Travel insurance: are you covered?

Loss of baggage, tropical illness, or a simple sprain... When travelling, such incidents can quickly become a disaster. Contrary to popular belief, the insurance included with your credit card proves to be insufficient in many cases.

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In fact, while the insurance included with the credit card with which you paid for your trip usually covers repatriation fees and some medical costs, coverage amounts can be lower than with travel-specific insurance.

Also, it often has low reimbursement ceilings for trip cancellation and for accidental loss or damage of baggage.

Imagine that you are visiting a tropical forest in Thailand. Backpack on your shoulders, hiking shoes on your feet, you move towards the famous waterfalls with their turquoise water. Suddenly, you slip on a wet rock, roll your ankle, and find yourself on the ground. Within a few minutes, your foot has doubled in size. It’s impossible to return by foot. Emergency evacuation is your only hope.

You thought you were covered by the insurance on your credit card... But nothing is less certain.

Some credit cards have very restrictive conditions

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These cases may appear to be exceptional.

When travelling abroad, a simple  stomach ache, tooth pain, or tendinitis run the risk of rapidly running up substantial medical fees which will not necessarily be covered by a credit card. The conditions of applicability are very strict, often to the great surprise of the insured.

It's the same for trip cancellation, theft of baggage, or repatriation, where the limiting conditions of the credit cards exclude the situations against which you thought you were insured.

The National Health Insurance (Caisse Nationale de Santé (CNS)) of Luxembourg

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When you travel in Europe (the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland), the European Health Insurance Card covers you in accordance with the modalities of each country that you visit.

However, conditions are quite often less advantageous than in Luxembourg. You will be responsible for all or part of the fees billed to you.

Outside the European Union, the CNS has set up agreements with certain countries such as Cape Verde, Tunisia, and Morocco, for reimbursements at the local price through the national health care organization of each country.

In countries not covered by a care agreement, you must pay the entire bill for all medical costs. Upon your return to Luxembourg, you will be able to request a reimbursement from CNS, based on the system in place in Luxembourg. Imagine the consequences if you have to have an emergency operation in the United States, where health care costs are much higher than in Luxembourg.

Coverage offered by Social Security for substantial health care costs incurred abroad often proves to be insufficient. If you do not have a travel-specific insurance you run a high risk of going into debt in cases involving evacuation or surgical intervention, because the costs of care abroad can reach several hundred thousand euros for more expensive destinations (e.g. The US), and will then be your responsibility, in whole or in part (in cases of partial reimbursement by the CNS or a supplementary health insurance).

The thorny question of cancellation conditions

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Last winter, Stephanie, a resident of Luxembourg employed in a lawyer’s office, went for a week-long ski vacation with her children. As soon as she arrived on the slopes, she took a bad fall and injured her knee.

The sprain required her to rest and to wear a rigid splint. “The idea of going back to Luxembourg came up immediately,” she remembers. “I did not envision us being ‘stuck’ in the apartment for the rest of the week. 

My travel insurance arranged for us to travel home early. I did not have to pay anything. And I was even reimbursed for the rental fees for the days we could not use! "

Theft of your passport on the evening of departure, emergency hospitalization... If you are expecting to reward yourself with a great trip, one in which you have invested part of your savings, think about what might happen if you are unable to leave. Will you be reimbursed?

Travel Insurance: What risks should be covered in order to leave for a trip with a mind at ease?

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Assistance and medical fees
Investigate repatriation assistance and health care costs. The reimbursement ceiling for the former can vary between €20,000 and €150,000, depending on the type of insurance. For example, the Travel Option offered by AXA insurance reimburses up to EUR150,000 in medical fees not covered by the CNS or by any supplementary health insurance, and arranges for your health-related evacuation to Luxembourg in the case of medical emergency.

In cases of trip cancellation or departure cancellation for covered reasons (force majeure, accident, hospitalization of your child...), the cost of your trip and of rentals which you could not use will be reimbursed (up to €15 000€ with AXA)

Baggage and property
For you to leave with your mind at ease, theft, loss, or destruction of your baggage (clothing jewellery, cameras, photo equipment, computers...) should also be covered when you travel abroad. AXA guarantee up to €5.000 per accident and even reimburses cash stolen in cases of mugging.

You should also verify whether or not you have liability insurance that is valid abroad, for damages caused to someone else outside the borders of Luxembourg. You can sign up for liability insurance abroad in combination with your travel insurance.

Do you need advice ?

An advisor is available in every region of the Grand Duchy to offer you his services and his well-informed advice about insurance solutions :