We know that accidents happen and health problems are unpredictable. That’s why we’ve prepared a guide with tips on travel insurance to help readers who are ready, and tickets purchased, to break this world! Nothing to go wrong during the holidays. You have to be ready to face all the challenges of the trip, even the unforeseen ones, like that bellyache that suddenly appears in the place where there is no bathroom…
Close your eyes and imagine the scene:
You are walking towards the Eiffel Tower, in that dream setting, making a beautiful portrait with the foliage of the trees serving as a frame. Its spring, everything is flowery. You, enchanting, get distracted for a second and … PÁ! It is hit by a hurried Frenchman’s bicycle. All the baguettes that were in the basket of the bike fall slowly to the ground and you realize that, besides the bottles of wine are splintered, you also broke your arm! The scenery, anyway, is hopeless. But it would be a lot worse if you did not have travel insurance and you had to pay for all medical care in euros, did not you?
It seems half-hearted, but the fact is that every cautious traveler needs to be prepared for the mishaps of travel, among them, health problems. If here in Brazil we can go wrong with an old coxinha, the mayonnaise of the day before yesterday or a churrasquinho of dubious origin, imagine in countries that we do not even know! Kidney stone, appendicitis, diarrhea, sore throat, fever and unbearable coughs are just the tip of the wire of anything that can plague a traveler on days of travel. Not to mention luggage losses, legal problems and other cucumbers. And no matter the degree of tourist experience. Shit happens! And with anyone. Thinking about the well-being of our readers (and in our personal experiences) we have prepared a guide with basic and important information about travel insurance. Because being prepared is never too much!
1 – How does travel insurance work?
Travel insurance works as a temporary health plan and also a compensation guarantee for various situations and accidents. It will be valid for the days of hiring and within the norms specified in each contract. Usually it is made to international destinations, where the Brazilian health plans that we use in the day to day have no validity.
2 – What is the difference between travel insurance and travel assistance?
The two services are commonly called travel insurance. But you have to be careful when researching and closing the contract. In practice, the main difference is who will pay for the service at the time it is used. it is a matter of who will pay the payment.
Travel insurance provides that the traveler pays for all medical expenses out of his or her own pocket and then applies for reimbursement to the insurer (within the limits of contract values). For this, it will be necessary to present medical expenses vouchers, reports, invoices and everything else that can confirm the attendance. It is bureaucratic and can bring a lot of headache. The advantage is that travelers can choose anywhere to be served, regardless of being part of the insurance network.
The tour assistance works differently. The service will be all covered by the insured contractor (of course within the limits provided in the contract). Other than travel insurance, the travel assistance provides that the insured must contact the contracted company before receiving the care. The insurer will then indicate a place for the service to be performed and the insured will not have to pay anything. All payment will be paid by the insurer. The disadvantage is the obligation to be taken care of in the indicated place, except in cases of emergency.
It is important to say that many insurers sell both services in the same package, so you will be guaranteed in every way. It is crucial to know this information at the time of hiring the service so as not to go through tightening afterwards.
3 – Why should I take out travel insurance?
Accidents and illnesses can affect any traveler, regardless of experience. And if the problem is serious, the cost of treatment abroad can be very expensive (depending on the country of destination)! Not all countries (in fact, most of them) attend free of charge in the health care network. It will be necessary to pay for medical consultations, medicine and, in more serious cases, ambulance transport and hospitalization. It is not worth taking the risk and bankrupt for the sake of not taking out travel insurance before embarking. The insurance also applies to other types of services, such as loss of luggage, remarking of passage, legal assistance and even repatriation of the body in case of death.
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4 – How much does a travel insurance cost?
Believe! It will cost far less than the value of just one query in many countries around the world. It will also be a minimal slice of the budget for an international trip. Not doing it is a silly economy and one that can generate great problems for the traveler. At today’s test price, for a passenger of up to 70 years and traveling for 11 days to the US, the total value of basic insurance was $282 and for France the value was $254. This price is only a quote and higher or lower values can be found, depending on discounts, covenants, insurance level and the chosen operator.
5 – How to take out travel insurance?
Travel insurance can be contracted at insurance companies in the traveler’s own bank directly with the airline chosen for the trip, at the site where the purchase of the ticket was made, at travel agencies or credit card operators. Almost all services can be contracted directly on the companies’ website, without bureaucracy and with great agility.
Travel insurance is not just for international travel. You may also hire the service for travel within Brazil. However, since many Brazilians have health insurance, this service is not as commonly contracted.
6 – What travel insurance should I hire?
Travel insurance is done according to destination countries and the type of activity to be carried out on the trip, in addition to the complexity of the plan, which can range from basic to super complete. At the time of hiring you should inform the insurer details so that you are sure to be well covered and within your expectations.
Insurance does not follow the same rules for all countries of destination. Some, such as those in the European Union, require special travel insurance (in the case of these countries it is the insurance that follows the rules of the Schengen Treaty). The insurer can tell you if there are any specifics for your case. If you are going to use credit card insurance, ask for specific information about your destination country and require the card to send you contract details.
Another case that can change insurance contracting is extreme sports or adventure. It is rare for common insurance coverage to be valid for sports accidents such as skiing, snowboarding, climbing, diving, and others. Inquire in detail about these activities with the insurer and avoid problems at the time of service. Adults over 70 and pregnant women also often have different prices for insurance. So please enter passenger information correctly. Do not forget to check if the insurance covers pre-existing illnesses. This coverage is not common to all insurance.
The insurance will be as complete as the package contracted. You can choose the basics or add more services and increase the franchises of service and indemnification. The limit is your pocket. There are also special insurances designed to protect electronic equipment such as cell phones, computers and cameras. But this type of insurance is not part of the basic package offered by insurers and should be hired separately.
7 – How to choose my travel insurer?
Avoid contracting unfamiliar insurance with difficult care for the user. Give preference to big and well-known insurers, so you’ll be more sure to have an efficient customer service the moment you need it.
8 – How do I know if my credit card offers travel insurance?
It is very important to note that several credit cards, especially those with platinum status or higher, offer travel insurance free of charge to customers. There are big differences between the cards with regard to the validity of the insurance. Many require that the purchase of the ticket (at least the boarding fee) be made with the card itself. In other cases (rarer), the insurance is automatic, independent of the purchase of the ticket. There are credit card insurance that offer coverage even within Brazil, from a certain distance from the insured’s residence.
If you want to use credit card insurance, you should first inquire about all the rights of the insured, the amount of coverage, the type of insurance (if it is insurance or care) and the contact numbers for care. It is important to look carefully at the clauses of the contract so as not to have surprises in the trip. Several card companies offer the contract on the company’s website. If you cannot find it on your carrier’s website, contact us by phone and request the details by email.
It is worth remembering that credit cards often offer other types of services, such as concierge, discounts on lodgings and restaurants, upgrades, access to airport VIP rooms and even insurance for rental vehicles. The more you know the benefits of your card, the better!
9 – How long should I hire travel insurance and when should I hire?
The traveler must take out the insurance with at least the same duration of the trip. As airline delays and unforeseen events can happen, we suggest that the contract be made for two more days, that is, two days after the date scheduled for the return. This way you will be guaranteed!
The hiring can be done even from the eve, especially in case of contracts made by the company’s website. Almost all contracts have original prices in foreign currency, so be aware of the price of the dollar and the euro when closing the contract.
10 – What does travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance generally covers urgent and emergency medical care. However, they offer other guarantees to users, such as compensation for lost luggage, repatriation of the body in the event of death and even funeral. Insurance will be as complete as the packages signed. Yes! You can make a basic insurance or a complete super. See the main coverage of travel insurance:
– Medical and dental care 24h;
– Insurance in case of interruption or cancellation of the trip, in case of medical emergency;
– Visit to the hospitalized insured;
– Accompanying person in case of prolonged hospitalization;
– Pharmaceutical expenses;
– Lodging after discharge;
– Redemption of passage to return;
– Medical and funeral repatriation, which guarantees the return of the traveler to Brazil both in case of illness and accident and in case of death;
– Funeral assistance;
– Compensation in case of death;
– Indemnification in case of permanent or total disability;
– Location of lost luggage;
– Compensation in case of loss of luggage;
– Legal expenses;
– Advance payment of bail.
11 – What should I bring to the trip as proof that I have insurance?
It is very important to have the chosen insurance contract in hand (or in electronic form), even if it is the credit card agreement. In addition to having the possibility of being required in the immigration of the destination country, it will be useful in case of emergency to contact the insurance company. You should have the contract number and all possible answering phones for emergencies. Leave all these contacts also with a responsible in Brazil and with the companions of trip.
12 – How to contact travel insurance in case of emergency and what should I do?
When embarking for the trip it is essential to have, in an accessible place, the contact data of the contracted insurer and contract number. Preferably, leave this data also with someone in Brazil. If you can request service yourself, call your insurance carrier, explain your situation and wait for instructions. The most common way to get in touch with the insurer is the phone.
If you are insured by the credit card, call before traveling to the card operator and ask for direct contact numbers for travel insurance. Take all the numbers noted for the trip.
13 – How will travel insurance service?
In the case of travel assistance, the insurer will probably send a doctor to you or indicate a hospital or a contracted service where the care can be performed. These are the standard and most common procedures for contracts called travel assists. In the case of travel insurance, you can choose the location for care.
If it is an emergency procedure and you cannot contact the insurer, make contact as soon as you are able or provide the insurance data in the place where you are being treated. The sooner the better! Many insurers require a maximum number of hours to be communicated about care.
The travel insurance plans work in a reimbursement system, that is, you will be required to pay the service account and then the insurance will make the reimbursement of the amounts. There are also travel assists, which do not require any type of payment and deal directly with the hospitals and doctors, and there are no costs to the insured. In some cases, there is the requirement to pay a fixed amount for insurance every time it is triggered.
If it is necessary to stay at the place of travel for medical care beyond the final date stipulated in the contracting of the insurance (as a case of hospitalization), the term of validity of the insurance will automatically be extended. The value of the coverage, however, will respect the maximum amount contracted initially. Carefully read the terms of your contract to be aware of the type of service your insurance offers.
14 – Will I be answered in Portuguese?
The telephone contact with the insurer, if it is a Brazilian company, will most likely be in Portuguese. The problem will be at the time of the medical visit or to go to the hospital. In both cases the chance to be a doctor who speaks Portuguese will be very small.
15 – I had problems with travel insurance, what should I do?
The insurance regulatory agency is the Private Insurance Superintendency – SUSEP and the body responsible for setting the guidelines and standards is the National Council of Private Insurance (CNSP). Recalling that the two refer only to insurance sold in Brazil. For insurance contracted abroad other agencies will be responsible.
The best way to solve problems with insurance is insurance itself, especially if you are in need of it urgently. Have all the documents in hand and also leave copies in Brazil, so someone can help you resolve legal issues, if necessary. Sites like Reclame Here are excellent tools to help. In the case of a refund not made by the insurer, keep all hospital, medical and medication payment receipts. They will be very important if it is necessary to call the Brazilian courts to receive the amounts owed by the insurer.