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Travel Insurance, Don’t Leave Home Without It

So, I’m here to share with you why emergency medical travel insurance is a must and my medical story. I’m from Canada and whenever I travel, either down to the US, across the ocean to the UK, or around the world to Vietnam, travel insurance is always on my list between plane tickets and accommodations.

preparing stuff for traveling including travel insurance
Pieces of stuff prepared before a trip.

If you already have travel insurance on your travel credit card or through your private medical insurance, then perfect. It’s one less thing to consider. However, for those of you who don’t, you have a variety of travel insurance options.

Your options usually include trip cancellation and interruption, emergency medical, baggage and personal effects, and/or flight/travel accident insurance. (Tip: if you can, get a credit card that offers at least the non-emergency travel insurance options). You can either buy all or just the single type of travelers’ insurance at any major financial institution, through your airline, or travel agent.

Let’s Take My Medical Story as An Example

Heading to the Hospital

The one time, I found myself in a medical emergency was during a visit to Vietnam. Having seen the conditions of some of the local hospitals, I was not looking forward to my hospital stay.

After a couple of days of walking around in the hot sun, I thought I had heatstroke. It first started with a fever and some fatigue. I continued to take my trusty Tylenol, but my fever wasn’t going away as it usually would. Within 24 hours, I was feeling completely drained, exhausted, and nauseous. Something in my body wouldn’t allow me to fall asleep. So finally, I agreed to go to the doctor.

“I agreed to go to the doctor.”

After we met with the doctor, we went immediately to get my blood tested. This confirmed the doctor’s diagnosis. I had contracted Dengue Fever, a mosquito-borne tropical disease that can be fatal. My family immediately took me to the emergency room. When we arrived at a local hospital, they refused to help. They saw that I was a “Viet Kieu” or overseas Vietnamese and said that I needed to go to the international hospital. As I was barely hanging on, they hustled to the hospital Pháp Viet also known today as the FV Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.

The FV hospital was a very nice hospital. I was admitted immediately and put on IV straight away. I’m not sure how many bags they gave me the first night; it must have been at least 2 or 3. I felt much better after my IV meal!

Sparing no expense, my family was prepared to support me in any way possible. However, lucky me, I had travel insurance! My emergency medical insurance paid for everything, including any follow-up medical needs. I was in the hospital for 10 days in a private room that had a giant bathroom (with a shower). First-class hospital accommodations.

Dengue Fever

The mosquito spreads the dengue fever virus.

The symptoms of dengue fever that I experienced included lots of diarrhea, bleeding, fever, rashes, vomiting, fatigue, and uneven levels of red and white blood cells. It was very bad actually. I spent most of my time sleeping, vomiting, visiting the bathroom, or having massive nose bleeds. Every day, the nurse would come in, take my vitals, and take some blood to be tested. I would’ve preferred an alarm clock over medical tests to wake me up in the morning, but sometimes, you just don’t have a choice.

Meanwhile, back in Canada, my mom coordinated with the Canadian medical agent, the hospital, and my family in Vietnam to ensure that all the documents and payments were taken care of. This allowed me to focus on getting better.

Food, Weight, and Family

The hospital had a large menu that you could choose your daily meals from. So, I did have a choice in the food I got to eat. Did I eat any of it? No. The only things that would stay in my system were the IV fluid, water (sometimes), and ChocoPie. I’m not sure why a chocolate pastry stayed in my system, but it did. It was disappointing that I was unable to eat any of the food. I’m sure it was delicious. I lost 10 lbs in 10 days but eventually got better.

It wasn’t all unpleasant. I did appreciate my family visiting me at the hospital. It was nice to have them there while I mostly slept. My aunt, Di Nga, stayed with me the whole time as my caregiver. My other family members come in and out constantly and my parents called all the time. When I was ready to go back to Canada, my dad flew with me.

My family is in ON, Canada.

I am grateful and do consider myself lucky to have had the support of my family, both in Vietnam and Canada. We’re also thankful to have had a medical agent who was understanding and helpful.

So, Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Yes, it’s worth it! I’ve had to purchase emergency travel medical insurance for the majority of the trips I’ve taken. 99% of the time, I have not had to use it (knock on wood).

Depending on your age and travel details, travel insurance prices can range from $75 to $150 CDN for a single trip. This is of course if you don’t have a pre-existing medical condition and are under the age of 65. Most travel health insurance will include hospital visits, helicopter transfers, emergency dentistry, surgery, etc. (Be sure to read the fine print so that you know what you’re insured for and how much). One visit to the emergency room can cost you thousands of dollars.

It’s completely worth it to spend this money for peace of mind.

Travel Insurance: Simple & Flexible

You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from Insubuy has been in the business for more than 20 years. It’s designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage, and a range of adventure sports and activities.

In the End

My hospital stays cost approximately $3,000.00 for the care and services of a world-class medical facility, doctors, and nurses. I paid approximately $75.00 for the insurance. So, although you don’t want to use it, you’ll be glad you have it. Happy travels!

Kim Nguyen
Travel Tips, Canada Contributor
Kim Nguyen is a Vietnamese-Canadian from Toronto. She enjoys traveling and has been to various countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. She believes that travel is good for the soul. It helps cultivate compassion, empathy, and understanding among people.


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