Editor’s Note: I’ve traveled with insurance and without and have received conflicting information about whether or not your medical insurance will cover expenses incurred while traveling. I thought the information contained in this guest post might help readers ask the right questions before leaving on that family ski trip.
Insurance probably isn’t the first thing on a traveler’s mind when he plans his next vacation—but it should be. Most remember to figure in their hotel and flight costs, and how much they plan to spend on meals and entertainment when they reach their destination, but travel insurance can be easy to overlook since no one really anticipates getting sick or injured while traveling. But traveling to a foreign country can be stressful and challenging enough on its own without having to worry about navigating a strange healthcare system if illnesses or injuries should occur during the trip.
One of the most common—and costly—mistakes travelers can make when planning a trip is by assuming their home country’s insurance will cover them abroad in the event of a medical emergency. Insurance payouts can run into hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars in serious cases of illness or injury. A recreational family trip to a ski resort could turn into thousands of dollars’ worth of medical treatment for an ankle sprain on the slopes if not covered by a travel medical insurance policy.
According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the number of skiers and snowboarders traveling without adequate insurance is on the rise. “Research shows that 36% taking a winter sports holiday go without purchasing specific winter sports insurance.” That number jumps to 47% when considering travelers aged 35 and younger—the age group most likely to take a winter sports trip.
An Atlas Travel Insurance plan by HCC Medical Insurance Services is perfect for just about any trip outside a traveler’s home country. An Atlas policy covers everything from travel arrangements in medical emergencies, political evacuations, and natural disasters, to translation assistance when being treated by a doctor in a foreign country who might not speak your language. Travel insurance can even come in handy with lost passport services, stolen credit card replacement, and lost checked luggage assistance by replacing items up to a certain amount.
For those planning winter sports trips, Atlas plans cover medical expenses for most recreational downhill and cross-country snow skiing or snowboarding-so long as you stick to the marked slopes and trails in your ski resort or territories approved by the local authorities. What’s significant about an Atlas Travel policy is that approved snow sports are covered at no additional cost to the insured—while many other travel medical insurance policies will often exclude sports and other activities. Included in the medical services are ambulance transports, and even physical therapy if the physician deems it necessary for an injury’s recovery.
Obtaining proper travel medical insurance before taking off on a winter sports trip is essential to a worry-free vacation. In addition to purchasing insurance, you can also ensure a successful trip by taking a few easy precautions:
- Dress warmly and stay hydrated
- Protect against head injuries by wearing a well-fitting ski helmet
- Check that your ski bindings are set according to your weight and skiing style/speed
- Ensure your speed and chosen terrain match your ability
- Be mindful of your surroundings and other skiers around you and observe the etiquette of the slopes
Kelli Vorndran is a Marketing Specialist for HCC Medical Insurance Services, a provider of travel medical insurance coverage.