I recently had the misfortune of needing to visit a doctor while travelling in Porto, Portugal. I thought I would make the best out of this bad situation and share with you my experience with ITrek Travel Insurance Australia.
My Experience with iTrek – when I realised it was time to see a doctor
When I decided to go to the doctors, I had actually been sick for about 3 weeks at that point and I thought I was getting better. I had already been sick once for about a week and a half at the start of my trip and initially, the symptoms were almost identical to my first illness, so I figured it would pass eventually.
When I arrived in Porto I started to have chest pain and pressure in the centre of my chest, I was super fatigued and felt very weak. I had never had symptoms in my chest like this before and it was slightly terrifying. After my family and friends begged me to see a doctor (I really didn’t want to go see one) and days of these chest symptoms, I called my insurers Help and Emergency Assistance Line. I told them what was going on, I was instructed to go the doctors urgently and advised of what I needed to do to ensure that I was reimbursed for my doctors visit. My accommodation provider then helped me to find an emergency outpatients clinic to visit and I walked there (*cringe* this hurt so much but I figured I would be fine to walk 10 minutes).
Visiting Hospital in Porto
I visited Santa Maria Hospital where they saw me promptly and I had a lady who could speak English fluently to assist me with my paperwork and to interpret for me. I didn’t enjoy this experience at all – I was very worried and the doctor was quite dismissive and didn’t even tell me what was going on and as the consultation ended I actually had to ask. He laughed and through the interpreter said that I had the flu. He recommended that I pick up some medication from a pharmacy and that was that. He also said I was fine to fly to Germany the next day – this would be a half day long trip (getting to the airport, flying, taking the train to another city etc.). I chose to miss my flight because I knew I wasn’t up to it. Due to the doctor saying I was fit to fly I was unable to be reimbursed for my plane ticket by my insurer. So, visiting the doctor cost me 156 Euros or $248AUD – I figure the price was due to me requiring an interpreter. Note: For cost comparison, I have actually been to an outpatients hospital clinic in Paris before and it only cost me 24 Euros or $38.25AUD and it cost me a similar amount to visit a GP in Germany. I spent around 8 Euros or $12.80AUD on medication. So, the grand total of money spent on medical treatment was = 164 Euros or $261 AUD – ouch. I don’t even want to think how much money was ‘wasted’ by missing my flight but at the end of the day, my health is my number #1 priority.
Claiming with iTrek – quick reimbursement
I spent the next few days in bed and extended my stay in Porto so I could recover. The day after visiting the doctor I submitted my claim, with a summary of what happened, pictures of receipts and my doctor’s notes. A week later I received an email stating my claim had been approved and a full reimbursement of my treatment was in my bank account 2 days after I received that email. I should note that when I purchased my policy that I paid an extra $20AUD so that I would have no excess to pay for making a claim. I was very pleased with how quickly ITrek reimbursed me for my treatment and because they advised me what I needed before even seeking medical treatment I was completely prepared and there were no problems.
They followed up with me!
Another feature that I especially appreciated with ITrek was that they continued to follow up with me via email after my visit to the doctors. They encouraged me to see a doctor if I didn’t improve and even put a nurse in touch with me. About a week after visiting the doctor I was almost completely recovered, after a whole month with the flu!!
I decided to extend my policy after my positive experience with iTrek
I have since extended my policy with ITrek as I initially paid for 6 months knowing I could extend later (for up to 18 months – one of the longest policies available on the market). I highly recommend ITrek now that I have actually used their services. Compared to other insurance providers the price point is great – I paid $596 AUD for 6 months and I am covered to travel throughout Europe and Asia. They also cover a wide range of activities including winter sports which are included in the cost – other insurers often make you pay more for this or simply won’t cover you at all. If you are thinking about purchasing a travel insurance policy I recommend checking out my blog post I wrote about choosing a travel insurance policy where I go into detail about my personal selection process and things you might want to consider before purchasing a policy.