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A reminder about having proper travel insurance especiallly medical evacuation.

I met a man from Texas in my hotel in Prague just before New year , he and his wife have arrived several days before Christmas intending to have Christmas in Prague before joining a Rhine Cruise for New year . On arrival in Prague his wife had a major stoke leaving her in intensive care and clinging to life. Prague has superb medical facilities and she was treated in the Army Hospital there and started to make a slow recovery. When I and my friend met him he had been in the hotel himself for nearly 2 weeks and visiting the hospital every day making arrangement with travel insurance people ,medics at home and of course family .Whilst I was there medical evacuation had been arranged as his wife had recover sufficiently to return to the States under medical supervision .A nurse was sent from the States to travel with them back to the states using scheduled airlines. they left on the morning of the 4th January but as yet I have not heard on how they have got on ( I know the weather has been bad in the states).
Now I have no idea of how much this all cost but did talk to the nurse and he said it cost $700 day for his services plus expenses, then you have all the additional flights, medical costs in Prague, extra nights in a fairly expensive hotel in Prague over new year, taxi and ambulance costs as well as phone calls and the services of all the agencies involved.
The chap I met had full evacuation insurance so was covered but did say he had to pay out a fair bit before claiming it back.
Just a little true story of making sure you have correct Insurance for your travels and very important to have that evacuation policy.

Posted by
1117 posts

Can't emphasize that point often enough.

There was a thread on this some time ago weighing different types of insurance against each other. Save on your baggage insurance if you will, but never save on your medical insurance. And absolutely, read the fine print - or you may get medical treatment, but no evacuation, or other services you might desperately need in that situation.

The cost of lost or stolen baggage will, at most, be the total value of the baggage. The cost of medical treatment can go quickly through every imaginable ceiling, and there's basically no limit to possible follow-up costs.

Posted by
27468 posts

A well placed account, Unclegus. Thanks. You didn't even mention the river cruise costs which also went down the pan.

I'm sure that the recovery of his wife was the only thing on the chap's mind.

It also shows how excellent the Prague facilities are.

Posted by
2532 posts

He was a few years older than me and the same age as my travelling companion (69).Felt quite sorry for him as he was completely alone in a country that he had never visited before .He joined us a few mornings for breakfast and on New years day evening we took him out to see the official fireworks from Letna park and then to a traditional Czech pub for Czech food and a few beers .The night before he and his wife were to be returned home we took him and the Nurse (who was staying in the same hotel) out for and early evening meal and a couple of beers in a micro-brewery so at least they got a taste of Prague before they left.
Hopefully it left him with at least a couple of good memories from Prague.

Posted by
109 posts

I can personally back this story up. My husband fell and broke his femur while on vacation in England. We had travel insurance which included trip interruption (reimbursed us for all the hotel/train etc expenses we had already paid), as well as medical that included $10,000 for medical treatment, and $200,000 for evacuation. This was a middle of the road policy. Without it I admit we would have struggled a bit to get home in an organized fashion. Can't emphasize enough....trip insurance is worth it. But do your research and read the fine print.

When I called the insurance emergency number when husband was in the ER the first question they asked "are you confident in the medical care he is receiving?"
Insurance communicate with the hospital where his surgery was done and sent them $10,000 up front.
The sent a medical assist to bring us home...I had to upgrade my own ticket to sit with him...that arranged everything...door to door service, not a small thing when you live out in the sticks of AZ
One thing to point out. If you have trip interruption be sure to save every communication with your accommodations and will require you prove the expenses are not refundable. I had my VISA bills and emails but I also did screen shots of the website confirmations.
After I proved what I was saying was true I got my refund without much hassle.
Thanks for bringing this thread back.
Hope all goes well for this family.

Posted by
2007 posts

Unclegus, I am sure your help, advice and thoughtful kindnesses cemented those few good memories he did have of his visit. And thank you for the reminder of the importance of adequate trip insurance. Hoping for the best outcome for these travelers.

Posted by
3594 posts

Unclegus, Thanks for posting the experience they had that illustrates the need to plan ahead with insurance for possible medical treatments and evacuations. Thank you also for the kindness you extended to him when he really needed a friend. You are a prime example of what some in the U.S. South admiringly refer to as a True Southern Gentleman. But then much of the U.S. South is descended from the Scots.

Posted by
2532 posts

I always try to help out when I can ,great believer in Karma and if you spread enough good Karma you always get it back and more. Met up with some folk who live in Prague from the Rick Steves Forum and had a lovely walk with them on New years day.
Lots of lovely people of all nations around and it is one of the real joys of travelling meeting different people.

Posted by
2532 posts

actually just thinking on New years day I had brunch with a Czech friend and his Brazilian wife and then went on to meet two Americans living in Prague for a nice walk before meeting up with the Guy who's wife was ill for fireworks a meal and a few beers.
that for me is a great travelling day.

Posted by
9999 posts

Thanks for posting, Unclegus. Makes me feel better about the insurance I just bought for our next trip. I do not worry so much about lost luggage or even lost deposits, but medical evacuation and emergency medical are on my mind when we take long trips.

I read the stories on the Christopher Elliott site and could weep for what happens to people who do not plan for it.

Posted by
671 posts

Unclegus: Thought the story was going to be about you. Glad it wasn't and, of course, great advice.

Posted by
1770 posts

Thanks Unclegus
This is an eyeopener for travelers to see. Have a friend that refuses to buy, always says don't need!! When and if the time comes, it will be coulda woulda shoulda. Just a few years younger than you, she always says my credit card has coverage. I stand clear.
Had an issue in amsterdam and florence a year an half ago with a torn meniscus (never heard of it but with the pain i was in i will always remember that word!) got a RX in amsterdam and florence, to cover me until i could get back to states. It was 260 euros for RX and visit, i just paid and reimbursed from my insurance when i returned home. Then i read about horror stories like this and worse. I know this man appreciated and welcomed your kindness and generosity at his time of need.
I also want to thank laurel for posting about chris elliott and all his info.
Love the title "True Southern Gentleman" you truly are. Karma is all around you, I really believe in it.
Aloha Princess Pupule

Posted by
3411 posts

Everyone who travels should take your post to heart , Unclegus .

Posted by
1932 posts

Sometimes younger travelers think things happen only to older travelers, but........

A few years ago in Stockholm, we met two younger ladies from the US and started chatting. Short version is: they were driving their friend (who was traveling with them) to London to catch a cruise ship home. Huh? Turns out the friend broke her leg, it changed the vacation plans for all three of them, as they then had to rent a vehicle to drive her to England to catch a cruise ship to take her to the US, because the way her leg was set (or something like that) or maybe it had to do with a worry about a blood clot that could develop (I really don't remember), but anyway, she could NOT fly home.

As I asked (and they laughed): "So, other than that, how has your vacation been?" The two ladies were taking a short (couple of hours) break to see just a bit of Stockholm, scheduling their their travels to ultimately arrive at the port where the cruise ship would then leave. I have no idea if the young lady had travel insurance (I think so), and hopefully the expenses were covered for her "travel companions." I assume the two young ladies would need to fly home to return to work more quickly than the friend going via ship....but I did not inquire...I was just so taken back by their overall experience and how kind they were to help their friend.

(And there are many people who travel by themselves and may have had to wait for a long time for a ship to depart from a closer port.....lots to consider re: things that can happen. Insurance is good, especially a plan that covers medical and evacuation. Unexpected things, unfortunately, do happen.)

Posted by
996 posts

Thanks for the reminder on this important subject. I always take out trip insurance that I feel will cover my needs, but when we traveled with another company they required you to have a minimum insurance policy coverage for medical emergency evacuation and repatriation of $200,000 (or equivalent in other currency). That's when I first started looking at how much it would cost to get home from overseas. The costs can be staggering!

Posted by
10983 posts

Excellent reminder. I found that taking a yearly policy was actually cheaper than taking short term policies a couple of times a year. This way, whenever I travel, I know I am covered.

I also took out a seperate medical evacuation policy that will kick in as long as I am 150 miles from home. Make sure you read these policies carefully. Some will only transport you to the nearest large hospital. I wanted one that would take me anywhere I wanted to go.

Posted by
31435 posts


Thanks for the reminder on this very important subject. I'm a believer in the value of good travel insurance, especially as I've had to use that whilst travelling in Europe. Fortunately I was able to fly home on a commercial flight (with prior approval of the airline medical dept.) and didn't require medical evacuation, but that would have been provided by my insurance company if necessary.

This is somewhat of a "worst case" scenario of what can happen to those who don't have proper medical insurance. To add insult to death and injury, this traveller is also being sued for the uninsured value of the vehicle involved in the accident. In today's bureaucratic world, being a "carefree" traveller and ignoring stuff like this is NOT a good policy.

One interesting point that I became aware of with medical evacuation, is that they may not transport the traveller's luggage so the injured party would have to arrange return of their bags by FedEx or whomever.

Posted by
7437 posts

Gus, I can only join in with others who have said it more eloquently - thank for this reminder, but more especially thank you for the humanity and compassion you showed to this man, who must have been profoundly distressed. Your kindness surely meant much to him.