U.S. Department of State: Travel Warnings, Health Coverage Advice
Posted by February 08, 2016in Travelon
Lost luggage. Running out of medication. A bad case of "traveler's tummy." What overseas traveler hasn't considered these mishaps when packing for their journey?
While prepping for possible misadventures, it's also smart to stay on top of the risks specific to the country you're visiting, and to know how to get help if things go haywire. Luckily for you, that's information you can access with a tap or two on your mobile device, courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.
Below, we break down quick, resource-rich links you'll want to note or bookmark for your trip.
- State Department Travel Warnings: Up-to-date risk information and travel advisories specific to your destination. Also, access contact info for U.S. embassies and consulates in that country, visa requirements, and more.
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): This free service to U.S. citizens enables you to receive alerts from the U.S. Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. It also helps the Embassy, family and friends to contact you in an emergency.
- Traveler's Checklist: From travel documents to packing tips, traveling with prescriptions, and staying healthy abroad, this handy checklist helps you cover all bases.
- Getting Medical Help Abroad: How do you deal with a medical emergency abroad? While the U.S. Embassy or Consulate has a list of U.S. doctors, your best bet is to utilize the find a doctor or hospital search tool of your travel health insurance provider.
- Locate the Nearest Embassy or Consulate: Emergency guidance and contact info for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, wherever you are in the world.
Is this overkill? Probably. Hopefully your journey will go smoothly and you won't give these resources a second thought after reaching your destination.
But hey, the best time to prep for a potential crisis is before it happens, right? It's why we have medicine cabinets, emergency rooms and savings accounts, after all.
Travel Medical Insurance
Should you read through all of the resources linked above, you'll notice a clear piece of advice from the State Department: don't assume your current insurance policy covers overseas medical treatment.
Rather, arm yourself with supplemental *travel medical insurance (not to be confused with generic, non-medical travel insurance, which might just cover things like canceled flights and stolen luggage).
Make sure you understand what's included (and not included) in your coverage.
Providers often limit or exclude coverage for pandemics, terrorism, and political unrest, for instance — when travel warnings were already in place before your departure.
In all, if there's one thing we can learn from globetrotting diplomats, it's this: preparation pays off. Or, as Ben Franklin once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
*Please Note: Certain travel restrictions declared by the U.S. State Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and certain OFAC sanctions, affect Atlas Travel coverage. For example, Atlas Travel excludes certain benefits if a country is under a U.S. State Department travel warning or a CDC Warning Level 3. (You can review the full list of coverage and exclusions for HCC Atlas Travel medical insurance options & coverage descriptions here).