No matter how carefully you prepare for a trip abroad, unexpected situations can still pop up to alter your travel plans. When you need to change travel dates or reschedule a trip, it's important to know the procedure for contacting your travel medical insurance company.
Travel Insurance Review notes that insurance carriers are typically very willing to work with travelers in order to make a change or correct a mistake.
Deciding to Make a Change
Common reasons for making changes to a policy before departure may include:
- A new date of return or departure. If your travel dates change, it's important for you to let your insurer to know. A longer or shorter trip may affect your policy costs, and you want to ensure you'll be covered during the time you are abroad.
- A desire to increase or decrease coverage. If you decide you want to change your overall maximum coverage amount, you can typically make this adjustment up to your policy start date.
- A change in the number of persons in your party. It's possible to purchase travel medical insurance that provides medical coverage for groups. If an additional person decides to join your party, you may want to add him or her to your policy.
- A need to postpone your trip. Circumstances may force travelers to cancel their vacations. If you cancel your trip, you may qualify for a money-back policy guarantee, although you may have to pay a small processing charge.
Updating your policy
Many policies, like WorldTrips' Atlas Travel insurance, allow certain changes to be made at any point before the policy begins. These changes might include:
- Changes to effective date
- Coverage increases or decreases
- Cancellation of policy for full refund
There are also instances in which you will likely be able to make changes even after your policy has begun. These include:
- Extending your coverage
- Updating your personal information
- Canceling your policy early (you'll likely be charged a small cancellation fee)
Making Sure You're Protected
Having medical coverage while traveling abroad is very important, and many domestic policies will not cover you outside the borders of your home country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that taking trips abroad without medical insurance can be costly. If you become ill during your trip and lack coverage, you may be required to pay for your care out-of-pocket.
According to the U.S. Department of State, if you require an emergency medical evacuation and you're not covered, it easily could cost you $10,000 or more.
Understanding Your Policy
It's also important to review any medical exclusions in your policy. This way you'll know when you are and aren't entitled to coverage. Common exclusions include:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Routine medical examinations
- Routine pre-natal care, pregnancy, childbirth, and post-natal care
- Medical expenses for injury or illness resulting from participation in extreme sports
- Medical expenses resulting from injury or illness incurred while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs not medically prescribed by a licensed physician
Make sure you're comfortable with the amount of your policy deductible. A deductible is the amount of money you must pay before your medical insurance kicks in during an illness. If you decide that the deductible is too high or too low, you'll be able to make changes before your trip begins.
Contacting Your Insurance Company
Contact your travel medical insurance company as soon as you discover the need to make a policy change. Have your policy number available when you do.
Your insurer's customer service number can be found in the email you received to confirm your purchase. The email may also list a phone number for you to call to seek assistance when abroad.
Contact information should also be available on your insurance company's website.