Mishaps abroad: the benefits of travel insurance

"Need support during your holiday or business trip? What do you mean?" We usually think of travel insurance when we have already left on our trip or, worse still, once something has already happened. With the holiday period just around the corner, and with your employees travelling increasingly internationally, you cannot ignore the benefits of travel insurance. What is the difference between the coverage provided by travel insurance, the health insurance fund, hospitalisation insurance or a credit card?

Mishaps abroad: the benefits of travel insurance

Is travel insurance necessary for every destination?

It is always advisable to take out travel insurance, but for certain destinations it is an absolute must.

For an adventurous trip or faraway destination, for example, it is more than necessary to opt for travel insurance. The ‘support’ is, after all, the greatest asset of this insurance.

Imagine breaking your leg while climbing Mount Everest and having to find your way to a hospital. It is not so easy to manage something like this on your own. You usually panic if something happens which, of course, does not help you to think the situation through and deal with it. Also, you are often unfamiliar with the language, local authorities, medical terminology, etc. of your travel destination.

At such moments, any traveller would more than welcome being able to call on a professional for support or to manage the incident.

When can I call on the support centre?

You can call on your travel insurer’s support centre for any incidents which happen to you abroad such as illness, accidents, theft, early return due to an unwell family member, or acts of terrorism. They are at your service 24/7 with professional advice and support, for both trivial and urgent matters.

For example:

  • I am in Portugal, with a severe bout of pneumonia. Which hospital or specialist can I go to?
  • My father has suddenly become seriously ill and has been admitted to hospital. How can I return as quickly as possible to Belgium from Canada?
  • I have asthma, but my suitcase containing medicine has gone missing in Cape Town airport. Where can I get the specific medicine I need?
  • I got mugged in Thailand and lost my wallet containing my passport. Which authorities can help me?
  • There has been a terrorist attack close to my hotel in Tunisia. How can I be brought to a safe place as quickly as possible?
  • I am being charged for an accident I caused with my rental car in Iceland in which a pedestrian was injured. Where can I go to for legal support?
  • An active volcano is severely disrupting air traffic and, as a result, my return flight has been cancelled. How can I still get home or where can I stay in the meantime?

Good travel insurance ensures that your trip goes smoothly, even when you are confronted with mishaps.

What are the benefits of travel insurance?

In addition to providing support for situations including those mentioned above, travel insurance also covers compensation for any financial loss, such as:

  • Medical expenses abroad
  • Baggage loss or delays
  • Costs incurred due to cancelled or delayed flights or early return
  • Compensation in the event of accidents (death and permanent disability)
  • Legal support
  • Political evacuation

The great benefit of travel insurance is that all of the cover comes in a single package. With this, you are buying yourself a lot of comfort: your insurance is generally valid worldwide and you only have to address one party in the event of a claim.

Medical expenses can also be charged directly to the medical authority (= third-party payer scheme). That way, you do not have to pay any huge amounts yourself, for example, if you are admitted to hospital for several days in the United States.

For this reason, we advise you to take out travel insurance on an annual basis for any trips you and your family or employees take. This is even possible starting from a very low amount.

Is the coverage provided by my health insurance fund, hospitalisation insurance or even my credit card sufficient abroad?

Certain types of cover, such as medical expenses, are already included through other channels – for example, your health insurance fund, hospitalisation insurance or travel insurance via the credit card with which you paid for the holiday.

Please note that the coverage provided by these parties is often very limited. It usually involves reimbursing instead of paying costs, and health insurance funds base their reimbursements on the Belgian NIHDI scales (which sometimes makes compensation insufficient for medical care abroad). Hospitalisation insurance often also limits the reimbursements abroad and there is often a geographical restriction to the coverage. For example, only coverage for trips in Europe or within the Mediterranean can be provided, which is not that useful if you like travelling to faraway destinations.

For this reason, travel insurance is strongly recommended so that any medical expenses incurred abroad are covered.

We are there for you.

We are happy to work out solutions tailored to your firm for your employees’ business trips. We will ensure that your employees are fully protected so that they can head off on their trip without a care.

For more information, you can call us on 03 217 54 07 or e-mail us at AccHealth@vanbreda.be.

If you are employed by one of Vanbreda’s large corporate clients, you can also take out individual travel insurance for your private trips via your employer’s MyVanbreda platform. You can find more information at www.myvanbreda.be or by e-mailing info@myvanbreda.be.

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