What is Travel Medical Insurance?

Travel Medical Insurance – Overview

Getting sick or injured while on vacation is the last thing you want to happen. Travel medical insurance is designed to help in these situations.

It becomes extremely important, especially when you are traveling outside of the US, where your current insurance provider may have limited or no coverage at all.

Medicare generally does not provide coverage outside the United States, except for very limited circumstances.

What is Travel Medical Insurance?

Travel medical insurance provides coverage for emergency medical expenses while traveling outside of your home country, not limited to sudden illness or injury but also including medical evacuation and repatriation.

If you come down with a sudden illness or injury while traveling outside of the US with valid health insurance, then the plan will reimburse you according to its limits.

According to documents, travel medical insurance pays “reasonable and customary” expenses for bills, including:

#1. Doctor’s fees

#2. Ambulance service charges

#3. Hospital and emergency room service charges

#4. Diagnostic tests such as x-rays, lab tests, anesthetic and treatment

#5. Prescription drugs and medicine charges

#6. Emergency dental care coverage amounts and conditions vary by policy; specific limits should be verified with the insurance provider

There are two main types of travel medical insurance:

#1. Standalone medical insurance plans – These insurance plans cover emergency medical and dental expenses you incur while traveling.

#2. Comprehensive travel insurance plans – These insurance plans also include cover for trip cancellation, trip delay, emergency medical evacuation, baggage loss, and more.

Basically, travel medical insurance covers the cost of emergency medical services while traveling abroad. It does not pay for non-emergency and elective procedures.

What is not covered by Travel Medical Insurance?

Travel Medical Insurance

Travel Medical Insurance – What is not covered by Travel Medical Insurance

The terms and conditions of specific insurance providers vary greatly. The individual company will decide the extent of coverage offered to policyholders under their travel medical insurance plans.

Some of the most common exclusions under different travel medical insurance providers are:

#1. Pre-Existing Conditions – Your insurance provider will decide the extent to which, if any, your pre-existing conditions are covered under the policy.

This is because different companies define “pre-existing conditions” differently.

Coverage for pre-existing conditions under travel medical insurance is subject to the terms of the policy, including look-back periods, and is not solely determined by purchasing the policy within a specific time frame after making the first trip deposit.

#2. Intoxication and Drug Use – Travel medical insurance does not usually cover treatment for intoxication or drug use.

For instance, if you get injured while intoxicated, then the company will not provide any insurance coverage.

#3. Dangerous activities – Some insurance providers do not cover expenses related to adventure activities, such as mountain climbing, parasailing, etc.

Who should buy Travel Medical Insurance?

If you are planning to travel abroad, then you should buy travel medical insurance.

Without the right coverage in place, you will find it extremely difficult to get emergency medical treatment in case of sudden sickness or injury.

You may end up paying the cost of treatment out of your pocket.

Medicare has limited coverage outside the United States. Travelers, including senior citizens, should consider travel medical insurance primarily due to the broader limitations of their primary health insurance or lack thereof, rather than focusing solely on Medicare.

How to buy Travel Medical Insurance?

It is highly advisable to compare quotes from different insurance providers before buying travel medical insurance.

You can find free quotes on the websites of most insurance companies. However, apart from price, you should seek an insurance policy that offers the most extensive coverage.

The best insurance companies will offer a vast range of coverage options, all at a fair price.

The exact cost of a travel medical insurance plan usually depends on your age, length of trip, and the chosen coverage limits.


If you are traveling abroad, then you need to buy travel medical insurance. Make sure that your choice of insurer offers coverage in the countries you plan to visit on your trip abroad.

It is highly recommended to do a little research online before deciding to buy a travel medical insurance plan.

See Also

Travel Nursing Agencies

Grants for Medical Travel

Medical Credit Card for Dental

How to Apply for Medical Insurance

All-Inclusive Plastic Surgery Vacation

Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants

Current Version
April 18, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 24, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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