How to Buy Travel Medical Insurance for a Year Abroad

Scott Armstrong

Maybe it's a trip around the world, or a wish to truly immerse yourself in another culture. Perhaps it's a test run toward a full-time move. Whatever the reason, travelers sometimes find themselves planning a trip that goes beyond a single suitcase. 

When prepping for this new adventure, the question of "What do I do about health insurance while abroad for an entire year?" may arise. Do such policies even exist? The answer is yes. 


Why Is International Travel Medical Insurance Important? 

Many standard health care policies offer limited or no coverage to policyholders who travel outside of their home country. Should a medical issue occur while abroad, whether it's strep throat that requires antibiotics or something more critical, like emergency surgery, the cost of procuring healthcare can be detrimental. And not knowing where to turn in a time of crisis adds to the problem itself. 

That's why the U.S. Department of State recommends that you "learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas." It also notes that "can cost more than $50,000, depending on your location and medical condition." An Emergency Evacuation benefit is included with many travel medical insurance policies, including Atlas Travel insurance from WorldTrips. 

You may need a visa that requires travel medical insurance or proof that you'll be able to pay for unexpected expenses incurred in your host country. The Schengen visa is one such visa. 

So, What Are My Best Options? 

WorldTrips offers several travel medical insurance plans. Our most popular plan is Atlas Travel, a single-trip travel medical insurance plan that provides customizable coverage to those traveling outside their home country. 

Looking for an elite plan? Atlas Premium provides the same benefits as our popular Atlas Travel plan but include higher coverage limits for many important benefits. You can compare Atlas Travel and Atlas Premium benefit limits here

If you're traveling in a group of 5 or more, consider Atlas Group. Atlas Group includes the same benefits and services of Atlas Travel at a 10% reduced rate for 5 or more individuals traveling together. 


Coverage Lengths & Renewals

For non-U.S. citizens or residents whose travel does not include the U.S. or U.S. territories, the maximum coverage duration for our travel medical plans is 365 days. After 365 days of continuous coverage, non-U.S. citizens or residents may renew their coverage for up to 2 additional coverage periods (up to 365 days each). Policyholders can renew their coverage in Member Portal, our convenient self-service portal.

Note: Your deductible may be re-satisfied as of each renewal date. If a new application is required, then you must re-satisfy your deductible and pre-existing condition provisions. 

For all other travelers the maximum duration is 364 days, and coverage is not renewable. 



You will also have the ability to customize your policy by choosing the deductible, length of coverage, and overall coverage maximum that best align with your long-term travel needs. Plus, you can upgrade your coverage amounts for several benefits during the purchase process. 


Ease of Use

Atlas plans allow you to purchase coverage while traveling, extend your coverage after purchase, or cancel your policy if your plans change. You'll have the ability to sign in and manage your policy, download your visa letter and medical ID cards, and more via Member Portal


Travel Assistance 

Purchasing an Atlas Travel medical insurance policy brings with it a myriad of benefits. As an Atlas policyholder, you'll have access to our multilingual travel assistance services 365 days a year. Emergency services are available 24/7. Travel assistance services include provider and other referrals, translation assistance, help replacing lost or stolen travel documents, medical monitoring, coordination of emergency travel arrangements, and more. 


What Kids of Benefits Do Atlas Travel Policies Provide? 

It's important that all global travelers consider coverage for major medical emergencies. 

Anticipating travel to a remote area? An Emergency Medical Evacuation benefit, the Emergency Reunion benefit would cover the cost of one economy, round-trip air or ground transportation ticket to being a relative to the location where you are hospitalized. This benefit includes up to 15 days of meals and lodging (for the relative). 

After all, a little comfort from home can speed healing, allowing for a year's worth of adventures abroad to get back on track. 

Here are just a few more benefits offered through our Atlas travel health insurance plans: 

  • Local Ambulance (when hospitalized as inpatient)
  • Hospital Room and Board 
  • Intensive Care Unit 
  • Terrorism 
  • Political Evacuation 
  • Personal Liability 
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment
  • Repatriation of Remains
  • Crisis Response 

Atlas travel medical policies also offer some benefit types of standard travel insurance, including: 

  • Trip Interruption 
  • Lost Checked Luggage 
  • Travel Delay 


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What's the Best Fit When It Comes to Choosing a Plan? 

You decide. Rather than one-size-fits-all policies, you can choose coverage structured towards your specific needs. 

Atlas Travel, Atlas Premium, and Atlas Group travel medical insurance policies are available to travelers as young as 14 days old. There is no age limit, though travelers age 65 and older have limited overall maximum coverage options: 

  • Age 64 or Younger: $50,000, $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, $1,000,000, or $2,000,000
  • Age 65 to 79: $50,000 or $100,000
  • Age 80 or Older: $10,000 for Atlas Travel & Atlas Group; $20,000 for Atlas Premium 

Deductibles options range from $0 to $5,000 per certificate period. As with traditional insurance policies, a higher deductible results in lower premiums and vice versa. 

The following benefits are not subject to the coverage maximums listed above: 

  • Emergency Medical Evacuation 
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment 
  • Common Carrier Accidental Death 
  • Personal Liability 
  • Crisis Response 
  • Political Evacuation 


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What Kids of Things Are Not Covered Under Atlas Travel Medical Insurance Policies? 

When choosing the right policy, reading the fine print is vital. For example, Atlas Travel does not coverage charges resulting directly or indirectly from a *pre-existing condition, except **Acute Onset of Pre-Existing Condition benefit. 

Other exclusions include: 

  • Routine medical examinations 
  • Routine pre-natal care, pregnancy, child-birth, or post-natal care
  • Medical expenses for injury or illness resulting from participating in specifically excluded extreme sports (see the policy documents for the plan you're considering for a full list of excluded sports) 
  • Injury due to the effects of intoxication or drugs (other than drugs taken in accordance with treatment prescribed by a physician) 

Click the policy documents for any plan you're considering to see a full list of exclusions: 

  • Atlas Travel 
  • Atlas Premium 
  • Atlas Group 

*A pre-existing condition means any injury, illness, sickness, disease, or other physical, medical, mental, or nervous disorder, condition, or ailment that, with reasonable medical certainty, existed at the time of application or at any time during the 2 years prior to the effective date of this insurance, whether or not previously manifested, symptomatic or known, diagnosed, treated, or disclosed to us prior to the effective date, and including any and all subsequent, chronic or recurring complications or consequences related thereto or resulting or arising therefrom.

**An acute onset of a pre-existing condition is a sudden and unexpected outbreak or recurrence that is of short duration, is rapidly progressive, and requires urgent care. A pre-existing condition that is a chronic or congenital, or that gradually becomes worse over time, is not acute onset of a pre-existing condition.

The Acute Onset of Pre-existing Condition benefit will only apply if all of the following conditions are met:

     a.) The Acute onset of a Pre-Existing Condition does not directly or indirectly relate to a chronic condition or congenital condition;
     b.) Treatment must be obtained within twenty-four (24) hours of the sudden and unexpected outbreak or reoccurrence;
You must be under eighty (80) years of age;
You must not be traveling against or in disregard of the recommendations, established treatment programs, or medical advice of a physician or other healthcare provider;
You must not be traveling with the intent or purpose to seek or obtain treatment for the pre-existing condition;
You must be traveling outside your home country 

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WorldTrips international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. WorldTrips is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. WorldTrips has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency, Ltd.