You’ve finally arrived. To get here, you worked hard, saved and made sacrifices to ensure that you would not outlive your money. Now you expect to live a long, healthy life. Ahhhh…Retirement.
To celebrate this milestone, you plan a once-in-a-lifetime European vacation. One where you’ll experience all the great sites, art and culture in France and Germany, including their fine cuisine and wines. Your final destination, though, promises to be the most meaningful. You’ll explore your ancestry in Romania, specifically the region of Transylvania.
So far, the trip has been dreamlike, but in an instant, your life changes. The car you’re riding in flips over. You are in the backseat, but you didn’t fasten your seatbelt (like so many of us neglect to do when we’re backseat passengers). You wake up in a remote hospital to find out that your neck and back have been severed. If you survive, you’ll be paralyzed. To make matters worse, the authorities want to arrest your brother, who was driving the car, for causing the accident and injuring you, even though no other cars were involved.
The whole scene is unimaginable, and it starts to resemble Dante’s Inferno with the nine rings of hell. Because you are in a developing country, the healthcare is barbaric compared to ours in the United States. There are very few qualified surgeons, the aftercare is atrocious and the hospital is filthy. What’s more, when you are moved into the Intensive Care Unit after surgery, you discover it isn’t air-conditioned, and Romania is in the midst of one of its worse heatwaves on record. Your caregivers open the windows to let some air in. You slip in and out of consciousness, and death may be a preferable outcome.
Sadly, this is a true story, and it’s happened to someone I know. Some things, like accidents, are unavoidable. However, if you’re traveling overseas, you can better protect yourself by purchasing a travel health insurance policy which may cover any medical expenses you might incur away from home. Some policies may even cover an air ambulance back to home or to a nearer, more modern country with better medical facilities. Policies like this typically cost under $200 per person for a couple in their sixties. That’s your fist lifesaving insurance, and it’s pretty darn cheap!
The other “free” insurance is your seat belt. Buckle up even if you’re riding in the in the back seat. Many of are guilty of not doing so, especially in taxis or Ubers. It could save you or someone you love.