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Making Sense of Travel Insurance

Making Sense of Travel Insurance

Insurance can be complicated and confusing. At VisitorsCoverage, we get that. In fact, educating travelers and simplifying the travel insurance buying-process has been our mission from the very start. We've rounded up some of the most confusing travel insurance terms to give travelers like you a better understanding of what your policy details and description of benefits actually mean.


What are travel insurance, travel medical insurance, travel health insurance, visitors insurance, visitors health insurance, visitors medical insurance, and trip insurance?

We'll start with the basics. Travel insurance is a generic term that refers to medical insurance for travelers. These travelers can be U.S. citizens or foreign. Travel medical insurance and travel health insurance are simply synonyms of travel insurance.

Visitors insurance is a type of medical insurance that is specifically designed for foreign visitors to the United States. Visitors health insurance and visitors medical insurance are just synonyms of visitors insurance.

Trip insurance, on the other hand, will not typically offer coverage for medical expenses. Instead, trip insurance covers expenses related to the trip itself, such as trip cancellation, interruption or postponement, lost baggage, stolen passports, etc.

One thing to keep in mind is that while some travel insurance plans do include both medical coverage and trip protections, your basic trip insurance will not cover any medical expenses if an injury or illness is incurred while abroad.


What is a pre-existing medical condition?

Generally, pre-existing conditions are defined as medical conditions, medication, consultation, or treatment which existed or which were performed prior to the effective date of coverage.


What is a deductible?

A deductible is the amount that must be paid by the insured before the insurance company begins to reimburse for covered expenses. For example, if you purchase a plan with a $500 deductible and incur $1500 of expenses, the insurance company will begin to reimburse for expenses after you have paid the initial deductible of $500.


What does "policy exclusions" mean?

Policy exclusions can be defined as the expenses that the insurance company/plan will not pay. These include expenses resulting from illegal drug use, conditions which existed prior to the purchase of the insurance (these are called pre-existing conditions), participation in various dangerous activities, etc. Read your policy details carefully to identify any of these exclusions in your plan.


What is co-insurance?

Co-insurance is the percentage or amount of eligible expenses that the insured pays after the deductible.


What is the insurance premium?

An Insurance premium is the amount you pay to purchase a medical insurance plan. Premiums may be paid full in advance or monthly or depending on the policy.


What does "policy beneficiary" mean?

A policy beneficiary is the person or persons designated by the insured to receive the proceeds of an insurance policy upon the death of the insured.


What is a policy maximum?

A policy maximum is the amount of money that the insurance provider will pay for covered expenses. This may be an overall maximum or an amount for each illness/accident.


What do renewable, non-renewable, extendable, and non-extendable mean?

When a policy is renewable, it means that you can renew it for the same duration and same benefits before the initial policy ends. Conversely, when a plan is non-renewable, it's not possible for the insured to renew the policy and they would have to buy a new policy. In this case, any condition incurred during the original policy duration would now be considered pre-existing, and would likely not be covered by this new policy.

When a policy is extendable, it means that the policy duration can be extended for a given period of time. If a policy is not extendable, the insured would have to purchase a new policy to maintain coverage once the initial policy expires.


What is Hazardous Sports Coverage?

Hazardous sports or Adventure sports are any activities that are deemed risky by the travel insurance industry because the risk equates to higher-than-average rates of injury and/or death. Some activities covered under this benefit are: motorcycling, scuba diving, jet, snow, and water skiing, mountain climbing, skydiving, amateur racing, piloting any aircraft, bungee jumping, spelunking, whitewater rafting, surfing, and parasailing etc.


What is Athletic Coverage?

Athletic Coverage refers to official sports organization-related activities, like participation in amateur, club, intramural, interscholastic or intercollegiate tennis, swimming, cross country, track, baseball, softball, volleyball and golf sports only.


What are AM Best ratings?

AM Best is an organization whose independent assessments of insurance plans are recognized as the benchmark for rating the insurers' financial standing and credibility. The organization provides their opinion of an insurer's financial strength and its ability to meet ongoing obligations to policyholders. On VisitorsCoverage you'll find only those insurance companies and plans AM Best rates as the best of the best.


Who is a policy administrator?

The policy administrator is the company that administers the policies providing claims processing, customer support, provider information, benefits approval, etc. For example, Seven Corners is the administrator for the Inbound plan.


Who is the carrier/underwriter?

The carrier/underwriter is the insurance company that actually carries the risk associated with the plans. Example: Lloyd's is underwriter for the Inbound plan.


What is Usual, Customary and Reasonable Charges (UCR)?

A Usual, Customary and Reasonable Charges, (UCR) charge is an established maximum amount that an insurance company will reimburse for a medical expense covered under your health insurance policy. UCR charges are generally determined based on charges that are actually billed by providers for each medical procedure or service in a geographical area.


What is Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance?

AD&D insurance financial protection to your beneficiaries if your death is the result of an accident. AD&D also gives benefits for the accidental loss of limbs, eyesight, speech or hearing.


What is a common carrier?

A common carrier is any mode of commercial transportation, like airlines, trains, buses, ships, subways or streetcars.


What is hospital indemnity?

Hospital indemnity is a type of insurance or a rider (a benefit you may be able to add on to a basic policy) that pays a fixed amount for each day that you're in the hospital.


What is Emergency Medical Evacuation?

Emergency Medical Evacuation covers the cost of transporting a seriously injured or ill person to one of the following locations:

  • The nearest adequate medical facility
  • A hospital near the insured's home
  • Or the hospital of insured' choice

What is Return of Mortal Remains?

Return of Mortal Remains is a benefit provided by a travel insurance company that covers the transfer of a traveler's mortal remains to their home country in the event of their death.


What is Repatriation?

Repatriation is a benefit that covers your return trip back to your home country, if you are ill or injured overseas.


What does Emergency Reunion mean?

Emergency Reunion refers to coverage of expenses related to bringing any of your relatives/family members from your home country to take care of you when you're hospitalized abroad. Expenses generally include a round -trip air ticket, transportation to the area where the insured is hospitalized and for reasonable expenses for lodging and meals etc.


What is intensive care?

Intensive care is care that goes beyond ordinary medical care and observation for people in a critical or unstable condition. Intensive care is generally administered in a specialized unit of a hospital called the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Critical Care Unit (CCU).


What does inpatient mean?

In-patient is a type of medical care that involves/requires overnight stay at a hospital.


What does outpatient mean?

Outpatient is a type of medical care that does not involve/require an overnight stay at a hospital.

Is your travel insurance question not on the list? No problem. Our Customer Success Team is happy to help you.


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.