Repatriation insurance, what’s the point?

If you are planning to go abroad, for a trip or as part of an expatriation, you will surely hear about repatriation insurance. Whether it is advised by your insurer or your loved ones, it is sometimes difficult to understand the usefulness of such insurance. Is it really necessary?
To answer this question, we explain the usefulness of repatriation, its costs and the various assistance options available to you.

Reasons for repatriation

When travelling abroad, you rarely think about the possibility of having an accident, getting sick or being immobilized. Unfortunately, whether due to natural disasters or life-related accidents, accidents abroad are not uncommon. However, not all countries are equal in terms of medical infrastructure and quality of care.

Repatriation assistancecomes into play when you have to travel from the country of the accident to a medical centre that can treat you. Repatriation can therefore be made to France, or to a country closer to your place of travel meeting international standards of care.

Repatriation is a choice made by the medical team in charge of the patient and by the insurance company’s assistance service. According to the medical team’s assessment, the helpline will determine the most appropriate means of transport and destination for your health. If your condition requires immediate attention and poses a life-threatening risk, the assistance may choose to send you to a nearby hospital that will provide emergency care.

Cost of repatriation without insurance

The cost of repatriation varies depending on the manner in which the patient is transported. Depending on the medical condition and the distance to be covered, the repatriation assistance centre may choose to mobilize an ambulance or helicopter for a short distance, for example. For long distances, the aircraft is recommended, but the crew can vary: normal travel or accompanied by medical personnel, or charter of a dedicated medical aircraft.

The cost also varies depending on the distance between the accident site and the country of medical care. Indeed, a repatriation does not necessarily send you back to the country of origin, but can take you to the nearby country most able to take care of you.

There are an average of 40,000 euros in repatriation costs. But when the distance lengthens or the patient’s condition proves more delicate, the cost can amount to more than 250,000 euros. Indeed, mobilizing a medical plane dedicated to the patient in an emergency, with medical and resuscitation team on board, can quickly raise the note.

Since the need for repatriation may be linked to an emergency, and the sums to be disbursed are high, it is strongly advised to have repatriation insurance to cover these costs.

As an indication, repatriation insurance for you and your family will cost you less than 50 euros per month. This can go down to less than 20 euros per month as an individual.

The different types of repatriation assistance possible

If repatriation is necessary, you can call on different assistance services.

Private health insurance generally offers the best repatriation guarantees. Mondassur offers repatriation insurance in its insurance offerings.

Depending on the bank card used when buying your airline tickets abroad (Visa, MasterCard…), it is possible that the refund of your repatriation costs will be included in your contract. But it is not uncommon for the repatriation guarantee to be limited only to stays of less than 90 days, and to very limited reimbursement limits.

In exceptional cases involving a vital risk to a French national, it is possible to call the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The latter can then make advance costs related to the repatriation of the patient on French territory, but the costs will have to be paid by the patient or his family. In the event that the amount cannot be paid directly, the patient’s family may sign a debt recognition. She will then have to reimburse the costs advanced by the French state within six months of the repatriation of the patient. The amount announced for this emergency medical repatriation was between 87,000 and 250,000 euros depending on the destination of the repatriation.

What guarantees should be included in my contract?

The proposed guarantees vary depending on the contract. Repatriation insurance covers at least the transport and repatriation of the insured.

But other guarantees are to be taken into account when choosing your repatriation insurance:

  • Search and rescue costs: This guarantee may be necessary in the event of a natural disaster or a serious accident leading to the disappearance or the inability to contact the insured.
  • Hospitalization and care costs until repatriation
  • Sending essential medicines not found abroad abroad
  • In the event of death: the search and repatriation of the body in a coffin or funeral urn according to the wishes of the deceased, until the place of burial.
  • The support of round-trip transport and the cost of stay for one of your relatives in case of hospitalization abroad. In this case, check with your insurer for the maximum and possible duration of care.

Repatriation insurance is often offered as an optionwhen you purchase your travel or expatriation insurance. Don’t hesitate to ask your insurer for a free quote and compare the rates and guarantees offered for international MONDASSUR insurance.

For more questions about your insurance abroad, please contact our international insurance advisors.

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