What Is Emergency Evacuation And Why Is It Important In A Travel Insurance Plan?

What is emergency evacuation and why is it important in a travel insurance plan? Whereas most existing medical insurance or standard travel insurance will cover most situations, there may be times when...

Whereas most existing medical insurance or standard travel insurance will cover most situations, there may be times when you need to plan for something more. Emergency evacuation is not always covered on standard travel insurance plans, nor is it covered on most health insurance or Medicare policies. Most visitors to the United States are not covered for this eventuality under their home country policy.


Emergency evacuation is exactly what it sounds - if you are taken so ill that you really need to get to a hospital or specialized facility, the insurance will cover the cost of transportation. This procedure is commonly by helicopter or small plane - this service is also sometimes known as "air ambulance" and there are several companies who specialize in providing such services.




If you don't have emergency evacuation insurance, the costs of paying for it yourself can be enormous - the typical evacuation costs over $50,000. A recent and well-publicized case concerned a sportsman who was traveling in Africa without emergency evacuation insurance and who seriously injured has back. He estimated his costs at flying back home to be around $122,000!

Even if you don't need to be transported by air ambulance, the costs can still be prohibitive. You may need more than one seat on a plane in order to stretch out and be comfortable, or you may need the services of a trained medical professional to accompany you home. Even changing a plane ticket can be expensive if you have to change plans and return home at short notice, as many airline tickets have a substantial change fee. Always inform the airline the reason for your change of plan - they may be prepared to waive the change fee.

Most people don't really need to insure themselves against this, as the chances of it being needed are slim. You may want to consider taking out this additional insurance if you are participating in more "dangerous" sports or activities such as skiing or traveling to an unsafe destination.

The chances of actually having to use this service can vary, based on where you are traveling to. Many destinations have perfectly adequate medical facilities, but if you are traveling to parts of Africa, Asia or Central America, you may not want to use the medical facilities there in the event of an emergency.

Of course, those that are most likely to use this kind of insurance are those who are in poor health, of a certain age or have pre-existing medical condition that may flare up. If you do have this type of insurance, you may not even need the emergency evacuation - your condition may be treatable at a local facility.

And what happens if you need emergency evacuation but simply can't afford it? Among the many other benefits it offers, the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) helps American citizens overseas with emergency evacuation, financial aid and repatriation of remains. The department also offers a crisis response team who are available around the clock and deal with problems caused by natural disasters.

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