PRACTICE – Before going on vacation, make sure you are up to date on your travel insurance coverage. Because in this area, received ideas die hard…
I am 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 to stays abroad. The cover linked to the payment of medical expenses abroad is very often minimal for classic cards.
With “Premium” bank cards, the coverage included is more advantageous but the reimbursement ceilings remain lower than those of specific international travel insurance. For example, with a Visa Classic or Mastercard, the reimbursement of medical expenses is often capped at €11,000 per person. However, in the United States, the average cost of a hospital stay after an accident or a fall is €13,000. The ceiling can therefore be quickly reached, 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). Regarding travel cancellation, baggage compensation and transport delay guarantees, they are very limited, or even absent for “entry-level” bank cards. On “Premium” bank cards, these covers are present but with once again lower ceilings.
Finally, it is important to know that bank cards apply more restrictive conditions on the notion of “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 the case of unmarried couples, non PACS couples, or even in the context of blended families. Ditto if you go 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 of Allianz Partners.
I have social security
The French are lucky to have a very advantageous social protection system. It is not the same in all other countries. The need to take out specific travel insurance is therefore assessed with regard to the chosen destination. In the event of a trip to Europe, you must request your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) 15 days before departure, which will allow you to benefit from coverage of medical expenses on the basis of the cost of local rates. “In the event of holidays outside Europe, there may be agreements between States for the coverage of medical expenses, but this is not the case for all destinations. And it is frequent that part of the medical expenses made on the spot nevertheless remain the responsibility of the traveler » estimates 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 scale. But in many destinations (including Europe), emergency costs (hospitalization, medical expenses, examinations, fees…) are prohibitive. Consequently, the amount that remains payable by you (difference between the total amount of medical expenses and the amounts covered by Social Security and mutual insurance) is often very high. “As for countries with which there is no agreement with Social Security and/or with your mutual insurance company, if you have not taken out medical insurance, all medical or hospitalization costs will be payable. your load » confirms Catherine Dibouès.
I can count on my embassy
Embassies and consulates primarily deal with French nationals residing in the host country. If you are passing through the country and you encounter difficulties, here is what they can do for you:
- Provide you with administrative assistance in the event of loss or theft of your identity papers (passport, identity card, driving licence), by providing you with a certificate which will help you obtain 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 incarceration, they will provide you with local legal information and can help you find a lawyer
- In the event of illness or accident, they may be able to refer you to an approved doctor and notify your relatives.
“On the other hand, consulates and embassies will not provide you with any direct financial assistance. All costs relating to repatriation, medical consultation, hospitalization, legal costs (criminal bail, lawyer) will always be at your expense and will never be advanced. warns Catherine Dibouès.
Emergency medicine is inexpensive
The cost of emergency medical expenses abroad is often greatly underestimated by French travellers, accustomed to the protection offered by Social Security. “However, there are many destinations where medical costs are very high. This is of course the case in North America or Australia, but not only » recalls Catherine Dibouès.
Examples of medical costs in tourist destinations popular with the French (Allianz Partners figures):
- Misstep on a staircase in Turkey: €14,161
- Car accident in Brazil: €48,210
- Fall in Thailand: €26,000
In the event of a problem, I will be systematically repatriated to France
In the event of a health problem, even minor, it is not guaranteed to be able to jump on the first plane. Even if this were possible, it would not be without cost. In many cases, your medical condition may require hospitalization/immobilization on the spot, until you can travel again and return home. “For example, it is not possible to fly with a sprain or a broken leg, or else with very specific precautions and only with a favorable medical opinion, otherwise the airline may refuse your boarding” says Catherine Dibouès.
If you wish to anticipate your return to France for treatment and your state of health allows you to fly, modifying your tickets at the last minute will certainly incur significant costs. And if your ticket cannot be changed, you will have to buy a new one at full price. Taking out specific travel insurance allows you to benefit from assistance guarantees included: organization of your return to France by doctors, payment of additional transport costs if you need to travel lying down, reservation of a new plane if you can no longer use yours, coverage of your medical expenses on site…
Catching the Covid while traveling has no impact
In addition to allowing entry into the countries that have made it compulsory, Covid insurance is strongly recommended, insofar as it allows medical expenses to be covered 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. Taking out Covid insurance is therefore very useful” explains Guillaume Aksil. The list of guarantees is extensive: 24-hour medical teleconsultation, coverage of all medical expenses related to Covid, coverage of the cost of purchasing a new return ticket (if postponed due to Covid), in charge of additional costs (accommodation, catering) in the event of quarantine just before returning to France…
Before your departure, we invite you to find out about the evolution of the epidemiological situation linked to the coronavirus as well as the health measures in force in your country of destination. This information is regularly updated in the “Travel advice” section on the website of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and on our map.