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Protect Yourself Abroad: Best Medical Evacuation Insurance [2024]

Jessica Merritt's image
Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

Editor & Content Contributor

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Countries Visited: 4U.S. States Visited: 23

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Leaving your destination in a medevac helicopter probably isn’t in your travel plans. But if you need emergency medical evacuation, it will be costly and may be difficult to coordinate without help. A medical evacuation travel insurance plan can cover some or all of the costs of emergency medical evacuation and help you get the medical care you need when it matters most.

If you’re considering a medical evacuation travel insurance policy, read this guide to learn how this type of travel insurance coverage can help you, when it’s worth it, what it costs, and how to choose the best plan for your needs.

The 5 Best Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance Plans

Many travel insurance policies offer emergency medical evacuation benefits, so you have many options to compare. We considered travel insurance plans with at least $500,000 in emergency medical evacuation benefits and coverage for emergency medical care, trip cancellation, and trip interruption.

Consider these medical evacuation travel insurance plans with a good value for the coverage provided:

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Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance Plan

Best for

What’s Covered

IMG iTravelInsured Travel SE

European evacuations

Trip cancellation and interruption, medical evacuation, and primary medical coverage

Aegis Go Ready Choice

Antarctica evacuations

Trip cancellation and interruption, secondary medical coverage, and medical evacuation

WorldTrips Atlas Journey Economy

Costa Rica evacuations

Trip cancellation and interruption, secondary medical coverage, and medical evacuation

TravelSafe Classic

$1 million coverage

Trip cancellation and interruption, primary medical coverage, and medical evacuation

Seven Corners Trip Protection Choice

Cruises

Trip cancellation and interruption, primary medical coverage, and medical evacuation

Best Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance for Europe: IMG

With IMG’s iTravelInsured Travel SE, your medical evacuation benefits are up to $500,000 if a local attending physician and IMG’s travel assistance services provider determine your condition is acute, severe, or life-threatening and medically necessary treatment isn’t available where you are. IMG will pay to return you to your point of origin, your primary residence, or a hospital or medical facility closest to your home. 

If applicable, costs covered include air and land transportation, including an air ambulance and medical escort. IMG pays covered expenses directly to the service provider if payment is required upfront — so you don’t have to think about paying a huge bill before getting home safely. 

In addition to medical evacuation coverage, you’ll get trip cancellation and interruption insurance. The $250,000 medical benefits offer primary coverage, so you don’t have to go through regular insurance first. For this plan, we got a $53.49 quote for a 35-year-old visiting Switzerland.

Best Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance for Antarctica: Aegis

The Aegis Go Ready Choice plan offers medical evacuation coverage even when traveling to far-flung Antarctica with limited services. This plan offers evacuation to the nearest adequate medical facility if you experience a medical emergency during your trip. 

It covers medically appropriate transportation and medical care en route to the nearest suitable hospital if the on-site attending physician certifies that you’re medically able to travel and there is no suitable local care available. Aegis will also fly 1 person of your choice — subject to a maximum of $3,000 — to your place of hospitalization and provide lodging and meals up to $300 per day for 15 days.

On top of medical evacuation coverage, this plan covers 100% of your costs for trip cancellation and 150% for trip interruption. Emergency medical coverage is for up to $500,000, though it’s secondary coverage, so you’ll have to exhaust other available insurance options first. This plan was quoted to us for $100.57 for a 35-year-old visiting Antarctica.

Best Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance for Costa Rica: WorldTrips

Using the WorldTrips Atlas Journey Economy plan, you’ll get up to $500,000 in medical evacuation benefits if you need a physician-ordered medical evacuation. That includes medically appropriate transportation and necessary medical care en route to the nearest suitable hospital. 

The coverage applies if you’re critically ill or injured and no suitable local care is available. It also covers non-emergency repatriation to get you to your home or hospital in the U.S. for proper care, plus transportation, hotel, meals, phone calls, and local transportation for 1 person of your choice if you’re hospitalized for 24 hours or more. 

While the medical evacuation coverage is comprehensive, emergency medical coverage is limited to only $10,000 of secondary coverage. But you also will be covered for up to 100% of your total cost with trip cancellation and interruption benefits. Our quote for a 35-year-old visiting Costa Rica came to $114.

Best Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance for $1 Million Coverage: TravelSafe 

If you need up to $1 million in medical evacuation coverage, you can get it from TravelSafe’s Classic plan. You can use this benefit to get to the nearest suitable medical facility if your condition is acute, severe, or life-threatening, and adequate medically necessary treatment isn’t available in your immediate area. It also covers medical evacuation expenses to return you to your point of origin or a medical facility closest to your primary residence.

This plan also includes up to $25,000 for non-medical evacuation, which applies if you need transportation due to natural disasters or civil or political unrest. And emergency medical coverage offers up to $100,000 per person. 

Trip cancellation covers up to 100% of your trip cost and trip interruption up to 150%. For a 35-year-old visiting Costa Rica, this plan came out to $122.

Read our Travelsafe insurance review for more information on all of their plans.

Best Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance for Cruises: Seven Corners

On a Seven Corners Trip Protection Choice plan, you’ll get up to $1 million in medical evacuation coverage. It applies if you have a severe, acute, or life-threatening condition and can’t get medically necessary treatment in your immediate area. It can include a medical escort who can provide medical care during transportation. You can also get transportation back to your point of origin, primary residence, or a hospital or medical facility closest to your primary residence.

If you’re traveling alone and will be hospitalized for more than 7 consecutive days or unable to travel after your evacuation, Seven Corners will pay airfare for a person of your choice to support you. Or, you can get reimbursed for a traveling companion’s expenses if you’re hospitalized for at least 3 days.

Emergency medical coverage offers up to $500,000 in primary coverage benefits with no medical deductible. Trip cancellation benefits cover up to 100% of your trip cost, and trip interruption covers up to 150%. Our quote for this plan came to $139 for a 35-year-old cruising Mexico.

What Is Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance?

Medical Evacuation Travel Medical Insurance
You can get to medical care — by medevac if necessary — with medical evacuation travel insurance. Image Credit: M Cisneros via Reshot

Medical evacuation travel insurance is a type of travel insurance that can cover the costs of medically necessary emergency evacuation. It applies if you become seriously injured or ill on your trip and there are no appropriate medical facilities where you are. 

With medical evacuation coverage, your insurance generally pays for transportation costs to get to a medical facility with adequate care, which may include land and air ambulance. It also covers the price of a medical escort and may provide coverage for a companion to help you during a hospitalization. Medical evacuation policies frequently offer repatriation benefits, which can get you home after emergency medical treatment.

Medical evacuation travel insurance is crucial if you plan to visit a remote destination or an area with limited medical facilities. With this coverage, you can travel confidently, knowing you can be transported to appropriate medical care without overwhelming costs. 

Is Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance Worth It?

Medical evacuation travel insurance could save your life, and that’s priceless. Prompt medical care from a capable medical facility could be a matter of life and death, particularly if you’ve experienced trauma and need critical care as soon as possible.

Getting medical evacuation travel insurance is often worth it compared to the out-of-pocket cost of medical evacuation. Sure, you might travel your entire life and never need an emergency medical evacuation. But if you do need medical evacuation, the costs can be catastrophic. 

Don’t overlook the value of the support offered by an insurance company’s assistance hotline. If you’re seriously injured or ill, you may struggle to coordinate care and may face language barriers or unfamiliarity with local and regional medical care. An assistance hotline to coordinate care could be crucial in getting the lifesaving medical care you need.

How much medical evacuation travel insurance is worth to you depends on your health conditions, where you plan to travel, and what you plan to do when you travel. If you travel domestically or to locations with robust healthcare facilities, medical evacuation travel insurance might not be beneficial to you. 

On the other hand, if you plan to visit remote locations or destinations with limited access to medical care, medical evacuation travel insurance is probably worth getting. It’s also a good idea if you plan to engage in activities with a high risk of accidents or injuries, such as backcountry skiing or mountaineering.

Consider these factors as you determine whether medical evacuation travel insurance is worth it for you:

  • Your destination and its medical infrastructure
  • Planned travel activities
  • Preexisting health conditions
  • Your financial ability to pay for evacuation expenses
  • How far you’re traveling from home

Medical Evacuation Is Costly

If you need medical evacuation, you should expect it to cost at least $20,000 just for transportation, according to Allianz Travel Insurance. That number can increase exponentially to $200,000 or more if evacuation is complicated, such as needing a medevac from a remote mountain. 

Emergency transportation can also cover the cost of getting you home once you’re stable. That might be more complicated than you’d think. You may need to ride home on a stretcher with a medical escort who can monitor your condition and administer care. This type of flight generally costs about $25,000 to $30,000, and an air ambulance may cost up to $50,000.

These costs are only for transporting you to and from the hospital, as evacuation is just part of the cost of emergency medical treatment. It’s also best to get medical evacuation coverage as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan with emergency medical coverage. 

Hot Tip:

Don’t count on Medicare to cover medical evacuation on a cruise ship or while traveling abroad. Medicare medical evacuation coverage is limited to particular circumstances. For example, Medicare may pay when you have a medical emergency in the U.S., and a foreign hospital that can treat you is closer than any hospital in the U.S.

Credit Card Travel Insurance May Limit Medical Evacuation Coverage

Credit cards with travel insurance coverage may provide medical evacuation benefits, but not all do. Check the limits on your medical evacuation benefit and understand that actual medical evacuation costs could exceed your benefits. 

For example, Chase Sapphire Reserve® covers up to $100,000 in emergency evacuation and transportation costs. That might be enough if you’re not too far from adequate medical care, but it’s probably not enough coverage to get you out of a remote area with a severe injury.

Some credit cards offer medical evacuation coverage with no limit. The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best travel cards and offers emergency evacuation with no specified limit under its Premium Global Assistance coverage. 

If your credit card’s emergency medical evacuation coverage isn’t adequate for your needs, travel insurance with medical evacuation benefits may be worth it.

What Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance Costs

Medical evacuation travel insurance is often part of a comprehensive travel insurance policy. All of the quotes we got were about $50 to $140. You should expect comprehensive travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage costs of about 5% to 10% of your trip. 

Your cost of medical evacuation travel insurance may vary depending on factors including:

  • Age: Your age is a significant factor in medical evacuation travel insurance costs, as older travelers are considered more at high risk for travel insurance coverage.
  • Health Conditions: You may pay more for your policy if you need coverage for preexisting conditions.
  • Destination: Traveling to a location with limited medical facilities, high health care costs, or travel advisories may require paying a higher premium for medical evacuation travel insurance.
  • Travel Duration: The longer you plan to travel, the greater the risk, so you’ll pay more to insure an extended travel period.
  • Activities: The activities you plan on your trip, such as adventure sports, can increase the cost of your medical evacuation travel insurance premium.
  • Policy Details: Your policy’s coverage limits, deductibles, copayments, and features, such as emergency assistance services, will influence how much you pay to carry a medical evacuation travel insurance policy.
Hot Tip:

Adventure travel insurance policies may cost more but deliver the coverage you need if risky activities are in your travel plans.

What Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance Covers

Emergency Room Visit
The primary coverage of medical evacuation travel insurance is getting you to an adequate medical facility when you need critical cImage Credit: F. Muhammad via Pixabay

Your coverage with a medical evacuation travel insurance policy depends on the travel insurance company, plan, coverage selections, and other policy details. Still, you can generally expect a medical evacuation travel insurance policy to at least cover emergency medical evacuation along with medical treatment, monitoring, and coordination.

Let’s look at some of the coverages common among medical evacuation travel insurance policies:

  • Emergency Medical Evacuation: This coverage covers the cost of transportation to the nearest suitable medical facility, which could require air, land, or sea emergency transportation with ambulance services.
  • Medical Escort: Medical escort coverage provides medical care and monitoring while you’re en route to a medical facility. For example, you may be escorted and treated by doctors and nurses on a medevac helicopter to a hospital.
  • Care Coordination: Travel insurance companies generally offer an emergency assistance line and coordination that can help you find and coordinate with local healthcare providers, monitor your situation, and communicate between you, the medical staff, and your family. They may facilitate admission to hospitals with financial guarantees.
  • Support Travel: Whether you’re traveling alone and need a support person to meet you or you have a traveling companion who needs to come with you, medical evacuation travel insurance may pay for transportation and other costs for a support person so you don’t have to be hospitalized without a trusted friend or family member.
  • Repatriation: Emergency medical evacuation travel insurance may pay to get you home or to a medical facility near your home after you’re stable.

Types of Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance plans are the most common type with emergency medical evacuation coverage. However, you may have access to specialized plans that focus mainly on emergency medical treatment and evacuation. These plans may offer higher coverage limits and more specialized services.

You can also look for specialized travel insurance policies. For example, you’d want adventure travel insurance with medical evacuation if you plan to climb a remote mountain or cruise travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage if you’re concerned you may need medical evacuation from a cruise ship. 

It’s also worth considering an annual travel insurance policy or multi-trip coverage, which can cover all your travel within a year.

Hot Tip:

Read our travel insurance introductory guide to learn more about travel insurance options, which frequently include emergency medical evacuation coverage.

What To Look for in a Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance Policy

As you compare emergency medical evacuation travel insurance policies, consider these factors:

  • Cost: While the price of a medical evacuation travel insurance policy may pale compared to actual evacuation costs, you still want to be mindful of how much you pay for coverage. Consider adjusting coverage levels, deductibles, and copays to get the right coverage at a reasonable price.
  • Coverage Limits: Compare how much coverage you get from one policy to another. A policy may be more expensive but offer greater coverage. You should also look at the emergency medical coverage limits of each policy.
  • Covered Benefits: The features of medical evacuation travel insurance policies vary between companies and plans. Confirm that the plans you’re considering offer the benefits you want, such as transportation for a support person to join you in the hospital.
  • Policy Limitations: Make sure your policy doesn’t place limitations that would restrict key coverage, such as not covering the region or country you’re visiting, your trip exceeding the allowed duration, or your age or preexisting conditions excluding you from receiving full benefits.
  • Additional Coverage: Medical evacuation coverage may be a major consideration, but consider the complete package when choosing a travel insurance policy. Trip interruption and cancellation, emergency hotlines, and other coverage can be valuable features for protecting your trip.
  • Customer Service and Claims: Read customer reviews to learn about the claims process, how well the company delivers on claims and services, and what you can expect if you buy a policy.

How To Get Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance

You can usually get medical evacuation travel insurance as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan. Start by getting quotes from travel insurance companies directly, or use a travel insurance comparison website such as Squaremouth to get quotes for multiple policies simultaneously. 

Another option is looking at the coverage offered when you book travel. For example, an airline or online travel agency may allow you to add travel insurance to your booking. Read the fine print to find out if it covers medical evacuation and learn about the coverage details. It makes sense to compare policies offered at booking to the quotes you can get independently from travel insurance companies.

You may have travel protection, including medical evacuation coverage, available with your credit card. Check your benefits guide to see what’s covered, how much coverage you get, and when it applies.

Final Thoughts

Emergency medical evacuation travel insurance can be critical coverage if you experience a medical emergency while traveling. Getting a travel insurance policy with medical evacuation coverage can offer a financial safety net and the assurance of lifesaving support in case of a medical crisis. While medical evacuation insurance can add to your travel costs, the savings can be exponential if you need to use your coverage.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does insurance cover medical evacuation?

Regular health insurance and Medicare may cover medical evacuation under limited circumstances, but in most cases, your plan won’t cover it. Comprehensive travel insurance policies commonly offer medical evacuation coverage.

How much medical evacuation insurance should I get?

You should get at least $100,000 in medical evacuation insurance. If you’re traveling to a particularly remote or dangerous location, you may opt for medical evacuation insurance of up to $1 million.

How much does it cost to be medically evacuated?

Medical evacuation costs vary depending on the complexity of your evacuation but generally range from $20,000 to $200,000 just for transportation costs.

What is the difference between medical evacuation and repatriation?

Medical evacuation gets you to the closest medical facility that can treat you effectively, while repatriation brings you home. For example, you may get a medical evacuation to a regional hospital for critical care, then repatriation to a medical facility near your home once your condition is stable enough for travel.

Jessica Merritt's image

About Jessica Merritt

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little cash as possible.

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