If you plan to go abroad, for a trip or for expatriation, you probably heard about repatriation insurance. Whether you’ve been advised by your insurer or by your loved ones, it is sometimes difficult to understand the usefulness of such insurance. Is it really necessary?
To answer this question, here is a dedicated article on repatriation, its costs and the various assistance options available to you.
Reasons for repatriation
When traveling abroad, you rarely think about the possibility of an accident, getting sick or being immobilized. Unfortunately, whether they are due to natural disasters or simply to daily life, accidents abroad are not uncommon. But not all countries are equal in terms of medical infrastructure and quality of healthcare.
Repatriation assistance comes into play when you have to travel from the country of the accident to a medical center that can take care of your illness. Repatriation can therefore be made to your home country, or to a country closer to your place of travel that meets the appropriate international standards of care.
Repatriation is a choice made by the medical team in charge of the patient and by the assistance service of the insurance company. According to the assessment made by the medical team and their directives, the assistance service will determine the means of transport and the destination most adapted to your state of health. Indeed, if your condition requires immediate attention and is life-threatening, the assistance may choose to send you to a nearby hospital that will provide you with emergency care.
Cost of repatriation with no insurance
The cost of repatriation varies according to the mean of transportation used by the patient. Depending on his medical condition and the distance to be covered, the repatriation assistance center may choose to mobilize an ambulance or a helicopter for a short distance, for example. For long distances, aircraft is recommended, but the crew may vary: from a normal trip to an accompanied by medical personnel one, or even to mobilization of a dedicated medical aircraft.
The cost also varies according to the distance between the place of the accident and the country of medical care. Indeed, a repatriation does not necessarily lead you to your home country, but can get you to the nearest country that is the most able to take care of you.
The average cost for repatriation is € 40,000. But for longer distances or if the patient’s health condition proves more delicate, the cost can amount to more than € 250,000. Indeed, mobilize a medical plane dedicated to the patient in emergency, with medical or resuscitation team on board, can quickly raise the bill.
As the need for repatriation may be related to an emergency, and the sums to be disbursed are usually high, it is strongly advised to have a repatriation insurance covering these expenses.
In comparison, a repatriation insurance for you and your family will cost you less than 50 € per month. This can go down to less than 20 € per month individually.
The different types of repatriation insurance that exist
In case of necessity for repatriation, you can call on various assistance services.
Depending on the credit card used when purchasing your plane tickets abroad (Visa, MasterCard …), the reimbursement of your repatriation costs may be included in your contract. It is strongly advised to check its warranties with your bank before your departure. It is not uncommon for the repatriation guarantee to be limited to stays of less than 90 days, and repayment limits may apply.
In exceptional cases involving a vital risk for a French citizen, it is possible to refer to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The latter then takes charge of the repatriation of the patient to French territory, but the costs must be paid by the patient or his family. In the case where the amount can not be paid directly, the patient’s family can sign an acknowledgment of debt. It will then have to reimburse the expenses advanced by the State within six months following the repatriation of the patient. The amount announced for this emergency health repatriation went from € 87,000 to € 250,000 depending on the destination for the repatriation.
If this service exists for French citizens, then it might exist for other nationalities as well. In case of emergency, you can contact your consulate abroad to know what options are available for your repatriation.
Private insurance generally offers the best guarantees of repatriation. Some insurers include repatriation insurance in their travel offers, while others offer it as an additional option. There are many types of insurances, so you can easily compare their guarantees and prices and choose the contract that suits you the best.
What guarantees must be included in my contract?
The guarantees offered vary according to the contract. Repatriation insurance covers at least the transportation and repatriation of the insured.
But other guarantees must be taken into account when choosing your repatriation insurance:
– Search and rescue costs: this guarantee may be necessary in the event of a natural disaster or serious incident leading to disappearance or inability to contact the insured.
– Hospitalization and healthcare expenses until repatriation
– The sending of indispensable medicines not found abroad
– In case of death: the search and repatriation of the body in coffin or funerary urn according to the wishes of the deceased, to the place of burial.
– The coverage of the roundtrip transportation and accommodation expenses for one of your relatives in case of hospitalization abroad. In this case, check with your insurer what will be the maximum amount and duration of coverage.
Repatriation insurance is often offered as an option when you take out your travel or expatriation insurance. Do not hesitate to ask your insurer for a free quote and to compare the rates and guarantees offered.