Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones While Traveling

Airplane Window

My grandparents were speeding across the Black Forest of Germany by train. They had dreamed about a European vacation for years.  Traveling with two of my great-aunts, they were having a wonderful time.  After starting in Switzerland, they had just come from Vienna.  But while they were admiring the scenery through the train window, my grandfather slumped over.  He had had a heart attack and was unconscious.   

My grandmother, a registered nurse, tried to resuscitate him and get help from the conductor and other passengers.  This was difficult because she didn’t speak German.  The train stopped and an ambulance arrived.  One of my great-aunts continued on with the luggage while another stayed to help my grandmother deal with the nightmare before them.  

My grandfather had died, and they were alone in a foreign country.  My grandmother, despite being overcome with grief, tried to make the arrangements.  She would later recall that this experience was especially difficult because it happened in a foreign country where she didn’t know anyone, speak the language, or have enough money.  

Many of us travel throughout the year and face the risk that they or a loved one could require urgent medical care or need to cancel their plans.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a business traveler, into adventure travel, or traveling within the United States for a summer vacation.  Accidents can happen.  Recent news reports of American tourists falling ill and passing away in the Dominican Republic highlight these risks.  If you rely on your own health insurance to take care of you, you could be vulnerable.   Comprehensive travel insurance can fill this gap to keep you and your loved ones safe.


Doesn’t My Health Insurance or Credit Cards Protect Me While Traveling?

If you’re sick or injured while traveling, U.S.-based health insurance plans provide partial or even no coverage for medical expenses abroad.  They certainly won’t cover the cost of medical evacuation.  For Medicare, there is no coverage abroad. (1)  Countries with “universal health care” may assist with some minor needs, but they are no obligation to do so.  In the event of a major or ongoing health issue, they would cease to help and would never pay to evacuate you or help you return home.  Arranging for medical evacuation on your own is very expensive.  Costs begin at $25,000 and can go as high as $250,000. (2)  

Many people believe their credit cards or temporary trip insurance can cover these risks.  However, most credit cards only cover cancellation or interruption insurance – they do not cover medical expenses or evacuation coverage.  Single-trip trip insurance can address cancellation, interruption, and medical services but must be purchased for each trip and is often 4-8% of the cost of the each trip. (3)   For example, one traveler reported that trip insurance for two people for a $12,000 Viking River Cruise was $1,238, or about 10% of the total cost. (4)  While you can find less-expensive single trip coverage it remains expensive to purchase coverage on a per-trip basis when compared to year-round, comprehensive coverage. 


Affordable, Comprehensive Travel Coverage

Rather than purchase trip insurance for each trip travelers can access comprehensive travel insurance that addresses medical expenses, political evacuation, trip cancellation and interruption, medical evacuation, and legal services.  comprehensive travel insurance that addresses medical expenses, political evacuation, trip cancellation and interruption, medical evacuation, and legal services.  

The best insurance covers you and your loved ones all year-round without the need to make arrangements for each trip. Subscribers are provided with contact numbers that they can use in the event of a medical emergency or other required need.  One example of this type of coverage is the Passport 360 program offered by Chubb.  It is available to any family on a stand-alone basis for an annual fee.  It can cover multiple family members for any trips during the year.  The annual costs vary between $365 and $879 per year – considerably less than trip insurance on a standalone basis.  While every family should investigate options for themselves and their needs, this type of coverage can provide excellent benefits for a fraction of the cost.

You can enjoy wonderful trips abroad any time of the year.  Comprehensive, affordable travel insurance can protect you and your plans whenever you decide to vacation.



1.    Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare,

2.    “Five Myths About Medical Evacuations” 7/6/15, USA Today,

3.    “What Does Travel Insurance Cover” Travel Insurance Review,

4.    Aardvark Compare,

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