As a traveler to a foreign land – whether on holiday, a study tour, or business trip – you’re entitled to certain rights as a travel insurance policyholder. The terms and conditions of the policy act as an agreement between the insurance company and the traveler.
You can trust that the agreement outlined in the plan’s description of coverage will be honored by reputable insurance companies because the insurance industry in most countries, including the United States, is regulated. This means that as a policyholder, you have a right to expect the benefits outlined in the policy to be paid. If your claim is denied, and you believe that the denial was incorrect, you have a right to appeal that decision and ask that it be reconsidered. With those rights, however, come some responsibilities.
You Must Understand the Plan Benefits
Many travel medical insurance buyers look at their benefits and see that medical emergencies are covered. They don’t read any further after that. This is understandable. After all, travelers are probably most concerned about whether the costs related to a medical emergency would be covered. Still, travelers ought to read the policy documentation thoroughly so they can avoid unwanted surprises during their travels.
While you do have a right to expect the benefits outlined in the policy to be paid, it’s your responsibility to understand the plan’s limitations and exclusions. This means that even while medical emergencies will be paid, there may be maximum limits to the coverage or an exclusion like a pre-existing condition stated in the plan. For instance:
- If your plan has a $10,000 medical limit and you have a major medical situation that is costly, that $10,000 limit may not be enough to cover your entire medical bill.
- If your plan excludes pre-existing conditions and you have high blood pressure and experience a heart attack on a cruise and need medical care, none of those expenses will be paid by your travel insurance plan because of the pre-existing condition.
The terms of the travel insurance plan outline what will and won’t be covered and it’s your responsibility to understand those limitations and exclusions because those are the terms of the contract agreement between you and the travel insurance company.
You Must Read the Plan Documents
The travel insurance plan documents – the description of coverage specifically – will describe the coverage including the exclusions and limits. You must read this document all the way through and if you have questions, reach out to your travel insurance company for clarification. If any insurance jargon is unclear to you, a representative should be able to put it in layman’s terms.
You Must Understand the Claims Process
As an insured traveler, you have certain rights to benefits but you must understand that there is a process to making an insurance claim. After all, the insurance provider is going to expect some level of proof before paying the claim. In the event that you have to make a claim against your travel insurance policy, you must provide supporting documentation that indicates why you are making a claim.
If your claim is initially denied, return to your travel insurance plan’s description of coverage and review why the claim was denied. In some cases, claims are denied due to a miscommunication, missing paperwork, a mistake and if you are sure that the claim should have been paid, you have a right to appeal and ask that it be reconsidered.