It’s many people’s worst nightmare: you’re enjoying a wonderful vacation in a foreign country when all of a sudden the unthinkable happens and you have to be evacuated due to a medical emergency. Whether it is a natural disaster or some kind of social unrest, you may have to gain assistance to be safely escorted away from the danger zone. This can ruin your trip, and also leave a hefty bill behind if you aren’t covered. Luckily, there are plenty of options to make sure that you have adequate coverage, and can rest assured you will remain safe.

Why might I need to be evacuated?

There are all kinds of situations that may result in you having to be evacuated while on vacation. Some of these include political unrest, terrorist attacks and extreme weather or natural disasters.

Alternatively, you may be involved in an unexpected accident which requires you to be evacuated by a medical team. Emergency medical transport may be covered by your provincial insurance when you are at home, but once you leave your home province or country, it can be the kind of thing that leaves you with a sizeable bill. This kind of scenario is particularly risky for people who are embarking on a hiking adventure or winter sports vacation. If you are heading on this kind of vacation, you may need to purchase an additional booster or specialist coverage-but your emergency evacuation coverage should be included.

If I am evacuated for health reasons, won’t emergency medical insurance be enough?

While you should make sure you have adequate medical coverage for your trip, especially if you have a pre-existing medical conditions, this will not cover the cost of any emergency transport needed. If you have a heart attack while on vacation, or are in a traumatic skiing accident that requires you to be airlifted home, you will need to have emergency evacuation coverage.

Even if you are young and healthy, and you don’t think medical coverage is necessary, situations such as an emergency evacuation may just change your mind.

What happens if I need to be evacuated?

Although your regular travel health insurance from your credit card or employment benefits plan may cover some health costs, chances are they won’t provide you with a safe and structured emergency evacuation team.

There are companies who specialise in getting people out of harm’s way and back to safety-no matter what the situation is. If you find you have to be transported to safety unexpectedly, you probably already have enough on your plate without having to foot an expensive bill for said transport at the end of the experience. Your travel insurance will deal with this for you, and depending how much coverage you get, it may offset the entire cost all together.  Whether your insurance company pays out directly to the service provider, or they reimburse you the funds once you make a claim, it will definitely help you out on the financial side of things, so that you can focus on the undoubtedly more important matters at hand.

Most travel insurance packages offer the options of additional extras, or extended coverage for a higher dollar amount. Have a hunt around and compare plans available to find the right one for you.