Insurance should be a must for foreign journey

The European Radio for Belarus’s journalist Mikalaj Karniajchuk has recently returned from a foreign journey, where he had to use his medical insurance. He wanted to share his experiences with the listeners of our radio.

When people get into trouble, they often say: “Nobody can be insured (protected) from troubles.” They also get at a loss how to react, forgetting that everyone has an opportunity to insure him or herself.

In some cases, insurance is mandatory. The owners of vehicles insure their property; air or railway carriers insure their liability before their passengers; proprietors of buildings insure their estate. Such insurance policies are sold once a year or even more seldom.

In cases of accidents during foreign journeys, our citizens have to insure themselves far more often. Sometimes, people forget to do so, and they should not, says Beldzjarzhstrah, Belarus’s major state-owned underwriter.

If you don’t have an insurance policy, you can get into trouble already at a border, for instance, the Belarus-Polish border.

Beldzjarzhstrakh: “They could allow you to enter on condition that you possess a certain amount of cash money…something like 20 euros per day.”

The Polish border guards usually have very stringent checks of whether you have an insurance policy or cash. Controls are performed in accordance with the resolution by the Polish Minister of Interior and the Office of the Polish Government.

Despite the people are standing in the hours-long lines in front of the Polish Consulate in the freezing temperatures and are seriously risking their health, the Polish consular authorities do not require an insurance policy when you apply for a visa.

However, if you want to get a Schengen visa, you cannot proceed without an insurance paper from Beldzjarzhstrakh or any other underwriter.

Beldzjazhstrakh: “Depending on the insurance security deposit it will cost you $9 to cover you with the amount of $70,000. For those traveling to Poland, we normally offer policies for $30,000 and $50,000.”

We are now talking about the costs of two-week insurance policies. As if the authorities care about Kalinoucy (the participants of the youth protests in Belarus last March), underwriters offer insurance discounts for students. But, despite the fact that insurance costs are very reasonable, a majority of our compatriots look at the medical insurance as a waste of money.

In reality, every insured tourist can take use of medical assistance at the cost of Beldzjarzhstrakh in case of an accident.

Beldzjazhstrakh: “If you happen to fall sick with flu or get into an accident, you need to go to a doctor. In this case, you should contact Coris, our representative abroad.

If the costs are high and you are unable to cover them, we would issue payment guarantees. Alternatively, our representative abroad would allocate the money. If the costs are small, you can pay yourself and get the refund after you come back to Belarus.”

This reporter also thought he would not need a medical insurance. But, during a journey in Poland, he got a sore throat. The doctor was needed at least to prescribe antibiotics. The drug-stores in Poland do not sell medicines without prescription.

I picked the phone and dialed the contact number of a Coris office mentioned on the insurance policy, and they agreed to help me. Although the free doctor turned out to be a gynecologist, he nevertheless prescribed the necessary drugs.

If you want to refund the money spent on the medicines abroad, you must keep all the papers handy.

Beldzjarzhstrakh: “We need to be presented with prescriptions, receipts, medical reports, etc. If you call us and ask to cover medical assistance under the insurance policy, we will even refund your communication costs on condition that you submit your corresponding telephone bills.

However, if something happens to you and you have paid more than $500, yet you have not turned to us, we will refund $500 only.”

Sometimes, insured accidents make us smile. We were told by the insurance company Task about a Belarusian tourist, being in New York messed with the residents of Bronx. Hot-tempered African Americans dropped our tourist from a balcony, but he was lucky to fall into a garbage container, just like in the Hollywood blockbusters.

We always hope that “an insured accident” does not happen to us. But, who knows where the trouble is waiting for you. You should agree that it is better to count on an insurance policy than on a garbage container under a balcony.

Photo by