Medical Evacuation and Repatriation: How Travel Insurance and Assistance Services Can Help

emergency medical evacuation by helicopter

You never quite know when a medical emergency will arise during international travel, especially to high-risk destinations where illness and injury are more likely. You could ingest an intestinal parasite, contract a virus, or simply slip and fall.

Are you ready to foot the bill for a $100,000 emergency medical evacuation on your next trip? 40% of Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense, so chances are an emergency medical evacuation might hit your wallet harder than you’d like.

Luckily, you can get travel insurance and assistance services that can bring you out of harm’s way and to the nearest suitable medical facility if you encounter an emergency illness or injury during your trip.

Keep reading to learn more about medical evacuation (also known as medevac or medivac) and repatriation, why you should consider getting insurance that covers those events when you’re traveling, and how travel protection from Generali Global Assistance can help if you encounter such an emergency.

If you run into difficulties during your trip, travel assistance services are included in all Generali Global Assistance travel protection plans and available 24/7/365. For emergency assistance during your trip, call (877) 243-4135 in the U.S. or (240) 330-1529 collect worldwide.

See our COVID-19 Travel Insurance Guide with details about repatriation and evacuation.

What is Emergency Assistance and Transportation Coverage?

If you become critically sick or injured during your trip and no suitable local care is available, the Emergency Assistance and Transportation benefit provides coverage for you to be taken to the nearest medical facility that’s equipped to take care you. 

What is repatriation?

Repatriation covers the costs of being transported home if deemed medically necessary after a medical emergency has been stabilized, or returning remains back to the U.S. if a covered traveler has died on their trip.

Medical repatriation: If someone is injured or becomes ill on their trip, medical repatriation will return them home or to the U.S. before or after they have been treated, depending on the situation. This includes medical transport if necessary.

Repatriation of remains: If the worst happens and a covered traveler dies on a trip outside of the U.S., this service will transport the remains back home.


Who needs Emergency Assistance and Transportation?

You never know if an emergency will render you unable to take yourself to the nearest medical facility that can treat you. Fortunately, Emergency Assistance and Transportation coverage can cover the expense of transporting you to a nearby facility for medical treatment. If you are traveling abroad, to a remote location, or cruising, or any other destination that would require evacuation via helicopter in the event of a medical emergency, make sure your travel protection plan includes Emergency Assistance and Transportation coverage and services.

International travelers should know even if you have a health insurance plan, primary medical insurance may not cover treatment outside of the United States. Leaving home without coverage could expose you to risk and cost you a bundle. For example, Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the country. Research your destination before you travel and find out if travel operators require a minimum amount of medical coverage to board. 


How much coverage do I need?

Travel insurance with coverage for medical evacuation can help keep travelers from getting stuck with huge costs if seriously injured or sickened on a trip. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical evacuation by air ambulance can cost more than $100,000 and if you are traveling internationally or in a remote area the cost can be even greater. The CDC specifically highlights the high cost of medical evacuation from a cruise ship.

Generali Global Assistance travel protection plans include Emergency Assistance and Transportation coverage limits from $250,000 per person to $1 million per person, depending on the plan you choose.

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Generali’s Emergency Assistance and Transportation Coverage

Our Standard, Preferred and Premium travel insurance Plans all contain varying levels of coverage for emergency medical evacuation, hospitalization and repatriation.

24/7/365 Emergency Assistance Services are included with your purchase. In addition to emergency assistance, our plans include Emergency Assistance and Transportation coverage that can provide an air ambulance, commercial flight, or a transportation vehicle in the event of a medical emergency so you arrive at the nearest available facility in a timely manner. 

If you’re traveling alone and hospitalized for more than seven days, coverage is included to fly one person of your choosing to accompany you. The plan also provides coverage for their lodging, meals, local transportation and telephone calls during this time (up to $10,000).

Medical repatriation: Once a medical evacuation happens, we monitor the situation and when you are well enough to travel, we use our network of resources to help you get home safely. For non-emergency situations, the plan provides coverage for medically necessary transportation to your place of residence or to an alternative U.S. city where you’ll have access to the care you need.

Repatriation of remains: Our plans provide coverage for the preparation and return of your remains to a funeral home in the U.S. or the option for a local burial if you die outside of the U.S. 

emergency medical evacuation by helicopter and ambulance

Emergency Assistance and Transportation Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions

Travelers looking for Emergency Assistance and Transportation coverage for pre-existing medical conditions should purchase our Premium Plan prior to or within 24 hours of final payment for their trip, must be medically able to travel at the time of purchase and must insure all prepaid trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions to be eligible for coverage.

Also read: 5 Things Most People Get Wrong about Travel Insurance with Pre-Existing Conditions

Additional Travel Protection Features

When it comes to traveling smarter, planning ahead is key, especially if you’re going abroad. Medical and Dental coverage is a major reason why travelers get travel insurance, and combined with Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, and other valuable coverages, our plans let you rest easily with more peace of mind while away from home.

In addition to Emergency Assistance and Transportation, our plans offer a variety of other coverages and services - like a service that aids in the replacement of medication and eyeglasses on your trip - that traditional medical insurance plans usually don’t. For less severe medical attention, our plans include a Telemedicine Service, which instantly connects travelers with a network of physicians for information, advice, and treatment, and even prescriptions when appropriate.

The U.S. Department of State advises that international travelers buy travel insurance with Medical Coverage to help cover the cost of medical care when traveling internationally. To help protect you against unexpected medical fees you may incur, our plans include Medical and Dental coverage. 

If you have any other questions about medical evacuation and repatriation or how a Generali travel protection plan can help during a medical emergency, you can speak to one of our representatives. We wish you safe travels!


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