Medical foreign travel insurance

COVID-19 brought the issues around foreign medical care and cancelled travel plans into focus for many. If you’re traveling outside of the United States, one way to protect yourself is by purchasing medical foreign travel insurance. This type of coverage is often overlooked by those who have a domestic health care plan, but it can shield you and your family from the costs of unexpected emergencies that may arise while you travel. 

Here are some facts about medical foreign travel insurance to consider as you plan your upcoming trip.

Types of coverage

There are three main types of medical foreign travel insurance:

  1. Health and accident insurance, also known as travel health insurance, supplements your domestic health insurance and covers medical needs that arise during your trip, such as doctor or hospital bills.1
  2. Medical evacuation insurance covers the cost of emergency evacuation in the event of a natural disaster, social unrest or other threats. It ensures a local team is available to aid in logistical arrangements.2
  3. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance reimburses you if you have to cut your trip short for medical reasons, covering costs such as non-refundable hotel reservations. However, be aware that most plans don’t cover trip cancellations based on concerns around a pandemic, so you still need to exercise caution when booking.3

Pricing and coverage amounts

You can purchase any of the three forms of medical foreign travel insurance à la carte or as a bundle. Bundling multiple forms into one plan is typically the cheaper option for those seeking comprehensive coverage. Medical plans vary in price and are dependent on age, trip length and coverage amount. You can generally purchase medical foreign travel insurance up to 24 hours before departure.4

Emergency evacuation and the medical assistance benefit

Emergency evacuation may be more expensive than you anticipate, costing upward of $100,000 for evacuation from remote locations. Depending on where you are traveling, emergency evacuation insurance can provide significant protection against this potentially high cost. 

Comprehensive emergency evacuation insurance will also offer what’s called a “medical assistance benefit,” which gives you 24/7 access to a local assistance company.5 This company will arrange your medical evacuation and ensure that you get proper treatment at an appropriate hospital, which can be crucial if you are in a country with limited medical resources. This medical assistance company can help with other travel-related issues that may arise during your trip as well, such as legal troubles or lost passports and credit cards.

Important points to consider

Some U.S. health insurance providers cover you abroad, so you should talk to your domestic provider to avoid doubling up on coverage.6 However, keep in mind that domestic coverage abroad is often limited to medical care provided at hospitals that are in-network with your insurance provider, so you should ensure that there are in-network hospitals near where you will be travelling should you need immediate care. If there aren’t, medical foreign travel insurance will cover you regardless of where you receive treatment.

Medical foreign travel insurance not only covers the monetary expense of a medical emergency abroad, but it also helps to ensure that you get proper and prompt medical care wherever you travel. Some hospitals will deny treatment or refuse to discharge you before they have received a guarantee of payment. Travel insurers typically provide these guarantees, while other health insurers may not. This feature of travel health insurance can be necessary for receiving medical care if, for example, the hospitals nearby don’t accept foreign credit cards.

Trip cancellation insurance

Another travel risk that you should manage is trip cancellation. Be sure to understand the standard cancellation policies if either you or a vendor need to cancel your flight or hotel for any reason. Cancellation insurance that covers extenuating circumstances is usually available when purchasing airline tickets. Another way to protect yourself is to check what kind of cancellation insurance your credit card company might provide.




Jeffrey Boyer

Jeffrey Boyer

Partner, Wealth Advisor

Jeff serves the firm as Partner & Wealth Advisor.  He advises clients on financial planning and investment management, cultivating lasting relationships based on trust and communication in order to help clients achieve their financial goals. Jeff began his career at the firm back in 2008 as an Analyst, later transitioning to his current role as Wealth Advisor. He was named Partner of the Firm in 2016. Prior to joining the firm, Jeff was an Associate with Mercer Global Advisors. He graduated from The Pingry School in 1996 and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Colby College in 2000. Jeff is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.


This information is for educational purposes and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax, insurance, or investment advice. This does not constitute an offer to provide any services, nor a solicitation to purchase securities. The contents are not intended to be advice tailored to any particular person or situation. We believe the information provided is accurate and reliable, but do not warrant it as to completeness or accuracy. This information may include opinions or forecasts, including investment strategies and economic and market conditions; however, there is no guarantee that such opinions or forecasts will prove to be correct, and they also may change without notice. We encourage you to speak with a qualified professional regarding your scenario and the then-current applicable laws and rules.

Different types of investments involve degrees of risk. The future performance of any investment or wealth management strategy, including those recommended by us, may not be profitable or suitable or prove successful. Past performance is not indicative of future results. One cannot invest directly in an index or benchmark, and those do not reflect the deduction of various fees that would diminish results. Any index or benchmark performance figures are for comparison purposes only, and client account holdings will not directly correspond to any such data.

Advisory services are offered through CI Private Wealth and its affiliates, each being a registered investment adviser (“RIA”) regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The advisory services are only offered in jurisdictions where the RIA is appropriately registered. The use of the term “registered” does not imply any particular level of skill or training and does not imply any approval by the SEC. For a complete discussion of the scope of advisory services offered, fees, and other disclosures, please review the RIA’s Disclosure Brochure (Form ADV Part 2A) and Form CRS, available upon request from the RIA and online at We also encourage you to review the RIA’s Privacy Policy and Code of Ethics, which are available upon request.

Our clients must, in writing, advise us of personal, financial, or investment objective changes and any restrictions desired on our services so that we may re-evaluate any previous recommendations and adjust our advisory services as needed. For current clients, please advise us immediately if you are not receiving monthly account statements from your custodian. We encourage you to compare your custodial statements to any information we provide to you.