Understanding Travel Medical Insurance

Buying travel health insurance is an important step for sufficient medical coverage while outside of your home country, but it is only the first step. To make your policy work, say industry regulators, there has to be a co-operative relationship between the policyholder and the company.

Indeed, the range of medical treatment around the world is so broad and varied, home-based insurance companies may provide booklets outlining what they will and will not cover. Therefore, an equally important step at the time of purchase is for the traveler to become as familiar as possible with the basic guidelines of the policy before an emergency occurs. Decisions on the reimbursement of expenses are not likely to be the first thing on your mind in an urgent situation.

What Does Travel Medical Insurance Not Cover?

While the exact amount for coverage and denial is in the hands of your travel medical insurance plan and the company, however, consider the potential exclusions:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Dangerous activities
  • Intoxication and or drug use
  • Examinations such as vaccines or immunizations, weight modifications and eyeglasses or lens.

Injury while hiking far away from any help use travel medical insurance to see your coverage options

Understanding the Different Types of Travel Medical Insurance Policies

Aside from understanding the different forms of travel medical insurance it is also equally important to know the different policies which include the following:

  • Primary vs. secondary medical coverage: depending on the plan if travel medical insurance is primary it will most likely pay out before the other health insurance. If it is secondary your own health plan will pay first and travel medical insurance will act as the secondary coverage.
  • Single-trip vs. multi-trip: it is important to consider the coverage type based on how much time you actually spend traveling. Single-trip is from the exact date you leave until the exact date you return; you can receive coverage for the whole trip and can even purchase it up to a week or so before you leave. Multi-trip coverage is good for those who travel a lot, as it can cover you nonstop for a whole year and can work for three or more trips.

Paying out-of-pocket medical bills can really add up, especially when traveling on top of it. Any travel medical insurance is a safe bet in case anything were to happen especially outside of the U.S. and even for seniors traveling abroad.

Using travel insurance while planning a trip abroad

Medicare will most likely not pay and provide benefits outside of the U.S. as this is smart for all ages.

Is it Easy to File a Travel Medical Insurance Claim?

You can assist the claims process more efficiently if you:

  • Supply all the facts and information accurately.
  • Keep a log of the contacts at both the service center and your insurance company, including the names of those assisting you, the date of the contact, and what was discussed.
  • Keep a detailed record of all medical transactions. Get receipts for the medical care including tests, treatments, and prescriptions. Receipts are a must when making a claim. Also, observe the time limits of your policy.
  • Complete the forms supplied and enclose all original bills signed by the attending physician, plus receipts and supporting claim documentation.

Be sure to include your policy identification number, health card number and date of birth. Keep copies of all documentation submitted to the company.


  1. Why Travel Medical Insurance Is Essential, Forbes Advisor. 
  2. Travel Insurance, CDC.
  3. Getting Health Care During Travel, CDC.