Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.
In some places, particularly at resorts, medical costs can be as high or higher than in the United States. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations. If your insurance policy does not cover you in Guatemala, it is strongly recommended that you purchase a policy that does. Short-term health insurance policies designed specifically to cover travel are available.
Medical facilities in Guatemala differ from those in the United States. Guatemala City has excellent health facilities. Some small towns may have few or no medical facilities. For these reasons, in addition to medical insurance that you can use in Guatemala, consider obtaining insurance or joining a medical assistance program to cover the very high cost of medical evacuation in the event of an accident or serious illness. As part of the coverage, these programs usually offer emergency consultation by telephone. They may refer you to the nearest hospital or call for help on your behalf; they may translate your instructions to a health care worker on the scene. The cost of medical evacuation coverage is minimal for a trip of 30 days. Without this insurance, medical evacuation can cost thousands of dollars.
When making decisions regarding health insurance, consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that medical air evacuation to the U.S. may cost over $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expense that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
If you become seriously ill, the Embassy can assist in finding a doctor and in notifying your family and friends about your condition.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs are listed in the Department of State publication, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, accessible at the Internet site at medical emergencies abroad.
Neither the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City nor the U.S. government can pay to have you medically evacuated to the United States.
Review Your Automobile Insurance if You Will be Driving in Guatemala
Car rental agencies overseas usually provide auto insurance, but in some countries, the required coverage is minimal. When renting a car overseas, consider purchasing insurance coverage that is at least equivalent to that which you carry at home. In general, your U.S. auto insurance does not cover you abroad. However, your policy may apply when you drive to countries neighboring the United States, but maybe not in Guatemala. Check with your insurer to see if your policy covers you in Guatemala and in Mexico if you are driving to Guatemala. If you rent a car in Guatemala, make sure you have liability insurance. If you do not, this could lead to financial disaster.
Be sure that your insurance meet’s Guatemala’s minimum requirements. If you are under-insured in Guatemala, auto insurance can usually be purchased in country.
Tips of Choosing Travel Insurance, Medical and Trip Cancellation Policies
Planning your trip:
- Check your existing insurance policies and credit card coverage before you buy travel insurance. You may already be covered for medical expenses, canceled tickets or lost luggage.
- Decide which type of travel insurance is best suited for your destination (for example, terrorism insurance for your trip to Egypt, or emergency medical transportation insurance during your ocean cruise). Keep in mind that the cost varies widely, depending on your age, your health, and the cost and length of your trip.
- Determine whether the following is included in your policy: international medical insurance, emergency medical evacuation (including helicopter transport), accidental death and dismemberment, repatriation of remains, and family travel benefits.
- Have your travel agent purchase an insurance plan for you or shop commission-free online. You’ll find a wide selection of reputable insurance companies on the Web.
- Make sure your travel insurance provider offers 24-hour hotline service. Don’t buy trip-cancellation insurance from the tour operator that may be responsible for the cancellation, and don’t overbuy– you won’t be reimbursed for more than the cost of your trip.
- Many travel-related injuries and thefts are not fully covered by your credit card company, home owners or medical insurance.
- Read the fine print to make sure your cruise line or airline is on the list of carriers covered in case of bankruptcy.
- Check for:
- Baggage loss/delay insurance
- Trip cancellation insurance
- International medical insurance
- Emergency medical evacuation
- Accidental death and dismemberment
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation insurance reimburses you for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses – such as airline tickets – if you are forced to cancel a trip due to an unforeseen emergency. Consider the following information carefully when evaluating the worth of such a policy.
Do some research. Look online, talk to friends and poll travel agents to find the insurance that best suits your travel needs. Read all parts of the policy carefully to make sure you are covered where it really matters.
Examine the types of flight, train or cruise cancellations covered by the policy. Often you can be covered if there is a strike, if you are hijacked or if your trip is delayed. Again, read the conditions of the coverage before you buy.
Look for policies with the broadest terms. Check the policy’s definitions of terms such as “unforeseen,” “close family member” and “traveling companion” to be sure they will cover your needs.
Check for expiration times and dates, after which the policy would not reimburse you. Policies generally expire after you have returned home, or at the end of the date specified on your travel itinerary.
Read exclusion clauses carefully. For instance, most policies do not cover preexisting health conditions.
Make sure that the policy covers you for the entire period of your trip.
If you do decide to purchase coverage, do so well in advance since the premium remains the same no matter when you buy; the sooner you buy insurance before your trip, the longer coverage time you’ll have.
Trip cancellation insurance is useful in the event of an unforeseen emergency: the illness, death or injury of yourself or a close family member or traveling companion; the tour operator, cruise line or airline goes bankrupt before your trip; or if you are quarantined, hijacked, called to jury duty, subpoenaed or if your home is rendered uninhabitable. Policies differ, however, so read them carefully.
Some cancellation insurance may be available automatically through your credit card company if you book your trip using their credit card. Ask about this service before you purchase insurance elsewhere.
If you have purchased travel cancellation insurance for a trip that has been delayed, make sure the insurance will automatically cover the trip on the new dates.