It's expensive to die while travelling outside your home country.
And while most people recognize the importance of travel insurance, many globetrotters neglect their life insurance needs.
This is because most people think of travel as fun, unless their work requires it regularly. It's pessimistic to think of dying or being injured while out of country.
But it's your role to make sure clients have enough life insurance coverage before they take off. Remind them that clear, rationale thinking is next to impossible during times of stress or shock. Preparing for the worst is thus one of the most considerate things you can do for your family before you leave.
In addition to reviewing their coverage, here's a pre-trip checklist to offer:
- Let your loved ones know how to reach you in case of emergency.
- Keep emergency contacts for your loved ones with you when travelling: saved in your cell phones, or on paper in your wallets.
- Keep your travel insurance policy number in your purse or wallet.
- Phone your travel insurance provider and inform them of your vacation. Ask about the fine print of your policies.
- Ask if your travel insurance covers medical emergencies like major surgeries and death. Find out the stipulations surrounding coverage and hospital stays, for instance.
- Notify your credit card companies of your vacation prior to departure.
What about people left behind?
Losing a loved one in a foreign country is especially difficult since it adds a different layer of trauma, stress and complexity.
Recently, one of my friend's guests passed away from a massive heart attack while visiting her in Mexico.
She passed along what she learned in the form of a 10-question list. Tell clients to find out the answers before leaving and inform their loved ones. Better yet, provide the answers for common destinations (Mexico, the U.S.).
1. In this country, who do you call in an emergency? This could be the local Red Cross, police or alternate organization.
2. If I die while on vacation, will my loved ones have to pay any hospital fees not covered by travel insurance before my body is released?
3. What are the phone numbers and addresses of my home country's Consulate Office in the destination(s)?
4. Will my country's Consulate Offices:
- help make arrangements for the death certificate to be issued, translated and notarized?
- help with arrangements to transport the body or ashes home?
5. Will my loved ones have to make arrangements through a local funeral home to get a body released?
6. Do I have sufficient reserves on my credit card(s) or in my bank account(s) to pay significant fees to have a hospital release a body (e.g. at least $20,000)?
7. What is the maximum amount my credit card provider(s) will process when they have been notified of travel plans?
8. Do I have a personal line of credit? Also:
- How much is available on it?
- Is it life insured?
- What does the fine print say about the conditions of life insurance coverage?
9. Do I have my bank manager's contact information?
10. Does my executor know my travel plans?