How travel insurance works

Read the article to find out how to protect yourself against unforeseen events and what to do if something happens to you while you are abroad

If you are planning a trip abroad, you might like to consider taking out travel insurance. A travel insurance policy not only covers your medical costs, but it also pays compensation for lost luggage and flight delays.

In this article, BBVA will explain what travel insurance offers and how it works. So, on your next trip abroad, you can concentrate on what's really important: enjoying your trip.

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About travel insurance

Regardless of how often you travel, travel insurance is a safeguard against the unexpected and provides emergency care when things go wrong. An unexpected medical emergency or a flight delay that disrupts your plans could cost you a lot of money.

As your health is more important than anything else, travel insurance will cover medical costs that are incurred in an emergency. In many parts of the world, the healthcare system is private. This means that although you will receive treatment for health-related accidents, once your treatment is over, you will be expected to pay the bill. If you have travel insurance, however, you are covered for medical or hospitalization fees, and also any costs arising from patient transport. If you have travel insurance, your operator will also provide emergency hotline assistance on how to proceed in the event of an emergency.

Other unexpected situations include practical matters, such as problems with your luggage. If your luggage is lost, damaged or stolen while you’re traveling, travel insurance can reimburse you for the actual price. Many policies also include economic compensation for trip delays.

Therefore, travel insurance is an easy and practical way to protect yourself against unforeseen events while traveling abroad.

There are two ways you can take out travel insurance: taking out a travel insurance policy or registering a credit card.

  • A travel insurance policy. With this type of policy, a traveler pays an insurance premium in exchange for the coverage offered by the insurance. The policy becomes effective the moment you purchase the insurance, unless there is a waiting period, and guarantees that policyholders are covered when they are away from their usual residence. As travel insurance provides global cover, there are many ways in which policyholders can contact their insurance operator should the need arise. In the event of an emergency, it is advisable to contact your insurance operator immediately, by phone, by e-mail or through the app and you will be given instructions on how to proceed.
  • Credit card insurance. The most prestigious credit cards, such as Visa Gold, also offer their customers travel insurance. However, this insurance works a little differently to a travel insurance policy. The insurance is activated at specific times and is only effective if the trip in question has been entirely paid for using this credit card. In other words, in the case of credit cards, you do not pay an insurance premium, but you commit to paying for your whole trip (flights, hotels, etc.) with the card of which you are the card holder. So, if you should need help, your first step will be to contact your credit card operator, who will tell you how to proceed. Usually, for example, if you have to go to a doctor or you need an ambulance, you must first pay for the service and your credit card insurance will reimburse you for the amount (in accordance with the terms and conditions established in your card insurance policy).

Therefore, if an unexpected problem occurs, you should immediately contact the insurance company, and they will advise you on how to proceed.

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When do I need travel insurance?

Given that there are different types of travel insurance, people often ask whether it is really necessary to purchase one. There isn't a straightforward answer: it depends.

Firstly, all beneficiaries of the Social Security are eligible for the European Health Card (EHC), through which they will be treated at any public institution in the European Union. The EHC, however, will not cover costs arising from treatment in private healthcare centres, which are commonly used in many member states, nor will it cover the cost of certain services, such as rescue or repatriation. So, if you need to be rescued by a helicopter when you are skiing in the Alps, you will have to pay the bill.

Nor is the EHC valid outside Europe, so if you're traveling in a country outside the EU, you will not be covered. However, if you pay for your trip entirely with your Gold or Platinum credit card, then, with this payment, you may have immediately activated the travel insurance. So, in this case, you don't need to take out an extra travel insurance policy. The question is: Where are you travelling to? Which service do you want to request? What kind of card do you have?

If you have a look in bbva.es, you might find the answers to all your questions about travel insurance. First, because you'll find the type of insurance you need, such as BBVA Travel Insurance, which, in addition to covering medical emergencies, will also protect you against travel delays and lost baggage for just €1 a week. Although this policy places no limit on the number of trips and destinations, it does establish an economic limit. As a result, if you're a frequent traveler, you might be interested in applying for a top quality credit card, such as the BBVA Después Gold Card, which not only offers the best financial conditions, but any time you use it to travel, you'll also receive travel accident insurance, for up to €760,000, as well as travel assistance insurance.

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