Articles, Travel

Travel Medical Insurance – Why You Need It

Written By: Megan Miller
Reviewed by: Mike Reyes
Last Updated November 1, 2023

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a couple who beat inflation and still got to travel

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or taking your first trip abroad, travel medical insurance should be one of your top priorities. In an unexpected medical emergency, travel medical insurance can help cover your treatment costs. However, not all policies are the same. So it’s essential to do your research and find the policy that best suits your needs. 

When purchasing travel medical insurance, there are various factors to consider, such as the length of your trip, whether you’ll be doing any adventurous activities, and your current health condition. And don’t forget to read the terms and conditions carefully. For example, some policies may not cover pre-existing conditions or emergency evacuations. 

In this post, we’ll explain the basics of travel medical insurance and share some tips on finding the best policy for your needs. Keep reading for all the information you need to make an informed decision!

Read on to find out more about travel medical insurance.

What is traveler’s medical insurance?

Travel medical insurance is a policy that provides emergency medical coverage incurred while traveling outside of your country of residence. It can help cover the costs of treatment for illnesses and injuries, as well as emergency evacuations.

Most domestic health insurance plans, on the whole, are not accepted in other countries, so it’s crucial to have an international travel medical insurance policy that will cover you while you’re abroad. Even if your domestic health insurance does offer international coverage, it may not be comprehensive – meaning that you could be left with large medical bills if something goes wrong.

That’s where travel medical insurance comes in. It can provide peace of mind, knowing that you’re covered. You can choose any insurance provider as per your requirements.

If you’re traveling outside of your country of residence, it’s essential to have travel medical insurance. This type of insurance provides vital medical benefits in an emergency, including coverage for hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescription drugs.

Without international travel medical insurance, you could be on the hook for thousands – or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. And if you’re injured or fall ill while traveling, you may not be able to receive the treatment you need.

Travel health insurance is essential for the following:

  • Travelers who are on vacation
  • When relatives from other countries visit,
  • People who take cruise journeys and safaris.
  • International business people
  • International students

Benefits of travel medical insurance

Foreign countries have different rules than ours and your home country, so it is imperative to have this insurance when traveling abroad. Without traveler’s medical insurance, it could be costly if something goes wrong and you need help.

The good thing about traveler’s medical insurance is that many types of policies are available, so it’s easy to find one that fits what you need!

Covers personal liability while traveling

Many plans protect you against the loss of personal belongings such as checked-in luggage, your passport, money, essential travel papers, and other items.

Protects you from losses while traveling

Many companies offer plans that cover theft and other losses while traveling.

Pays for emergency medical expenses

The number one reason to purchase travel medical insurance is that it covers your medical expenses while you are traveling. This can be a lifesaver if you fall ill or are injured while on vacation.

Cash crunch

Suppose you have a cash crunch and need some quick money. In that case, your insurance company might have tie-ups with certain hospitals wherein you would be allowed to withdraw a certain sum of cash to pay your bills.

Loss/delay of luggage

Loss or delay of your luggage is a common problem while traveling. If this happens, you will need to have some money to buy the items you need.

Most policies have a provision that gives you money to purchase essential items like clothes and toiletries if your luggage is lost or delayed.

Emergency evacuation

Suppose you are injured or ill and need an evacuation from the country. In that case, your insurance policy will most likely cover the costs associated with this. However, it is essential to read the terms and conditions of your policy to be sure.

How much does travel medical insurance cost?

costs of travel medical insurance infographic

Suppose someone with previous health conditions wants to buy a policy. In that case, the premiums will be higher than those without any health issues.

The age of the traveler is also a consideration. Older people can expect to pay more for coverage than younger travelers. However, some policies offer lower premiums for those willing to accept a higher deductible.

There is no perfect answer to how much travel medical insurance costs. However, a few solid factors determine how much a traveler must pay to get medical insurance.

We have discussed the possible factors below.

Factors that determine the cost of travel medical insurance

Age of traveler

Age is an essential factor that determines the cost of travel policies. Unfortunately, this is one area where there aren’t any travel related discounts for seniors. The older you are, the more you will pay for coverage.

Medical history

If you have a history of medical problems, you can expect to pay more for coverage. However, it is also important to declare any pre-existing medical conditions when applying for a policy.


The cost of travel medical insurance can also vary depending on the country you are visiting; some countries are considered riskier than others.

Duration of travel

Another critical factor is the duration; the longer you stay in the country you are visiting, the higher the premiums.

Traveler’s gender

It is not that important, but some companies consider this while approving your medical insurance.

What do the best travel medical insurance plans cover?

Before you purchase a travel medical insurance policy, knowing what is and is not covered is essential. Most policies cover emergency medical expenses, but coverage can vary. Therefore, it is essential to read the terms and conditions of your policy to be sure.

Popular plans cover the following:

  • Fractures
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Dental procedures for emergencies
  • Evacuations for medical reasons
  • Emergency transportation

Many policies also cover loss or delay of luggage, theft of personal belongings, and emergency evacuation. For example, in an unforeseen illness or injury, while traveling, some medical travel insurance plans may provide extra advantages, such as Emergency Medical Evacuation.

Some medical travel insurance reimburses you for medical costs incurred if you are traveling and require transportation between treatment centers due to a covered sickness or injury.

In some instances, the travel insurance policy and the attending physician may choose to transport you to a more capable medical facility if your sickness or injury gets severe enough. These are all covered by your medical insurance.

Assistance services are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through many travel medical plans. Depending on the plan, these services may be accessible, including assistance with Emergency Medical and Dental referrals, arranging Emergency Medical Evacuations, translation services, worldwide medical information, and more.

These services might be pretty helpful if you’re traveling abroad in an emergency.

How does travel medical insurance differ from health insurance?

As the name implies, travel medical insurance is not life insurance, nor is it health insurance. So it’s a supplementary policy that protects you while you’re traveling.

It’s a one-time, nonrenewable insurance policy that is only good for the duration of your trip, and it covers you while traveling outside your health plan’s network.

Suppose you have a medical emergency while traveling. In that case, your health insurance policy may not cover the cost of the treatment and services you receive. Even if you travel within the United States, your coverage may terminate out-of-network.

While it’s true that most of the time, travel medical insurance covers medical expenses incurred throughout your trip if you become ill or hurt yourself, it can also help fill in any gaps and provide additional protection to keep you safe and healthy on your journey.

When is travel health insurance required?

Suppose you are traveling abroad, especially to a country where your health insurance doesn’t cover you. In that case, you have to get travel insurance.

The same goes for people working or studying abroad. Many student and work-abroad programs require their participants to have a minimum level of coverage.

Some cruise lines also require passengers to have travel medical insurance, regardless of traveling on land or sea. Therefore, it’s essential to check with your cruise line if you’re unsure whether travel health insurance is required.

Senior citizens’ insurance policies will be different from younger citizens. Therefore, it is always good to compare different policies before finalizing one.

Final words

Purchasing travel medical insurance is always a good idea, even if your health plan does cover you internationally. No one knows when an accident might happen, and having the extra peace of mind that comes with proper travel medical coverage can be well worth the price.

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