Is it necessary for Ukrainians to take out insurance to avoid war abroad?
Taking out insurance before going abroad was a mandatory element of travel preparation before full-scale war. But when Russia invaded Ukraine, and thousands of people were waiting at the checkpoints for departure, few people thought about insurance: most people took only the most necessary things, and then only if there was such an opportunity.
Recently, a number of countries announced that health insurance for Ukrainians with temporary protection becomes paid.
Where to take out insurance: in Ukraine or abroad
Most EU countries, along with temporary protection, provide Ukrainians with access to free medicine. But it is important for refugees to remember that the validity period of such insurance is limited. For example, in the summer, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic already limited the terms of insurance - now they require Ukrainians to pay for insurance at their own expense, while previously these costs were covered from the budget.
After arriving in one or another country, medical expenses are covered by the state for a while, but then you have to buy insurance at your own expense. In each country, this period is different, said Lesya Shcherbakova, head of the board of SC "Providna".
"Medical insurance for refugees from Ukraine abroad is most often given for 5 months from the moment they arrive in the country. For example, if a family moved to one of the EU countries in March, then their insurance expired in July. That is, if people went to Europe even at the beginning of the war, you definitely need to check how much insurance is valid in the country you moved to. You can definitely buy health insurance without any problems while staying in any country. This can be done remotely in a few clicks", - she explains.
Currently, most of those who go abroad during the war and buy insurance in Ukraine are those who cross the border for work. Also, participants of excursion tours and individual tourists take insurance in advance before departure, Shcherbakova adds.
If you are going abroad to get temporary protection there, it is difficult to say with certainty in which country a person may end up. It is better to leave, decide which country you will be in and what the insurance conditions are in that country, advises Marina Semenova, candidate of legal sciences, lawyer of the Law Firm "Semenova & Partners Law Firm".
"This, firstly, will give an opportunity to compare the prices and conditions of different European insurance companies and Ukrainian ones. Second, some European insurance companies provide free insurance policies for a certain time or discounts for Ukrainians. If it turns out that the cost of insurance for you is more acceptable at a Ukrainian company, you can issue a policy remotely on the Internet", - she emphasized.
For example, it is easiest to order an OSCPV policy on the website of the selected insurance company and fill out the form there. The insurance company will calculate the cost of the policy. After payment, the policy will be registered in the MTSBU database (Motor Transport Insurance Bureau of Ukraine - the only association of insurers that provide mandatory civil liability insurance - ed.).
"The insured will be able to check the validity of the policy on the website using the link. The policy can also be obtained by contacting the insurance company directly or by e-mail in the form of a PDF file", - adds the specialist.
She notes that the cost of insurance in Ukraine is lower than in other countries.
Calling an ambulance - 800 euros. Why take out insurance?
Medical insurance is a service that guarantees the insured person medical care and coverage of related expenses in case of need, Anton Taranenko, head of the board of Visit Ukraine, told RBC-Ukraine.
According to him, insurance abroad is needed at least because the cost of medical services, both when it is necessary to consult a doctor and when hospitalized, is many times more expensive than the cost of insurance.
"In most countries of the world, medical care is provided to non-residents on a paid basis. For example, in Norway, an appointment with a family doctor for uninsured persons will cost from 20 euros, an appointment with a specialist doctor in the Czech Republic will cost from 30 euros. A day's stay in a hospital in Germany is about 125 euros. And calling an ambulance in Switzerland if you don't have an insurance policy can cost 800 euros. So, even minor health problems if you don't have insurance can be expensive. In many countries, medicines are sold only by prescription at the pharmacy, and to get it you need to consult a doctor", - he notes.
Many Ukrainians who went abroad because of the war obtained temporary protection in Europe and, accordingly, got access to free medicine. However, in reality, free medicine in Europe is different from Ukrainian, and the level of service is often lower than what Ukrainians are used to receiving at home, the expert says.
"One of the most common problems is queues. And queues do not mean sitting for several hours under the office. If you decide to use public medicine in a European hospital, be prepared that you can get to a doctor in several weeks, or even months", - notes Taranenko.
"Green card" has become more expensive: what you need to know
Drivers traveling abroad by car should not forget about the "Green Card" — a system of insurance protection for victims of road accidents, regardless of their country of residence and country of vehicle registration. Since July 26 of this year, the price of such insurance has increased by 26.3%: the Motor (Transport) Insurance Bureau of Ukraine has introduced new tariffs for such policies.
According to the MTSBU, the cost of the "Green Card" in Ukraine for 15 days for trips in Europe for passenger cars is increased to UAH 913 (previously - UAH 723), for buses - to UAH 3,429,000 (UAH 2,715,000), for trucks - up to UAH 2,153,000. (1,705 thousand hryvnias). The cost of a Green Card for one month for passenger cars is UAH 1,453,000 (previously: UAH 1,150,000), buses – UAH 4,763,000 (UAH 3,772,000), trucks – UAH 2,858,000 (UAH 2,263,000).
From February 24, Ukrainians had the right to cross the borders of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova in their own cars without a "green card", lawyer Maryna Semenova reminds:
"Currently, the National Bank recommends citizens of Ukraine traveling abroad in their own cars to purchase a Green Card policy, because on April 28, 2022, the regulator received information from foreign partners that this policy will be required when crossing the border with Poland. This is the practice will obviously be extended to the borders with other countries as well. It is not necessary that the presence of a "Green Card" will be checked when crossing the border. But it is probably advisable to issue it for a certain period (the minimum period for which the policy is issued is 15 days)".
Does insurance work during war, and how are funds reimbursed?
During the war, many refugees worry about whether reimbursement really works if a Ukrainian has an insurance claim abroad. Lawyer Maryna Semenova assures that it is quite possible to receive compensation. According to her, Ukrainian insurance companies face insurance events every day. Most often these are CASCO contracts.
"If an insurance event has occurred, the client registers it on the company's hotline and with the local police, then contacts the service center in Europe so that they can assess the damage. Next, Ukrainian specialists compare the bill with the cost of services in Ukraine and make a payment.
Recently, one of the Ukrainian clients of the insurance company not only received compensation, but also decided to carry out repairs not in the EU country, but in Ukraine. Ukrainian insurance helped him drive the car to Ukraine and repair it with the help of Ukrainian specialists at a service station", - she emphasized.
In terms of payments in the event of an insurance event during the wars, nothing has changed in particular - they are calculated in the presence of all the evidence, confirms the chairman of the board of SC "Providna":
"What's more, now this procedure can be completed even easier. If you used to have to come to Ukraine and bring original documents, now it is not necessary to do so in order to receive compensation. During the war, we pay money directly to the hryvnia card, even if the person is not in Ukraine", - said Shcherbakova.
In addition, now the size of the insurance payment under insurance contracts has increased, Semenova adds:
"Payments for property damage are set at UAH 160,000.00 instead of UAH 130,000.00. Payments for damage to the health and life of the victims are UAH 320,000.00 instead of UAH 260,000.00. Also, the maximum payment amount for damage caused to property, in case of execution of the European Protocol, it will increase from UAH 50,000.00 to UAH 80,000.00".
If the insured person follows the rules of applying to the insurance company in the event of an insured event, the insurance company takes care of all organizational and financial issues.
"We have not received a single complaint from clients that someone was denied help or insurance payment. Among the most frequent insurance cases, we can single out domestic injuries, as well as children's viral and infectious diseases", - Anton Taranenko emphasizes.
When are payments not compensated?
As a rule, according to the terms of the contract, the insurance pays for medical care services independently, explains Visit Ukraine. But there are cases when the traveler does it at his own expense. If you had to spend your own money, you need to apply for reimbursement. They are compensated only if they have been agreed by the assistance company abroad:
"After returning to Ukraine, the traveler must contact the insurance company where the policy was issued. Write a statement about the occurrence of an insurance event and a request for compensation. Documents confirming expenses must also be attached to the statement - medical prescriptions, receipts from pharmacies, bills from clinics".
Of course, it happens that the costs are not compensated. Visit Ukraine lists the main reasons why this can happen:
• violation of the procedure for notification of an insurance event;
• the insurance event is not included in the list of those that can be compensated according to the contract;
• the client was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the insured event;
• the person received injuries due to force majeure - war, participation in events not recommended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine;
• the person has an exacerbation of a chronic disease that he had before the occurrence of the insured event.
Therefore, an insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside of Ukraine. To protect yourself from troubles abroad and to be calm for yourself and your loved ones, Visit Ukraine recommends not to delay and take out medical insurance online. To do this, follow the link and select the category Medical insurance.
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