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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Travel insurance vs. international medical

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If in doubt, please send a new question or ask for an update.

Q: Which is better for a 5 day spring break trip to Mexico: the international medical insurance or travel insurance? What is the difference?

A: International medical insurance covers only medical expenses, including the translation costs for medical records and correspondence as well as the foreign currency and payment issues. Travel insurance covers these expenses plus additional risks like lost luggage, trip cancellation and may also include life and disability insurance. In your case, the coverage will be so inexpensive that it probably makes sense to buy the better coverage. The cost is still likely under $25. See the details at


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