Is travel insurance worth it? This story might persuade you.

March 20, 2015 |

travel-imageA lot of people don’t consider travel insurance when traveling these days. We’re all invincible, right? “I’m only going to be gone for a few days and I can’t afford to tack on another $150 to my trip budget. What could happen?”

The story that I am going to share might just change your mind.

In February, 2015 my father-in-law traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with a group of 50 or so friends for a week of relaxation and tropical weather. When he arrived, his room was not ready yet so he and his friends headed to the beach.

He decided to go and cool off in waist-high ocean water. Within just a few short minutes, he was pulled out of the ocean by two strangers. He had drowned. Forty minutes later he was brought back to life and was in the ICU in a coma at a hospital in Mexico.

My husband and I got the call. His friends explained the situation the best they could, adding that “it does not look good.” Our family went into overdrive. So many questions went through our heads. What do we do? How? Does his insurance cover international emergencies? Unfortunately it did not and my father-in-law hadn’t purchased travel insurance of any kind.

As a widower, any decisions about next steps in regards to my father-in-law’s critical condition were up to his kids. The hospital had one doctor that ran the ICU two hours per day and he was the only person that could communicate anything to us. We felt that we needed to be there – and fast.

The next issue was that my husband and his sisters did not have passports. It was a Sunday, and Monday was a federal holiday so no businesses were open. The earliest we could even attempt to even get emergency passports would be Tuesday. With some support from a State Representative who had his local office work with us over the weekend, we were able to set up appointments with the passport office early Tuesday morning while my husband and sister-in-law were en route to Dallas. Their passports were issued within 3 hours and they were then on their way to see their father in Mexico.

Throughout this whole ordeal, the biggest question was how we would get him home. He was too unstable to fly, being on full life support. The only option was to Medevac him out at the cost of $27,000, paid up front. My father-in-law did have a supplemental health insurance that covered $50,000 outside the U.S. The hospital took all of that and required the remaining balance – over $11,000 – to be paid before they would even release him to be transferred to the U.S. A $150 travel insurance policy, had it been purchased, would have covered all of this.

We finally got him home after several days. Unfortunately, he passed away three days later.

I wanted to share this story so that others realize that anything can happen to anyone while traveling. It happened to my family.

Before you travel, check your own personal medical insurance. Are you covered for the type of travel or location you are going to? Do you have a plan if something unthinkable were to happen? Does your family know your plans? Do you or your family members have passports, if for any reason you do need to be somewhere quickly?

I am just as guilty as the next person about being hesitant to pay extra for something I think I will “probably” not need, but I don’t feel this way anymore. I will certainly have a plan for any future travel.

Is travel insurance worth it? My father-in-law never got to unpack his bags. That is how fast something can happen. Make sure you’re covered. Have a plan! If you have questions about travel insurance and coverage, let us know.