well-packed-suitcaseWhen we plan a vacation, we want to focus on having a fantastic time, visiting a new place and creating memories, but it’s important to consider what can go wrong and prepare for it, especially for those of us with disabilities. Travel insurance should be the next purchase we make after our travel arrangements. We need to cover ourselves in case of medical problems that arise and the costs that we can incur when we’re away from home.

Since our disability or medical condition will most likely be considered a pre-existing condition, when we purchase travel insurance we must request the removal of this exclusion and the often used time frame, which can be anywhere from 30 days to 6 months. Of course, you will pay more for this type of coverage but if you consider the costs of medical treatment, transport to a clinic or hospital, prescriptions, over the counter medications, etc., you’ll come to the conclusion that this insurance is necessary.

Keep in mind that if we have medical insurance based in the US, some of our medical costs may be covered if when we travel within the United States, but our missed portions of our trips, changes made to our transportation because of a medical emergency, transportation of our next of kin to be with us while you’re recovering, or missing our trip completely are not covered. Even if we embarked on our cruise from the US, our insurance company may consider that we are in international water or that our ship is international and may not cover our medical charges. If evacuation off of the ship is necessary, our health insurance most likely won’t pay for that.

How Much Travel Insurance Do You Need?

Another important option that some travel insurance plans cover is 24 hour service so that we can get information and advice in the event of a medical emergency. Some companies maintain lists of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc. that they recommend, that have English speaking personnel and, that accept their payment. Some companies have medical personnel on call to answer questions about our condition and some treatment options. This was extremely helpful when my mother became ill during our trip to Hawaii. I was able to speak to someone who handled the communication between my mother’s doctor and the hospital in Hawaii. The company also faxed paperwork so that medical documents could be transferred with my approval. Plus the voice on the other end of the line was comforting and there to help me with medical questions.

Before you purchase travel insurance which includes medical coverage, do your research. Check on the reliability of the insurance companies by using InsureMyTrip.com and SquareMouth.com. You can also compare rates and coverage.

The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers is a nonprofit organization that provides health information, including the risks for specific diseases and need for vaccines and lists of medical providers in foreign countries. You can become a member with a tax deductible donation. This doesn’t take the place of travel insurance but has updated and helpful information.

Even though, planning a trip and going on a vacation should be a time of excitement, being practical by purchasing travel insurance won’t put a damper on your time away, instead it can help save you worries and money and asking yourself, “What if?”

Image: Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Connie Roberts is a professional blogger who makes it her mission to advocate for people with medical issues. Travel with a disability is not a struggle, but an opportunity to see the world and let others see that it’s possible and a lot of fun. Tweet with her @ConnieFoggles.