There's nothing more "heart-warming" than buying health insurance, especialy when reading over the long list of things the provider won't cover and being reminded about the prospect of losing limbs and death. I'm in the middle of my trip overseas- in Australia. Back in November when I was buying my travel insurance, I trusted the policy found on the website of my graduate school, quickly bought the plan, and forgot about it. Then last week I got hurt playing basketball and had to go to the emergency room (I'm ok now). I didn't have my insurance information with me, and now I'm stuck trying to get a claims form. Which, you would think, shouldn't be too hard. Except, when the number the policy form says to call is actually a personal phone number of a man who gets really grouchy when all these people are calling about insurance claims. The next number I tried was an auto-insurance company, and the next number I called, which the form said to only call if you are within the U.S., was all auto-mated and asked me to leave my name and details after the beep. Where is the empathy in that! Medical insurance is a personal thing, and should be handled by actual personell who listen to your problems and concerns.... ugh. I tried the website, but it didn't exist.
Anyway, the point of this is to save you the hastle when you get hurt in a far away country. I luckily only bought health insurance from this company (AIG) for half of my trip. Today I purchased a new plan, and while I have not had to use it yet, I feel a bit more comfortale that my needs will be met. When getting traveler's health insurance, here are a few things to check for.
- Does the insurance company have a WORKING website?
- Does the medical coverage suit your needs? Be sure to read the policy.
- Are there multiple contact options, not just a phone number, but also fax and email?
- Is there an agent you can personally contact?
- A good thing to investigate is the cost of a trip to the emergency room in the country you are visiting, take this into consideration when deciding on the amount of the deductible. For example, my Australian vist to the e-room was $130. If the deductible is 100, it might be a better idea to pay a little more to cut the deductible down to either $50 or even $0.
The plan I just bought is through Liaison SRI. Again, I haven't used it yet, but I'm really glad to know they actually have a working website and there is an actual agent I can contact with questions and problems. Also, the premium was very affordable, even with a zero deductible.
Next time you travel, don't take traveler's insurance lightly and be sure to find a provider that will actually answer your calls instead of giving you a voice recording.