Travel insurance is purchased to reduce the risks associated with travel. There is confusion, and even skepticism, surrounding travel insurance. Here are some answers to some common travel insurance questions.
What is travel insurance?
Travel Insurance is a contract between a travel insurance provider and a traveler who has financial interest in lessening risks associated with travel. A premium is paid in exchange for coverage for things like unexpected medical costs, flight delays, cancellations, evacuations, and emergency assistance. Depending on which plan you choose, coverage will vary.
Is It Just a Version of Health Insurance?
No. Routine doctor’s visits, medical tourism, prescription refills and standard health assessments are not covered within travel insurance plan benefits. An added benefit to travel insurance, however, is it can offer emergency medical and dental treatment during your trip without the strict network limitations of several PPO and HMO plans.
I Am Already Being Treated For An Illness. Will I Be Covered?
Possibly. Most companies offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions but have eligibility requirements. This coverage usually requires purchase at deposit or with 7-21 days from the date you made the first payment on your trip. Additionally, your doctor must have cleared you to travel at the time you purchased your policy. Many policies offered by cruise lines, tour operators, and airlines do not cover pre-existing medical conditions.
Do Pre-Existing Conditions Apply to Non-Traveling Family Members?
It depends on the company and plan you choose. There are travel insurance companies that apply pre-existing conditions to policyholders and traveling companions. In contrast, you have to have pre-existing conditions waived for some plans and others will not cover you for the pre-existing conditions of your non-traveling family members. Read the plan carefully before purchasing.
My Credit Card Says They Offer Travel Insurance. Isn’t That All I Need?
Not unless you carry an American Express Centurion card. The truth is, even the best credit cards over limited coverage but may have low benefit limits and as long list of exclusions leaving you with a costly bill of things you could have been covered for otherwise.
What Are the Different Kinds of Travel Insurance?
There are two main types of travel insurance: medical only and packaged plans, or comprehensive travel insurance. Both have long-term and short-term travel options. The type of plan you choose will depend on your needs. Medical only plans cover necessary medical care, medical evacuations, and sometimes, repatriation. Return dates are not always set, so the option for renewal works out for expatriates or student travelers living overseas. Packaged plans offer coverage for you, your things, and your travel investment. Necessary medical costs are usually covered, along with medical evacuations, non-medical evacuations, flight delays, cancellation, and lost or stolen baggage.
What is Not Covered by Travel Insurance?
Exclusions are defined with the travel insurance plans and are always predetermined so reading of the plan is very important prior to purchase. Here are typical exclusions: an act of war; riding or driving races, or speed or endurance competitions or events; participating in a professional stunt; being intoxicated or under the influence of any controlled substance, unless as administered by a legally qualified physician. Travel insurance policy exclusions vary by plan, but travel insurance companies agree that: anything foreseen is not covered. You cannot buy coverage for a hurricane that is already named or a terrorist incident that happened yesterday.
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