I am from Germany and I will go trekking in Nepal in March for 3 weeks. I want to have health insurance in that time. While the health insurances within Germany are super similar, I have no idea about insurances abroad.

What I looked at

  • DEVK: 8.30 EUR/year; 42 days per travel insured; they pay 100% for doctors, treatment, medication; "first-aid" for tooth pain is covered; hospitals: transport, stay, operations; transport back to Germany if necessary
  • Ergo Direkt: 9.90 EUR/year, looks very similar (identical?) to DEVK
  • HanseMerkur: 17.00 EUR/year or 9.90 EUR/year if I book via a portal, looks very similar (identical?) to DEVK

There are two things that worry me:

  • Can I have this insurance only for my trip and resign the contract after it? So is it really only 8.30 EUR / 9.90 EUR once? HanseMerkur stated clearly that one has to resign 1 month ahead, otherwise the contract will be prolonged for another year. So there it is for sure possible to have it only for one year.
  • How easy will it be to get the medical services? Do I have to pay in advance and then just hand in the bills? Is there any way to see how much of a hassle that will be? Do I have to call the insurance before?
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    Aren't the answers to your questions provided in the terms and conditions of the respective offers ? – audionuma Nov 4 '18 at 10:54
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    Make sure the policy does not exclude trekking, and some policies limit the altitude. I suggest you do a lot more research, for example your question "How easy will it be to get the medical services?" shows a certain naivety. – Weather Vane Nov 4 '18 at 11:05
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    If you have questions about the extent of cover and ease of making a claim / use in an emergency, it would probably be best to talk directly with the insurers yourself to make sure that the insurance you take out really is sufficient for your particular travel plans. For example, the remoteness of Nepal would indicate that medical costs would be greater than normal. There may be specialist ‘trekking’ insurers out there too. – Traveller Nov 4 '18 at 11:10
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    Complicating this question is the 2018 helicopter rescue scam in Nepal. Means, if this option is important for your trip, make sure the insurance (still) covers it. – tanius Nov 11 '18 at 5:42

Yes, travel health insurance is usually that cheap (at least in Europe/Germany). Most policies are valid for one year after you take them, and renew after each year.

You can cancel it after the first year, but given the low price for this essential insurance, it makes often sense to just keep it.

What to look out for

People here won't read all those policies for you. You'll have to check the terms on your own and see what works for you - or you can check if some consumer group in your country did a comparison.

Some things you can you look out for in general:

  • Do they cover the country that you're going to?
  • What is the maximum trip duration that is covered?
  • Do they cover the cost of airlifting you back home, if needed?
  • Will they pay for search&rescue, if necessary?
  • Is there a deductible, or a limit of their coverage?
  • Do they exclude any "high-risk" activities, or sports injuries in general?
  • Do they include any pre-existing conditions, or do they have a list of conditions that are not covered?
  • Do they refuse payment under any circustances (e.g. in case of war, or if there was a government travel advisory for that country?)
  • Do they have an emergency number that you can call around the clock?

How does it work?

How easy it is to get services depends on the country you're in, and the facilities that you use. Your travel insurance can't really change the level of medical care in the country that you're in; although they may have a hotline that may offer some assistance in finding a doctor. That's why it is important that they cover transport back home if needed.

The insurance may also not be able to directly deal with all doctors or facilities, at which point you may have to pay on your own and later claim the money back from the insurance.

You don't usually have to call first before getting treatment. However, for anything more than minor problems it makes sense to get in touch and work with them to do things "right", and also to arrange payment for things you can't cover by yourself.

You should always collect all documentation and make your claim as soon as possible in any case.

Ask questions

Finally, if you have specific questions, there's an easy solution: Just ask. Email the company and ask if they cover x and y, and if the can confirm that to you in writing, before you take the contract.

Don't let them upsell you, though. Insurances would rather like you to take out a much more expensive "package" with baggage insurance, cancellation insurance and whatnot. Just stick with the things you really need.

Credit Cards

Be careful with insurance options included in credit cards. They often have more limitations than a good "normal" insurance.

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    Some policies also won't cover certain activities unless you buy a rider. For example, as a mountain climbers I often have to buy an "extreme sports" rider to cover those activities (hiking, trekking, climbing, etc.) – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Nov 15 '18 at 19:10

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