Even if you are fit and healthy, don’t travel without health insurance – accidents do happen. Declare any existing medical conditions you have – the insurance company will check if your problem is pre-existing and will not cover you if it is undeclared. You may require extra cover for adventure activities such as rock climbing. If your health insurance doesn’t cover you for medical expenses abroad (emergency evacuation is expensive; bills of over US$100, 000 are not uncommon), you should get travel insurance.
You should find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or if they reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures. (Note that in many countries doctors expect payment in cash.) Some policies offer lower and higher medical – expense options; the higher ones are chiefly for countries that have extremely high medical costs, such as the USA.
You may prefer a policy that pays doctors or hospitals directly rather than you having to pay on the spot and claim later. If you have to claim later, make sure you keep all documentation. Some policies ask you to call back (reverse charges) to a center in your home country where an immediate assessment of your problem is made.
Anything more than a few nights in hospital quickly gets expensive; medical bills associated with longer stays can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars, even more if a medical evacuation is involved. Buying travel insurance will not only save you from the financial headache of paying these hospital bills, but also buys some peace of mind for both you and your loved ones awaiting your return.
Travel insurance can also cover theft which has been known to happen in Vietnam. If your belongings are stolen, contact the police to file a report for your claim. To help ease your worries about theft, check our blog post for tips on preventing theft while travelling in Vietnam.
Tips for travel insurance
When looking for travel insurance, here are some Vietnam specific tips to look for when purchasing:
- Make sure that you are covered for activities specific to the country you plan to visit. Don’t get coverage for snow skiing in Vietnam; however, water skiing might be a good idea.
- Motorbike coverage. Some insurance packages specify the engine size of motorbike that will be covered in the fine print. Some packages only cover 100 C or less while other more expensive packages will cover larger engine bikes.
- Make sure there is a 24 – hour hotline. Accidents don’t have regular working hours, so your travel insurer shouldn’t either.
- Check the cancellation and curtailment cover. Some packages will pay compensation if you have to cancel or cut your trip short for health or bereavement reasons.
- Keep the receipt. Along with a police report, most insurance packages require this for claiming stolen property.