How do I choose a travel health insurance policy?
choose a travel health insurance policy So you break a leg hiking Machu Picchu, you get serious food poisoning and malaria. Or you get all your photographic equipment stolen in Madrid. What should you do? Should you have gotten traveler medical insurance?
Should you have kept your regular medical insurance? What is trip insurance? Today we’re going to talk about the difference between regular health insurance, travel medical insurance, and trip insurance so you can make a better decision when planning your next destination, especially if you are considering traveling for a long period of time.
who want to travel more, maybe take a gap year. If that interests you, please consider liking this video, subscribing, and hitting that bell notification so you don’t miss out on information that will help you achieve your travel dreams. And with that, let’s dive right in. So first things first. So many different most of them interchangeable.
There are ‘travelers insurance’, ‘trip insurance, ‘travel medical insurance, ‘trip health insurance. What’s the difference? They are all the same. Trip insurance or traveler insurance pretty much covers all your material possessions, and also flight cancellations. Whereas anything that has the term “health” or “medical” in it it’s the exact same thing; however, it has a medical or health provision to it that covers diseases or trips to the local hospital wherever you are.
So, one of the most common questions is: Does traveler medical insurance replace health insurance? And the answer is ‘no’. One does not replace the other, in fact, one is a complement of the other. And they both cover different angles, however, at some point, some of those angles will overlap. And that’s going to be your job to identify what your regular health insurance covers, what it doesn’t cover (while you’re traveling) and then, get enough coverage through your travel health insurance to fill the gaps that your regular health insurance doesn’t cover.
Things to watch out for before buying an international travel insurance policy
So we’re gonna go through all the parameters, but it’s definitively very important to understand that there are certain provisions, certain riders that you have to be aware of. For example evacuation. That could be under the regular health insurance or it could be under traveler medical insurance.
So, that’s why it’s very important to understand what you’re covered under one and not covered under the other one. So for example, let’s just say you are traveling in Asia, all of a sudden you feel very ill, and then you go to the local hospital where they treat you temporarily but realize that there’s an emergency surgery that they have to perform and for that, you need to be evacuated back home, back to the United States, for example.
And so let’s dissect each and every one of them to see which health insurance covers what. So, from the moment that you felt ill in Asia and you were taken to the local hospital: that should be covered by your travel health insurance. Now, the evacuation itself, okay, normally that is covered by your travel health insurance should you buy the provision for it, so be aware of that.
And then once you arrive back home, let’s just say the United States, that is where your health insurance (your regular health insurance) kicks in. So you are taken to the hospital for that emergency surgery and that is, of course, covered by your regular health insurance. So that is the relation between one and the other.
International travel insurance (COVID-19 Hospitalization Covered*)
Now, one aspect that is most definitively very important for you to discuss with your regular health insurance and also with your regular health insurance is vaccinations. I talk all about vaccinations and the reason that I bring that up is because some traveler health insurances are not gonna cover your trip to a local hospital, wherever you are, in Asia, or wherever if you fall ill with a disease that could have been prevented should you have gotten a vaccine for it so, be aware of that and always you know, talk to your health insurance, regular and the travel health insurance to understand what one covers or does not cover.
So what is ‘trip insurance’ or ‘traveler insurance’? That is the type of coverage that doesn’t have the medical or the health provision in it. It covers all your material possessions, for example, you are a digital nomad traveling abroad for an extended period of time you are a photographer, and all your photographic equipment gets stolen or you lose your laptop, etc so trip insurance covers all that along with flight cancellations whether it’s the airline’s fault or weather-related or something came up on the end that prevented you from being able to take that flight.
One exception is a “force majeure” or “act of God”. and not to be religious, actually that is the legal term for things that are unforeseeable in nature and it doesn’t allow for one party to fulfill the contract. For example, in this case, for COVID-19 since it was considered a pandemic ‘pandemic’ is an “act of God” in the sense that is “Force Majeure” and therefore it’s not covered in a situation of a flight cancellation that your trip insurance is able to cover, so be mindful of that.
So how much coverage do you actually need under a travel health insurance policy? That is going to be such a personal decision because it’s going to be dependent upon so many factors that only you have the answer to. So you have to determine what is important to you.
For example, what are your budget, where are you planning on traveling to, for how long are you planning on staying Do you have expensive equipment that you have to make sure that you cover? Maybe you know you’re carrying your laptop with you, or you have very expensive photographic equipment or maybe, you have an underlying health situation that you have to make sure that you are covered for that as well.
Duration of policy
So probably the best way is going to be for us to look at a sample of a policy so you can at least see all the parameters that are available for you to pick and choose. So, for that, I’m going to SevenCorners.com Seven Corners is just one of the very many travel health insurance companies available There is also Allianz, there is also World Nomads I’m not affiliated with any of them If you do a lookup you’ll find very many companies that you can do research.
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So I’m going to leave a link on the description below and SevenCorners.com I’ve used them in the past and the first question is ‘where I live?’ so my answer is going to be ‘I live in the US and I am traveling internationally, so I’m going to click on that and then I have other options as far as what type of coverage I need.
Be aware of what your policy doesn’t cover
Options are trip protection or medical plan I’m going to choose frequent traveler because I’m looking to get coverage for my year of backpacking that I’m going to do and I’m going to go ahead and click on ‘Get a Quote’ and then, I have to enter an effective date my original effective date was May 1 so let’s just keep that. Does the trip include the USA? No, it does not.
I’m going to put my age here…you don’t need to see that…and I’m going to go ahead and click on “Get a Quote” and here is where it tells me the cost, which is $200 dollars but it’s for up to 30 days of travel so not what I’m looking for. Even if I click 45 days it brings it up to $240 dollars. Again, not what I’m looking for, I’m looking for a year and that’s okay, I’m going to give them a call and find out.
But, the main takeaway here is the benefits that are included so what you wanna look is for the medical maximum in this case a million dollars is the medical maximum for this one policy, which is good, it’s fine. There is a deductible of $250 dollars, and that’s very standard. It’s fine. So that means that if you incur a medical emergency you have to pay $250 dollars first and then the medical maximum kicks in.
Then you have other benefits, other riders, dental, accident coverage Let’s look for here it is, so emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. So that one is very important for you to have. Again, that is a very personal decision, but I always get it because you never know what could possibly happen.
So, a million dollars is the maximum on medical evacuation and that is in addition to the medical maximum, which in this case it is. So that is basically how you compare between [one travel] one health insurance agency and another. And I do see something that I’m not sure what to think about this but I don’t see anywhere coverage for my belongings and so that is a concern to me because I’m always carrying my expensive photographic equipment and my laptop and things like that so I need to make sure that that is covered.
So that is a very good example of something that is important to me and it’s not covered so I’m going to give them a call and find out, first of all, I’m looking for an annual policy and this one only gives me the option for up to 45 days. And also, I’m going to ask them about my belongings, where is the rider, or where is the benefit that covers my belongings.
Emergency Assistance Services
I do see the rider for the checked luggage so if the airline loses my luggage, it would be $500 dollars per occurrence that will be given to me and that’s fine but, again, I do need to have the rest of my belongings covered as well. So, bottom line, those are just examples of a few of the parameters, the benefits, or riders, or whatever you want to call them, things that you want to make sure that you compare between one insurance company and the other and you have to pick and choose you to know, what is important to you.
And the bottom line is that you have to make sure that between your regular health insurance and your travel health insurance, you are not over-covered meaning, you are not paying extra for items that are already covered by, you know, your regular health insurance. And at the same time, you have to make sure that you are not under-covered, meaning, that there are no gaps in between your policies.
Check with your existing insurance provider
So, that is the name of the game and that is the way that you compare between insurance companies. So like I mentioned, there are many companies that offer traveler health insurance coverage. If you do a look-up and search with the terms “travel insurance” or “trip health insurance” you’re going to get a list of companies that would offer that service so make sure that you shop around.
And the first thing that I would definitively recommend doing is contacting your regular health insurance first so you can understand what you currently have: what’s covered and what is not covered in terms of travel. Once you determine that then you want to identify what is important for you to cover.
Exclusions in International Travel Insurance Plan
Maybe you have very expensive equipment that you wanna make sure is covered, or maybe you have an underlying medical condition that you want to make sure that is covered as well. Or maybe you wanna make sure that the evacuation rider, that the evacuation benefit is part of that coverage as well whether that is by your regular health insurance, or whether that is by the traveler health insurance you definitively want that rider as part of your coverage, right?
Look around before setting up a policy
So once you’ve determined that, then you are able to start calling the travel insurance companies and start comparing them all, and see, you know, which one offers the best deal, the more comprehensive deal for your needs. The idea is that you don’t overpay so you’re not over-covered, right? But at the same time, you have to make sure that you’re not under-covered so there are no gaps in the coverage for your belongings, for your flight cancellations, for your health emergencies, or why not.
So that is how you do the comparison, that’s how you have to do your research. And just to recap, trip insurance is mostly a term used to address the protection of your belongings and also flight cancellations. On the other hand, trip or traveler health insurance or medical insurance is basically the same thing but it has the medical or the health aspect of it included in those benefits.