Why all travellers NEED medical evacuation insurance

by Vanessa Wanders Miles

Why travellers need medical evacuation insurance for their trip

Most travellers opt for the standard insurance cover without reading the small print to see what the insurance policy actually covers – I’ve been guilty of this in the past! Have you considered what would happen in case you need medical evacuation?

What is medical evacuation insurance?

As a trekker, my first thought was medical evacuation is being air-lifted by helicopter from a mountain as I was from Everest Base Camp. Whilst this is true, medical evacuation is much more than that.

All travel insurance will protect travellers against financial loss with theft, trip cancellations and medical expenses which generally includes emergency transportation costs to the nearest adequate medical facility for initial treatment with specific condition attached.

Hang on though, what if something more serious happens? We never like to think about the worst-case scenario but that is why we need to consider the importance of medical evacuation insurance in the eventuality of hospitalisation or even death!

You should be aware at this stage that medical evacuation is an expensive business without cover and most of us budget travellers will not have the funds to cover the costs which can stem up to $300,000 depending on the situation you find yourself in.

This raises many questions about the level of cover in these unexpected circumstances;

  • If my home country is the best medical care, can I be repatriated?
  • If I take medical care at the nearest facility and missed my flight, will expenses be covered once my condition has stabilised?
  • Will the travel insurance company guide me through the process in case of an accident or am I left to fend for myself?

Checklist if you’re looking for medical evacuation cover

The biggest mistake most travellers make is that the most expensive insurance will have the most benefits – not always the case! Here’s a checklist of what to look for when considering medical evacuation insurance;

  • What destinations are covered? – Many insurers will exclude various countries in their policy for medical evacuation.
  • What medical care is covered? It is common that the policy will only cover you for medical evacuation to the nearest approved medical centre. This facility may not be able to deal with your injury and you may be in a situation where you need to get back your home country or be taken to another medical centre.
  • Are there any limits of cover? Your policy will stipulate the maximum amount the insurance company will pay out. The higher the coverage you opt for generally means a higher limit but check the amount will be enough.
  • Do you have any pre-existing conditions? Different insurance companies will approach this in different ways such as whether you have received diagnosis or treatment within periods ranging from 60 to 180 days. Best to be upfront so you don’t come a cropper on your travels.


World Nomads – Medical Evacuation Insurance

  • Limits vary according to country of residence  – There are 2 levels of cover; Standard Plan and Explorer Plan. Read the policy details to ensure that it’s right for you as there is a variations of limits depending on your country of residence. Policies cover emergency medical transport and repatriation expenses as well as repatriation of mortal remains with some exceptions.
  • Medical care covered – World Nomads provides benefits for your emergency evacuation to the nearest approved medical facility (including ambulance airlift except Everest Base Camp) or all the way back home.
  • Pre-existing conditions not covered – Any ongoing medical or dental conditions are excluded including any treatment or medication issued in the previous 180 days.
  • Excluded countries – World Nomads insurance is currently not available in countries where government sanctions are in place. When applying for an insurance quote with World Nomads, you can do so for individual countries or regions. At this point they will confirm if they cover your destination.
  • Optional additional coveragePolicies are flexible and can be extended should you wish to travel longer.
  • Who can buy World Nomads cover? They provide travel insurance for travellers from over 130 countries.

Battleface – Medical Evacuation Insurance

  • Limit of 5,000,000 EUR (can be quoted in USD, GBP or CHF) – Covers emergency medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation of mortal remains
  • Medical care covered – Battleface provides benefits for your Emergency Evacuation to the nearest approved medical facility (including ambulance airlift) or all the way back home.
  • Pre-existing conditions not coveredAny ongoing medical or dental conditions from the previous 12 months are excluded.
  • Excluded countries – Travel Medical insurance product is currently not available for trips with the following destinations: Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Crimea, Sudan and Venezuela. Check their website for updated countries before travelling.
  • Optional additional coverage – Crisis Response coverage if you are entering high risk countries.
  • Who can buy battleface cover? Currently available to residents of 53+ countries.

IATI – Medical Evacuation Insurance

  • Unlimited repatriation and 5,000,000 EUR medical expenses – Covers emergency medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation of mortal remains. There are lower levels of coverage with a range of packages available.
  • Medical care covered – IATI will cover the cost of emergency transport to the nearest medical centre or the place that provides the most appropriate treatment and even your transport home if deemed necessary.
  • Pre-existing conditions not covered – All insurance packages cover initial emergency medical assistance for 24 hours with chronic or pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or congenital condition. 
  • Excluded countries – The cover provided under the Policy excludes those countries that, during your trip, are in a state of war, siege, insurrection or armed conflict of any kind, even when this has not been officially declared.
  • Optional additional coverage – Policies cannot be amended or updated on your travels to suit any change of plans.
  • Who can buy IATI cover? IATI is the go-to for Spanish residents but if neither the starting point or destination of the trip is in Spain, you can take out insurance for trips of no more than 120 days.

Travelling is one of the best experiences you will have but it pays to be prepared otherwise you may find yourself paying BIG in the long run.  Not every trip is plain sailing, make sure you have the right medical evacuation insurance in place before you head off on your adventure!


PLEASE NOTE: All of the information provided about travel insurance is a brief summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. It comes at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.

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