If it is your first time going abroad, you might not know exactly what to expect. Foreign travel requires a lot of preparation, and the right amount of protections.
Protecting yourself abroad means making preparations beforehand. Don’t forget to consider investing in travel insurance. It can help safeguard your personal and financial security in case of emergencies.
Going Abroad: Get Travel Insurance
You might wonder what the benefits of travel insurance are during the course of your travel.
Travel insurance serves as financial support in case you encounter unavoidable or unpreventable problems on your trip. It might help you recover lost costs related to:
- Lost or damaged luggage and personal effects.
- Cancellation costs, as long as you cancel the trip before you depart. The cancellation also has to be due to an unavoidable hazard, such as the death of a close family member. Policies might reimburse the costs of flights, hotels, excursions or other fees.
- Interruption costs, in case you have to return home before your planned date of travel. It can help you recover costs similar to those of a cancellation. Like with cancellation coverage, you have to have an unavoidable reason for the interruption.
- Limited circumstances where emergency evacuations occur in your destination. These may include evacuations related to war, weather or severe civil unrest.
- Medical occurrences while abroad. Your normal medical insurance may not cover you when you are on foreign soil. Travel insurance might allow you a degree of coverage for care in case of a medical emergency. It might also cover the costs of medically-assisted travel. However, it likely won’t cover you for elective medical care abroad.
Travel insurance won’t cover you for every inconvenience you have while abroad. Policies are often strict in how they determine what cancellation, interruption or emergency claim requests they honor. Therefore, it is important that you work with a travel insurance agent to get a policy that is unique to your needs.
Proper Preparation is Key
Protecting yourself during foreign travel is a key to minimizing travel insurance risks. Preparation can help you avoid ever having to cash in on your travel insurance. It can also help ensure that you still get maximum coverage if you do have to make a claim.
- Before travel, make sure you have proper documentation. This should include:
- Your passport and other photo identification. Make sure you review and renew these items well before your date of travel. Some nations require travelers to renew U.S. passports a certain number of days before travel.
- Travel visas. Multiple international destinations require a visa, which is essentially a sticker on a passport that gives a traveler permission to enter a country. Some nations do not require visas. If your destination requires a visa, obtain one which states clearly your dates and purposes of travel.
- Vaccine records. Some travelers have to get certain shots before traveling. These vaccines protect travelers who may not have immunity from certain regional diseases.
- Medical information. If you have special medical needs, you may need a doctor’s permission to travel. You may need documentation to carry certain medical devices with you aboard flights. Make sure you have any written documentation from your doctor before you leave. Also keep, in an accessible place, a short medical history and prescription record. In case an emergency arises, this information can help those who assist you.
- Research your destination and any outlying attractions that you plan to visit. Many travel guides provide tips on how to navigate the local area and how to avoid unsafe situations.
- Keep a copy of your travel insurance policy with you at all times. You should know how to start the claims process based on your policy information.
- Know what emergency resources are available in your local area. Keep the contact information on hand for:
- The local U.S. embassy or consulate. The embassy is your first source of information while abroad. The embassy can assist you with visa, passport, identity and other problems. In an emergency local embassies assume responsibility for the safety of U.S. Citizens.
- Know how to contact local emergency services in your destination. This should include police, ambulance, and fire and rescue services. Keep a travel cell phone with you that can make local calls.
- Your travel agency. In the event of emergencies, the travel group can often help you make new travel arrangements.
Thinking ahead and having emergency resources with you can help you protect yourself.
While Traveling, Be Safe
While you travel, always keep an eye on your surroundings. Most international destinations are perfectly safe, but you always have to be careful. Just being in an unfamiliar place makes traveling risky.
Keep your belongings secure, and stay away from unsafe areas. Trust only reliable sources of information when making travel decisions.
We’ve got you covered. ECI Agency, Inc. can help you get travel insurance for your first time abroad. Call us at 405-373-2977 for more information.