park royal cancun beach resort, cancun mexico sign

Five reasons you need travel insurance in Mexico

When you wake up to a beautiful sunrise in Cancun, but you are tethered to an IV in a hospital bed and can’t step outside your room, you realize you have 5 reasons you need travel insurance in Mexico, or any destination. Today, I share my first hand experience as a hospital patient why I believe you need travel insurance. This article is not meant as medical advice, simply my experience and why I will always carry comprehensive travel insurance.

cancun mexico sunrise

Beautiful sunrise in Cancun, Mexico. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

1. When you need medical attention out of the country

Our first day in Cancun I realized I had cellulitis on my left leg and it needed medical attention. It’s worth noting that I did not contract this skin infection in Mexico. However, I wasn’t aware of the seriousness of the situation until we had traveled out of the country.

Our Cancun hotel offered a medical doctor to come to our room to treat the problem for an additional fee. When the doctor arrived, he agreed with my diagnosis and said I needed to go to Hospiten Cancun as he did not have the proper antibiotics. My husband and I took a cab ride to Hospiten Cancun after paying $150 on our credit card to the hotel doctor. If this happens again, I will skip the hotel doctor consultation and go straight to the hospital or urgent care.

At Hospiten Cancun, in urgent care, I was diagnosed with cellulitis of the skin. I was given the option to stay in the hospital and have antibiotics administered intravenously. Instead, I took the oral antibiotic prescription with me and we left the hospital to return to the hotel. Our taxi driver agreed to stop at the pharmacy while my prescription was filled.

When we returned to our hotel, I immediately called Allianz Travel insurance using their international phone number. I learned that I have approval to stay in the hospital and take IV antibiotics. I quickly and painlessly opened a case number as my overnight hospital estimate was $3,800. The hospital required guarantee of payment from my insurance provider, which they immediately sent. Peace of mind is a key reason you need travel insurance in Mexico or any travel destination.

travel writer nancy d brown, cancun hospital, why you need travel insurance if you get sick in mexico

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown in Cancun, Mexico hospital

 

2. Keep your receipts

I learned the importance of keeping all receipts when filing a travel insurance claim. My travel insurance included taxi reimbursement from hotel to hospital and my medications from the pharmacy, in addition to my hospital stay. While I do not have experience utilizing travel insurance in any other foreign countries, I learned that Mexico requires payment up front with credit card or cash. Even if you have travel insurance, you will pay medical expenses and be reimbursed after your claim is filed.

 

taxi cab, farmacias, pharmacy visit cancun mexico

Keep your taxi and pharmacy receipts, along with your medical records when you file a travel insurance claim. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

3. Filing a travel insurance claim is easy if you take notes

I am not a travel insurance expert. I’m sharing the tips I learned to make filing a travel insurance claim easy. When we checked out of the hospital, we had about 27 pages of documents from Hospiten Cancun written in Spanish. We told the hospital administrator that we would need the documentation in English. They refused.

I called my primary care provider, Blue Shield of California, when we returned home. I was told multiple times that my claim had to be filed in English. This made no sense to me, as all of my bills are accompanied with documentation saying my insurance provider is able to translate statements to other languages, including Spanish. I called again to Blue Shield of California and was told again that I had to submit my insurance claim in English, resulting in me having to pay to have my invoice translated from Spanish to English.

After speaking to a Blue Shield of California International Claims representative, I was informed that I had been given incorrect information. It was not necessary to file my supporting documentation in English.

It is necessary to submit the insurance claim to your primary health insurance provider. When the claim is denied, your travel insurance provider will then process your claim.

taxi driver, taxi cab cancun mexico, negotiate cab fare in mexico

When traveling, always negotiate the cab fare before you get in the car. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

 

4. Travel with a buddy

I have nothing against solo travel. However, in this instance I was glad that I was traveling with my husband in Mexico. Even though my husband doesn’t speak a word of Spanish, he was my advocate when I needed him. He took notes about my diagnosis, the times I needed to take my medicine and kept all the medical receipts and travel expenses in one location.

I do speak Spanish. It came in handy when I had to negotiate the price of our last cab ride from the hospital to the hotel. I asked the cab driver how much our ride would be before we entered the cab. He quoted me a much higher price than we had paid previously. When I told him the price was too high, speaking to him in Spanish, rather than English, he lowered the price. We got in the cab and I began to ask him about the pricing structure of his company. We had a communication problem. I asked to speak with dispatch on his telephone. When I explained to her the problem, she agreed that our driver should not have set the original price that high.

I was in no mood to feel that I was being taken advantage of from our taxi ride in Cancun and stood my ground. Always negotiate the price of your ride before you step inside the taxi cab and always ask for a printed receipt if you need it for your travel insurance claim or as a business expense.

tulum ruins, mexico

I could have visited Tulum; instead, I was in the hospital in Cancun.

5. Travel Insurance Equals Piece of Mind

As a travel writer specializing in equestrian travel, with two hip replacements, I promised my surgeon that I would always have travel insurance with evacuation coverage. My policy with Allianze Travel Insurance was purchased through a professional travel program. Anyone may purchase an individual insurance policy. If you travel often, I’d suggest you purchase an annual policy.

Travel insurance covers trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical, emergency transportation, baggage loss/damage, baggage delay, travel delay and travel accident coverage. Additionally, my travel insurance provides 24 hour hotline assistance and offers a travel app for online assistance.

Need to know:

There are many different travel insurance providers and different levels of travel insurance coverage, resulting in higher premiums. My husband and I each have a travel insurance annual policy.

Fellow travel writers Deb & Dave from Planet D were grateful to have travel insurance when Dave broke his back and had to be airlifted from the Amazon. Keep in mind that some travel credit cards come with travel insurance. Check your credit card to see if you have any insurance coverage.

5 reasons you need travel insurance in Mexico article and all photography by travel writer Nancy D. Brown.