be evacuated to get specific treatment that is not readily available in all parts of the world. I recommend evacuation insurance for people traveling to areas with a high incidence of rabies.
Baggage Insurance is often included in other policies, but is rarely purchased alone. This insurance covers bags that are lost, delayed or damaged. There is often a cap for items such as jewelry, electronics, or camera equipment.
Below are some resources when looking for insurance providers. This list is not all-inclusive, but is a good starting point.
Department of State
American Association of Retired Persons
Check out these links for more information about insurance for travel