Considering Travel Protection Services? 7 Questions to Ask
January 2, 2020
Categories: Travel Tips
You’ve booked your flight, reserved your hotel and signed up with a tour guide. You’ve researched every option, found the best pricing and feel confident this will be your best overseas vacation ever.
But what if you need medical treatment abroad or an international rescue? No one plans for accidents. Before embarking on your next adventure, consider purchasing a travel protection services membership.
A travel protection services membership is designed to protect you when you are away from home. Say, for example, you are skiing in Greenland and a powerful storm hits. Or you’re enjoying a luxury cruise when you fall and break your hip at port.
According to the Merck Manuals, when it comes to foreign travel, about 1 in 30 people traveling abroad require emergency care. Illness and injury are probably not a part of your vacation travel plans, but it pays to be prepared in case you have a medical emergency while traveling abroad.
With a travel protection services membership, you will be able to access services like medical evacuation, security extraction, travel intelligence and 24/7/365 advisory services.
If you do break your hip on a luxury cruise, a medical operations team would coordinate with medical staff onboard the ship, the port where you disembark, the evacuation providers from the port and the receiving medical facility to make sure medical treatment occurs as quickly as possible.
Once you are stabilized at the receiving facility, the travel protection services provider would be able to evacuate you to your home hospital of choice should you require further hospitalization.
Travel insurance is a bit different. According to the U.S. Department of State, travel insurance insures your financial investment in your trip, covering such things as the cost of lost baggage and canceled flights. It may or may not cover costs of medical attention you may need while abroad. Depending on the type of trip you are taking, you may want travel protection services, travel insurance, or both.
Here are seven questions to ask when considering a travel protection services membership:
What do you consider an emergency?
The answer should be – any medical emergency that could result in a serious or life-threatening injury. If it isn’t, hang up and call the next company.
Do you offer field rescue?
Field rescue means your travel protection services provider will send help if you are in danger and unable to get to a hospital. Consider your travel destination, especially if it is remote and ask if the company has experience evacuating members from some of the toughest environments in the world.
Do you deploy anywhere in the world?
Every company has their exceptions to international rescue, like below the 60th Parallel South and above the 80th Parallel North, so be sure to check. You could also inquire if there is personnel stationed worldwide, or if there is an international network with medical Centers of Excellence. This will mean you have access to care no matter where you are.
Do you restrict any sporting activities?
Some companies will not offer travel protection services if you are taking additional risks or participating in activities like rock climbing, sky diving, parachuting or hang gliding.
Do you have in-house teams, or do you outsource calls?
No one wants to navigate a call center during an emergency. You want to speak to a professional on the first call. Check if the company has in-house medical and security teams–in house could mean a faster response.
What are some of your success stories?
The travel protection services provider should be able to share member testimonials to give you examples of the quality of their service.
Do you have an app or some technology to help me communicate with you?
If a cell phone is usually in your hand, inquire about in-app messaging or geo-located check-ins. Some companies also offer destination reports (to help you plan your travel) and real-time alerts (to keep you up to date while traveling). This two-way communication will be important if you need medical treatment abroad or an international rescue.
Once you’ve done your due diligence, you should be able to find a travel protection services membership that meets your needs. Now you can get back to packing your suitcase, which should include an updated first aid kit and your new membership card to enjoy a relaxing, worry-free vacation.
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