Travel medical insurance plans are designed to cover international travelers in the event that they contract an illness, are involved in an accident or suffer an injury while outside of their home country. Generally, domestic health insurance plans won't cover you if you get sick or are injured while traveling abroad.
Travel insurance is an investment that protects the policyholder so that if something goes wrong, the insurance company will be responsible for the majority of the expenses. In the case of travel medical insurance, you pay a small cost up front so that you'll be financially protected if you need medical attention for new illnesses or injuries incurred while abroad.
While the cost of travel insurance can vary depending on factors like the age and health needs of the insured and the duration of their trip, the average travel medical insurance cost ranges between $200 - $400. Keep in mind, this figure is only an estimated range based on current figures. Your specific needs will dictate the actual cost of your policy premium.
What Factors Affect Cost?
Certain variables can impact travel insurance costs. Let's take a look at some of those factors:
- Age of the travelers: Older travelers will usually need to pay higher premiums as they may be more susceptible to illness or injury.
- Destination country: Some countries, like the United States, have higher healthcare costs than others. Depending on your destination, you may have to pay different amounts for your travel insurance policy.
- Policy maximum: Depending on the plan, you may have multiple choices for a policy maximum, or the maximum amount of money a plan will pay toward qualified expenses. These can range from $10,000 to $2 million. Higher policy maximums will generally result in higher premiums.
- Deductible amounts: The deductible is the amount of money that you as the policyholder must pay out of pocket before the insurance policy begins to cover costs. Higher deductibles mean that you'll have to pay more in the event of an emergency, but the initial policy will cost less. Lower deductible amounts are generally recommended, especially for shorter international trips.
- Types of benefits: Comprehensive travel medical insurance will cost a little more. For example, CoverAmerica-Gold is a slightly more expensive travel insurance plan than Atlas America. However, that's because CoverAmerica-Gold includes more comprehensive benefits designed for visitors to the U.S.
- Coverage of pre-existing conditions: The majority of travel insurance policies only cover illnesses and injuries that begin after your policy effective date. There are some exceptions, however.
- Adventure sports coverage: If you plan on participating in adventurous activities during your trip, you may need additional coverage added to your travel insurance plan. If you plan to ski, snowboard, snorkel, whitewater raft, scuba or do any other activity where you have a higher risk of injury, you may need to get an adventure sports rider, depending upon which plan you choose. Remember, adding this rider to your basic travel medical insurance will increase your premiums as you are engaging in more high-risk activities.
All of these factors can impact travel medical costs and make some insurance plans more expensive than others. So pay attention to these details when doing your research. The cheapest travel insurance might not always be the best travel insurance for you.
How to Keep Your Travel Health Insurance Cost Low
People are always looking for cheap travel insurance. While everyone wants affordable travel medical coverage, you shouldn’t scrimp when it comes to protecting your health. That said, there are ways you can customize your policy to keep the overall cost of travel health insurance lower. Here are a few pointers.
Select the right deductible
Choose a plan with a deductible that aligns with your situation and type of coverage you wish to buy.
- If you're considering buying a comprehensive travel insurance plan where the deductible is annual (once in 12 months), selecting a higher deductible can lower your premium.
- If you're considering buying a limited/fixed coverage plan where the deductible depends on per sickness/per injury, selecting a lower deductible can be a wise decision.
Buy an extendable policy
Buying a renewable travel health insurance policy can be helpful in the following ways:
- If you cancel your travel insurance plan at any point, you won't lose your premium charge as long as you don’t have any claims already on file. Also, you may save on cancellation charges.
- A renewal policy provides flexibility to renew when you want to, which gives you better control on the policy duration.
- A renewable is considered as continued coverage, that is, any health problem that occurs during the policy effective date will not be considered as a pre-existing condition for the renewed policy, which may otherwise be the case if you buy a new policy.
Consider a comprehensive PPO-type plan
PPO types of plans have several advantages:
- You can get discounted and negotiated rates.
- The claim and administrative process is generally faster because doctors/hospitals covered under the PPO network already have a working relationship with the insurance company.
- A comprehensive travel health insurance plan offers greater protection in case of any medical emergency since most of them provide 80/20 of coverage, which means less financial liabilities.
Consider refundable plans
A cancelable and refundable plan can be a wise choice. If you have to cancel your plan for some reason, you get your money back. Remember though, if you already filed a claim, you won’t be able to get a refund.
Pay attention to additional costs
Often some extra charges such as renewable fees, processing/administrative charges, and cancellation charges can increase your overall insurance cost.
Make the right selection
There's no such thing as the "best" travel medical insurance plan. Depending on individual needs and available features, a particular plan can be more suitable for one person but not for another. Consider all the facts and your own situation before making a selection. You should understand what you're buying, what the travel medical insurance policy covers and what it doesn't. A well-informed decision can save you from future frustrations.