A Guide on Travel Medical Insurance

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

If you’re planning on traveling, it’s essential to have travel medical insurance. This type of health insurance can provide coverage for emergency medical expenses incurred while you’re in a foreign country. It’s a good idea to purchase travel health insurance even if you already have health insurance in the United States. This guide will discuss what international insurance is and what it covers. We’ll also provide tips on choosing the right policy for your needs.

What is Travel Medical Insurance?

Travel medical insurance, also known as travel health insurance plans, combines travel insurance and medical insurance. Medical plans provide coverage for travelers needing temporary health insurance coverage while traveling for business or pleasure anywhere outside the traveler’s native country. Domestic health insurance companies will not cover medical care or dental expenses while traveling abroad. The comprehensive medical expense coverage protects the traveler from emergencies and evacuations.

Medical travel insurance is not included in your credit card. The Affordable Care Act doesn’t protect you internationally as well.

Travel Medical Insurance vs. International Health Insurance?

Travel medical insurance provides health, dental, and vision insurance while visiting abroad for a short period of time, like a vacation or a business trip. International Health Insurance is a health insurance policy for Expats and global citizens that live outside their home country for longer than 12 months. The difference is the payment method, multiple international trips, and the coverage area.

Travel Insurance Vs. Travel Medical Coverage?

Traditional travel insurance (trip cancellation insurance) provides benefits that only cover trip delays, cancellations, and lost luggage. On the other hand, travel medical insurance offers coverage regarding any health-related issues outside of the traveler’s home country, along with lost or damaged luggage, baggage delay, trip interruptions, and identity theft.

Buy Travel Health Insurance

Shop and compare international medical insurance for your trip abroad.

Do I Need Travel Insurance Coverage?

Suppose you are traveling within your home country purchase travel insurance. If the trip is outside your home country, purchase travel medical insurance. Most primary insurance plans do not cover you once you leave the United States. With that said, if you get sick or have an accident while traveling, your plan may not cover expenses pertaining to health care. In some cases, you will not be able to leave the visiting country until the medical bill is fulfilled, consequently not returning home. 

Note: Visitors Insurance is the best health insurance for travel to the USA.

Emergency medical benefits coverage examples

  • Get injured working abroad.
  • Getting food poisoning eating at a restaurant.
  • Contracting infectious diseases.
  • Toothache while overseas.
  • Went to the Emergency Room to seek treatment.
  • You need an ambulance.

Why You Need A Travel Medical Plan

What treatments does International Travel Insurance cover?

Medical benefits and medical services in a typical travel medical insurance plan include:

  • Medical Emergencies
  • Acute Onset of Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Hospitalization Room & Board
  • Intensive Care
  • Surgery
  • Physician Visits and Services
  • Radiology
  • Prescriptions
  • Home Nursing Care
  • Emergency Medical Attention
  • Local Ambulance
  • Dental Treatment
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage
  • Return of Remains for Burial or Cremation
  • Return of Minor Children
  • Political Evacuation
  • Natural Disaster Evacuation
  • Terrorism (Terrorist Incident)
  • Urgent Care Clinic
  • Walk-In Clinic
  • Physical Therapy
  • Emergency Room
  • Hospital Indemnity
  • Accidental Death Coverage
  • Identity Theft
  • Trip Interruption 
  • Lost Luggage and Personal Belongings
  • Bedside Visit
  • Laboratory Work
  • Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy
  • Reconstructive Surgery
  • Anesthesia
  • Chiropractic Care
  • Extended Care Facility
  • Emergency Eye Examination
  • Pet Returns
  • Natural Disasters
  • Trip Interruption
  • Small Pet Common Air Carrier Accidental Death Benefit
  • Personal Liability

Insurance Upgrades

The following riders are secondary coverage in addition to standard insurance plans.

Adventure Sports Rider

For Adrenaline Junkies or Thrill Seekers, you can add supplemental health coverage (outside eligible medical expenses) to your travel medical plan, which will protect you from injuries caused by extreme sports and adventure activities (scuba diving, bungee jumping, skydiving, hang gliding, etc.).

Emergency Evacuation Plus Rider

While your medical travel insurance provides emergency medical evacuation coverage for life-threatening injuries and illness, the Evacuation Plus rider (an upgrade) provides coverage for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses for medical evacuations.

Chaperone/Faculty Leader Replacement Rider

If you are a designated chaperone/faculty leader and experience an unexpected death of a relative, a medical emergency, or the destruction of your residence that causes you to cancel or interrupt your travel, purchase insurance that covers reimbursement for a round trip economy airline ticket up to $3,000 for a replacement chaperone/faculty leader.

Enhanced Accidental Death & Dismemberment

Additionally, accident health insurance includes an AD&D rider that upgrades your death benefit up to $400,000 in case of an accident.

How much does International Medical Insurance cost?

Travel medical insurance cost is relatively low and is determined by various factors. However, a typical plan can range from as little as $4.31 per person per week and go upwards of $100 for a short trip abroad. The premium amounts are based on:

  • Trip Length
  • Trip cost
  • Traveler’s Age
  • Traveler’s Gender
  • Deductible Amount
  • Medical Care Coverage Amount
  • Additional Insurance Options

The Best Travel Medical Insurance Plans

The following are the best travel medical insurance provider for global travel.

How to Buy Travel Medical Insurance Policies

When you buy international travel insurance plans, there are three steps to follow to get coverage:

  1. Get a travel insurance quote from a licensed insurance agent (not a travel agent).
  2. Read the fine print to understand eligible expenses.
  3. Complete the travel medical insurance application.
  4. Purchase travel medical insurance policy.
  5. Receive a Certificate of Insurance from the health insurance company.

How to Extend Your Coverage

A few weeks before your coverage expires, contact the travel insurance provider to extend the coverage.

Filing a Claim (Step by Step Process)

Step 1: Contact Your Insurance Provider to File a Claim.

Contacting the travel insurance company starts the process and gets the ball rolling. Great travel insurance companies will advise how to make this inconvenient situation as smooth as possible.

Step 2: Collect Receipts

Since most health insurance plans require you to pay upfront for medical expenses, you must collect all doctor and hospital bills for reimbursement. Always ask for a detailed invoice from the medical personnel as well. Have the service or medical facility itemize each procedure. Also, make sure the medical bills and receipt be printed on official letterhead or stamped.

Step 3: Submit Claim Online.

This is the easiest way to record all documentation. Submit receipts via email or mail. Additionally, communicate as much info as possible. These steps will provide a full picture of the occurrence.

Step 4: Monitor Claim.

Finally, monitor the claim closely. Monitor the claim daily to avoid any hold-ups. You might have to submit additional documentation, for instance. After that, the insurer will mail a check. Additionally, you should be provided an Explanation of Benefits (EOB). The EOB details how and what was paid on your claim.

From the time you file a claim to the time you collect a reimbursement check could range between 30 – 90 days. For that reason, you should be very diligent in the claim process. Typically, the process takes around 30 days.

Who should buy International Travel Medical Insurance?


No one knows when an unexpected health emergency will occur. That’s why travel medical insurance should always be a part of your packing list for any international trip, regardless of the destination. Then you’re covered by a comprehensive plan, and you can relax and enjoy your vacation knowing that you and your loved ones are protected in case of an unexpected illness or injury. Ready to apply for coverage? Click here to get started today.

Buy Travel Insurance

Shop and compare international medical insurance for your trip abroad.

Need Help Getting Travel Medical Insurance?

Travel Medical Insurance And Travel Health Insurance
The Annuity Expert – Travel Medical Insurance Inquiry

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best travel insurance plan for traveling to the USA?

Visitors Insurance is international health insurance designed for travelers, foreign nationals, and immigrants visiting or relocating to the USA.

Which type of insurance is best for international medical insurance?

People traveling outside their home country on a vacation are better suited for travel medical insurance. Expat insurance is the best travel insurance for people living outside their home country. The insurance plan is more similar to health insurance policies than a travel insurance policy.

What is the best travel insurance for Seniors?

Americans aged 65 and over are called Seniors or Senior Citizens, and they use a primary health plan called Medicare. To be covered internationally, Seniors must purchase a Senior Travel Medical Insurance plan that is Medicare friendly to cover healthcare costs abroad.

Which countries do travel medical insurance cover?

International health plans will cover visits to the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Latin America, South America, Antarctica, and the Caribbean.

What is the difference between travel medical and travel insurance?

There are several key distinctions between travel medical and traditional travel insurance policies. The most significant difference is that travel medical insurance provides protection for medical expenses incurred while traveling, while traditional travel insurance typically does not. Travel medical insurance also generally has more comprehensive coverage than traditional travel insurance, including evacuation and repatriation benefits. Finally, travel medical insurance is usually purchased on a per-trip basis, while traditional travel insurance is typically purchased as an annual policy.

Is it worth getting travel medical insurance?

This is a difficult question to answer since it depends on many factors, such as where you are traveling, what kind of health insurance you currently have, and what your personal preferences are. However, some factors to consider include whether your current health insurance will cover you while you are abroad and whether you feel comfortable with the coverage. Additionally, depending on where you are traveling, the cost of medical care may be higher than what you are used to, so travel medical insurance can help cover those unexpected medical costs. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to get a travel medical insurance policy is up to you and should be based on your specific needs and situation.

Why do we need travel medical insurance?

There are many reasons why someone might need travel health insurance. For example, if you are traveling to a country with poor medical infrastructure, or if you are participating in activities that may be risky, such as extreme sports, it may be worth getting travel health insurance. Additionally, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, travel health insurance can help cover the cost of treatment if you need to see a doctor while you are abroad.

Is it worth getting travel medical insurance for Europe?

If you are planning a trip to Europe, travel insurance can be a good idea, especially if you are visiting multiple countries. Travel insurance can help cover the cost of things like lost luggage, canceled flights, and medical emergencies. Additionally, depending on the country you are visiting, there may be specific travel medical coverage that is worth considering, such as evacuation insurance if you are visiting a remote area. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to get travel insurance for Europe is up to you and should be based on your specific needs and situation.

How do I get flight insurance?

There are a few different ways to get flight insurance. You can purchase it through an airline, travel agent, or online travel site. You can also purchase it directly from an insurance company. If you are buying it from an airline, travel agent, or online travel site, it is important to read the policy carefully to make sure you understand what is covered. If you are buying it from an insurance company, make sure to compare policies and find one that meets your needs.

Can I get travel insurance without medical cover?

Yes, you can get travel insurance without medical cover. This type of policy is typically called “trip insurance” or “cancellation insurance.” It can help cover the cost of things like lost luggage, canceled flights, and trip interruptions. However, it will not cover the cost of medical emergencies. Therefore, if you are planning a trip where there is a possibility you may need medical care, it is important to get a policy that includes travel medical coverage.

Is travel insurance paid monthly?

Most travel insurance policies are paid in full upfront. However, some companies do offer monthly payment options.

What is the difference between travel insurance and health insurance?

Travel insurance is designed to cover the cost of things like lost luggage, canceled flights, and medical emergencies. Health insurance is designed to cover the cost of things like doctor’s visits, prescriptions, and hospital stays. Therefore, they are two different types of insurance with different purposes.

Do I need both travel insurance and health insurance?

It depends. If you are traveling within your home country, you will likely only need health insurance. However, if you are traveling outside of your home country, you will likely need both travel insurance and health insurance.

What is total trip cost?

Total trip cost is the amount of money you spend on your trip, including things like airfare, hotels, and activities.

Does Medicare cover you when traveling outside the US?

No, Medicare does not cover you when you are traveling outside of the United States.

What does trip curtailment mean?

Trip curtailment means cutting your trip short, usually for a covered reason such as an illness.

How much does travel medical insurance cost?

The cost of travel medical insurance varies depending on the policy, but is typically forty dollars, up to a few hundred dollars per person.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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