Travel Medical Insurance: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Travel Medical Insurance: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Travel Medical Insurance: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Travelling is a way to free yourself and your mind from the daily hustles and enjoy life a little bit more. But there can be instances where health emergencies can severely impact your journey. This is where your travel medical insurance plays a major role. In this blog, we will discuss what travel medical insurance is and why it is helpful during your overseas trips.

What Is Travel Medical Insurance?

Travel medical insurance is designed to cover medical expenses you may incur while in a foreign country or even in different parts of your own country. In contrast to usual health insurance, which provides limited or no coverage beyond your home region, travel medical insurance is purposely designed to cover unexpected health-related costs during your overseas trip.

Travel medical insurance typically includes: 

  • Medical expenses coverage in case of illness or injury during your trip.

  • The expenses include transportation to a medical facility for treatment or back home if necessary.

  • Coverage for costs due to trip cancellation or early cut short due to medical emergencies.

  • Financial compensation in the event of serious injury or death during travel.

Why is Travel Medical Insurance Important?

Travel medical insurance comes with a set of benefits and can save you from a lot of problems during your trip. Here are the reasons why you need travel medical insurance: 

  •  Coverage of Unforeseen Medical Emergencies

Tourists in perfect health can face medical incidents or sudden illnesses while travelling. The advantage of having travel medical insurance is that it protects you from having to pay exorbitant charges for medical treatment when abroad, and these costs vary depending on your destination. If you do not have insurance, to pay for medical services yourself, you may have to empty your bank accounts.

  • Medical Evacuation and Repatriation

In extreme cases, you may need to be taken to a medical facility that provides specialised care or brought home for treatment. Medical evacuation can be quite expensive, particularly if air evacuation is involved. Travel medical insurance covers medical expenses related to medical evacuation, thus ensuring you get the care you need without worrying too much about money.

  • Trip Interruption and Cancellation Protection

Life does not always run smoothly, and you may sometimes face a situation when you need to cancel or cut short your trip due to a medical emergency—either yours or your companions. Travel medical insurance covers your non-refundable expenses like flights, hotels and tours in case you need to change your plans due to sickness.

  • Complying with Travel Requirements

A number of countries insist on travel medical insurance as a condition of entry, especially during a health emergency or in a far-flung area where medical help is inadequate. Having travel medical insurance ensures that you comply with these laws and can fly without any unnecessary delays or getting denied entry.

Who Must Have Travel Medical Insurance?

If you don’t have the right coverage when you get injured or sick during your trip, you will have to pay medical bills on your own. If your regular travel insurance plan does not cover these medical emergencies or has limited medical coverage, you should get travel medical insurance.

Senior members travelling overseas should ensure that they have good medical insurance, as Medicare does not cover medical expenses abroad.

What Travel Medical Insurance Doesn’t Cover? 

You should always check the exclusions before buying a policy. The common travel medical policies typically do not cover the following: 

  • Routine Health Check-ups

Travel medical insurance is designed for unexpected medical emergencies rather than routine healthcare needs such as annual check-ups or vaccinations.

  • Pre-Existing Conditions

Most travel medical insurance policies exclude coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. If you have a pre-existing condition, check with your insurer to understand what coverage, if any, is available.

  • Non-Medical Emergencies

Travel medical insurance typically focuses on medical emergencies and may not cover other types of emergencies, such as trip delays, lost luggage, or travel document replacement. Consider purchasing additional travel insurance for these scenarios.

  • Extreme Sports and High-Risk Activities

While some travel medical insurance policies offer coverage for adventure sports, certain high-risk activities like skydiving, bungee jumping, or professional sports may not be covered. Review the policy's exclusions carefully if you plan to participate in such activities.

  • Intentional Self-Harm or Recklessness

Injuries resulting from intentional self-harm, substance abuse, or reckless behaviour may not be covered under travel medical insurance policies.

  • Travel to High-Risk Areas

Travel to regions with travel advisories or high levels of political instability may not be covered by some insurance policies. Check with your insurer to understand coverage limitations for specific destinations.

What Should You Consider Before Buying Travel Medical Insurance? 

Selecting the right travel medical insurance involves a few key considerations:

  • Coverage Limits and Deductibles: Be aware of the ceiling that the policy will cover and the deductible you must pay before coverage comes in.

  • Exclusions and Pre-Existing Conditions: Make sure that no activities or conditions are missing from the list. Some policies do not accept pre-existing conditions or require a certain amount of time.

  • Geographic Coverage: Ensure the policy covers the countries or regions you intend to travel to.

  • Duration of Coverage: Ascertain the validity of your insurance. Some policies specify the trip duration.

  • Reputation and Customer Service: Select an insurance company with a good reputation and good customer service, particularly in claim processing and emergency assistance.

The Bottom Line 

Travel medical insurance is a must-have investment for travellers of all kinds. It covers unforeseen medical emergencies, medical evacuation, trip interruptions, and cancellations. With the right cover, you can set off on your journey without fear of the unknown, as you'll be insured regardless of what happens along the way. While travelling, don’t forget to include travel medical insurance as part of your preparatory checklist; it could be the most useful travel accessory you can have.