If youve ever been traveling, you probably know that things dont always go as planned. Flights get missed, belongings get lost, and people get sick. While you may only be out a few hundred dollars for a new flight or to replace your passport, getting sick abroad could change your life in ways you may not have anticipated.
Health insurance will mean that someone has your back if you need to see a doctor overseas. Travelers often get food poisoning, get infected bug bites, or pick up other sicknesses abroad, and sometimes you have to find a doctor who speaks English, check that youre okay and get a prescription.
Depending on the country, this may cost far more than youre anticipating. Some people like to self-insure, which basically means they dont buy health insurance and know that theyll have to cover it if something goes wrong. This is fine if you just have to pay a couple of hundred dollars for a doctor, but what if you need surgery? Staying overnight in hospitals can cost thousands, especially if you end up in intensive care.
One of the reasons some people choose to travel without health insurance is simply because they believe that medical care is likely to be less expensive overseas. If youre from the United States this may be true, as the US has some of the most expensive healthcare in the world, however many people will be surprised to find out that Thailand is the next most expensive country for medical care.
The average hospital visit in Thailand will cost more than $3000, and this is also one of the most dangerous countries for tourists to visit due to the many scooter accidents that happen every day.
One of the biggest reason to buy international health insurance is because most good health insurance companies will also provide you with medical evacuation. Say you get seriously injured somewhere remote or need better healthcare than the hospital can provide, your insurance company should offer evacuation insurance which will either allow you to get home or to a good hospital.
While health insurance is great for your peace of mind, its also one way to help your parents feel more relaxed about your trip. If youre a younger traveler, youre probably aware that your parents will spend a lot of time worrying while youre off on adventures. Telling them you have comprehensive health insurance is one way to ensure they sleep better at night, and they also wont need to pay for your medical bills in the event that you end up seriously sick or injured.
People who have health insurance are also far more likely to see a doctor as soon as they have symptoms. If you have to pay for that visit yourself, youre probably going to wait a few days and hope you miraculously get better, meaning youre sicker for longer when you could be out exploring and enjoying your trip.