Here is my story, and here is why if you are planning a trip with your family you should make sure you and your children are covered by an affordable plan and a company who actually cares about your health and not just the bottom line.
Heading Out and Head On
We had just arrived into Hoi An Vietnam on a long overnight bus from Nha Trang.
We ate breakfast, checked into our guest house and the kids were content talking with grandma on Skype. Dad was on the computer and grandpa was taking a nap. Everyone was content and I was ready to explore a little around town.
Our modest guesthouse had free bikes available for the guests and I can’t resist the freedom a bike can give you to explore. No helmets are available for bikes in Vietnam, although it is the law now for mopeds.
I’d been out almost and hour and headed down a busy road that was leading nowhere, so I decided to head back into town. The cars, scooters (mopeds) and bikes were traveling quickly in both directions and I had to cross four lanes of traffic to head in the right direction. Road rules don’t apply in Vietnam, sidewalks don’t exist and pedestrians do not have the right of way.
I stepped off my bike and waited for a seemingly non-existent lull in traffic to make a run for it. I spotted my opportunity and ran, and then I met the eyes of the moped driver. Locked in each other’s gaze, we both realized there was no stopping what was about to happen.
He was going to hit me.
He did hit me, and that was the last thing I remember.
As I regained consciousness I found myself on gurney looking up at a nurse who was about to place a suture needle in my leg.
I stopped her and as I started to speak I realized something was wrong with my face. It was then that I realized the left side was flat. I could move all my limbs and I could feel my toes but I knew my face was broken.
After some time I was able to convey to the Vietnamese speaking nurses that I wanted ice for my face. I could feel it swelling like a balloon, that is about all I could feel. They came back with two small, melting ice cubes in a paper towel. I pathetically dabbed it around my face and waited for the doctor. I had no idea how I got here, or how long I’d been out. I noticed a short stature Vietnamese man pacing in the hallway outside. Possibly the man who hit me and carried me to this facility? I will never know for sure?
Finally the MD came and thankfully spoke just enough english to place a call to my husband. I still had my wallet on a string around my waist and just a few days prior my husband had given me a card with his cell phone number on it. I wasn’t going to let them do anything to me until Stephen was there.
My husband and kids arrived on a bike (no helmets) a little bit later. The hospital was just a makeshift clinic on the site of an abandoned hospital ward.
The receptionist at our guesthouse was contacted and she stepped in, helping us to communicate with the Vietnamese speaking staff. Concerned that her uncle had died in this very same clinic, and realizing I needed a higher level of care she had her uncle personally transport me to the “Hoan My Danang international hospital” 30 minutes away.
A view from outside Hoan My Hospital Da Nang (not exactly like the website)
In Vietnam there are no ambulances and no rush procedures for head injuries to rule out life threatening conditions (like slowly developing intracranial bleeds). These are things we take for granted in the West. My husband and I are both in the medical field and if I was in the states, I would have been on a backboard, stabilized and placed immediately into a CT scanner. No neuro checks where ever done throughout my stay in Vietnam. I am not complaining, it is just the way it is in the second world, had it been more than cosmetic I probably we wouldn’t be here today to write this testimonial.
Thank goodness grandpa Duke was there so the kids were with family and my husband could be by my side.
The following 48 hours was a blur. After arriving in Danang we were taken to the emergency room where our kind hostel owner once again translated to the medical staff. I was sutured up and sent for a CT scan of my head. My clothes were covered in blood and my face was half a pancake, it wasn’t my best day by any means.
My husband was scheduled to meet with an English-speaking hospital nurse coordinator who was in charge of working with foreign insurances and arranging emergency medical evacuations.
One call to World Nomads started the ball rolling and by Sunday 3am I was on an all expenses paid private jet with two nurses headed to Bangkok Bumrungrad hospital for care.
The World Nomads coordinator was our voice of reason, they stayed on the line with us for hours and worked with my husband and our family back home to get the care I needed. They arranged for and covered the full cost of my emergency transport from Vietnam to Bangkok Thailand which was well over $20,000 US.
I was going to need facial reconstructive surgery, something beyond the scope and level of care available in Vietnam. As part of our World Nomads trip insurance we were covered for emergency air transport to the closest US comparable healthcare facility. All possible scenarios were played out as to where they would take me.
Due to the costs of healthcare in the US, if we went back to the states; our travelinsurance would possibly not cover the surgical procedures I needed. As most US citizens know, this would have certainly spelled bankruptcy.
As long as we stayed overseas our World Nomads Insurance would cover everything. And because of this we were transferred to Bangkok where I was admitted to a truly state of the art, world-class medical facility.
My husband, kids and father-in law met up with me in Bangkok a day later, flights all covered and paid for by our World Nomads evacuation insurance.
We never did see a bill for the evacuation.
Fix her up her
I sustained eight facial fractures and required major plastic surgery in Bangkok along with some much-needed dental work. I had a truly world-class team of plastic and oral surgeons.
Now, months later, to the casual observer, you would never know what happened.
My parents met us in Bangkok to help with the kids and assist with my recovery – a God Send! Thanks to many phone calls from my husband, both sets of parents, a hometown Vietnamese translator friend in Stockton, an amazing group at the Starfruit Homestay, and many hours of persistent people in my life; I am healthy and alive today.
We had to charge all the hospital bills on credit card, so make sure you travel with a lot of credit! We kept all the receipts and filled out all the paperwork through World Nomads easy to navigate online portal. We sent pictures and PDF copies of our receipts.
Within 60 days after the accident we were reimbursed the roughly $30,000 in expenses. About a month of recovery in Bangkok and we were ready to continue with our travels.
World Nomads covered our families hotel stays, reimbursed all our associated travel and out of pocket expenses without any hassle.
My advice to anyone who is pondering whether or not to get travel insurance, think no more. You can’t afford not to; especially as a U.S. citizen.
The Day after my surgery
Getting much needed dental care
Can you spot the 8 fractures
A room with a view
Our kids were real troopers
Our hotel stays during recovery were also covered
Our kids giving mom a tour
Even the food was covered by our trip insurance
The amazing staff at the Starfruit Homestay!
Right after surgery
World nomads put us up in a beautiful apartment for 2 weeks after the surgery
Purchasing Long-Term Family Trip and Health Insurance
$1,200 to cover the entire family with the top of the line plan for 6 months!
It is cheaper if you purchase your plan in 6 months increments and extend as needed.
$100,000 of medical coverage is included per person and is more than enough outside the United States. After reviewing our bills, my surgery alone would have cost over $100,000 in the US not including hospital stays, ER visits and tests.
The emergency transport from Vietnam via Cessna cost over $20,000 – fully paid for by World Nomads.
They covered the cost of my family’s hotel stays, food and our rental apartment in Bangkok where we stayed for 3 weeks during my recovery.
World Nomads was our only insurance while traveling. We even used it for minor events and it was so easy. From a $75 office visit to the doctor for my son in Australia, a $400 dent in a rental car in South Africa, a $40 ear cleaning in Thailand and a $30,000 moped accident in Vietnam; World Nomads was there.
As an American citizen I have lived my entire life fighting insurance companies who run away when I have needed them the most. This entire experience left me knowing how insurance should really work. If this happened to me in the United States, I know I would still be dealing with bills and paperwork a year later. World Nomads gave us the gift of being there when we needed them the most and the confidence to move on with our travels.
It was easy to send claims via email and tracking the progress of claims was simple. Support was always a phone call or email away.
An accident of a lifetime didn’t ruin the trip of a lifetime.
Why buy travel insurance from World Nomads?
Backed by specialist insurers and global assistance partners that will cover your entire family under a single policy that covers your body and your baggage.
Extend and claim online while travelling, they are available by phone 24/7, they will hold your hand in your time of need. When you are overseas, you or a family member or your child is sick it is an extremely scary time, they were amazing and supportive and treated us like family!