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Travel is on the Rise—Are You and Your Employees Protected?

Written by Michael Cronin on

Several years after COVID first hit the US, the travel industry is seeing a rise in both business and personal trips. A Forbes Advisor survey found that 49% of Americans planned to travel more in 2023, despite inflationary pressures on their budgets.

Whether you travel for business or leisure, domestically or internationally, with coworkers or family members, it’s important to secure the right insurance to protect against the many things that can (and do) go wrong, both in transit and once you reach your destination. If you have robust auto insurance and a good health insurance plan, you might think you’re covered sufficiently. But travel exposes you to risks that common insurance products like these don’t necessarily cover you for.

For example, any time you’re traveling, whatever the mode of transportation, you’re at risk of an accident that could cause an injury requiring medical attention or even accidental death. Aside from the higher out-of-pocket costs you’ll incur outside of your health insurance plan’s network, you could face other expenses, such as costs associated with travel disruptions or changes.

Out of Country Travel Increases the Gaps

AAA data reveals that as of this spring, international travel was up 200% over 2022 levels. While even a local trip can leave you exposed to unexpected expenses due to gaps in your insurance, traveling out of the country poses an even greater risk, especially when it comes to medical care.

With healthcare costs skyrocketing and high-deductible health plans more common, even a planned appointment or procedure within your health plan’s network can leave you with a high balance owed. If you need medical care while out of the country, your financial exposure could be much more significant.

A travel medical insurance policy is designed to reduce your exposure to such risks. While these policies are designed primarily for personal travel while out of the country, some businesses and nonprofit organizations recommend or arrange them for their employees or others who travel on their behalf. For example, a nonprofit that hosts international trips for youth groups might recommend travel medical insurance to reduce their risk of incurring an uncovered medical expense.

When evaluating travel medical insurance policies—whether you need the coverage personally or you’d like to recommend it for others traveling on your behalf—look for features like these for the best coverage:

  • First-dollar payment. Rather than require you to pay the bill at the time of service and wait to be reimbursed (which is how many travel medical policies work), a first-dollar payment policy pays the service provider directly. Of course, if you have a deductible the provider is likely to collect that on site. But you’ll avoid the hassle and budget impact of paying a large bill and waiting for a check from the insurer.
  • Medical evacuation benefit. If you’re out of the country and need surgery or other treatment beyond the capacity and capabilities of the area you’re in, having a medical evacuation benefit will give you peace of mind that you’ll receive the best care.
  • Travel assistance. If you fall ill at home, you know exactly who to call and where to go for medical care. But if it happens while you’re in another country, you won’t have the benefit of that knowledge. With a travel medical policy that includes travel assistance, you’ll get guidance on finding a local healthcare provider and securing appointments.  
  • Maternity expense. Pregnancy complications can happen at any time, and babies seem to have their own idea on when it’s time to arrive. A travel medical policy that includes maternity coverage can reduce the financial impact if you need maternity care while traveling internationally.
  • Dental coverage. Dental problems always seem to crop up at the most inconvenient times. To avoid an unpleasant bill for dental work performed out of the country, check that the travel medical policy includes a dental benefit.
  • Death benefit and repatriation. No one likes to think about the worst-case scenario. But if you or a family member were to pass while traveling internationally, the additional death benefit and coverage to repatriate the remains back to the US could prove a big help financially.

Other Travel Coverages to Consider

It’s prudent to look into two other types of travel coverage that can fill gaps in your existing insurance and limit your financial exposure.

Business Travel Insurance Trip Cancellation Insurance

A business travel insurance policy serves as a sort of “umbrella” policy that supplements other coverages in the event you or an employee is involved in an accident during a business trip, whether long-distance or nearby. This insurance can cover expenses related to medical treatment for an injury, lost wages, travel disruption, or accidental death. Some policies even cover the unique situation of long-term travel, such as an employee working on a six-month international assignment.

Severe weather, a medical emergency, or other problems could thwart your travel plans with little warning. If you’ve made prepaid, nonrefundable reservations for flights, accommodations, or other bookings, you could stand to lose a lot of money unless you have trip cancellation coverage. When making personal travel plans, check whether the travel agent or your credit card offers trip cancellation coverage.

In addition to offering a full line of insurance solutions to protect your business and personal insurance for individuals with significant assets, B. F. Saul Insurance now offers a robust, affordable travel medical insurance policy that can protect you or your employees while traveling internationally, whether for business or leisure. Consider recommending this insurance for employees’ personal travel or for volunteers or other non-employees who travel on your behalf.

Learn more or apply for travel medical insurance offered through B. F. Saul Insurance for your business or personal needs.

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About The Author

Michael Cronin is a Vice President in B. F. Saul Insurance’s Commercial Lines division with over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. He is responsible for business development and overall client service delivery, with extensive experience working with clients in the real estate, non-profit, government contracting, and professional services industries.

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