What if you and your family took a trip – a once in a lifetime trip – to say…Australia. You are ten days into your two week trip and the unthinkable happens; you and your family are in a car crash. Sadly, one is killed and one is hospitalized for 3 months. How will you repatriate (the process of returning a person to his or her place of origin or citizenship) your loved ones body ? It can cost upwards of $40,000 to repatriate a body back to the US. And how do you pay for 3 months of hospital bills?
What if your employer takes all his staff members and their significant others on a cruise to Mexico. You and your spouse are having a great time and you have an excursion planned in Cozumel. You get to the Mayan ruins and your spouse starts feeling sick. In a matter of minutes they are extremely ill, is taken to a hospital and dies. Because they die on land, and not on the ship, you have to find a way to fly them back to the US. What do you do?
These are horrible circumstances to think about but these are real stories that happened to real people. If you think it can’t happen to you; think again. They happen everyday to normal people just like you and me. They’re happy and healthy one day and the next….they’re not. It is not only smart, but critical for you to purchase travel insurance anytime you leave the continental U.S. It very well could save you from a best case scenario, financial hardship, or worse case scenario, having to repatriate a body.
If you are overseas and find yourself in a situation like this, contact the closest US Embassy or Consulate. They have foreign service officers who will come meet with you and help navigate “local laws of the country where the individual died, U.S. and foreign customs requirements, and the foreign country facilities, which are often vastly different from those in the United States.” However, contrary to popular belief, the government does not have money to assist US Citizens in returning remains back to the US. It is the travelers responsibility to ensure they are insured. Additional information may be found on the Department of State’s website.
It doesn’t only have to be for international travel. My niece was selected to participate in a forensic study week at American University. She supposed to leave on Wednesday but started getting sick Saturday night. She was worse by Sunday afternoon, so my sister and brother-in-law took her to the ER. She ended up having an emergency appendectomy on Monday- just two days before she was to leave. She will be able to attend a different week, but thankfully, because my sister had paid $99 for travel insurance, they would have received a full refund.
Every cruise line or tour company has insurance you can purchase. However, in a lot of cases it can be higher than through a private company. Also, they may only reimburse a portion of the trip costs and only a minimum amount ($25,000) in medical costs. Through a private company, you can get a full refund; coverage for millions in medical costs; air evacuation coverage; and coverage to repatriate a loved one.
Travel insurance is the #1 travel companion. Do your research, or ask your travel agent, and compare the insurance offered through the travel company/cruise line with an independent travel insurance company. It could easily become your only life line home.