Worldwide Assistance During Medical Emergencies – Travel Insurance Services
November 30, 2016
4 Ways Worldwide Assistance Can Be Helpful During Medical Emergencies
By: Chaitanya Bala
If you’re raising your eyebrow right now, puzzled with regards to what exactly worldwide assistance is, you’re probably not the only one. Often times, this benefit which is automatically included in most travel insurance plans, gets buried to the bottom of coverage descriptions, since there really isn’t a monetary value associated with it. As Trip Cancellation and Emergency Medical Evacuation are both pressing issues where your travel investment, or the money you’ve spent on a trip as well as potential costs, are at stake, these are generally the benefits that are really emphasized on most policy plans.
However, worldwide assistance is more crucial than it may appear on paper. It may be the difference between a policyholder getting coverage for their claim, and getting denied. It can also save you a lot of time, as well as keep you from getting overwhelmed. Emergency situations are stressful and nerve-wracking enough to deal with as they are, so having to coordinate next steps on your own probably isn’t the best idea. Here are the 4 ways contacting worldwide assistance when you run into emergencies can make your life much easier.
Don’t Worry About Learning the Local Language
What many travelers often look forward to when they visit a foreign country is getting a chance to practice the local language. I mean, going to Rome and ordering an espresso at a rustic café in Italian sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
But if your travel buddy, who we’ll call Mark, ends up running through a pothole and critically injuring his head while riding a Vespa, getting to practice Italian will probably be the very least of your concerns. You need medical attention right now, and you need it fast.
How on earth are you going to be able to communicate what you need to medical staff with your elementary Italian? How do you even call the emergency dispatcher and tell him/her that you need an ambulance to a local hospital?
And this is precisely where worldwide assistance comes in.
When you call the worldwide assistance number that’s included on your policy information, they can take it from there. The worldwide assistance company assigns you to an assistance coordinator that speaks the local language that’s spoken your destination.
This way, you don’t need to struggle to communicate what you need, and you surely won’t have to worry about there being any miscommunication.
Need Medical Attention? They’ll Take Care of It
Let’s revisit Mark’s case for a second. Let’s say you contact the worldwide assistance coordinator, they’ve sent out an emergency vehicle to come get you two, and now you’re at the hospital lobby waiting, and completely lost regarding what to do next.
Do you stay here and seek out treatment from the doctors? Do you need to get flown back to the States to get treatment? If you need to be flown back, what are you supposed to do now to make arrangements for that?
Again, this is where worldwide assistance can be helpful.
Whether you are to get treatment right in your destination, or the doctor recommends you be flown back home to receive treatment there, the assistance coordinator that’s assigned to you will make arrangements to ensure all those steps are taken care of.
They will bring the emergency evacuation vehicle to you, speak to the vehicle provider, take care of all the formalities associated with this, and ultimately, ensure you receive the proper treatment.
Lesser Chances of Your Claim Getting Denied
One obstacle you could run into when trying to make arrangements by yourself during an emergency situation is that you may not be familiar with the procedures that must be followed for filing claims, which could potentially result in your claim getting denied.
Quite a few policy holders find themselves in this situations. Either they didn’t happen to make the arrangements through the insurance company, they didn’t follow proper procedures, or something along the way went haywire which ended up making them ineligible to receive coverage.
It’s definitely frustrating to go through all that trouble, especially during a time when you couldn’t even think straight, only to be denied coverage.
But with worldwide assistance, the situation can be different.
The great thing about worldwide assistance is that when arrangements are made through them, this information is more efficiently communicated to your insurance company, which can help to avoid any issues or discrepancies later on when you go to file a claim.
During a time when you’re way overwhelmed, dealing with a medical emergency, you can oversee and miss many critical details which may be the difference between getting coverage and not.
Help avoid this by simply making that call to your assistance coordinator.
One Phone Call and You’re Done
Here’s the bottom line: Once you’re finished calling worldwide assistance, a lot of your work is done.
You don’t need to worry as much about coordinating trips to medical centers on your own, communicating with locals in a language you barely know, or retracing your steps to make sure you’ve followed the procedure correctly, because your assistance coordinator will be there to help guide you every step of the way.
Compare this to how things might be if you were to take matter into your own hands. Not a pretty sight is it?
Aside from the fact that most insurance policies require you to coordinate emergency medical evacuations through the assistance company, these are just a couple more reasons as to why worldwide assistance can really be a lifesaver when you’re stuck in an emergency situation and not completely sure how to handle it.
Next time you purchase a travel insurance policy, save that worldwide assistance phone number!
This piece was originally posted on the Notre Dame Alumni & Friends Travel Blog by an employee of USI Affinity – Travel Insurance Services, and has been reposted here.