Health Insurance Matters: Travel


This winter has actually felt like winter. We have had cold, snow as well as rain, sunshine and some beautiful days. All in all, it is time to plan for vacation. Summer is just around the corner.

There are basically two types of travel insurance available for the vacation bound.

Trip Insurance protects your trips cost, your medical expenses and your belongings.

• What if you get the stomach flu the day before you’re scheduled to leave and can’t go on your trip? We pay for your non-refundable trip costs! We also protect you for many other covered reasons which may cause you to cancel, delay, or interrupt your trip.

• What if you get sick when you’re traveling? What if proper medical care is not available in your location?
Your health insurance may not cover medical expenses when you are traveling. Our plans include emergency medical expense coverage, including the cost of an emergency medical evacuation if medically necessary.

• What if your luggage is stolen, lost or damaged during your trip?
We can help with the cost of replacing many of these items. Some of our plans even provide rental coverage for specific types of sports equipment if you choose that option.

• What if you can’t find a doctor, and you don’t speak the language?
Our 24/7 multilingual travel assistance team is here to help you with many types of travel needs.

Many of my clients have had medical issues in the past, which can rear its head at any time. Pre-Existing conditions may be covered if a Trip Insurance plan is purchased within 10 days of the initial deposit for the trip.

One optional benefit that requires some advance planning is “Cancellation for any reason”. This benefit will pay 75 percent of your non-refundable deposits for “ANY REASON” you cancel your trip. Coverage must be purchased within 20 days of the initial deposit.

Travel Medical Insurance. It’s pretty simple: your health insurance at home may not cover you when you travel abroad — you could be responsible for the bill if you get sick or hurt on your trip. Additionally, medical providers in foreign countries may require you to pay money upfront before they will treat you.

That’s where travel medical insurance comes in. International insurance for travelers not only provides access to a global network of providers while you’re away from home, it also gives individuals covered on the policy access to 24-Hour Emergency Assistance.

Costs and coverage vary, based on where you are going, your age, cost of the trip and other factors. My wife and I travel for several weeks each year to foreign locations. So far, we have been lucky, but I have seen other travelers not be as fortunate. Regrettably, I have had the sad experience of having covered clients need their travel insurance. One lady fell while hiking in New Zealand and eventually was airlifted back to Orange County following being stabilized in Auckland. Another client’s wife was killed in Paris by a driver who ran up onto the sidewalk. The travel insurance company attended to his needs (with two young children) and helped get his wife’s body released from France and transported back home to California.

Harry P. Thal, MA, is a licensed insurance broker in California (0621106) and 27 other states. His offices are in Kernville. He is a member of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors and Past-President of the Kern Association of Health Underwriters. He may be reached at 760-376-2100, e-mail or visit him on the web at