Insurance is, ideally, something you rarely have to think about. You did your research, and you have coverages in place that protect you, your family and your property. But have you ever considered what happens when you leave the United States? Whether it’s that spring break trip to Mexico or a long-awaited tour of Europe, it pays to know what your insurance will and won’t cover while you’re abroad.
This varies widely by carrier, so you’ll want to do your homework before you leave the United States. The State Department recommends contacting your insurance company before your trip to ask about what medical services overseas are included in your coverage. You might be surprised; some activities that could be considered “risky” (like that ATV tour) may not be covered by your insurer. It pays to check!
Questions to Ask Your Health Insurer:
- If I am seriously ill, does my policy cover an emergency return to the United States?
- Does my policy cover activities like mountain climbing or scuba diving?
- What about pre-existing conditions?
- Does my insurance cover medical payments abroad?
- Will my insurance pay foreign hospitals and/or doctors directly?
What If I Have Medicare?
Medicare does not cover emergency medical services if you are travelling outside of the United States. Check with your insurer about supplemental coverage.
You can’t assume that the vehicle insurance you rely on in the United States will automatically apply in a different country. If you are planning on renting a car overseas, make sure you have a plan in mind before you arrive. Check with your insurance agent to confirm what is and isn’t covered by your auto insurance policy. Beyond that, you might want to consider additional coverage, which can be found through:
- Your credit card company. Some of these companies will provide rental insurance protection. Whether or not coverage is offered can depend on the company, the country and the type of vehicle you are using.
- A foreign car insurance company. Third-party insurers can be found near national borders, but their policies may not cover theft or personal accidents.
- The rental car company. Be sure you understand what is and isn’t included if you purchase coverage through the rental car company; they may or may not cover things like collision or theft.
The good news is, most homeowners and renters policies cover you even when you’re not at home. If you lose your luggage or your jewelry is stolen, the coverages you have in place in the United States will typically apply overseas, as well. As always, check with your agent — if the item isn’t covered before you leave the country, you might be out of luck!
What Should I Bring?
When traveling overseas, it pays to be prepared. Consider bringing:
- Name, phone number and address of your primary care physician
- Health insurance company name, phone number and ID number
- Names and dosages of any medications you may be taking
- List of allergies
- Address and phone number of a clinic near where you’ll be staying
Protect Your World While Traveling It
Your vacation should be filled with good memories and a break from the daily grind. If the unexpected does happen, a little extra preparation can make all the difference between a vacation that’s one for the books … and one you’d rather forget. And whether you’re at home or abroad, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having insurance through your Farm Bureau agent. Call your agent today to learn more about how your agent can protect what matters most in your world.