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Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance

Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance

Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance
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What is it?

Emergency medical evacuation insurance offers coverage for evacuation assistance in case of a sudden medical event.

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If you are traveling in a region with limited medical resources or in a remote area, emergency medical evacuation can ensure that you're able to receive medical help.

It can cover transportation costs should you need to be airlifted to the nearest hospital. Without this coverage, an airlift alone could cost you several thousands of dollars.

Emergency medical evacuation coverage is part of many visitors travel medical insurance, but it can also be added as a rider to any travel basic plan.

What Is Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance?

The purpose of emergency medical evacuation is to transport you from a medical facility that’s not equipped to treat your illness or ailment to a hospital that is. The main goal is to save your life or limbs, by ensuring you receive the specialized care you need.

Do I Need Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency evacuation can cost upwards of $100,000. Even if it isn’t that costly, it can be a significant unplanned expense.

Anyone traveling overseas should have emergency medical evacuation insurance. With an emergency medical evacuation plan, the insurance plan provider arranges the transportation so you don't have to worry about the details. Plus, you won't have to pay for an expensive emergency medical evacuation out of pocket.

Who Is Emergency Medical Evacuation For?

Emergency medical evacuation is recommended for:

  • Individuals and families traveling to remote destinations. Because many places in the world don't have easy access to medical care, purchasing medical evacuation insurance is important in protecting your health. This is especially important for missionaries and other foreign aid workers.

  • Business travelers working abroad. If you're working abroad, you may have access to the foreign country's healthcare system. But if something happens that requires you to be transported home, you won't be adequately covered.

  • Cruise-goers. Generally, the medical facilities on a cruise ship are limited, so you could be in trouble if you face a medical emergency.

Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage for Cruises

When planning a cruise, most people don’t think about needing emergency medical evacuation.

While cruises have health protocols in place and a medical staff onboard, their resources are limited and they are not equipped to handle significant illnesses or injuries. In these cases, the ailing cruise-goer would need to be airlifted to the nearest medical facility.

Medical evacuations are highly risky procedures that involve laws and regulations of air and sea, coordination of emergency crew and ship crew, and coordination between aircraft and ship.

As a result, emergency medical transports are extremely expensive and the final cost depends on some factors that include how the patient has to travel to receive care, their condition, and whether they need medical treatment inflight or not.

Having medical evacuation coverage is a vital necessity anytime you take a cruise because it’s not usually covered under a health insurance plan and evacuations have limited coverage under Medicare.

How Does Healthcare Work on Cruise Ships?

Modern cruise ships typically feature updated medical facilities that are staffed by doctors and nurses (independent contractors) and equipped to treat minor injuries and illnesses. Some ships have digital X-ray machines, cardiac life support systems, and telemedicine systems to communicate in real-time with specialists on shore, but remember you will be charged for everything the medical staff does to help you get well.

For every serious condition, such as a stroke or heart attack, the cruise medical staff will arrange to have the patient evacuated off the cruise ship to the nearest hospital on shore as quickly as possible. Many modern cruise ships have helipads specifically for this reason but for ships without a helipad, these situations are stressful, dangerous, difficult and costly

Cruise ship ‘protection plans’ have little coverage for emergency medical transportation because they are sold by the cruise companies and heavily weighted in their favor.

Cruise Ship Facts

Here are a few cruise ship facts that you may not be aware of:

  • The ship’s doctor will determine if you need to disembark for medical treatment. If this happens, you will need to disembark, either at the next port or by evacuation.

  • No matter where the ship is registered, medical care falls under ACEP guidelines and has no connection to the flag the ship is flying.

  • The cruise ship captain and crew have no responsibility to get a sick passenger to a safe harbor to find medical care – no matter how sick they are.

  • The cruise ship’s medical staff are independent contractors and free to charge whatever they want.

  • Your account will have to be settled at the conclusion of your cruise. This includes medical charges.

Read the fine print in your cruise documents to understand your financial responsibilities.

Travel medical insurance companies have representatives with foreign language skills and can make necessary arrangements to airlift you to the nearest medical facility. Investing in travel insurance can help you stay safe and protected on your next cruise.

Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage for Travel

When it comes to planning a trip overseas, one major detail that many travelers overlook is the amount of potential risks that come with visiting a foreign land or exploring an unfamiliar area. Getting sick or injured on an international trip is a traveler's worst nightmare. Medical emergencies can completely derail your vacation plans, and it's also stressful.

How will you find a doctor? Can the local hospital provide high-quality healthcare? How much will treatment cost?

Should an unfortunate event occur, such as a natural disaster, a severe and unexpected illness or injury in a remote area, or even a situation of political unrest, it’s possible that you may need emergency medical care. With emergency medical transportation benefits you can be evacuated to safety or airlifted to a medical facility for proper treatment.

Types of Emergency Medical Evacuations

In terms of evacuation however, it’s important to note that there are different kinds based on the specific situation at hand

Medical Evacuation

As stated above, medical evacuations focus mainly on providing transportation, often via air, to the nearest equipped medical facilities upon the occurrence of a severe and unexpected medical emergency requiring immediate care. Having medical evacuation coverage with some insurance policies will provide you with the treatment needed in a timely manner while protecting you from financial despair due to the high medical costs in foreign countries. Should the nearest medical facility be ill-equipped to treat you based on your condition, or becomes unable to handle the influx of patients brought in due to a catastrophic event, the insurance company will provide you with the coordination in your transportation to a facility that can provide you with the care and treatment needed.

Emergency Evacuation

Emergency evacuations are primarily for the evacuation of travelers from threatening or hazardous situations such as catastrophic weather conditions or large-scale accidents where their overall safety is potentially at risk. Such a situation could occur in the event of an accident on a cruise ship, during a hurricane while visiting a tropical island, or even a terrorist attack while visiting an unfamiliar country. When it comes to emergency evacuations, injury is not necessarily involved but having coverage for this will mean that the insurance company is responsible for your swift and safe removal from the situation at hand, rather than having to navigate the situation individually.

Political Evacuation

A political evacuation entails the evacuation of individuals in cases of crisis due to political unrest or military action. Much like emergency evacuation, having coverage for political evacuation can provide you with a safe removal from catastrophic situations where your safety and well-being is at risk. In the event of an emergency while traveling in a foreign country, the travel insurance company will arrange for you and your insured dependents to be evacuated immediately to a safer place.

VisitorsCoverage Can Help

Experiencing a major medical emergency or life-threatening situation while overseas can be stressful, chaotic, and extremely expensive.The goal at VisitorsCoverage is to help by making sure that you are properly equipped with the necessary protection because having coverage for this can ultimately save you time, money, and even your life.

When it comes to finding a plan that covers evacuation, it is important to note that some plans are all encompassing in terms of covering the different types, while others are limited to just one or two, so it is important to select a policy that best fits your individual needs.

For specific questions and inquiries or to learn more about emergency medication evacuation coverage, trip cancellation, and trip interruption insurance by connecting with our Customer Success Team.

See What Customers Have to Say

VisitorsCoverage let me get it done very painlessly and immediately sent all the documents including IDs by email. It was so great!


Website was easy to navigate, and contained a lot of information so I could make an informed decision. Also I thought the rates were very reasonable considering the peace of mind the policy will give me.


Very straightforward process, website navigation was excellent as well and can’t beat the price. Thanks!!


Very easy to compare between options and choose from. Was able to complete the purchase in 10 minutes.


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Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance FAQs

We’ve got you covered.

At VisitorsCoverage, you can easily compare Medical Evacuation Insurance plans and buy them online, quickly and without excessive paperwork. Medical Evacuation Insurance plans can help protect you from unforeseen circumstances and let you travel with peace of mind.

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Plan features listed here are high level, provided for your convenience and information purpose only. Please review the Evidence of Coverage and Plan Contract (Policy) for a detailed description of Coverage Benefits, Limitations and Exclusions. Must read the Policy Brochure and Plan Details for complete and accurate details. Only the Terms and Conditions of Coverage Benefits listed in the policy are binding.