Need help?

 

Active policy holders are encouraged to submit all policy renewals, corrections, or cancellations online through your account for timely processing.

Sign in to your account

Talk to a Licensed Insurance Specialist: 7:00AM - 6:00PM PT (Mon-Fri)

+1 (866) 384-9104

Current Time in PT Closed

Other ways to reach us:

Talk to a Licensed Insurance Specialist: 7:00AM - 6:00PM PT (Mon-Fri)

+1 (866) 384-9104

Current Time in PT Closed

Other ways to reach us:

VisitorsCoverage logo
Travel Insurance

What is Primary vs Secondary Travel Medical Insurance Policy?

What is Primary vs Secondary Travel Medical Insurance Policy?

You may have heard the terms ‘primary policy’ and ‘secondary policy’ tossed around if you’ve been looking at travel medical insurance policy documents. Ever wonder: “What’s the difference?”

A primary policy is the one that pays first in the event that a loss is covered by more than one policy. A secondary policy pays second. In simple terms, if you hold more than one policy that covers the same loss, the primary policy pays first and the secondary policy coverage begins where the primary coverage ends. An ‘umbrella insurance’ insurance policy is a good example of a secondary policy.

International travel insurance policies are usually secondary policies, but some are defined as primary. Read the plan carefully to know whether you have a primary or secondary travel insurance plan.

How Primary and Secondary Insurance Works

The reason behind primary and secondary policies is to protect the insurance company from overlapping coverage. It’s also to make sure that the policyholder does not collect more than once for the same loss.

Here’s how it works: If you have a health insurance plan that covers your medical care within your home country (up to a certain policy maximum limit after a deductible), that is your primary insurance plan. It covers your regular healthcare needs as long as you pay the premiums and deductibles. In nearly all cases, however, your regular health insurance plan will not cover your medical care outside your home country – and this is where a secondary insurance plan is necessary.

Secondary insurance benefits become effective after your primary insurance benefits are exhausted or automatically when your primary insurance is not in effect. Specifically, when you leave your home country and are outside the coverage area of your primary insurance plan, your secondary plan automatically becomes your primary insurance coverage and pays your covered medical bills up to the plan limit.

How to Know Whether Primary or Secondary Insurance Plan is in Effect

When you need to make a claim, you’ll have to do a little research. Review the summary of benefits under your insurance plan document or make a call to the insurance company for any assistance or clarification.

For example: If your primary health insurance plan covers your business trip to Mexico, and you become very ill and have to be hospitalized, you may be paying a high out-of-network deductible and co-insurance costs. This is where your travel health insurance plan – as secondary coverage – becomes necessary.  Even if your primary health insurance covers some of your medical costs, your travel health insurance will cover the rest up to the plan limits.

Why You Need Secondary Insurance – Especially When Traveling Abroad

A primary travel insurance policy is responsible for paying benefits first as long as the traveler’s primary policy is in effect when and where the claim was made. Secondary insurance benefits start paying once your primary benefits are exhausted or when your primary insurance is not in effect. When you leave your home country, you are traveling outside the coverage area of most health insurance plans, thus you need travel health insurance. The travel health insurance plan automatically becomes the primary insurance coverage because your primary coverage will not be in effect and the travel insurance will pay your covered medical bills up to the plan limits.

To learn more about which is the best travel health insurance for your next trip abroad, contact our Customer Success Team.


Related Articles

Travel Medical Insurance for People Over 70

What is the Best Coverage for People Over 70? If you are over age 70,…

I Have Travel Insurance, Do I Pay Upfront At The Pharmacy?

Many travelers to the U.S. are surprised when they have to pay upfront for their…

Travel Insurance for USA: Essential for Your Trip

Millions of international tourists travel to the United States of America every year, with the…

Infographics: Exciting Things To Do in Florida

Heading to Florida or thinking about planning a trip to the Sunshine State? Whatever you…

Infographics: Travel Tips for Travelers with Diabetes

Travelers with diabetes shouldn’t let their condition keep them from traveling. Taking a few extra…

Countries Requiring Their Citizens Buy Travel Insurance: Malaysia

While the government websites of every developed country recommend that their citizens obtain travel insurance…

Infographics: Backpacking Then and Now

When it comes to traveling, there are many different ways to enjoy a vacation and…

Infographics: Things People Forget to Pack When Traveling

Have you ever packed your bags for a trip only to realize once you arrive…

What is Return of Mortal Remains or Repatriation Coverage?
US-European Coronavirus Travel Ban

*Updated March 24, 2020 The United States announced a travel restriction, banning international travelers from…

US State Department Relaxes Travel Advisories for COVID-19 in 2020

After more than four months of “do not travel” recommendations, on Thursday, August 6 the…

Safer Places for Travel during Covid Pandemic in 2021

2020 has put us all through the wringer. After months of remote work, limited travel…

Can Travel Insurance Cover Your Vacation Home Rental?

So, you’ve scoured the internet and booked the summer vacation home of your dreams. Before…

Everything You Need to Know About ETIAS

Europe is one of the most-visited regions in the world. Travelers from all over the…

Are Cruises Safe for Fully-Vaccinated Passengers?

Now that close to two years have passed since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the…

Disclaimer

Plan features listed here are high level, provided for your convenience and information purpose only. Please review the Evidence of Coverage and Plan Contract (Policy) for a detailed description of Coverage Benefits, Limitations and Exclusions. Must read the Policy Brochure and Plan Details for complete and accurate details. Only the Terms and Conditions of Coverage Benefits listed in the policy are binding.