Limited vs. Comprehensive Visitor Insurance Plans

Limited vs. Comprehensive Visitor Insurance Plans
comprehensive vs limited

Visitors insurance plans typically fall under two types: comprehensive coverage plans and limited coverage plans. Simply put, limited plans tend to be cheaper but offer far less coverage and financial protection. On the other hand, comprehensive plans cost slightly more, but provide more extensive coverage, particularly in situations in which medical attention is needed. For better benefits, less out-of-pocket expenses, and fewer financial burdens, we recommend comprehensive coverage.

Visitors insurance plans typically fall under two types: comprehensive coverage plans and limited coverage plans. Simply put, limited plans tend to be cheaper but offer far less coverage and financial protection. On the other hand, comprehensive plans cost slightly more, but provide more extensive coverage, particularly in situations in which medical attention is needed. For better benefits, less out-of-pocket expenses, and fewer financial burdens, we recommend comprehensive coverage.

Limited vs. Comprehensive Coverage Explained

When choosing between limited or comprehensive visitors insurance coverage, gaining insight into the key differences and evaluating your individual needs can help you ultimately decide on the right plan for you. The main difference between limited visitors insurance and comprehensive visitors insurance is the type of coverage offered.

How Do Limited Coverage Plans Work?

Limited coverage visitors insurance plans work on a fixed benefit model, meaning that the payout for each incident (service, visit, or treatment) is predefined, regardless of the actual cost of the incident. These predetermined coverage amounts are listed in a plan’s benefit summary for each individual service.


For example, if the fixed benefit for a doctor’s visit for your plan is $75, and you visit a doctor where your total bill is more than $75, you will be responsible for any additional expenses out-of-pocket, including your deductible.

How Do Comprehensive Coverage Plans Work?

Comprehensive visitors insurance plans work on percentage-based coverage, and can offer anywhere from 75% to 100% coverage of eligible medical costs up to the policy maximum.


For example, let’s say you have a policy that pays up to 100% of eligible medical expenses in-network. If you visit the doctor and your bill is $300, assuming that your claim is approved, your plan will pay 100% of eligible expenses in your bill up to the policy maximum after your deductible is met.

Compare Comprehensive vs. Limited Coverage Plans

Compare benefits, coverage amounts, costs, and more for comprehensive coverage plans and limited coverage plans below.

Type
overview icon Comprehensive Coverage Plans
overview icon Limited Coverage Plans
Coverage

Enhanced benefits package in comparison to limited coverage plans. Best suited for higher risks or anticipated substantial expenditure.

Provides basic coverage. Ideal for general or basic service that covers lower risks.

Benefit and Liability

Most comprehensive travel insurance plans work like PPO plans, where the insured's liability is the deductible and you also have co-insurance.

Basic coverage, all possible medical treatment/service cost is pre-determined. Example: each doctor visit is covered for $X.

PPO Network

Most of them are like PPO plans and have a PPO network, implying a greater acceptance inside the network at higher discounted rates.

May or may not be included in PPO network. You can visit any doctor. Hospital expenses will be paid as per the pre-determined rates stated in the policy.

Can you visit any Doctor or Hospital?

You may visit any doctor. However, it's advisable to visit a facility within the provider network, if a PPO network is available.

Yes, no matter which doctor you visit, the plan will pay only a pre-defined limit per doctor visit for the services taken.

Travel Related coverage

Most of them include travel related coverage within the insurance bundle. This may offer you protection against trip cancellations, baggage loss, terrorism attacks, etc.

None

Rates/Cost

Higher premium

Low premium (low cost)

These are key features to consider before selecting the type of visitors insurance plan that is right for you. While limited coverage may be more attractive due to its cost, comprehensive coverage offers more protection and ultimately will cost you less out-of-pocket.


A Comprehensive Plan Can Save You Money

Comprehensive coverage visitors insurance plans are almost always a better choice than limited coverage plans in the long term, and here’s why. While choosing the cheaper option in a limited plan may be enticing to save money or secure just basic coverage, a comprehensive plan can actually end up saving you more money on medical fees if you need to seek health care during your travels.


The main reason why comprehensive plans can save you money is because of the excellent coverage that they can offer versus a limited plan. A limited plan is only going to cover a predefined amount per incident, while comprehensive will pay a significant percentage of your expenses.


To put this into perspective, say you buy a $80 limited plan rather than a $150 comprehensive plan. While the cheaper cost seemed like the best route for you in the beginning, you get injured during your travels and require hospitalization. Your limited coverage plan only pays out $2,000 per day for hospitalization, but you get your hospitalization bill back and it is over $5,000 per day. This means you’ll need to cover the remaining $3,000 per day bill from your own wallet. 


In this same scenario, a comprehensive plan with 100% in-network coverage would pay 100% of your eligible expenses up to the policy maximum, after your deductible is met, saving you thousands of dollars. While you saved $70 on your plan’s premium, you ended up paying much more in hospital bills out-of-pocket with a limited plan.

How to Choose: Limited or Comprehensive Coverage

If you’re deciding between a limited coverage or comprehensive coverage visitors insurance plan, ask yourself the following questions:


  • Can you invest a little more money upfront to ensure proper coverage and peace of mind? 
  •  Are you worried about the lack of coverage you may have in a medical emergency situation? 
  •  Are you looking for the best coverage possible to be prepared in the event of emergencies, accidents, or injuries? 
  •  Do you want to avoid paying potentially thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for medical care if your plan has limited or fixed benefits?

If you answered yes to all of the questions above, a comprehensive coverage plan is likely the best choice for you. However, it’s important to educate yourself on the differences and to ultimately make the decision that fits your needs. Learn more about the differences between comprehensive and limited visitors insurance coverage below.

overview icon Comprehensive Coverage Plans

  • Superior quality protection and greater coverage
  • Higher premium than limited coverage plan but typically has less out-of-pocket costs

Comprehensive visitor insurance plans offer excellent coverage and flexible benefits. These plans typically pay 75% to 100% of eligible medical expenses after the deductible is met within the PPO network, and a slightly reduced percentage for out-of-network. They offer the best protection when it comes to receiving medical care during your travels.

80% $5,000 100%

overview icon Limited Coverage Plans

  • Low cost premium
  • Limited coverage as plan only pays a predefined amount per incident

Limited visitor insurance plans offer fixed coverage, meaning benefits are predefined for each type of incident. For example, the plan only pays a certain amount of money for a visit, treatment, or service you receive and you are financially responsible for the remaining costs out-of-pocket. These plans can be riskier, especially in the event of a medical emergency abroad, since coverage is limited.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are limited visitor insurance plans cheaper? 


 A: Limited plans are cheaper than comprehensive plans because they offer less benefits and restricted coverage. There are maximum limits to which the insurance will pay for services rendered. 


 Q: What are the best comprehensive visitor insurance plans? 


 A: We recommend the CoverAmerica-Gold visitor insurance plan as it pays 100% of eligible medical expenses within the United Healthcare PPO network and offers adequate benefits for visitors to the U.S, after the deductible is met, for eligible medical expenses. 


Q: If I am young and healthy, do I need comprehensive coverage? 


 A: Even if you are a relatively healthy and younger traveler, it is still recommended to choose a comprehensive coverage visitors insurance plan. Unforeseen illnesses or injuries can happen to anyone, and being prepared can save you stress and financial burden. 


 Q: Can I update an already purchased limited coverage plan to a comprehensive plan? 


 A: If you have already purchased a limited coverage plan but want to change it to a comprehensive coverage plan, you may be able to cancel your limited coverage plan before your travel dates and purchase a comprehensive coverage plan instead. Please note: cancellation and repurchase terms may apply. Contact our support team for further assistance.