Compulsory travel insurance: pro et contra
Last June, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation issued a statement that provoked heated discussions both in the professional environment and among ordinary citizens. The Ministry of Finance announced its intention to submit to the government a bill on compulsory insurance of Russians traveling abroad. The initiative of the Ministry extends not only to visa directions, where Russian citizens are already accustomed to obtaining an insurance policy, but also to countries with which a visa-free regime operates. Mikhail Efimov, the company's insurance director, told us about what this will mean for the industry and for each of us..
The Ministry of Finance's statement of its intention to achieve compulsory insurance of all Russian citizens traveling abroad, as expected, was received ambiguously. The overwhelming majority of insurance companies and travel agencies supported the idea of the Ministry, while ordinary citizens were divided into two «camp»: those who reacted to this initiative with approval, and those who reacted cautiously and even negatively. To understand what are the pros and what is a cause for concern, it is worth, first of all, to analyze the arguments of the parties and weigh everything «per» and «against».
Is it really necessary? Argument against
One of the main arguments of those who accept the initiative of the Ministry of Finance «at bayonets», is the statement that today travel insurance is compulsory only for citizens visiting visa countries. However, this is not quite true. In fact, compulsory travel insurance - if accepted - will become nothing more than a formalization of existing practice. The fact is that in many visa-free countries for Russians, legal norms oblige foreigners to have an insurance policy with them that is valid throughout the entire period of stay. Checking its presence or not is a question that most often remains at the discretion of the border service of the country of entry. For example, when traveling to Turkey, a popular destination among Russian tourists, it is mandatory to draw up an insurance policy - this is the requirement of Turkish law. And even if today the border guard did not ask you to present the policy, this does not mean that compliance with this rule is not necessary..
Rescuing drowning people is the work of professionals. Argument for
Officially, the Ministry of Finance explained the need to introduce compulsory insurance for those traveling abroad as follows: «to minimize budgetary costs for solving the problems of Russians who find themselves in a problem situation abroad».
However, behind this dry wording, in addition to budget savings, there is another important change. In fact, the state invites citizens to independently take responsibility for their security abroad. In response, you can take offense and say that «no one protects us». But, you see, no state solves the problem of light poisoning of its citizens on vacation. The state intervenes and tries to help its citizens abroad during major disasters, natural disasters or man-made accidents. But in all other cases, when vacationers need treatment, they on their own (and most often «for luck») go to local clinics for advice and treatment. And their cost is several times higher than the price of an insurance policy with an average coverage. In this case, the insurance of those traveling abroad is the very lifebuoy that allows the tourist not to worry about finding a hospital and a doctor: the insurance company will do everything for him.
It must be so. Argument against
What you really should be wary of is unscrupulous companies that want to cash in on the mass of new clients who have no experience in obtaining an insurance policy to travel abroad. As a result, there is a risk that such companies will offer a cheap and useless product, which they will buy according to the principle «it should be so necessary». However, the ability to neutralize this threat is in your hands. You just need to follow a number of rules when choosing an insurance company:
- study all available information about the company, read reviews on the Internet and ask friends and acquaintances - they will accurately report reliable information;
- ask the operators of the insurance company in detail about all policy options, the calculation of the cost, the coverage area, and more. This will allow you to understand whether you are dealing with professionals or the company itself has not figured out how the product it provides works;
- carefully read the contract, clarifying absolutely all the points that may not be clear to you.
The cat in the bag. Argument for
The introduction of a compulsory policy for those traveling abroad will significantly improve the insurance culture in society. But this will happen only if appropriate work is carried out in this area. Today, many travelers perceive the purchase of insurance as a necessity in order to obtain a visa. The same can happen when the policy becomes mandatory, as we talked about above. However, at the same time, it is an opportunity to conduct a wide educational campaign that will allow people to buy not «cat in a poke», but to choose the best product that suits them best. Moreover, the legislation of the majority of visa-free countries for Russians requires that visitors have a medical insurance policy. Ignorance of the law, as we well know, does not absolve one from responsibility. And in this case, it does not make your vacation safe..
Weighing the above «per» and «against», it can be argued that the pluses «outweigh». This is due to the fact that, in fact, the arguments «against» turn out to be insolvent, and here's why: insurance is still de facto mandatory today. By issuing a policy, you get a guarantee that an unpleasant surprise in the form of a border guard will not await you at the airport, who, not finding you have insurance, will refuse entry.
In addition, an insurance policy is a way to protect yourself from troubles on vacation or while traveling - you will always know where to turn for help..
The only real risk is unscrupulous companies, which are likely to immediately appear in a new field. Therefore, the law must be carefully prepared so that loopholes for such «players» not left.
Finally, if this risk can be mitigated, then the new legislative measure may become an excellent reason for travelers to understand all the insurance intricacies and choose the best policy for themselves. If everyone responsibly approaches this issue and chooses a quality product, he will not regret it. Therefore, it is worth finishing 10 basic rules that you need to follow when choosing insurance when traveling abroad..
What to look for?
- Choose your insurance policy coverage carefully: the lower the amount, the less money is allocated for treatment. For Schengen countries the minimum amount is € 30,000.
- Be aware that the coverage you pay for is categorized by type of health care. Of the total $ 30,000, part is allocated to medical care, part to dentistry, part to compensation for lost luggage, and so on. The cost of the policy also depends on the coverage limits for various risks. Paying attention to this, you can save money without overpaying for a high limit on a particular risk that is unnecessary in your situation..
- Separately, you should study the insurance on the subject of what will be an insured event and what will not. If you are going to play sports, then injuries sustained during such activities will only be covered by the extended policy. Since such injuries on vacation, unfortunately, are very common, then add additional insurance to your insurance «protection» in this case, is becoming a common practice. Therefore, most insurance companies provide such an option: when choosing a policy, you can include in it «leisure».
- The insurance policy is valid only for those troubles that happened to you abroad. Chronic diseases are not covered.
- Insurance often uses a deductible - the amount that you pay for your treatment yourself. Deductible helps to significantly reduce the cost of insurance.
- The franchise can be relative and absolute. An absolute deductible, for example, $ 100, means that of all the costs of treatment, you will pay $ 100 yourself. Relative means that if the bill for services exceeds $ 100, then the insurance company will pay for everything, and if it does not exceed it, it will pay you.
- If you still need medical care abroad, immediately call the phone number specified in your insurance policy. If you see a doctor yourself without notifying the insurance company, they may refuse to cover your costs..
- The reimbursement of funds spent on your treatment can occur according to two algorithms. The first, the most common, is the service form of organizing medical expenses insurance. The insurance company provides the client with the organization of treatment in the host country. You only need to register an insured event.
- In the case of a compensation form, the insured pays for medical services on his own and takes care of organizing assistance. Upon returning home, the insurance company is provided with documents confirming the occurrence of the insured event and the cost of treatment.
- Remember that the insurer must always be informed about all the procedures prescribed by the doctor and about all the medications he has prescribed..
Author: Mikhail Efimov, Insurance Director, INTOUCH