So what happens if you or a loved one kicks the bucket while fulfilling the bucket list?
Every day people leave home to go on their dream vacation. For some this may be a cruise, for others it may be a camping adventure and for many it may be as simple as going to stay with a friend or family member who lives out-of-town. It doesn’t matter the “where” a person goes when the leave their home, the reality is for all if us, is that each time we leave house, we are at risk of dying away from home, even if you leave to go to work. In short – it’s not a matter of “if” we die, it’s just a matter of when. There is no crystal ball, no born on date, just a matter of destiny. The intent of this conversation is to let people know what to do if an unexpected death happens out of town, state or even the country.
If death did not happen in an emergency room or at an accident scene, the very first thing you should do, is notify the authorities! Why? They will want to rule out any foul play. Once 911 is contacted, you should expect to see the police arrive. The police will then call the medical examiner who will come out to your location of death. Do not be surprised if they request an autopsy as this is a standard operating procedure. At this point, the medical examiner will ask you who they should contact for the care of your loved one. Here is where people need to remember to respond and NOT react! At all costs, do not contact a funeral home where you are vacationing. Reason being, it will cost you more money. What you will want to tell the medical examiner is to have your loved one released to your local funeral back home where you live. You will then also want to reach out and contact that funeral home personally to let them know to expect a call from the medical examiner. By keeping calm and remembering to “begin with the end location in mind” you will reduce your transportation expenses significantly.
Most funeral homes have a working network of funeral professionals whose sole focus is to make removals, embalm, assist with cremations when necessary and even transport the deceased to the airport for their flight home. For lack of a better term a non-retail cost is charged out of professional courtesy.
What people should consider but rarely do is purchasing a travel plan from their funeral home, especially if they are frequent cruise line vacationers or international travelers. When a person dies out of the country – even if it’s in Canada, the embassies need to be involved, along with the authorities. Depending on the country, there may be additional costs involved on top of the costs referenced above and the funeral itself. This can and does get expensive. Typical travel plans cost in the neighborhood of $295, which in today’s world is less than a round trip airline ticket. It provides protection for the “what if”, however you need to understand it is non-refundable. The coverage for a plan like this begins after a person is 101 miles from their legal residence. Snowbirds often take advantage of these types of programs.
In closing, if are an avid traveler, participate in sports or high risk sports events, rather than even consider funeral planning, you may want to look into a travel plan. This way, if you are young and have some form of life insurance through work, you can have the added protection of knowing that if the unforeseen happened while on that dream vacation someplace warm parasailing, your family won’t have to go broke trying to bring you back home!