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Travel Assistance and Insurance
Travel assistance is a term used to describe companies and organizations that offer various forms of assistance when you are traveling in other countries but not travel insurance benefits.  Typically, your credit card company will offer such assistance for being a card member. Some companies like American Express offer extensive services depending on the type of card you have with them.

Travel assistance services typically include such things as
help in locating lost luggage, providing for a paid translator in case of an emergency, helping you get a prescription refill if you have lost your prescription or medicine, helping you find replacement eyeglasses, referrals to doctors and lawyers, and passing on an urgent message to someone back home. If your wallet or purse is lost or stolen, they will help you get emergency money and a new credit card immediately while still overseas. They may offer to report your other stolen credit cards to the respective companies. Besides travel assistance provided by credit cards and other travel companies, there are a few independent travel assistance companies that, for a membership fee, will provide some of the above services plus provide emergency evacuation if required as part of your membership fee.  Note: All travel insurance companies offer various travel assistance services as well.
 

If you are a member of a website that links people in various countries, like Virtual Tourist, and you have corresponded via email or phone with someone in the country you are visiting, they will also be able to help you in some emergency situations.


Travel insurance is generally short-term insurance available specifically for travel-related emergencies and expenses. A few companies have yearly travel insurance policies for those who do extensive international travel.  If you are traveling internationally, you should definitely get travel insurance that will cover at least medical expenses and medical evacuation. Also if you are doing any adventure travels.  Other options include trip delay, interruption and cancellation coverage, lost, damaged or stolen luggage or other personal items (although your home insurance may also cover these situations).  There is also death insurance to cover transporting your body home or burial expenses if buried in another country.   Note: The one thing you should never buy is flight insurance, especially at an airport.  Check with your credit card company as many of them automatically insure you if you pay for the flight with their card.

Illness Before Boarding and at Sea. What you should know about Norovirus, staying healthy and trip insurance.
 
    You can go directly to the following sections on this page
 
General
Travel Insurance General Information
About.com - Travel Insurance Plenty of articles on all kinds of travel insurance.
Wikitravel - Travel Insurance Describes the kinds of policies and provides some practical advice for choosing a travel insurance policy.  At as in-depth as other articles but they may have expanded it by now.
Wikipedia - Travel Insurance Only an outline the last time we checked, but it may have been expanded by now.
DMOZ Open Directory - Travel Insurance By far the most extensive list of travel insurance companies on the web. There is an alphabetical list on the page we drop you off at, but you can also select a major country shown on the page to get additional listings.
Medical Information for Americans Abroad Excellent medical information for Americans traveling abroad. Includes lists and links to Travel Insurance companies.  Note: Medicare does not cover you outside the U.S. and its territories.
AARP - Medical Insurance Check out their options for supplemental Medicare insurance that covers overseas travel.  they also have an agreement with MedjetAssist to get a discount on Med-Evac insurance.
Hiking and Backpacking Travel insurance This is a Google search results for hiking and backpacking travel insurance.

Compare

Compare Travel Insurance Plans
Google - Compare Travel Insurance Excellent results from a Google search for Compare Travel Insurance. We also list some of the most popular comparison websites for travel insurance right here. 
InsureMyTrip.com Some travel insurance websites that let you compare many companies and also buy the insurance at their website.
QuoteWright.com
SquareMouth.com
TripInsuranceStore.com

Insurance

Travel Insurance
Name Notes
U.S. State Department Insurance List As a public service to U.S. citizens traveling aboard, the U.S. State Department has an extensive list and links to Air Ambulance, Med-Evac and Travel Insurance companies. (They do not endorse any of them but merely provide a list to choose from.)
Access America  
AIG Travel Guard also known simply as TravelGuard
American Express Global Assist Provides trip planning as well as emergency assistance when you are 100 miles or more from home.
ColumbusDirect Single travel insurance as well as annual travel insurance, and backpacker, ski, business, adventure, over 64 and pre-existing medical condition travel insurance.
CSA (Select your state in the USA)  
Expedia Customer Service Only provides assistance with tickets, reservations and other problems with their products and services.
Gateway Plans Coverage on short term or long-term to U.S. citizens traveling aboard, foreign nationals traveling to the United States and people traveling country to country.
Global Travel Shield Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
Health Care Abroad  
International SOS Assistance   
International Student Insurance Students only.
Lonely Planet Limited to Australians.
SafeMex In Mexico, Central & South America, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, the assistance services are coordinated through their own network of local providers. In all other countries services are provided on a referral basis.
Travel Assistance International   
Travel Guard also known as AIG TravelGuard
Travel Insured International  
TravelSafe  
Travelers Aid Assistance to travelers in need. Booths are located in many airports.
Travelex  
Travelocity Customer Care Only provides assistance with tickets, reservations and other problems with their products and services.
Travelocity Travel Protection This is their travel insurance product.
Worldwide Assistance  

Assistance

Travel Assistance
Name Type Company Notes
Traveler's Emergency Network (TEN) Travel Assistance Company An international membership organization that provides travel assistance services for an annual membership fee.
American Express Global Assist Credit Card Company Provides trip planning as well as emergency assistance when you are 100 miles or more from home.
Expedia Customer Service Online Travel Agency Only assistance with ticket and reservation related problems
International Association for Medical Advice (IAMAT) Non-profit organization They provide members with information on worldwide health risks, immunization requirements for all countries, and, if you get sick or injured, to provide you with contact information to find a  western-trained English-speaking doctor in the country you are visiting.
Travelers Aid Travelers Aid Assistance to travelers in need. Booths are located in many airports.
Travelocity Customer Care Online Travel Agency No general travel or emergency assistance, just normal customer service for purchases.
Travelocity Travel Protection Online Travel Agency This is their travel insurance product.
U. S. State Department
Overseas Citizen Services
United States
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Emergency help for U.S. citizens when traveling in other countries.

Illness
Illness Before Boarding and at Sea. What you should know about Norovirus, staying healthy and trip insurance.
  • Norovirus is a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness whose symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. It strikes 23 million Americans each year with outbreaks at public places like schools, hotels, and nursing homes, as well as cruise ships.
     
  • It is spread through contaminated food and by poor hygiene. From the time you are exposed to the time you show symptoms is about a day and a half and you will be contagious for at least another 3 days.  There is no preventative medicine for it.
     
  • If a person who is sick doesn't wash their hands and touches something, like an elevator button or door handle or railing, and you touch the same surface and then happen to put your fingers to your mouth, you are likely to get it also.
     
  • To prevent a passenger bringing norovirus on board a ship, some cruise lines, such as Holland America ask passengers before they board if they have been sick. If so, they are interviewed by the ship/s medical staff and if they believe you may have norovirus you may be denied boarding.  Unfortunately, they do not ask you these questions before you get the the ship, so you can see a doctor who could ask you the pertinent questions. Holland-America turns away about half a dozen passengers a month that are suspected of having norovirus or some other contagious disease. See CDC facts About Noroviruses on Cruise Ships.
     
  • Trip Insurance.   Your trip insurance may not cover your expenses for being denied boarding due to being suspected of having norovirus.  Ask and get something in writing as to whether or not being denied boarding due to suspected norovirus is covered by trip interruption or other provisions of the policy.  If it is, make sure you have this in writing including words such as "covers denied boarding due to suspected norovirus disease."  If the policy does not cover it, see if you can find another insurer that does cover that.
     
  • How To protect Yourself.  Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible. Soap and water is better than alcohol-based gel hand sanitizers but take some of them along too.  Also take along anti-diarrhea medicine like Imodium AD, Lopex, Dimor, and Pepto  (generic Loperamide).

 

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