Travel Medical Health Insurance Policy Maximum Guide
When you're picking out a travel insurance (also called visitors insurance) plan, you'll see a dollar amount listed as the policy maximum. There may even be a few options for your policy maximum. But what factors contribute to visitors insurance cost and how large of a policy maximum should you buy for your visitors insurance policy?
What is a Policy Maximum?
Before we get into how to choose a policy maximum, let’s start with the basics. A policy maximum is just what it sounds like; it’s the maximum limit that the insurance company will be liable to pay for covered services. This number can be anywhere between $10,000 USD and $8 million USD, although exact amounts will vary from plan to plan. If you need to use your coverage during your travels, the travel insurance policy will cover the expenses detailed in the policy documentation up to the policy maximum amount.
For example, Let's say that you purchased a travel insurance plan with a policy maximum of $100,000 and had an accident where you needed to go to the hospital. Your insurance will pay a maximum of $100,000 of your eligible medical expenses after the deductible is met. So if your eligible expenses only total $90,000, it could all be paid according to the details of your policy. However, if your eligible medical expenses total $140,000, the policy could only pay that first $100,000 and you would be responsible for the remaining $40,000.
There are two different policy maximum types. Depending on the policy you choose you your policy maximum could be one of the following:
- Per Policy Period Type: The policy maximum applies to the whole policy period
- Per Incident Type: The policy maximum applies to each incident (i.e. each sickness or injury)
What Policy Maximum is Good for Travel Medical Insurance?
This depends on the visitor’s travel plans, overall health, age and budget. It’s important to get a high enough policy maximum so that the entirety of your medical bills could potentially be covered should something catastrophic happen while you are traveling. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may need a higher policy maximum. For example, if you’re visiting the United States, where medical costs are notoriously high, you may need a higher policy maximum than if you are traveling in the European Union or Canada. Some of the important factors to consider, while choosing policy maximum includes:
- Where You Are Visiting Different countries have vastly different healthcare costs. A $50,000 policy maximum may be more than enough for travel through most of Asia, but that amount may not be enough should you need urgent care for emergencies that may involve surgery or other treatments in the United States. If you are traveling to a country with higher health care costs, you will want to factor that in when choosing a policy maximum for your plan. If you are visiting places like the U.S. where health care costs are high, you should consider buying a higher policy maximum coverage.
- Duration of the Trip: One of the key details to consider when choosing a plan is how long you plan to be away from home. The longer your trip, the higher the policy maximum you should consider. If you’re traveling for only a few days, then having a million dollar policy maximum does not make that much sense. If you are going to be abroad for longer, there is a higher chance of something going wrong and therefore a higher chance that you will need to use your travel insurance policy. If you are going to be traveling for a longer time (longer than a month or two) you may want to consider a higher policy maximum option.
- Types of Activities: If you’re planning to take road trips, cruise, or participate in adventure activities like skiing, camping, and hiking you should consider buying a higher maximum, as the chances of illness or injury are higher.
- Ages of the Travelers: Some plans may have restrictions or different policy maximums for travelers over the age of 69, 79 or 89. Older travelers may be more prone to accidents and healthcare costs may be higher for them and may be limited to no more than $100K for their policy maximum.
- Pre-Existing Conditions: If a condition exists prior to departing your home country, that condition may not be covered under your travel medical insurance plan. Some plans,such as USVisit-Pro, can cover the worsening of pre-existing conditions. These types of plans may have higher premiums, but they come with higher policy maximums and more coverage.
How High of a Policy Maximum Do I Need?
So once you consider all of these criteria, what's the answer? How high of a policy maximum do you really need? If you're an older traveler concerned with an acute onset of pre-existing conditions going to the United States, you're likely to want a high visitors insurance policy maximum. But in most cases, you'll need to weigh the risks of travel against how much you're willing to pay for your travel medical insurance.
Higher policy maximums are the safest option to make sure that all of your medical bills are covered. However, you may not want to pay the extra premiums if you do not expect to use the full coverage. It is a personal choice that will vary from person to person.