US travel policies set to prioritise medical cover
In the wake of a leading US travel insurance comparison site launching a new travel plan and provider with medical cover the top priority, travel insurance technology specialist, Aquarium Software, says such plans are the shape of things to come, and set to leave insurers offering only basic cover, out in the cold. Named Cat 70, the travel insurance plan with core medical cover at $500,000, reflects the concerns of senior customers with pre-existing medical conditions, and younger travellers recognising the dangers associated with international travel.
Aquarium Software’s Travel guru, Mark Colonnese, says this form of cover is only going to grow. He says its popularity will increase as the realities of none-cover or under-insurance start to sink in, when compared to comprehensive cover protecting against many of life’s worst-case scenarios.
“We have seen many cases recently where people have been left stranded abroad, facing a bill of thousands of pounds or dollars for repatriation,” said Mark. “Failing to have insurance or journey-specific cover is usually the root cause of distress. Given the relative low cost of insurance versus the benefits, travellers are starting to realise that no insurance or lying about medical conditions is a flawed strategy. We are starting to see a number of providers switching to focus on the medical side of cover, and this is just as true in the UK and Europe as well as the US market.”
Repatriation if you are seriously ill can cost in excess of $USD 150,000, depending on where you are. Even in Europe, the EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. Brexit issues aside, EHIC covers the basics and many people who find themselves seriously ill abroad are desperate to return home to be near family and friends – no matter how good standards of local care may be.
“Cat 70 is just the latest example of insurers recognising that the old school business model of comprehensive medical cover, coupled with good cancellation benefits, is very much still relevant in the digital environment,” Colonnese concluded.