Overseas Travel
The Smart Traveler’s Checklist

By Jeffery A. Mentel and Kevin J. Guss

Globetrotting can be fun, but there are some key details to consider. Trans­portation Security Agency packing guidelines, the right power plug adaptor for your laptop, a foreign language phrase book, and a copy of your passport are all on your mental to-do list. Each of these items is the sort of personal risk management tool that a seasoned traveler would always remember. But you could be overlooking some important items. As vacation and conference season approaches, you may want to add these items to your checklist.

Health Insurance Check-Up

Your health insurer may not provide coverage outside the United States. Call your insurer to inquire about the status of your coverage overseas. If coverage is extended, ask for guidelines on claims procedures for reimbursement. Some will simply require an invoice, while others may require English translation for a bill or request a statement of medical necessity from the doctor. Eliminate potential hassles and find out in advance about your insurance rights and responsibilities.

Another point to ponder is that some countries require payment in full at the time of treatment. This may conflict with your health insurer’s claims reimbursement-based policy and could put a big hole in your travel budget. If your destination country operates on a “pay first” system, check into a travel accident policy with your insurance broker.

Travel Accident Insurance

Travel accident insurance may provide accident and sickness benefits, medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, emergency translation services, and physician consultation. It’s surprisingly inexpensive and designed to be modular—you’ll buy only the benefits you need, for only the amount of time you’re traveling.

When purchasing travel accident coverage through a carrier such as Wallach & Co., or Chubb, you’ll be provided with a card that explains the benefits, along with a toll-free number. When in need, you call their 24-hour hotline and they’ll manage the details of payment, evacuation, or repatriation. Most overseas travel accident providers also make their hotlines available for locating emergency medical services, tapping local legal advice, and negotiating short-notice travel arrangements in high-risk regions. Benefit options, such as trip cancellation coverage and trip curtailment coverage, may also be purchased.

Other Risks

If you’re overseas in a potentially dangerous city, you’re already aware of the risks. Although a kidnap/ransom policy isn’t specific to overseas travel, it’s something to consider. This type of policy is used to pay and negotiate re­lease, regardless of the location. If you feel it’s necessary, ask for more information on this coverage.

Finally, call your auto insurer to ask about driving overseas. Consider buying the insurance that the rental car company offers and chalk is up as a hassle-factor reduction charge.

Summing It Up

Any time you’re headed overseas, make it a habit to check with your experts on the personal risks and exposures you may face abroad. Every trip is different and every risk is exceptional, so plan ahead and make sure your insurance is built for the trip.

Jeff Mentel, a lawyer, and Kevin Guss are brokers for the BAMSL Insurance Desk at The Daniel & Henry Co. in St. Louis, MO. Contact the authors at .

Copyright 2007

»Editorial Board 2009-10

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