All travel involves some risk and, for some, doing risky things is the best part of travelling. For most of us, though, staying safe is high on the list of priorities when travelling. Unfortunately, accidents happen on vacation, just like at home. Instead of just staying home, you can take a few steps to prepare yourself in case you do find yourself needing medical care while travelling.
Driving on unfamiliar roads in an unfamiliar car can increase the risk of having an accident. Before renting a car, check your automobile insurance policy. Your policy should cover you while driving a rental car, but be sure you know the limits of your coverage. If your policy does not already include medical expense benefits (MedPay or PIP), you should consider adding it. If you are in an accident in a state that has a no-fault accident law, each driver is responsible for his or her own damages, up to a predetermined limit, regardless of fault. Even if you not at fault, you will be responsible for your own medical expenses in a no-fault state. Local auto accident attorneys will have information on their states’ no-fault laws. Looking at the website of one of them will let you know if that is going to be an issue on your trip. No-fault states require car owners to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP), but it is optional in other states. If you have either Medpay or PIP, your medical expenses, up to a limit, will be covered if you are injured in any accident involving a vehicle, whether as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.
If you are in an auto accident and another person is at fault, his or her insurance policy may also include Medpay or PIP. In a no-fault state, though, you may only recover from the responsible party for non-economic damages, and for medical expenses that exceed the no-fault limit. Talk to an attorney like Buffalo’s finest personal injury lawyers at The O’Brien Firm if you are seriously injured in an auto accident while travelling.
Almost all health insurance policies will cover emergency services anywhere in the United States. You may be subject to higher deductibles or co-pays, though, if the treatment you get is out of your network. If your injury is a result of an auto accident, your auto insurance policy comes into play, as described above. If you are injured in some other type of accident, you may want to consult a personal injury law firm, like O’Brien & Ford, to find out your rights in the state where the accident occurred.
Many health insurance policies (including Medicare and Medicaid) do not cover you in foreign countries. You may be able to add an international coverage option to your policy, but there is no guarantee that a health care provider in another country will even accept your insurance. Check your insurance policy and do some research about the areas in which you will be travelling to see if your insurance will be accepted.
When travelling abroad, you should consider purchasing a travel medical insurance policy, either by itself, or as an addition to a standard travel insurance policy. Travel insurance usually covers cancellation or delay of your trip due to illness or injury, but may not pay your medical expenses.
One last note for adrenaline junkies – travel medical insurance may not cover you if you are injured while participating in high-risk activities, so make sure to read the fine print.