When you pack your bags, pack your travel insurance. Unexpected sickness or injury can occur anywhere. If it does when you’re away from home, additional complications can arise. Depending on the medical emergency and destination, costs for treatment range from pocket change to your life’s savings. But travel insurance to cover those costs (like any insurance) contains insurance exceptions.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
When you purchase travel medical insurance, the first issue to resolve surrounds pre-existing conditions. Standard policies, like those available from the Internet or from your insurance or travel agent, do not cover medical treatment for conditions that you currently have; unless they’ve been stable. Your policy will define any criteria that must be satisfied to get a waiver on pre-existing condition exclusions.
Your insurer will ask if you are traveling against your doctor’s advice. In addition, travel insurance policies usually contain exclusions for pregnant women and deny coverage to people over 90.
The second notable travel insurance exception is medical emergencies that result from high-risk activities such as scuba diving or playing professional sports. For high-risk activities, you must apply to an insurance company that specializes in policies for adventure travel.
However, if you travel as part of a team, you may benefit from insurance purchased to cover all team members. Or organizers of sporting or adventure events may arrange travel insurance for all participants. High-risk activities that involve alcohol, drugs, or attempts at self-inflicted injury are not covered.
Travel for Medical Reasons
Another of the insurance exceptions is treatment received on a trip abroad for medical treatment as more people travel abroad for cosmetic surgery, dental care, and even organ transplantation. People may also travel abroad to receive experimental treatments that may not be available (or sanctioned) in their native countries. Any expenses incurred as a result of medical tourism are not covered.
Do not assume that your regular health insurance plan covers you for medical care outside your jurisdiction of residence. Do not assume that the travel insurance you have through your employer or credit card covers you in case of a medical emergency. Remember, too, that travel insurance for medical coverage is different from travel insurance for trip cancellation, trip interruption, and loss or delay of your baggage.
Do your research; examine what is and what is not covered; and assess the benefits of travel insurance. it’s the best way to make sure that you get connected to the help you need in a medical emergency and that the costs incurred for medical care are covered.