PRACTICE – Before you go on vacation, make sure you are up to date on your travel insurance coverage. Because in this area, received ideas die hard …
I’m already covered by my credit card
It is not uncommon for French tourists to think that they are already covered for their trip thanks to the insurance contract included in their bank card. In fact, “classic” or “Premium” bank cards (Visa Premium Card, Mastercard Gold, Visa Infinite, etc.) cover you in France, but do not necessarily include cover adapted for stays abroad. Coverage related to the payment of medical expenses abroad is very often minimal for classic cards.
With “Premium” bank cards, the included coverage is more advantageous, but the reimbursement ceilings remain lower than those for specific international travel insurances. For example, with a Visa Classic or Mastercard, reimbursement of medical expenses is often limited to € 11,000 per month. person. But in the US, the average price of a hospital stay after an accident or a fall is € 13,000. The ceiling can therefore be reached quickly, or even exceeded! As for the Visa Premium card, it will cover medical expenses up to € 155,000 (compared to € 200,000- € 300,000 for specific travel insurance). In terms of travel cancellation, baggage compensation and transportation delay guarantees, they are very limited or even absent for “entry-level” bank cards. On “Premium” bank cards, these covers are present, but with even lower ceilings.
Finally, it is important to know that bank cards use more restrictive terms for the term “family” and the term “close”. For “Premium” bank cards, only the cardholder, his spouse (married, PACS) and his tax-dependent children are covered. “Be vigilant in case of unmarried couples, non-PACS couples or even with mixed families. Ditto if you are going on a trip with your friends. They will not be covered by your credit card insurance” advises Catherine Dibouès, Mobility-Leisure Market Manager in the Marketing & Digital Department at Allianz Partners.
I have social security
The French are fortunate to have a very advantageous social security system. It is not the same in all other countries. The need to take out a specific travel insurance is therefore assessed with regard to the chosen destination. In the case of a trip to Europe, you must apply for your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) 15 days before departure, allowing you to be reimbursed for medical expenses based on the cost of local rates. “For holidays outside Europe, there may be agreements between states to cover medical expenses, but this is not the case for all destinations. And it is frequent that part of the medical expenses paid on the spot still remain the responsibility of the traveler » assesses Guillaume Aksil, lawyer in insurance law.
In countries where there is an agreement with Social Security, the latter, and your health insurance in addition, will cover your medical expenses up to their own extent. But in many destinations (including Europe), emergency costs (hospitalization, medical expenses, examinations, fees …) are prohibitive. As a result, the amount still to be paid by you (the difference between the total amount of medical expenses and the amounts covered by social security and mutual insurance) is often very high. “In the case of countries with which there is no agreement with Social Security and / or with your mutual insurance company, all expenses for medical or hospitalization must be paid if you have not taken out health insurance. confirms Catherine Dibouès.
I can count on my embassy
Embassies and consulates deal primarily with French nationals residing in the host country. If you are passing through the country and you are encountering difficulties, here is what they can do for you:
- Provide you with administrative assistance in case of loss or theft of your identity papers (passport, identity card, driver’s license) by giving you a certificate that will help you get new papers,
- In case of financial difficulties, they will tell you the most effective way for relatives to send you money
- In the event of an arrest or detention, they will provide you with local legal information and can help you find a lawyer.
- In case of illness or accident, they may refer you to an approved doctor and inform your relatives.
“On the other hand, consulates and embassies will not provide you with any direct financial assistance. All costs related to repatriation, medical consultation, hospitalization, litigation costs (bail, lawyer) will always be at your expense and will never be shifted. warns Catherine Dibouès.
Emergency medicine is cheap
Expenditure on acute medical expenses abroad is often greatly underestimated by French travelers accustomed to the protection offered by social security. “However, there are many destinations where medical expenses are very high. This is of course the case in North America or Australia, but not only » remembers Catherine Dibouès.
Examples of medical expenses in tourist destinations that are popular among the French (figures from Allianz Partners):
- Mistakes on a staircase in Turkey: € 14,161
- Car accident in Brazil: € 48,210
- Autumn in Thailand: € 26,000
In the event of a problem, I will be systematically repatriated to France
In case of a health problem, even minor, it is not guaranteed to be able to hop on the first plane. Even if this were possible, it would not be without cost. In many cases, your medical condition may require on-site hospitalization / immobilization until you can travel again and return home. “For example, it is not possible to fly with a sprain or a broken leg, otherwise with very specific precautions and only with a positive medical statement, otherwise the airline may refuse your boarding” says Catherine Dibouès.
If you want to anticipate your return to France for treatment and your state of health allows you to fly, it will certainly incur significant costs to change your tickets at the last minute. And if your ticket cannot be changed, buy a new one at full price. Taking out a specific travel insurance allows you to take advantage of assistance guarantees including: doctors’ organization of your return to France, payment of additional transport costs if you have to travel lying down, booking a new flight if you can no longer use yours, coverage of your medical expenses on the spot …
Capturing Covid while traveling has no bearing
In addition to allowing entry into the countries that have made it mandatory, Covid insurance is strongly recommended insofar as it provides the opportunity to cover medical expenses in the event of contamination abroad. “We now know that the consequences of the virus can lead to hospitalization in intensive care units in the most serious cases. It is therefore very useful to take out Covid insurance ” explains Guillaume Aksil. The list of guarantees is comprehensive: 24-hour medical teleconsultation, coverage of all medical expenses related to Covid, coverage of the cost of purchasing a new return ticket (if deferred due to Covid), with responsibility for additional costs (accommodation, meals) in case of quarantine just before returning to France …
Before your departure, we invite you to find out the evolution of the epidemiological situation related to coronavirus as well as the health measures in force in your country of destination. This information is regularly updated in the “Travel Advice” section of the Ministry of Europe’s and Foreign Affairs website and on our map.