What about Your Travel Insurance?

Have you checked yours?

As a globetrotter, this topic virtually affects everyone who spends their holidays just one meter outside of their resident country. For a given reason here is some important information:


Most foreign travel health insurance are roughly divided into three types of benefits:

1.Outpatient help with illness/accident

2. Inpatient help with illness/accident

3.Repatriationtransport in case of illness/accident/death

A) Almost all older insurance companies have the following wording in the terms of insurance: we organize the medically necessary return transport and bear the necessary costs ….

B) Newer insurances have the better formulation: how to organize the medically helpful return transport and carry the necessary costs …..

Applied to the example of a good friend who recently vacationed in Vietnam with his wife. On the way home with a borrowed scooter he drove in the evening into a side street caked with mud. He fell off the scooter and broke his ankle. With a lot of pain and an operation required, it was a case for the insurance. The accident happened 2 days before the booked flight home. His foot is badly swollen, so the operation will be delayed until the swelling decreases. The hospital carried out operation on the ankle and recommended a return flight in Business Class. The ultimate reason to take this decision is because the patient required transport, lying down. Sitting in this case is not an option.

Still using their long-standing old insurance, which offers hyperbaric chamber treatments for divers, this has never been checked or terminated. The couple also has a second travel insurance, which is still valid.

Their old insurance still has this formulation A (see above).

The reply from the insurance;

in Vietnam you can also treat an ankle fracture in every hospital and pin it with a plate if required.

The reply of the second insurance:

It is medically helpful if you are operated on at home. We can book for you and your wife two tickets, business class valid at Euro 2.000,00. Please give us an indication regarding the flight dates. In addition, we provide support at the airport check-in, stopover, and home airport. We will provide you with a large taxi at the destination airport, which will drive you home. This is essential to you can elevate the leg.

The conclusion:

A valid insurance is paramount. For the scuba diver community, who use travel insurance, check the wording of your policy. It is very costly for hyperbaric treatment and repatriation if required. Check your insurance to see what your coverage is, if in doubt ask!

For example: If you are an Open Water diver, certified and trained to 18 meters and you dive to 25 meters. At 23 meters something happens, and it leads to a rapid ascent. Will your insurance pay out if you require hyperbaric treatment when you were at a depth, deeper than your certification allows? With a coverage of  40 meters, this might not always apply to you as an Open Water diver, qualified and trained to 18 meters. If in doubt, check with your insurance company.

Please check all the wording of the travel insurance. Not only with regard to the reimbursement of hyperbaric units (including the acquisition of necessary hyperbaric chamber treatments after returning to your country). It is important to read and understand this phrase “helpful medically return transport.” There will only be very few countries where individual injuries can NOT be treated sufficiently well.

Countries like Thailand, Indonesia, China, etc. have good medical care. In all these countries a return transport would be at the expense of the patient or their insurance company. Remember, you might not arrive at the same airport that you departed from. This will result in you having to deal with your vehicle that is still in the departure airport.

With the patient being unfit to travel, an extended stay is required. Extended stays often are expensive. As things improve for the patient, cost may begin to spiral out of control. The cost of extensions, transport, flight changes, food and accommodation, as well as medical care can be a worrying experience.

Check with your insurance if in doubt.

Dive Smart Gozo