We had several opportunities to avail ourselves of local medical and dental providers during our first year of house sitting.  Thankfully, we had a fantastic insurance policy that offset most of the costs associated with treatment.

Travel insurance covers a lot of ground including, but not limited to: flight or tour cancellation, repatriation, medical, trip interruption and baggage protection.  Most policies offer a mix of these features and your can purchase them from travel agents, insurance agents and insurance brokers.  Additionally, some credit cards offer it automatically when you book a flight or tour using your credit card, if your card has this as a feature.

How To Decide What You Need?

Some travel insurance is not too important – flight insurance for example.  This is not flight cancellation; rather, it is a life insurance policy limited only to your time on the plane.  Given the low risk of flying, it may be that there is no benefit to buying it.

Trip interruption is one product that does help.  If you fall ill or an emergency at home requires you to return, trip interruption insurance will get you home.  Many companies will cover only economy airfares so if you are traveling in premium or business class, you might only be able to claim the value of an economy seat.  Be certain that you ask your agent or broker about exclusions.

Do You Need Medical Travel Insurance?

Other travel insurance is an absolute requirement, medical being the big one.  Many health insurance plans will not cover you outside of your home country so the investment in medical insurance is important.  Eligibility and age requirements vary across companies so you might have to look around a bit.  Don’t house sit without it.

Be warned that many travel policies expect your personal medical insurance to chip in.  Some however, recognize your travel insurance policy regardless of any other insurance coverage you have.  Should you ever require medical treatment while traveling, it’s crucial that you obtain a complete list of all procedures, tests and medicines.  Most insurance companies will insist that your treatment is well documented.

What do I really need?

When it comes to travel medical insurance, there are two absolute “must haves” in a policy.

Repatriation expenses.  This means that if you are injured, sick or killed while traveling, repatriation covers the expense of returning home.

Pre-existing medical issues.  Not all policies will cover you for a pre-existing condition and this could be a financial game changer.  Insist that any policy you purchase includes pre-existing conditions.  It really is worth the extra up-front cost.

For house sitter’s outside of their home country, travel insurance is a tool that can save you thousands of dollars.

Before undertaking international house sitting, speak with an insurance agent and learn how an investment in travel and medical insurance will help you avoid costly bills.

Krystal Belanger of Allstate Insurance emphasises that you always obtain the actual policy wording and read through your policy.

She also advises that prescribed medication should be declared if needing go through a medical questionnaire.  Always travel with a copy of your prescription(s)

Safe Travels


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