Tips for Dealing with an Injury Abroad

travel to europe

travel to europe

by Amy Nielson,

You’re enjoying the vacation of a lifetime, exploring another country, trying out new experiences or maybe just relaxing. And then the worst possible thing happens – you get into an accident. Maybe it involves a car, bicycle, or other mode of transportation, extreme sports or adventure activities, or just the hazards of being on the road. There are dozens of ways you can get injured while traveling, and dealing with your injuries can be inconvenient, at best, and at worst, a little scary. In many countries, you may be required to pay before a doctor even examines you, and while your medical insurance might reimburse you part of the cost, there will probably be a much higher deductible. That’s why you need travel insurance. Supplemental insurance for your trip is cheap and easy, and yet most people never consider it until they’ve experienced what being ill or injured abroad it like. Now, they won’t leave home without it.

1. Choosing Travel Insurance

Your existing medical insurance provider might be able to provide you with travel insurance so you should start by researching what they have to offer. Even some credit card companies offer travel insurance. But you can also search the web or talk to your travel agency about options for either single trip or long-term insurance plans. You will need to figure out your risk factors – what country you’re going to, what kind of high-risk sports or activities you intend to participate in, how long you’ll be gone and your general health can all contribute to the cost of insurance and what kind of policy you need. But in
general, travel insurance can be found for just a few dollars a day. It covers emergency medical and dental, as well as other things like trip cancellation or lost luggage. Keep in mind that if you have a pre-existing medical condition, it may be excluded from coverage.

2. When an Accident Occurs

If you are involved in an accident on your vacation, you should make sure and get copies of all the relevant documents. Police and medical reports, as well as copies of any x-rays you receive at the hospital, will be important in filing your insurance claim. If you can, use credit cards instead of cash so that everything you pay is well-documented and you don’t have to worry about currency differences as far as your claim amount. Provide the doctor with a list of medications you are taking, any conditions you have, and in some cases, emergency contact information. Keep your receipts, and make sure you have all the details from the doctor about any ongoing treatment or medication you require, because you can probably include the cost of these things in your insurance claim as well. Make sure you can understand what the doctor is telling you and ask for a translator if you need one.

3. After an Accident

Don’t wait to call your insurance company and tell them something has happened. They can begin the case file and let you know exactly what is covered by your policy, including any changes in your travel plans or transportation to another city where you might receive better care, or even an emergency early return home. If the accident is serious, you may want to contact a U.S. Embassy, who will be happy to help you find the right doctor. If it’s a minor injury, most hotels and resorts that cater to tourists from around the world have nursing care available on the premises. Make sure and take it easy if you’re continuing your trip and carry any medications or bandages with you. When you get home, your insurance company will probably ask you to follow up with a visit to your own physician as well as an insurance agent. Make sure you bring along all relevant documents, including pictures, if you have them.

My Husband’s Cast Getting injured on your overseas vacation can really put a damper on something you’ve saved up a lot of money to enjoy. Hopefully it won’t end up costing you much more money, as well. If you’re planning on visiting a remote location such as a tropical island nation or a third world country, or if you’re actively involved in skiing, surfing, diving, rock climbing, or other adventure activities, don’t leave the country without the right preparation. Accidents and injuries can happen even to the safest traveler, and you’ll feel better if you have a plan for when your dream vacation doesn’t go as planned.

Amy Nielson is an avid blogger who writes often for insurance sites. You can follow her on Twitter @NielsonAmy.


Copyright Amy Nielson © STI

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