You are all ready for your European vacation. You have packed your passport, clothing, snacks for the plane ride, and games for the kids. You may have forgotten something important, though. Did you remember to pack your insurance?
Before traveling outside of the United States, it is important to check your insurance policies to make sure you are covered for any unforeseen accidents or injuries.
Nobody wants to get hurt or ill on vacation. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and exposure to unfamiliar foods or environments can lead to illness. A trip to a foreign doctor, dentist, or hospital can be very expensive. Many health insurance policies, including Medicare, do not cover medical treatment outside of the United States. Make sure to check your insurance policy before you travel. If it does not cover you outside the country, consider purchasing a separate travel insurance policy that covers emergency medical treatment and medical evacuation so you can return home to recover after an accident.
Most automobile insurance policies cover policyholders as a driver or passenger in any automobile, even rental cars, within the United States. Some policies also cover travel to Mexico and Canada, but it is likely that you will not be covered in other countries. As any injury lawyer will tell you, even a minor accident can lead to significant liability claims. You may need to opt for the liability insurance coverage offered by the rental car agency if you are renting a car in a foreign country. To supplement that, look into a personal umbrella policy. Umbrella policies cover you for any losses over and above those covered by other insurance, so you may be able to opt for a less expensive option from the rental car agency if you have umbrella coverage. Always check with your insurance agent to make sure the umbrella policy covers you in the areas you are planning to travel.
Chances are, you have purchased non-refundable airline tickets, or placed non-refundable deposits on hotels for your trip. If an unexpected event delays your trip or forces you to cancel altogether, a travel insurance policy can reimburse you for those losses. Travel insurance policies may also cover lost luggage, meals, travel inconvenience if you miss part, but not all, of your trip, and may also cover emergency medical treatment. Most travel insurance policies are relatively inexpensive, but can save you thousands of dollars. Just make sure you do some research and choose a reputable insurer. Read the policy benefits and limitations before you purchase so you understand exactly what you are getting before you have to make a claim.