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Even in Australia, Health Care Costs Thumbnail

Even in Australia, Health Care Costs

Public health coverage is available to certain travelers visiting Australia; however, coverage is limited to necessary care. Even for those covered under this agreement, unexpected costs can make travel insurance a good investment.

Travelers to Australia do Not Receive Free Health Care

Free health care is a myth. Even in countries with heavily subsidized public health systems for citizens, few travelers can expect coverage. Australia does have reciprocal agreements with certain countries that allow residents to receive limited benefits under Medicare. Visitors from other nations are not covered at all. Either way, international travel insurance is a necessity if you want to avoid potentially huge out-of-pocket expenses.

Who is covered under the agreement?

Citizens of New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy and Malta are entitled to limited benefits through Medicare while visiting Australia. This coverage is limited to essential care only, and the duration varies by country. In addition, those visiting on a student or retiree visa are not covered at all.

Should everyone buy supplemental insurance when traveling?

The short answer is yes. Even if you have health insurance in your home country that covers medical care abroad, there can still be substantial costs when receiving care. Due to the complexity and diversity of health care systems, billing and upfront payments vary greatly from place to place. Most medical insurance plans that cover costs incurred outside their coverage area require you to pay for the treatment out of pocket and file for reimbursement after the fact. Another common pitfall in relying on domestic insurance abroad is the difference in medical coding. How procedures and treatments are classified can affect your eligibility for reimbursement.

Is it worth the extra cost?

Travel insurance is an inexpensive addition to any trip. Since it is only issued for a limited duration, the potential liability for the company is much less. It also covers things like expatriation to your home country and non-medical mishaps that can ruin a trip. For less than the cost of a meal at a good restaurant, you can travel without worry.

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Traveling Safely in Regions Affected by Ebola


Contracting the Ebola virus during normal air travel is highly unlikely as it is not spread through the air. Despite the low chances of contracting Ebola, it is a serious virus, and travelers should stay informed as they make plans to visit certain areas of the world.

Travel Safety During an Ebola Outbreak

Despite decreasing coverage in the media, the Ebola virus is still running rampant in several African countries. Outbreaks have been ongoing since March of 2014. Though not as lethal as previous outbreaks, the current death toll sits around 60 percent. Currently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that U.S. residents avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is advisable to limit travel to these regions unless absolutely necessary.

How Likely Is It?

Despite the flurry of news reports, contracting the Ebola virus is actually not easy. In order to contract the virus, one must come into contact with bodily fluids, such as the saliva, blood or vomit, of an infected person. Symptoms of Ebola may appear anywhere from two days to three weeks after exposure though, according to some estimates, it may take longer than that. Symptoms are flu-like and can include fever, muscle pain and weakness, headache, vomiting and in some cases, internal and external bleeding.

Air Travel Safety

Currently, there is no vaccine for the Ebola virus nor is there any proven specific treatment other than supportive care. Those traveling to regions where Ebola outbreaks are ongoing must observe proper precautions to manage the risk of contracting this potentially fatal disease. Wear protective clothing when necessary, avoid contact with potentially infected people and wash hands frequently.

Managing Risk

As long as these precautions are observed, contracting the disease is highly unlikely. Unless you are traveling for humanitarian reasons, the CDC advises keeping travel to and from affected regions to an absolute minimum. Ebola exposure may result in short term but immediate emergency medical expenses. Travel insurance for American citizens is available to help you plan ahead.

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Travel Tips For Americans Spending Time In Italy

If you and your family are considering a trip to Italy, there are a number of things to be aware of prior to your stay in this European republic. Italians are completely different from the people living in your neck of the woods, placing their beliefs and values on a different set of principles than many Americans hold near and dear. To ensure that your trip to Italy goes smoothly and without incident, here are some tips that Italians hope all Americans follow while they are walking the streets of Rome.

Skin is not in

In Italy, it is common to see women wearing long sleeves and pants during sunny days. Since the closets of most Italians do not feature any “Daisy Duke” shorts or dripping necklines, it is best to keep your skin covered while shopping, eating and spending time in public spaces.

Time is valuable

Don’t be surprised if you notice that many stores are closed at a certain time each day. Italians take their time very seriously, with many residents considering time spent as the ultimate form of currency. Expect to see businesses closed during the hours of 1:00pm to 4:00pm, as store owners and employees head home to spend lunchtime with their families.

Ask and you shall receive

Another aspect of Italian life that baffles U.S. citizens the task of asking for the check at a restaurant. Unlike in America, the check must be asked for by the customer prior to leaving any dining establishment. In Italy, meals and conversations are meant to be savored and enjoyed, rather than rushed. When ready for the check, simply request the bill “il conto” to your server.


Americans can be frequently seen screaming in the streets of Florence, hoping to hail a cab for a ride. In Italy, taxis cannot be hailed and rides must be arranged previously. In order to get a cab in Italy, call for one to pick you up or find a taxi stand and wait for service.

Taking a trip to Italy can be a fun and exciting experience, complete with new adventures and a unique perspective on life. Take these tips with you on your next trip to Italy to have the best possible experience possible. For more information on long term travel insurance, call (800) 647-4589 today.

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7 Tips for Staying Safe on your Trip to Egypt

Since Egypt’s revolution, tourists have been on heightened alert while traveling the region. Although Egypt is still considered a relatively safe country to visit, it’s still important to exercise caution, and consult to travel advisory of your home country before departure. Here are a few tips to stay safe while traveling abroad in Egypt.

1) Demonstrations

It is important that visitors stay away from protests, as they are the most likely targets for terrorists. Attacks can occur without warning, and are indiscriminate.

2) Socially acceptable behavior

Egypt is an Islamic country, and much more conservative than most western societies. It is important that you respect their values, even as a tourist. Many Egyptians do not consume alcohol in public, or display affection. It is best that these activities be engaged in privately while in Egypt. Both men and women in the country dress modestly, choosing to cover large portions of their skin in public. Many women wear headscarves.

3) Travel insurance

As with every trip abroad, make sure to obtain travel and medical insurance prior to departure.

4) Contacts

Have a list of important contacts stored close by. Know how to access your embassy, insurance company, tourist police, and your hotel. Also have contacts labeled “ICE” (in case of emergency) stored with your travel documents, so authorities know who to contact in your home country should they need to.

5) Important documents

Always have access to electronic copies of important documents (e.g. passport, airline ticket, travel insurance). If the originals are lost or stolen, having backups can expedite the process of getting replacements.

6) Hygiene

Not all establishments will have the same hygiene standards that Westerners are accustomed to. Due to this, it’s not uncommon for some travelers to get upset stomachs. Use your best judgment, and avoid eating at restaurants that don’t look or feel clean. Don’t drink tap water, or eat street food.

7) Cash and credit cards

It is important to have more than one credit card, and some cash with you when you travel. It is also important to keep the credit cards and cash in separate locations. Being an outsider can make you a target for crimes of opportunity. If a pickpocket targets you, and you have all of your cash or cards in one location, it will leave you without access to money for the remainder of your trip.

While following these tips will help keep you safe in Egypt, they are not fail-safe. Obtaining short or long term travel insurance, and travel medical insurance is still your best bet to stay protected abroad. To get more information on travel insurance, call the experts at Insurance for Trips at (800) 647-4589 today!


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.

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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.

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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.