Long flights tend to get a bad rep. Use these 10 tips to help you survive your next international flight, but don't leave without getting travel insurance! Contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com to find the best plan for you, your family, or group.


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  MHG Travel Infographic

Tips to Survive Your Next International Flight

passport laying on top of a world mapAre you tired of having to turn down vacation invitations from friends and family because you don’t have a passport? It’s time to get a valid passport so that you can live your life to the fullest. The world is a big place, and not being able to leave your home country because you don’t have proper documentation should no longer be keeping you from seeing and visiting every location you have dreamed of. Having a passport is becoming a necessity more and more. For one, you used to be able to go on a cruise without a passport as long as you had valid identification, but that is no longer enough in today’s world. So follow these steps to help get you on your way to getting a valid United States passport, and get you one step closer to seeing the world!


1. Gather the proper documentation 

In order to apply for a U.S. passport, you will need to have the proper documentation: proof of citizenship and proof of identity. There are many forms you can use to prove both of these. To prove citizenship, you can use expired passports, a birth certificate for those born in the United States, or a Certificate of Citizenship for those born outside the U.S. To prove your identity, you can use expired passports, driver’s license, military ID, or other identification items that include your photo and signature.

2. Take a passport photo

A passport photo is different than a normal photograph. To make things easy, many drug stores or places that process photos can take them for you for a small fee. And I know what you are thinking, no “selfies” allowed.

3. Fill out appropriate forms

There are forms that you will have to fill out, and for most people that form is a DS-11 form. You can find this form online, print it out, and fill it in. Or you can fill it out in person when you go to the local passport authority.

4. Submit documentation and forms in person

For those that are applying for their first passport, you will have to apply in-person. You can apply at your local passport authority including most city halls, public libraries, and post offices. For those that are renewing their passport, in most cases it can be done through mail.

5. Pay the fee

A first time passport for a U.S. adult is $135. It is less money if you are renewing a passport, $110. A first time passport for a minor (under age 16) is $115.

Tips

It is important to note that you should apply for a passport well in advance of your travel arrangements. The process can take a couple of months, so plan accordingly. Also, it is a good idea to keep track of your application status online by visiting the official website. The reason being is that you only have 90 days from the application date in order to report that your passport has not arrived. Otherwise you will need to go through the entire application process again.

We wish you safe travels along your journey. If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance, or have any questions or concerns, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance brokers have the experience to assist you in selecting the right plan for you and/or your family for the best value. 

How to Apply for a U.S. Passport?

Doctor holding a clipboard asking a patient questionsHave you ever heard the saying, “You can learn the easy way, or the hard way!” Many say the best way to learn is through experiencing something that will have an impact on you, whether you personally experienced it, or someone close to you did. The important part is that whatever the impact was, it will motivate you to make the right decision. It could have been something bad that made you never want to go through that again, or something good that made you want to have the same result. The following is a case study of two different scenarios of clients who are experiencing the same issue. Both scenarios are handled in different ways, resulting in different outcomes.  


Scenario A

A client who takes a proactive approach to their health went in for their regularly scheduled ENG. During the screening portion of the physical, the doctor discovered a potentially harmful bacteria. Due to this client’s proactive nature of maintaining their health, the bacteria was caught before it had done any damage and they were able to have successful treatment with antibiotics.

Scenario B

A client who doesn’t like to go to the doctor decided to skip their regularly scheduled ENG because the yacht they were on did not have it as a requirement. Several weeks later, they began experiencing stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting. They didn’t think much of the symptoms they were experiencing, attributing it to a stomach bug. A couple weeks went by and the symptoms continued to get worse. At this point, the client decided it was time to go to the hospital, where doctors discovered a developing stomach ulcer, caused by Helicobacter pylori.

The Diagnosis 

Both clients had the same issue, an infection of Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers as well as stomach cancer. Much like Herpes, it is present in many people, 85% of people to be exact, and can go an entire lifetime without causing any issues. Our client from Scenario A was able to notice the infection early enough and have it treated before any symptoms presented themselves. Our client form Scenario B had a different fate that may have been avoided if they had their regular physical exam.

The Cure 

Going to the doctor can be a hassle, especially for a yacht crew member who may rarely be onshore to do so. However, getting your check-up is important to decide your overall health, as well as to detect any issues early enough so that something can be done proactively. Get a routine physical each year, even if your yacht doesn’t require you to do so. Otherwise it may be too late by the time you find out you are having an issue, even if you don’t have any symptoms. Having good medical insurance is crucial too because if any issues do arise, you may need costly medical treatment.

MHG is your specialized broker when it comes to crew insurance. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to find the policy that works best for you. If you are interested in purchasing, or have any questions about yacht crew insurance or travel insurance, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com.

Yacht Crew Case Study: Regular Screenings and Physicals Can Be Life Saving

yacht sailing leaving shoreCaptain: “Is everyone ready to set sail?” If you are a member of a yacht crew, hopefully you will never have to think twice about whether or not you are ready to leave shore. Don’t find yourself in a situation where you forget something, or aren’t fully prepared to be at sea for an extended period of time. Follow our list to assist you when preparing for the next time you leave shore.


1. Passport

It is important to confirm that your passport is valid before leaving shore. Not only does it have to be valid on the dates for which you are expected to visit another country, but in some cases there are countries that require your passport to be valid long after you are expected to be there. This may be because they want you to be prepared for the unexpected. For example, if you are stranded and must stay longer than originally expected, there will be no worries about whether your passport has expired.

2. Immunizations & Local Health Hazards 

Make sure all of your immunizations and vaccines are up to date. While you may know where you are headed, it is common for yachts to make unexpected stops. So it is a good idea to be updated with the vaccines of the entire area you are going to. Also, research and prepare for any medical conditions, viruses, etc. that are prevalent in the area. For example, the Chikungunya Virus which is spread by mosquitoes is spreading throughout the Caribbean. If you will be in that area, be sure to heave plenty of mosquito repellent, and wear the necessary protective clothing.

3. Locations

There is a chance that you will be heading to a place that you have never been to before. Do your research, and try to become familiar with the location. Learn any major roads or landmarks that can help you navigate the area. Know where medical facilities are located. Also, your guests may ask you for some assistance with directions, or advice on any activities and excursions that the location has to offer.

4. Emergencies 

Familiarizing yourself with the emergency procedures of certain situations is always a good idea before leaving shore. Even more so if this is your first trip, or have recently switched vessels. Different yachts can have different procedures and rules, so prepare yourself for any unexpected issues that may arise.

5. Insurance 

Even though this is the last thing on our list, it is the most important! Having the right health insurance coverage is critical when abroad. Anything can happen no matter where you are in the world, so having the proper coverage can be the difference between financial peace of mind, and financial disaster. There are many yacht owners who have the entire crew under one plan, however if you are required to find your own insurance, don’t hesitate to give us a call! 

MHG is your specialized broker when it comes to crew insurance. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to find the policy that works best for you. If you are interested in purchasing, or have any questions about yacht crew insurance or travel insurance, or would like some advice, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com

5 Things for Yacht Crew to Complete Before Leaving Shore

couple reviewing life insurance claim paperworkLosing a loved one is a reality that we all dread. No one wants to get that phone call that forces them to begin the grieving process. With so many things crossing your mind, the last thing you may want to be thinking about is what the next step is in order to receive a death benefit from the deceased’s life insurance. Yet, there is a process you must go through to attain the payout which may help you when it comes to funeral costs, paying the bills, or putting money away for the kids. 


Where Do I Start?

Locate the policy for specific information about who to contact. It’s a good idea to keep the policies in a place that is easy to find. Once located, contact the insurance company and they should assign an agent to assist you through the steps you need to take in order to submit the claim. If life insurance was provided as a benefit from his or her employer, then contact the employer for the information. The policy will also tell you how much you can expect to be paid.

What Information Will I Need?

You will need to obtain the death certificate as well as any other necessary documents. All documents must be originals or notarized copies. Once all the paperwork is filled out and the documents are sent in, the insurance company will begin to process your claim.

How Long Can it Take to Process? 

Generally, the processing time is quick. Companies want to help those in need as quickly as they can. However, if any of the forms are not filled out correctly or the documentation is wrong, the claims process can turn into a lengthy one.

Are There Different Collection Options? 

There are different ways to collect the benefit. You can receive it in a lump sum, receive it in installments, or leave it to collect interest. Keep in mind that all payouts will be tax free. So if you are trying to avoid paying higher taxes by not selecting to receive the payout in a lump sum, it’s not necessary because you will receive the entire amount.

Can My Claim Be Denied? 

If the insurance company discovers that you were withholding information about a medical condition, there is a good chance your claim will be denied. That’s why it is crucial for you to disclose all information when buying the policy. Also, the insurance company can deny your claim based on the manner of death by the insured. Policies have a list of scenarios that will explain what can get your claim denied, so read the policy and follow directions! If you suspect that the deceased had a life insurance policy, but are unsure, contact the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI). For a fee, they will investigate and try to locate the policy.

If you are interested in purchasing life insurance, or have any questions about your policy, or which policy would be best for you and your family, contact us at 954-828-1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. We have the insurance specialists to assist and advise you on the best coverage for you and your loved ones at every stage of life.

How to File a Life Insurance Claim

retireDoesn’t it seem like whenever you visit some beautiful place, you never want to leave. Well, depending on the terms. I’m pretty sure that Tom Hanks couldn’t wait to get off that island in Cast Away. But if you are on holiday somewhere in the Caribbean, it’s not too hard to envision yourself calling that place “home” and truly “living the life.” That may be why it is becoming more and more popular for people to retire, and move to their dream destination to live out their golden years. But before you jump on that plane, there are some things you need to get squared away. 


Social Security and Other Retirement Funds 

If you lived and worked in the United States and are looking to retire abroad, your Social Security should follow you wherever you go. Also, your 401k, IRA, or any other retirement savings plan you may have administered during your working career should be available to you. However, you may have to get an account at a bank in your new country, or an international one.

Government Sponsored Health Care 

Unlike your Social Security, Medicare (or your countries equivalent) will not follow you to your new country. However, the good news is that in many cases, being a resident in your new country can make you eligible for its government sponsored health care plan. Also, most of the developed countries around the world have Universal Health Care systems, which can be better than what is offered in the U.S. The only con is that it can take a long time to get an appointment or see a doctor.

Insurance Options Local Health Insurance: Domestic health insurance won’t follow you to another country. And if it does, it will only offer a fraction of the coverage that it would have offered back home. So it would only make sense to keep your domestic plan if you planned on traveling back and forth to receive any medical services. In most countries, the local health insurance that is available is much like the one you may have had back home. Including a provider network that lets you know which doctors or hospitals the carrier will provide coverage for. One drawback to having a local plan is that in some cases, they will not write a new policy for you after the age of 63.

No Health Insurance: You have the option of having no insurance coverage at all. Thus meaning you would have to pay cash for everything. If you live in the Unites States, this may seem like a crazy idea given the fact that health care costs can be more than twice as much as other countries. But, even with costs in other countries being lower, this still may not be the smartest option.

International Health Insurance: International health insurance, also known as expatriate insurance, is essentially the same as your domestic health insurance, with coverage all around the world. So you would have coverage whether you are in your new home, or visiting your old one. This may be the best option of health insurance for most people that are retiring abroad. Especially for those who are over the age of 63 and cannot purchase a new local health insurance. 

Moving to a new country, no matter what stage in life can be an exhilarating experience. With so many tasks to complete in order to prepare yourself, it can be easy to forget some items. If you are interested in purchasing an international medical insurance plan, also known as expatriate insurance, please contact our insurance specialists at 1 954-828-1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. We have an office full of expats, and others who have re-located, who can assist you and advise you about all the necessary steps to take when selecting the proper insurance for you or your family.

Want to Retire Overseas? What You Need to Know

United StatesLand of the free, home of the vacation? Visiting the United States is a great way to spend a vacation. The country has so much to offer, from amusement parks like Disney World, to big cities like New York City and Los Angeles, breathtaking natural sites such as the Grand Canyon, even tropical beaches in South Florida! There is something to do, no matter what type of vacation you are looking to go on. That may be the reason why the U.S. is the second most visited country in the world behind only France. With so many people traveling to the U.S, people are bound to have accidents, get sick, etc. So if a trip to the United States is in your future, here are 5 reasons to make sure you have sufficient health insurance coverage during your travels. 


The High Cost of Medical Care

There are places around the world that have government sponsored, affordable or free healthcare. While the U.S. has recently attained a government sponsored healthcare system, many would argue that it is anything but affordable for those who don’t have coverage. So whatever health care plan you have in your home country, likely will not work in the U.S. But better to be safe than sorry, and up with a medical bill that’s a few thousand dollars. For example, accidents happen, and you unfortunately fell and broke your leg while walking down the stairs of your hotel. The total cost of treatment could be as high as $2,500 without health insurance coverage. And if surgery is required, you’re looking at a total cost that could be over $15,000.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment 

Accidental Death and Dismemberment is essentially a fancy way of saying life insurance. You go through the similar process in selecting a beneficiary to receive a benefit in the event of your death or dismembering injury. No matter where you are traveling, it is a good idea to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event something happens to you.

Medical Evacuation/Repatriation 

Even though the United States has some of the best medical facilities in the world, it is possible that you may need to be medically evacuated to your home country in the event of a serious injury. Being medically evacuated from the U.S. can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think that is a good enough reason to make sure you’re covered. Also, in the event you pass away on your trip, repatriation should cover or assist in the returning of your remains to your home country. Otherwise, your family could be left to foot the bill of transporting your remains back home, which could be quite expensive.

24/7 Assistance 

While visiting a foreign country can be one of life’s greatest adventures, it can also be a scary and stressful one. Especially when visiting a country as large as the United States of America. That being said, many travel insurance companies offer a 24/7 hotline that you can call in the event something has happened to you, you’re lost, or help with any travel details. This can be even more helpful if the language spoken in the country you are visiting isn’t the same as your native tongue. 

There are fewer experiences that can be as fulfilling as traveling and experiencing different parts of the world. We hope that your trip is perfect, and that you never have to actually use your travel insurance. If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance, please contact our specialists at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com to help identify the right travel insurance plan for your particular situation. Have a wonderful vacation!

Going on Holiday to the U.S? The Reasons You Need Travel Insurance

British Red Ensign flag waving off the back of a yachtEver wonder why a yacht or ship had a certain flag on the back of it? Or a certain city and country under the name of the ship? No, it’s not just a flag of their favorite country, or where they are headed next. Believe it or not, those flags and countries have a significant purpose in the maritime industry. A flag state, or flag of convenience, is the state that a yacht or ship is registered or licensed under. Meaning that they have to follow the laws of that state. 


Why Do Yachts and Other Vessels Need a Flag State?

If there were no flag states, then who would regulate vessels traveling through the seas? Where would their jurisdiction begin and end? Typically, a vessel needs to be registered under a flag state for international voyages. It’s considered illegal to sail the seas without being registered, much like it is illegal to drive without a license, so think of flag states like the DMV in the United States, or the DVLA in the United Kingdom.

Why Is Choosing the Right Flag State so Important? 

Choosing the right flag state is very important. There is a reason many commercial vessels register their flags offshore. It can impact how successful you are as a business, by having to follow certain employment and tax laws and other variables that can keep money from reaching your bottom line. It can also have an impact on your liability and privacy. This is why it is typical for many vessels to register offshore with a flag state that may be more “lenient” with certain laws, in order for them to make their business as successful as possible, or for owners to save as much money as possible.

Open Registry vs. Closed Registry

There are different types of registries, open and closed. Open registries allow vessel owners to be registered under their flag of convenience, and can staff a crew of many different nationalities. A closed registry is open only to vessels of that particular nation and must employ crew from that nation.

The Most Popular Flag States 

The most popular flag state is Panama, with almost a quarter of ocean vessels registering there. Other popular flags include Liberia, Marshall Islands, Malta, Singapore, and Hong Kong. For those that are curious, the most popular flag state for yachts is the Cayman Islands, and the most popular flag state for cruise ships is the Bahamas, with many cruise lines having their ships registered there. Part of the reason yachts and cruise ships are registered in these countries is because the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas have open registries, allowing them to hire large groups of people from around the world, while not having to follow strict employment laws, like the ones that exist in the U.S. or Europe. 

Do you work onboard a yacht or cruise ship and do you have marine crew insurance? For specific medical questions or emergencies you should always contact your insurance carrier directly. If you have any general questions about precertification, your current plan, or are interested in purchasing marine crew insurance, contact us at mhginsurance.com or call us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to assist and guide you to the best coverage for your budget.

What Is the Purpose of a Flag State?

travel insurance claimPicture it. Sun, beach, a fruity drink in hand and a cool breeze blowing your hair. You and your partner are having the best summer vacation ever, just relaxing on an exotic island in the Caribbean, a million miles away from the daily grind and stresses of life. And BOOM! Just like that you fall and twist your ankle and have to seek medical attention. Good thing you bought travel insurance! But now what? 


Be Prepared 

The best way to handle a claim, is to know your insurance policy inside and out. Knowing all of the intricacies of your policy will let you know how much time you have to contact your carrier, phone numbers to call, the coverage you have, etc. Read your policy before you go on your trip, preferably at the point of purchase.

Contact the Insurance Company ASAP 

Don’t make any assumptions when it comes to your medical coverage or the claims process. If you have an accident or become ill while you are away, contact the insurance company as soon as possible, preferably immediately. The insurance company can offer valuable travel and medical assistance services that are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They can also help you find Western-style medical facilities, medical and dental practices and pharmacies in addition to an array of other helpful services which can be a real stress reliever especially if you are in a country that you are not familiar with and where the primary language is different to your own.

Save All Documents 

When it comes time to filling out your claim form, you will be asked to provide backup documentation to substantiate the claim. Don’t worry if the documents are in a foreign language. Most international insurance companies can process claims in many different languages. Be sure to save all doctor reports, itemized bills, invoices and receipts so that when it comes time to claim, you will have all of your ducks in a row. Having the proper documents can be the difference of your claim being paid, or being denied. Keep in mind that all claims regarding illness or injury must be supported by a doctor.

Denied Claim 

You filled out and submitted your claim form with supporting documentation in a timely fashion and you just got the bad news that your claim has been denied. Understandably you are probably upset but instead of venting about it, file an appeal. You will be asked to write a letter as to why you think your claim should be covered and potentially may have to provide additional documentation to support your claim. The appeal process can take up to 90 days so remain patient. A good insurance broker will be able to assist you with this.

Not sure which plan is right for you? Speak with the insurance specialists at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com to help identify the right travel insurance plan for your particular situation. Have a wonderful vacation!

How to File a Travel Insurance Claim

newlywed“If there are any objections, speak now or forever hold your peace.” “Wait they don’t have life insurance!” Hopefully you don’t find yourself in this situation, and you already have a good life insurance policy in place. However, if you don’t have life insurance, it’s something you need to start thinking about it.  After the honeymoon of course! Who knows, maybe you will say I do again... to life insurance. See what I did there?  


Protect Your Spouse

Unfortunately, death is a part of life that we all have to experience and plan for. Not all marriages are like “The Notebook” where you and your partner live into your golden years and pass away together in each other’s arms. Life insurance is designed with your loved ones in mind and plays an important role in your overall financial planning. If you have anyone depending upon you financially, you probably need Life Insurance even if you are young and healthy. For most, this financial responsibility begins when they either get married or have a baby. Have you thought how your family, or those you care about, would manage without you financially? The grieving process is hard enough, don’t let your better half also have to worry about how they will pay the bills or be able to afford the mortgage. In the event of your untimely death, you want to be reassured that your husband or wife will be financially secure in the event of your passing.

Invest in Your Future Together 

Did you know that life insurance has other benefits besides providing a benefit to your beneficiaries? Certain policies such as a Whole Life policy can act as a way to save and invest money. In most cases, a Whole Life policy has a “cash value” that is invested and can earn as high as 5% interest. The cash value is calculated based on how much money you have paid so far in premiums, and after a certain amount of time, your cash value could be worth more than you have paid! Also, with a Whole Life policy, after a certain amount of time, you can cancel the policy and get back all of the money you have paid so far, and then some!

Lower Premium 

Getting married, buying a house and having baby are life events that prompt us to buy life insurance but it’s really something you should be considering even if you have no assets or dependents. Did you know that in most life insurance policies, you have the same monthly premium for the duration of the policy? That means if you’re paying $50 a month, you will be paying the same amount for the life of the policy. Unless you increase your coverage, you are locked in to a set premium. This is important because as you get older, policies become more expensive. Typically, you can expect your premium to double every 10 years. Good enough reason to stop putting off purchasing a life insurance plan, right? 

If you are interested in purchasing life insurance, or have any questions, we’re here to help! Please contact us today at 954 828 1819 or visit mhginsurance.com. Congratulations and cheers to many years of wedded bliss!

What Newlyweds Need to Know About Life Insurance