June 25, 2018

Medical Evacuation Insurance

Traveling abroad doesn't have to mean help is far away. Check out how evacuation insurance can step in when you need transportation in an emergency.

What is an evacuation?

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An evacuation is simply the act of moving you from one place to another, safer place.

You may need an evacuation for a variety of reasons while you're traveling. Here are the main reasons for evacuation:

  • Medical
    You're seriously sick or injured and need to be moved to a better hospital.

  • Natural disaster
    You're stuck in the middle of a hurricane, earthquake, or other natural disaster.

  • Political
    You're caught in an area of political unrest or a terrorist attack.

What is medical evacuation insurance?

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Medical evacuation insurance is sometimes known by other names, including medevac insurance or just evacuation insurance. Despite the names, it's not usually limited to medical reasons. Natural disaster evacuations and political evacuations are often included in these policies.

Evacuation insurance serves two purposes:

  • The policy covers the high cost of emergency transportation (for eligible events).
  • The insurance staff coordinates all travel and lodging arrangements.

What else is included?

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  • Travel Assistance
    Most reputable travel insurance companies include travel assistance or concierge services in their evacuation policies. These services do not necessarily have to be related to an evacuation, but are there for travelers who need help while on their trip.

    Travel assistance and concierge services are provided by the insurance company's staff or trusted vendors. These services might include:

    • Help finding a local hospital or doctor
    • Help finding a local hotel
    • Information on currency exchange
    • Directions to the nearest embassy
    • Help with travel documents
    • Translation services

  • Emergency Reunion
    Being hospitalized is bad enough. But being hospitalized in a foreign country, away from your family, is worse.

    Many evacuation policies include an emergency reunion benefit for this situation. The benefit will pay the cost for a family member to join you while you're in the hospital. The insurance team will also help with the travel arrangements.

  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D)
    A good medevac plan includes AD&D coverage. This benefit is available if you're killed or permanently disabled during an accident on your trip. The benefit pays a lump sum according to a schedule listed in the insurance policy document.

  • Repatriation of Mortal Remains
    If the worst happens and you die while on your trip, a repatriation of mortal remains benefit will cover the cost to bring your body back home. The benefit also includes coverage for travel documents and other fees associated with this unique situation.

How does it work?

The key to using your evacuation insurance is this: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

Nearly all evacuation policies require that the insurance company pre-approve any evacuation. And most take it a step further—the insurance company, not the traveler, must make all the travel arrangements.

Naturally, if you're in a perilous situation, you should take reasonable steps to ensure your safety. But your next step should be contacting the insurance company as soon as it's reasonably possible.

If you choose to evacuate yourself without involving insurance upfront, the expenses you incur may not be covered by the policy.

Who needs evacuation insurance?

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You might think evacuation insurance is only necessary if you're traveling to an exotic or remote location. But consider this: No matter where you are, if you're sick and need to go home, you will be responsible for making all the travel arrangements (even if you don't feel like it) and paying all the expenses (even if you don't have extra money.)

Evacuation coverage is a good idea for anyone traveling and leaving their home country, regardless of their destination.

I already have trip coverage; do I need to buy a separate policy?

In most cases, no. Nearly all travel medical policies and trip cancellation policies already include coverage for evacuations.

Check your policy documents to be sure. If evacuation coverage is not included, then you should consider a separate stand-alone plan.

Bottom Line

Evacuation insurance, also known as medevac or medical evacuation insurance, helps coordinate and pay for emergency travel if you're sick or hurt while traveling abroad. It may also cover for emergency travel related to a natural disaster or political event.

To get the most from your evacuation coverage, contact your insurance company as soon as possible when you need help. Delaying or failing to make contact could mean a denial of claims later on.

Most travel insurance plans already include evacuation coverage as part of their benefit package, but not all. Stand-alone policies are available if you need to add medevac coverage.

More from CreditDonkey:

Is Travel Insurance Worth It

Trip Insurance Cover Medical Expenses

Airline Miles for Beginners

Travel Insurance

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