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Do I need travel insurance??

We will be traveling to Austria and staying with a friend for about 40 days this fall. Why would I want or need health insurance?

Posted by
2830 posts

How old are you, any health issues, and how much money do you have invested in non-refundable costs like air tickets? These are all considerations for travel insurance.

Many of us have traveled without travel insurance, and got away with it. We don't do that any more as we are over 50.

If you are prepared to absorb the cost of illness or injury when traveling, and the cost of the plane tickets if a sudden emergency prevents you from flying to Austria, then no need for insurance. In most cases you will be fine. But what ifyou do have an emergency? That is what insurance is for.

Posted by
5786 posts

Why would I want or need health insurance?

Question is one of American national political debate. You would want or need medical insurance if you get sick or hurt. If you do not get sick or injured or need medical care while traveling to Austria you may not need medical insurance. Others may be better able to answer the question of what Austria would do or not do for you if you needed medical treatment. Rick Steves says: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/health/medical-care-in-europe

A visit to the emergency room can be free or cost only a nominal fee,
or it can be expensive, depending on where you are and what treatment
you need.

A trip to a clinic may be free or a small fee.

You should check with your medical insurance agent as to what kind of coverage you have while traveling out of country. For us old folks on Medicare, Medicare does not cover foreign medical care and my supplemental has a $50K life time limit.

Posted by
969 posts

I would get it, just to have peace of mind in case of accident or injury... if you are young and have little trip cost (staying with a friend), it will likely be very cheap. For example, I (who am 45 so mine is a bit more) am traveling with a 32 year old friend this summer. She is insuring $1850 in non-refundable trip costs for a 10 day trip, and her insurance is only $77. I don;t know how much more expensive it gets for more time, but I would check into it. I bet it would be under $100, A good investment I think to potentially avoid a fortune if something bad happens... We are using Travel Insured (purchased through my travel agent). This company paid my family (of 4) $1100 when we were had canceled flights in London last christmas and ended up needing to change our plan a bit after being stuck.

Kim

Posted by
16817 posts

Medical & Evac insurance is cheap if you are young. It is only $100 if under 35 for a 40 day trip from Travel Guard. That is like $2.50/day, and I'm sure someone can beat that price.

Posted by
18 posts

We are mid 50s but excellent health and vegan so almost no chance of heart attack. Flights are free and all lodging is free.

Posted by
2534 posts

if you do take ill or have an accident who is going to pay for any treatment you may require,what about medical evacuation back home. get insurance or maybe you can crowd fund and costs you may have.

Posted by
16817 posts

Yes, no heart attack risk, but accident risk is who knows what. Are you going to sit in your friend's house for 40 days or are you going to go out and about. Do you have health insurance now? Why wouldn't you need it in Europe?

Posted by
362 posts

The unexpected could happen anywhere. I always buy trip insurance. Some would call that foolish, since I have never once needed it.

I can also point out that I have never once had to worry about the what ifs of trip interruption, lost luggage, medical evacuation, etc., because I knew that I had purchased trip insurance.

In many ways, insurance is always a gamble. In this case it's the cost of trip insurance vs. the cost of a potential medical emergency and medical evacuation which could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's totally up to you how comfortable you feel doing this.

Posted by
988 posts

No it is not foolish to purchase trip insurance. It is foolish no to. It is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Doesn't matter how healthy or how vegan you are, you can trip and fall over a missing cobblestone and break a ankle or arm.

A friends husband required hospitalization in Vienna and was required to make a 2500€ deposit up front.
If they had mrdical trip insurance it would not have been necessary.

Posted by
2353 posts

Don't kid yourselves - even vegan's have heart attacks. That aside any number of things we don't plan on can happen - its a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Posted by
223 posts

In reality, only you can answer that question for yourself.

The answer depends on your health, your willingness to take risks, and your ability to handle the consequences of your decision.

Me? I've never bought travel insurance and I've never had the occasion to have used it, if I had bought it. Others view it as indispensable and reckless to travel without it.

Your call.

Posted by
18 posts

Great input! Question Elaine....do you happen to know how much the bill ended up being for your friend's husband and were they happy with the treatment?

We will probably get insurance

Posted by
4690 posts

In Vienna, you want to have some sort of private health insurance, whether you live here or are just visiting. The best doctors and best hospitals only see private patients. Don't get stuck with the masses at a public hospital.

Posted by
3621 posts

Most travel policies have medical evacuation coverage. But they USUALLY will only evacuate you to the nearest hospital than can treat you. There is a company named "Med Jet Assist" that has a number of different membership plans -- both short and long term. It in NOT medical insurance -- just med evacuation coverage. As long as you are more than 150 miles from home, they will, if medically necessary, fly you back to your home hospital in a medical jet with medical personnel. Google them and see what you think.

Posted by
2914 posts

I'm a Med Jet Assist fan. You may find your health insurance covers emergency treatment. Then Med Jet can step in and fly you to your favorite hospital where the rest of your insurance will kick in. So...maybe you only need Med Jet.

Posted by
4535 posts

We are mid 50s but excellent health and vegan so almost no chance of heart attack.

I don't mean to be rude, but diet is only one risk factor in heart health and there are numerous other ailments one can get at anytime. The most serious while traveling honestly is an accident. A serious accident that leaves one in a coma or with long-term physical injuries is what can become very expensive, especially if you need special accommodations returning to the US.

Having said that, the choice on whether to get travel health insurance or not is entirely dependent on your own insurance coverage (find out what is and is not covered) and the level of risk you are willing to take. Certain health issues might also factor in, but that doesn't seem to be the case with you. It's not very exciting, but start reading the fine print of your coverage (or talk to your agent).

Posted by
362 posts

MedJet Assist works for both international trips and domestic travels greater than 150 miles from home. I think that's a good selling point for them.

Posted by
2320 posts

I am 52 and in great shape, very healthy, and had booked my trip last October--2 weeks in 3 countries, good chunk of money invested, some parts refundable, some not. In December it was discovered that I would need major abdominal surgery ASAP and thankfully I got a surgeon that wanted to see me take my trip in April and everything went well. I'm so grateful for so many things, not the least of which is knowing that going forward I will be getting insurance for my trips--I was lucky to complete 7 of them without it but age has a way of making life unpredictable.

Posted by
31471 posts

cathy,

Yes, you do need health insurance when travelling, as unexpected events can happen aside from cardiac problems (trust me on that). Even though Austria has a socialized health care system, if you were to become injured and required treatment in hospital, you may be on the hook for at least some of the costs.

It's not likely that your home medical will cover you overseas, so a supplemental policy will be necessary. Many travel insurance policies only cover trips to 30 days, however these can often be topped-up provided you request that prior to expiration. You may find this website useful - http://www.lonelyplanet.com/austria/travel-insurance .

There have been numerous posts here recommending Travel Guard but I haven't used them. You might check with a local travel agent or insurance firm in your area. Some policies provide coverage for repatriation if medically necessary (which means the attending Physician decides and not you), but you could also find that they will specify travel on commercial flights (depending on the condition). If you're required to travel on a commercial flight with an injury, you must have a Physician's letter certifying your ability to travel or you won't be allowed to board the flight!

One point to mention regarding repatriation using private jets. While they will transport the patient, some won't take luggage so you'll have to manage that yourself.

Posted by
3491 posts

Do you have health insurance at home? Do you have auto insurance? Homeowner's? How often have you used all of them? Probably (hopefully) not often.

No you probably don't need insurance on your trip. I have been to Europe many times (50+) and have never needed insurance, but since I turned 50 I won't take the chance anymore of going without it. What would you do if in the middle of your trip you do need it because of an accident. Then what? Do you have enough cash to cover an emergency room visit possibly coupled with a hospital stay because you slipped on the sidewalk and ended up with a compound fracture of your leg?

Posted by
8 posts

Hello. Yes...I would recommend travel insurance. We were on a River cruise in April and my husband had to have emergency heart surgery. He never had a heart condition. Two emergency rooms, ambulance, helicopter and two surgeries. We Have been in Vienna for almost 6 weeks, with no date to go home yet. We are very grateful that we purchased the relatively nominal $400 policy.

Posted by
4690 posts

Hi Maryann - I'm an American living in Vienna for many years now. If you have any questions or need help with anything, please send me a message.

Posted by
5184 posts

First, check to see what your current health insurance would or would not cover. Then determine the amount of financial risk you would be willing or able to self-insure for. I must join with others to say that one can not predict health emergencies or assume you are immune to them. I buy travel insurance.