No one wants to get sick on vacation, and an illness or injury can be one of the most devastating events that can occur while traveling.
Travel medical insurance is designed to help in these cases. It’s especially important if you’re traveling outside of the country, where your US account is. uu. the health plan may have limited or no coverage. and medicare does not cover medical care outside the us. except in very limited cases.
what is travel medical insurance?
Travel medical insurance pays for emergency medical expenses while traveling. If you are traveling and have an unexpected illness, injury, or medical condition that is covered by your travel medical insurance, the plan will reimburse you, up to plan limits.
Travel medical insurance pays “reasonable and customary” charges for bills such as:
- ambulance service
- medical bills
- hospital and operating room expenses
- X-rays, exams, treatments, lab tests, and anesthetics
- drugs and medications
- dental care, but check for special limits on dental payment, like $500
- Standalone Health Insurance Plans: These plans cover emergency medical and dental expenses you incur while traveling. however, a stand-alone medical plan does not include other travel insurance coverage, such as trip cancellation insurance or baggage coverage.
- as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan: In addition to emergency medical benefits, a comprehensive travel insurance plan may include coverage for trip cancellation, trip delay, medical evacuation emergency, lost luggage and more. it’s the best way to cover a lot of potential problems.
- Single Trip Coverage: Single trip coverage begins when you leave your home and travel to your destination(s) and ends when you return home. the plan covers you for the duration of your trip. For example, you can purchase a single travel plan for a four-week European vacation where you visit several different countries.
- Multi-Trip Coverage: Also known as annual travel insurance, it covers you for one calendar year and is good for travelers who take three or more trips per year. for example, you might take a trip to italy, come home for several weeks, then fly to germany, come home, and then take off to mexico.
- Your policy was purchased within the timeframe specified by your plan (for example, within 14 days of initial trip payment).
- You are a US resident when you purchased the policy.
- You were medically able to travel when you purchased the policy.
- on the date of purchase of the policy, you insured the full non-refundable cost of your trip with allianz global assistance. any subsequent non-refundable costs must be insured within 14 days of your purchase. if you don’t, those expenses will be excluded under the pre-existing medical condition exclusion.
- routine medical exams, such as shots or immunizations
- obesity or weight change, such as bowel bypass surgery
- organ or tissue transplants
- corrective devices and medical appliances, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses
- fractures from falls
- trauma involving motor vehicles
- breathing problems such as a collapsed lung
- cardiovascular problems such as a heart attack
- trip duration
- coverage limit and deductible
There are generally two forms of travel medical insurance:
Travel medical insurance is for medical emergencies while traveling, such as a sprained ankle while sightseeing. does not cover non-emergency or elective procedures.
“It is not designed for experimental medical treatment in a foreign country,” explains Carol Mueller, vice president of travel protection for Berkshire Hathaway. “It is designed for travelers who face medical or dental emergencies and require care and treatment during the trip.”
does travel medical insurance cover covid?
There are many travel medical plans available that include covid-related medical expenses. but since not everyone does, it’s important to check covid coverage before buying a plan if it’s a priority for you.
covid medical coverage will be within the plan’s travel medical insurance limits. can cover any medical costs associated with contracting covid during your trip, including medical bills, medications, and hospitalization.
Additional travel insurance benefits, such as travel delay insurance, may cover the additional costs of covid quarantines. For example, if you contract covid while traveling and have to extend your stay due to quarantine, your travel insurance plan may reimburse you for additional costs, assuming the plan includes covid coverage.
see forbes advisor ratings on the best travel insurance plans for a pandemic to learn more.
what are the different types of travel medical insurance policies?
When shopping for travel medical insurance, it’s important to know the difference between these types of coverage.
primary versus secondary medical coverage
Travel medical insurance can be primary or secondary coverage, depending on the plan. if it is primary, it will be paid before any other health insurance you have. If you have health insurance and purchase travel medical insurance as secondary coverage, your own health plan must pay first.
if you are traveling abroad and your home country of usa. uu. health plan does not provide coverage, a travel medical plan that is “secondary” will essentially become primary coverage due to the lack of other insurance.
single trip vs. multiple trips
How often you travel in a calendar year could be the deciding factor between these two types of coverage. here is the difference between the two.
get to a better location
You’ll also want to consider emergency medical evacuation insurance. this allows you to get to the nearest appropriate medical facility, or even return home, depending on your condition. For example, if you are on vacation in a remote part of the world, this would be essential coverage to have. medical evacuation back to the usa uu. It can cost more than $50,000, according to the US. uu. state department.
Please note the evacuation rules in your travel insurance policy. For example, some policies may pay for transportation back to the US. uu. only after you have been hospitalized for seven days following a medical emergency.
what does travel medical insurance not cover?
What a travel medical insurance plan covers and excludes will depend on the travel insurance company. here are some common exclusions.
How pre-existing conditions are covered will vary by travel insurance company, and an insurer may define a “pre-existing condition” differently than the next. Some insurance companies will look at your past medical history to determine if a condition was present for a period that could range from 90 days to a year, depending on the policy.
Travel insurance plans will generally cover pre-existing conditions, as long as you purchase your plan within a couple of weeks of making your first travel deposit. buying your plan right away allows you to get a pre-existing condition exclusion waiver. For example, Allianz Travel requires that you meet the following requirements before covering expenses due to a pre-existing medical condition:
intoxication and drug use
Travel medical insurance generally does not cover emergency medical costs due to intoxication or drug use. For example, if you get intoxicated and fall off a balcony, your travel medical insurance will not cover the cost of your injuries.
Some travel medical insurance policies will not cover expenses resulting from activities such as mountain climbing, skydiving or parasailing. If you plan to participate in activities like this, work with a travel insurance agent to compare adventure travel insurance plans to make sure your particular activities are covered.
Other typical travel medical insurance exclusions include:
Who needs travel medical insurance?
Even travelers in good health should have some form of travel medical insurance if traveling outside of the US. uu. According to Allianz Travel, the most common medical emergencies experienced by policyholders abroad include:
If you don’t have the right coverage and you get injured or sick on your trip, you’ll have to pay your medical bills out of pocket.
Senior travelers, especially, should make sure they have good medical benefits when traveling abroad, as Medicare will not provide benefits outside of the US. uu.
“if you are traveling outside of the united states, you definitely need some form of travel medical insurance. You should also watch where you’re traveling outside of the country because healthcare varies so much around the world,” says Mueller at Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.
How do I buy travel medical insurance?
Before you buy a travel insurance policy, it’s a good idea to compare quotes from several insurers. Most travel insurance companies offer free quotes on their website. You can save time by visiting an insurance comparison website that compares quotes from multiple companies.
But price shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. It’s a good idea to find a plan that also covers covid-related issues. the best travel insurance companies offer a solid range of coverage options at a fair price.
how much does travel medical insurance cost?
The average price for a stand-alone travel medical insurance policy is $92.75 per trip, according to squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider.
However, some travelers can get a basic travel medical insurance plan for as little as $2 or less per person per day of coverage.
examples of travel medical insurance costs
Please note that travel medical insurance can also be part of, or added to, a comprehensive travel plan that includes other types of coverage, such as trip cancellation insurance and trip interruption insurance. The average cost of a comprehensive travel insurance plan will vary depending on the cost of your trip, the length of the trip, the benefits of the selected plan, and your age.
read more: how to get cheap travel insurance
factors in the cost of travel medical insurance
The amount you pay for travel medical insurance depends on four main factors:
How much travel medical insurance should I have?
It’s a good idea to select a plan with enough coverage for the type of trip you’ll be taking. For example, emergency medical evacuation from a cruise ship can cost between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The most generous travel insurance plans provide $500,000 per person for emergency medical expenses and $1 million for emergency medical evacuation.
Other good plans have comprehensive medical coverage of $250,000 or $100,000 per person. and some have less, which may be enough for you. check out forbes advisor ratings on the best travel insurance.
Here are examples of travel insurance plans with coverage of at least $100,000 for medical expenses and at least $250,000 for emergency evacuation.