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Tips for Americans Traveling to Paris Thumbnail

Tips for Americans Traveling to Paris

France, Paris in particular, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Paris especially is a beautiful and historically rich city with plenty of world class dining and sights. As with any other different culture, it is important to remember things may be different than what you are used to. It is important to act accordingly to ensure appreciation and respect for different cultures. Here are a few tips to help Americans traveling to Paris.

Try to speak French 

Although it is not necessary to learn all the nuances of this complex language of love, it is important to try. Brush up on a few key phrases and take this opportunity to practice your best french accent. Parisians will appreciate any effort, even if you butcher it.

Say hello and goodbye

Although Americans don’t consider it a cultural norm to greet storekeepers or salesclerks in shops, Parisians do. It is considered almost as impolite as if you were to enter someone’s homes and not greet them. Bonjour and merci will take you a long way when traveling in Paris.

Taxis are expensive

paris metro

Taking a taxi ride, even just a couple of miles, can end up costing you a lot. This is especially true later in the evening. This makes the Metro your best and cheapest option for navigating through the streets of Paris. The Metro is very well connected and easy to use. Remember that the Metro closes at 1 a.m., meaning you will have to take a taxi to get home if you are out that late.

Safety matters

After the terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month, Parisian authorities have heavily increased security forces. Museums, monuments, stores, train stations, amusement parks and another area where large groups of people congregate are under constant police surveillance. Although Paris is probably one of the safest cities to travel to, it is still important and necessary to protect yourself by purchasing US citizen travel insurance.

Don’t forget the adapters

Chances are, you will need to plug something in at one point during your trip to Paris. France runs on 220 volts meaning there is a chance you will need a converter for at least some of your electronics. Make sure to do your research on which converter plug to bring.

Parisians love fashion

fashionable french woman

Paris has long been known as one of the most important fashion capitals of the world. This means you may feel out of place in sweatpants and sneakers while navigating the city. Although you want to be comfortable during a long day of sight seeing, you may want to dress up a bit.

If you are interested in learning more about traveling to Paris, and what kind of travel insurance policies are available, contact Insurance Services of America at (800) 647-4589 today.

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Do you Need Travel Medical Insurance to Travel to Cuba?

With a troubled history between the two countries, it can be difficult to understand the laws that dictate travel regulations between Cuba and the United States of America. But recent efforts by the U.S. have helped to ease tensions between the countries, allowing for more opportunities for both travel and trade. When traveling to Cuba from the United States, it is important to be aware of the new regulations between the nations and to have appropriate travel insurance for American citizens. Find out what has changed regarding Cuba and U.S. relations and what kind of health insurance is right for your trip to Cuba.

Tides changing in Cuba/USA feud

Where Cuba was once a place that U.S. citizens were not allowed to visit is now a location that promotes travel, trade and financial activities between the two nations. With efforts to allow U.S. citizens to enter Cuba for reasons such as family visits, education and religion, it appears that the decades of feuding between the two countries may officially be coming to an end.

In addition to enhanced travel and communication between the nations, U.S. insurers have been authorized to offer health insurance to travelers looking to spend time in Cuba. Travelers hoping to secure health, life and travel insurance can rest assured knowing that these services will still be authorized by the United States for people visiting Cuba.

Insurance is key when traveling to Cuba

While tensions between the countries may be coming to an end, Cuba can still be a dangerous place for American citizens to visit. As with any trip in a foreign land, nothing is worse than having a medical emergency occur while away from home. To protect yourself from any kind of unwanted emergency, it is imperative that you purchase travel insurance prior to your trip to Cuba.

To protect yourself from harm while visiting Cuba, check out our Atlas International Major Medical Atlas Professional plans. These insurance plans will keep you covered in case of an emergency overseas, ensuring that your trip goes smoothly and without problems. For more information on obtaining health insurance when visiting another country, contact Insurance Services of America today at (800) 647-4589.

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Is It Safe to Travel to Thailand in 2015?

Thailand is a popular travel destination among tourists who want to visit a stunning, culturally rich country on a low budget. As is the case with most unfamiliar travel destinations, tourists often find themselves tossing around safety concerns prior to their vacation. Rest assured: As noted on TripAdvisor, Thailand is overall a safe nation to travel to, with crimes against “the person” being far less likely than in many other “developed” nations. To fully secure your own safety and that of your possessions, follow these general tips.

Security Check

Upon checking in, do a quick sweep of the room for security measures. Make sure the locks are working, the smoke alarm is in tact and that any windows effectively lock. When you leave the room, either take valuables with you or lock them in the safe provided by the hotel.


Taxis in the capital, Bangkok, are a safe mode of transportation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Present yourself with confidence upon entering the cab and check to make sure the meter is starting at ‘TBH35’.

Side note for female travelers: Nearly all cab drivers in Thailand are male. If this makes you uncomfortable, search for a company that supplies female drivers instead. They are less common, but they do exist.


You’ll no doubt be carrying some sort of bag while you’re out and about exploring Thailand. Keep it close to your body while walking, especially in larger crowds. Pickpockets are not common, but they do come out of the woodwork every once in a while. Being a victim of theft in a foreign country is the worst-case scenario and can be avoided by being conscious of your surroundings.

These tips will help keep you and your possessions safe and secure in Thailand. But if you’re not the type to leave safety to chance, consider international travel insurance. You never know what can happen when you’re so far from home. If you have the choice to be prepared, shouldn’t you take advantage of it? To get more information on international travel insurance and international medical insurance, call the experts at Insurance for Trips at (800) 647-4589 today!

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The World’s Most Dangerous Travel Destinations

Traveling the world can add “cultural richness” to anyone’s list of accomplishments. Though there are many beautiful places around the world, there are many places that are dangerous for travel and should only be visited under strict approval from the State Department. Many of these “dangerous” labels arise as a result of political issues that are virtually impossible to plan for. Because of this, it’s wise to get US citizen travel insurance when planning your trip overseas. Here are some of the most dangerous places to travel as of now.


Yemen remains a popular travel destination, thanks to the beautiful offshore island of Socotra. Among other things, Socotra is known for its unique foliage, vineyards, and ornate palaces. However, American citizens are advised to steer clear of Yemen as of 2008 when the U.S. Embassy in the country’s capital of Sana’a was attacked, leaving several dead and the security on high alert.



No, not the state — the country nuzzled between Turkey and Russia. The country has been described as “Alps meet Mediterranean,” and offers every activity from wine tours to heli-skiing. Following a five-day war after a Russian invasion in 2008 however, US tourists are advised to avoid Georgia as a travel destination until further notice.

Not only are political demonstrations notoriously violent in Georgia, but also unexploded shells remain scattered around the former war zone, which seals the deal as a dangerous destination.



Tourists are inclined to visit Syria for a number of reasons. Most notably, it’s home to one of the most important mosques in the world: the Umayyad Mosque. However, Syria has been labeled as a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States for upwards of 30 years. In this past decade alone, car bombs, assassinations, and an attack on the U.S. Embassy have been the name of the game. Travel to Syria is not advised until American and Syrian relations improve significantly.


North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has a number of unique sightseeing opportunities, natural and manmade, traditional and new age. While North Korea isn’t technically on the State Department warning list for travel, officials in North Korea closely monitor foreigners’ conversations and movements for political and religious purposes. Since relations between the United States and North Korea are tense, it may be best to hold off on your North Korean vacation plans. If you choose to go, however, you’ll have to enter through Tokyo or Beijing – don’t forget the second visa!



Aside from the breathtaking region of Beirut, Lebanon is home to the eighth-century ruins of Anjar, ancient temples of Baalbek, and wineries galore in the Bekáa Valley. Lebanon is particularly dangerous because of its geographic location. The country sits right between Israel and Syria, which have been at odds for hundreds of years. The violence in Tripoli, and the frequent roadblocks staged by Hezbollah militants make this area extremely dangerous for US tourists. The U.S. Embassy has made it very clear that assistance for evacuation, should evacuation be necessary, is not guaranteed. Travel at your own risk


Though these areas are currently labeled as high-risk destinations for US citizens, trips can be made when conditions improve. To plan your trip, contact specialized travel companies for the given location. To set up US citizen travel insurance when you’re ready to embark on a journey, danger zone or not, Insurance For Trips has got you covered.

What to Know About Study Abroad Insurance Thumbnail

What to Know About Study Abroad Insurance

If you are student and are planning on spending a semester abroad, there are a few things you need to be aware of regarding insurance for your trip. With many different insurance options available to students spending time in a different country, it can be tough finding the right coverage for your needs. Planning is vital in finding appropriate insurance, which is why you should begin looking for coverage options the moment you start planning your trip overseas. Here are some helpful insurance tips for students spending a semester abroad.

It’s best to be prepared

There is nothing worse than dealing with an emergency in a foreign country without insurance coverage. While most study abroad programs require all students to procure insurance, it is important to find coverage that protects you from a number of unforeseen circumstances. To ensure that you are protected in case of a sudden emergency, various types of insurance offer features to cover you in a number of different situations. Check to see if you are covered for:

  • Trip cancelation – protection in case programs or trips are unexpectedly cancelled
  • Evacuation insurance – coverage if an evacuation to a nearby medical center is necessary
  • Travel assistance – economical support if an emergency occurs while overseas
  • Academic program insurance – reimbursement for studies and classes that were cancelled beyond your control

Life saving insurance for emergencies overseas

These types of insurance will cover you in case of a medical emergency, unexpected illness or cancelled trip. While you can’t do everything to ensure a successful and safe trip in a foreign land, study abroad insurance can protect you in case things don’t go as planned. To protect yourself even further, make appointments to see your primary care physician and any other doctors you regularly visit prior to your trip. Ensure that you are healthy and get a medical professional to sign off on your list of prescriptions before you leave the country. This will help you discover any health related issues on familiar soil, rather than in a country with insufficient healthcare.

Study abroad insurance can be a life saver if an emergency should occur while traveling to a foreign country. For more information on long term travel insurance, contact Insurance Services of America today at (800) 647-4589.

Speak to an Insurance Expert Before You Buy Thumbnail

Speak to an Insurance Expert Before You Buy

With all the technology available, it seems as if most of us do all our shopping online. This allows us the freedom to shop wherever and whenever we want. Online shopping also allows us to make comparisons to ensure we get the best price. It is important, however, to do your research before you make a big purchase, like medical or travel insurance. There are many questions you should ask yourself and an expert before you click to purchase. This is especially true if you are an expat or if you are planning to purchase international travel insurance for your next trip.

Read before you buy

International travel insurance is designed to protect you from a number of things. These policies can sometimes be confusing, which is why it is important to understand your policy before you buy it. Make sure to read the details carefully on whatever policy you are interested in and ask if you have questions. As no two travel policies are the same, it is crucial that you understand exactly what your policy covers and what you are protected for. It is also necessary to carefully read you policy to make sure that no pre-existing condition will void your policy. If you are aware of exactly what you are covered for, it will make it easier for you to get the treatment or help you need.

Ask an expert

This is the best thing you can do before you decide on a policy. Insurance representatives will be highly knowledgable of any caveats in your policy. It can be good to do research on policies and policy features online ahead of time, but this is no substitution for speaking with an expert. Many people purchasing international travel insurance are new to the process and may not understand exactly what is covered.  Don’t be hesitant to ask any questions you may have, as this could save you time and money in the future. When purchasing a international travel policy, focus less on the price or brand and more on the service you will receive post-sale.

Why ISA?

The great thing about Insurance Services of America, is that you will automatically be connected to a real person, every time. These representatives are experts on our policies and will help you determine which is right for you.  With over 4 decades of experience in travel insurance, we are confident we can find which policy is right for you. Our policies offer protection for everything from a lost passport to temporary foreign health care. Don’t leave this important aspect of travel to just anyone, call the experts at (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 today.

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Failure to Disclose Pre-Existing Conditions Could Cost You

Planning and taking a vacation should be a fun and memorable time for everyone. If you want your trip to be memorable for the right reasons, it is important to consider buying medical travel insurance. This will make sure you are covered in the event of an emergency while traveling abroad. Like other medical insurance policies, it is important to fully disclose any information about pre-existing conditions or anything else that may cause a lapse in coverage. For one Australian man, his dream vacation to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has turned costly due to failure to disclose.

A cautionary tale

Last month, Australian citizen, Ryan Maudlen was traveling from Vancouver, Canada to the Caribbean coast of Mexico. Before leaving, Maulden purchased a medical travel insurance policy through a U.K. based company. While on vacation, Maulden’s intestines perforated, causing the liquid in his stomach to spill into his body resulting in blood poisoning. The insurance company initially said they would cover the expenses, which now total more than $100,000.

Two days after admission to the hospital, the insurance company denied his claim. This is because they believe he may not have disclosed information about his pre-existing condition. Maulden has Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, which causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Why disclose?

It is important to fully disclose any pre-existing medical conditions your may have while purchasing medical travel insurance. Most providers will still offer coverage if they are notified of the condition ahead of time, and if the condition is stable. If you wait to disclose your condition until an emergency strikes, it could be too late. In order for you to obtain the treatment you need and have your claims covered, it is important for your provider to have all of the information. Failure to disclose could void your policy and leave you footing the bill.

Consult an expert

The best thing to do before you buy medical travel insurance, is speak with an expert. These people can help answer any questions you may have about policy details. These experts can also help you find a plan that will cover you, even if you have a pre-existing condition. The details of any insurance policy are the difference between being covered or having your claim denied. The experts can help you understand what you are buying and what it covers.

If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance for american citizens, call the experts at (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 today. Our insurance experts will answer all of your questions and make sure you don’t end up with costly foreign medical bills.

Do You Need Conflict Zone Insurance and What Does it Cover? Thumbnail

Do You Need Conflict Zone Insurance and What Does it Cover?

For many travelers, war simply isn’t a consideration. Hostile areas do not often attract tourists and are not ideal vacation spots for families. But with the right preparation, you could have an unforgettable experience in parts of the world that are currently more risky to visit. It is important to be smart about how you travel in these areas. It’s uncommon for foreign non-combatants to be wandering around war zones, so even if you bear no hostile intentions, you could be causing a disruption. It’s also possible you could be mistaken for a spy, or worse. This means that traveling in conflict zones is not to be taken lightly.

Importance of proper insurance

Conflict and terrorism travel insurance is a valuable necessity if you are planning a trip to a dangerous part of the world. Medical services may be limited, so insurance is a must-have. Make sure to investigate policies covering medical evacuation and repatriation. Additionally, kidnap and ransom coverage is also a good idea, since kidnapping is a form of fundraising in some parts of the world. Obtaining insurance is a smart idea and will provide peace of mind, but it’s just as important to be smart about your behavior in hostile territories. For example, don’t spend large sums of money on flashy items and avoid large public events that may turn into dangerous demonstrations.

Many health insurance policies commonly contain exclusions for travel to high risk countries of conflict or active war zones, so make sure your plan is adequate for the risky journey you are embarking on. If you can combine up to four different coverage products to ensure high risk, high limit long term travel insurance to fill the gap of traditional insurance policies, you can customize the specific plan for your trip. Some options include accidental death and dismemberment, medical, kidnap/ransom and disability insurance protection, so pick and choose the appropriate pieces you require in your overall plan.

Get the right plan for your needs

Make sure that the policy you choose is tailored to your specific needs. For instance, if you plan on having a driver, car insurance is not necessary. Even if the country you are visiting is slightly unstable, it is wise to prepare for the worst. It would also behoove you to check out the state of neighboring countries, in case you need to evacuate on short notice. Lastly, consider writing a will before you depart. The hope is that all your preparation and street smarts will keep you safe, but you’ll feel better if you are prepared for every possible outcome.

4 Questions to Ask Before Buying International Travel Insurance Thumbnail

4 Questions to Ask Before Buying International Travel Insurance

Are you planning a trip overseas? To New York? Mexico? How about Paris? If you’re planning a trip to Paris, you probably have images of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, etc. People tend to imagine the best, but everyone knows the cliché – hope for that, and plan for the worst. It’s difficult to imagine that honeymoon trip to France going totally pear-shaped, but it can happen, which is why it is important to consider travel insurance.

If you don’t think you’ll need extra insurance coverage for your upcoming trip, consider just how complex health insurance is in the United States. What happens if you need to visit a hospital in Paris, or Germany, or Mexico? What about an emergency room? Here are some questions to consider before traveling internationally, and how these factors might impact cost:

How’s Your Coverage?

You might be surprised to learn that some health insurance providers in the United States offer coverage outside the country. Unsurprisingly, few plans do, but if you’re an American citizen with health coverage, you’ll want to contact your provider to see what, if any, benefits you have overseas. Simply call your insurance company and ask.

How Far Are You Going?

How much coverage you’ll need will depend on how far you’re traveling and the nature of that location. Health care in the United States and Canada costs more than elsewhere in the world, as will care should you find yourself in a very remote location (Siberia, anyone?).

What Care Is Available, and at What Cost?

If you have a medical condition that might require treatment abroad, you’ll especially want to investigate what medical care is available where you’ll be traveling. Regardless of your health, you should do a bit of research. The U.S. State Department has a useful resource for this. In many countries, the taxpayers cover the cost of medical care. In others, this isn’t the case. The solution to this issue may be extra coverage. Even with travel insurance, in a foreign country you’ll typically be expected to pay your bill immediately – good to know should you find yourself in a foreign hospital.

What’s My Risk?

Your level of risk will impact how much you can anticipate paying for travel insurance. Obviously someone with a history of heart disease who plans to go on a ski trip in Switzerland will pay a different rate than a person with no pre-existing conditions planning that Paris honeymoon.

Talk to an Expert

The level of coverage you’ll need for your travel shouldn’t be left to chance. Do your research, and we hope you’ll reach out and speak to an expert! At Insurance Services of America, we make affordable travel insurance as easy as ready, set, renew. Call (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 to learn more.

Are American Expats Covered Under the Affordable Care Act? Thumbnail

Are American Expats Covered Under the Affordable Care Act?

Many expats are covered under a U.S.-based expatriate health plan, but it’s important to note that the provisions of the Affordable Care Act do not apply to these plans. In essence, the government has decided that for now it is too difficult for these plans to comply with the new law due to a number of practical concerns.

Defining and enforcing preventative care, for example, provides too many challenges overseas. The government is still evaluating how expatriate plans might possibly comply with the law in the future. Simply communicating with enrollees who live abroad is a logistical problem, so for now, expats are exempt from compliance consequences of the law. Until the law can be changed to cover them, expats have been granted an exemption at least until December 31, 2015.

In order to qualify for the exemption, you must prove residency in another country through one of two tests:

  • The Bona Fide Residence Test: To qualify through this test you must have been living abroad for at least one year and have no immediate plans to return to the U.S.
  • The Physical Presence Test: Most expats will qualify for this test, as you simply need to have foreign earned income and be physically out of the U.S. for 330 days out of a 365 day period.

How to ensure your plan complies

Once you qualify for foreign residency, you are said to have the “minimum essential coverage” that is required. Even if you have coverage, it’s important to understand what type of expatriate health plan you have. If you want to ensure that you are complying with the Affordable Care Act down the road, make sure you have an insured group health plan. These limit enrollment to primary insureds (and covered dependents) who reside outside of their home country for at least six months of the plan year.

How to protect yourself if not exempt

The good news is that if your plan satisfies this condition, then you have fulfilled the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act. However, this also means your expat health plan won’t offer any of the additional benefits provided by law such as free wellness/preventive care, coverage for children up to age 26, guaranteed maternity coverage, and no lifetime maximums. If you don’t qualify for the exemption, and you are not considered a resident of the foreign country you are living in, you may want to consider travel medical insurance for USA residents. Call (800) 647-4589 or 01 (480) 821-9052 to learn more.