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Discover What Medical Expenses & Travel Expenses Your Insurance Can Cover
Being prepared for a trip means taking all necessary precautions. Having a travel insurance policy to cover you in the event you run into medical situations or a flight delay or cancellation can save you money and help you navigate some stressful situations. Read on to discover all the types of expenses travel insurance can cover.
- A partner when you need it. Contact us anytime and from anywhere. Our multilingual customer support team is on call 24/7 to answer your questions if an emergency arises.
- A plan to fit you. Choose from several different types of travel insurance with varying coverage levels and optional upgrades to create personalized coverage for your trip.
- Proof of coverage. Proof of coverage will be delivered to you immediately upon purchase. Easily access your insurance card and visa letter to prove you have coverage throughout your entire trip.
Does Travel Insurance Cover Medical Expenses?
When planning a trip and purchasing plane tickets, you may be presented with the option to purchase travel insurance. Or you may come across travel insurance while researching destinations, booking your accommodations, and learning about transportation options. While some people may not have considered travel insurance prior to COVID, it’s becoming more popular as we navigate domestic and international travel.
What exactly is travel insurance? The term “travel insurance” is often interchangeable with “trip cancellation insurance” or “travel cancellation insurance.” This type of insurance provides reimbursement for expenses that result from a variety of unexpected situations, which could include unexpected cancellations, lost luggage, flight delays, and other incidentals.
Do you need medical travel insurance, too? Travel insurance policies often designate a portion of their benefits for emergency medical expenses as well, such as an Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expense benefit.
However, medical coverage under travel insurance policies like trip cancellation insurance may not offer as high of coverage limits as under travel medical insurance (more about travel medical insurance later on).
Understanding the differences in policies can help you make an informed decision when selecting travel insurance that meets your needs and will provide adequate coverage to address unforeseen events. Luckily, there are many options on the market to choose from.
What Does Travel Insurance Really Cover?
Imagine being in another country and the airline loses your luggage or your trip is interrupted due to a death in your family back home. You could have an accident that results in a broken arm or a natural disaster could occur, rendering your accommodations uninhabitable. Your trip could be canceled before it begins, or your trip could end early due to an emergency where you need to get home NOW. Your travel insurance may have provisions for each of those scenarios.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption
Trip cancellation insurance includes a Trip Cancellation benefit that reimburses you for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses (tours, hotel accommodations, airfare, etc.) if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason.
Depending on your insurance plan, a covered reason could be something like:
- You becoming injured or ill prior to travel and your doctor advising you not to travel
- An immediate family member passing away that requires you to cancel your trip
- Your airline canceling your flight due to inclement weather
While a Trip Cancellation benefit can cover the cost of a trip canceled before it has begun, a Trip Interruption benefit may be used once the trip has already started. If you end your trip early for a covered reason, the Trip Interruption benefit can cover your unused and nonrefundable trip expenses.
Some covered reasons for interruption could be:
- You end your trip early when you become ill or injured and your doctor advises you to go home.
- Your host has a medical emergency during your trip, so you end your vacation early.
- There is a mandatory evacuation of your destination because of a natural disaster while you are on vacation, and you must cancel the rest of your trip.
You can learn more about the difference between trip cancellation and trip interruption here.
Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance
Some trip cancellation plans, like WorldTrips’ Atlas Journey Premier and Atlas Journey Preferred plans, also offer an optional Trip Cancellation for Any Reason (CFAR) upgrade. What does this mean?
Your Trip Cancellation benefit will already cover you if you cancel your trip due to a covered reason listed in your policy documents. A CFAR benefit will provide reimbursement (sometimes up to 75%) of the unused, nonrefundable, prepaid payments or deposits you made toward your trip if you cancel for a reason not covered by your policy, such as a growing fear of catching COVID-19 in your destination.
Just make sure you read your plan’s policy documents and ensure you are following the correct procedures. For example, Atlas Journey Premier and Atlas Journey Preferred will reimburse you for 50% or 75% of your trip costs—whichever you choose upon purchase—for a canceled trip when you’ve added a CFAR upgrade, but you must cancel at least two days prior to your departure.
It’s also important to know that most plans only allow you to add a CFAR benefit if you purchase your travel insurance plan within a certain number of days after you make your first payment toward your trip. This time frame is often 3 weeks.
Additionally, some travel insurance plans may not allow you to add a CFAR benefit if you purchase your coverage within 48 hours of your departure. For these reasons, the ideal time to purchase a travel insurance plan is within 21 days of the date you made your first trip payment AND more than 2 days prior to your departure.
Other Travel-Related Benefits
Many travel insurance plans offer additional travel-related benefits as well, such as:
- Single Occupancy – Coverage for increased travel costs if your travel companion cancels
- Travel Delay – Reimbursement of a set amount of money per day for lodging, meals, local transportation, etc. if your travel is delayed for the required number of hours (often 5+)
- Baggage Delay – Reimbursement if your baggage is delayed for the required number of hours
Your plan may also provide travel assistance services to help answer your questions before you depart or guide you through stressful situations during your trip. These may include referrals, language interpretation, help with lost or stolen baggage, concierge services, and more.
In addition to cancellations, travel mishaps, and travel-related emergencies, accidents happen. It would be unfortunate to have an accident resulting in injury or illness during your vacation, but emergency medical insurance for international travel can reimburse you for expenses resulting from sickness or injury.
Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expense
The Atlas Journey plans from WorldTrips include an Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expense benefit to provide coverage for medical expenses resulting from an unexpected illness or injury during your trip, including expenses resulting from COVID-19. Here’s how the three Atlas Journey plans stack up in terms of the Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expense benefit:
- Atlas Journey Premier – Up to $150,000 (primary coverage)
- Atlas Journey Preferred – Up to $100,000 (excess coverage with optional upgrade to primary coverage)
- Atlas Journey Economy – Up to $10,000 (excess coverage)
This benefit provides coverage for eligible unexpected medical expenses, which could include costs for physician treatment, emergency surgery, sutures, hospitalization, and more. Expenses resulting from COVID-19 are covered the same as any other illness up to the Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expense maximum benefit listed above.
NOTE: "Primary coverage" means your Atlas Journey plan will pay the claim first. "Excess coverage" means insurance provided by your Atlas Journey policy will be in excess of all other insurance. If other insurance is in place when the claim is incurred, your Atlas Journey policy will only cover the excess of any amount paid or payable under other insurance.
Atlas Journey plans also include a Medical Evacuation benefit with the following benefit limits:
- Atlas Journey Premier - Up to $1,000,000
- Atlas Journey Preferred - Up to $1,000,000
- Atlas Journey Economy - Up to $250,000
This benefit covers expenses incurred for emergency medical evacuation to the nearest suitable hospital when you are critically ill or injured and no suitable local care is available. Note that you must have approval prior to the evacuation for coverage.
How Much Medical Payments Coverage Do I Need?
Every traveler is unique in terms of their destination, planned activities, existing coverage, and budget. Due to the potential high cost of emergency medical treatment while traveling, you may want to select a plan that offers a higher medical limit.
You may want more medical coverage if you’re an older traveler or if you plan to partake in lots of activities during your trip. Or you may want more medical coverage if your regular health insurance does not provide sufficient coverage in your destination.
If you’re seeking higher limits for medical coverage, you may want to consider a travel medical insurance plan. Travel medical insurance can be more budget friendly since it does not include a Trip Cancellation benefit. A travel medical insurance plan like Atlas Travel from WorldTrips can provide you with up to $2,000,000 of overall maximum coverage. Be sure to review benefits and exclusions when evaluating which type of plan is better for you. Learn more about travel medical insurance below.
COVID Insurance Coverage Included With Trip Cancellation Plans
In this day and age, you may be looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-related expenses. Review the policy documents for any plan you’re considering to determine whether it includes any COVID coverage.
For example, you could fall ill or be hospitalized due to COVID-19 before departing on your trip, and your doctor would likely advise you not to travel. Illness that prevents you from traveling is a valid covered reason for cancellation under many travel insurance policies, including Atlas Journey, so your plan may cover your prepaid and nonrefundable trip expenses if you cancel.
In case you fall ill with COVID-19 during your trip, look for a plan that includes coverage for unexpected medical expenses resulting from COVID-19. Eligible medical expenses related to COVID-19 are covered the same as any other illness under our Atlas Journey plans (up to the Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expense maximum benefit for the plan you choose).
What about quarantine? Some plans, like Atlas Journey, provide some coverage if you are quarantined during your trip dates. For example, Atlas Journey includes a Travel Delay benefit that will reimburse you up to $150 per day (up to a $2,000 maximum) under Atlas Journey Preferred or up to $200 per day (up to a $2,000 maximum) under Atlas Journey Premier if you are delayed for 5 or more hours due to a covered reason while en route to your trip, during your trip, or while returning from your trip. Covered reasons include quarantine.
Finally, let’s say you want to be able to cancel if you become concerned about COVID conditions in your destination. General COVID concerns are NOT a valid reason for canceling your trip under most travel insurance plans. You’ll need to look for a plan that includes a Trip Cancellation for Any Reason (CFAR) benefit upgrade that would reimburse you if you if you were to cancel your trip due to a reason not already covered under your policy’s Trip Cancellation benefit. (This CFAR benefit is discussed in additional detail above.)
What Does Travel Insurance Not Cover?
Travel insurance does not cover all potential cancellations, interruptions, travel mishaps, or medical emergencies. Before you depart on your trip—and ideally before you purchase your insurance policy—it’s important to review the policy documents for your plan to understand what is and isn’t covered.
If you’re considering purchasing an Atlas Journey trip cancellation insurance plan from WorldTrips, you can review the policy documents for the plan you’re interested in under the “Policy Documentation” tab here. Choose your state of residency and then select the plan. Be sure to view the conditions for the benefits that are most important to you as well as the general exclusions and limitations.
For now, here are a few types of expenses that Atlas Journey—and many other travel insurance plans—do not cover:
- Routine or preventive medical expenses – The Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expense benefit does not provide coverage for any non-emergent treatment or surgery, routine physical examinations, routine COVID-19 testing, elective procedures, etc.
- Pre-existing conditions*, but only under certain circumstances – Pre-existing conditions are excluded from medical coverage if you purchase your Atlas Journey plan more than 21 days after you made your first payment toward your trip. In this case, a 90-day lookback period will apply to pre-existing conditions. (Note that the pre-existing condition exclusion does not apply to the Emergency Medical Evacuation benefit or the Repatriation of Remains benefit.)
If you purchase your Atlas Journey plan within 21 days after you made your first payment toward your trip and you are medically able to travel on your policy purchase date, pre-existing conditions are eligible for coverage but are still subject to the other conditions and exclusions of your policy.
- Expenses incurred if you travel against the advice of a physician
- Treatment for mental, nervous, or psychological disorders– This exclusion applies unless you are hospitalized for 72 hours or more for the condition while your policy is in effect
- Participating in bodily contact sports, extreme sports, and certain adventure sports excluded under your policy – This exclusion applies unless the sport is covered under the optional Adventure Sports upgrade and you've added this coverage to your plan
*Pre-existing condition means an illness, disease, or other condition during the 90-day period immediately prior to your effective date of coverage for which you:
1. received a test, examination, or medical treatment;
2. received a recommendation for a test, examination, or medical treatment; or
3. took or received a prescription for drugs or medicine.
Item (3) above does not apply to a condition which is treated or controlled solely through the taking of prescription medication and remains treated or controlled without any adjustment or **change in the required prescription throughout the 90-day period before your coverage effective date.
**Change in required prescription means the dosage or frequency of a medication has been increased, reduced, stopped, and/or new medications have been prescribed due to the worsening of an underlying condition that's being treated with the medication, unless the change is:
1. between a brand name and a generic medication with comparable dosage; or
2. an adjustment to insulin or anti-coagulant dosage.
What Is Travel Medical Insurance?
International travel medical insurance is a type of travel insurance designed to address unexpected medical situations, such as injuries and unanticipated illness. Some countries and visas require medical travel insurance international coverage.
Additionally, many primary health insurance plans provide limited or no coverage outside of the traveler’s home country, so obtaining travel medical insurance can be an important step in the travel planning process.
In addition to eligible medical expenses such as local ambulance services, hospital room and board, the cost of sutures and surgery, physician expenses, and more, travel medical insurance can provide coverage for travel issues such as lost checked luggage, trip interruptions, and delays.
Additional benefits sometimes included in a travel medical insurance plan include terrorism coverage, political evacuation coverage, coverage for an accidental death or dismemberment, and more. *Note that travel medical insurance does NOT include a Trip Cancellation benefit.
Take time to review what is and isn’t covered before making a purchase. You can review the benefits of WorldTrips’ Atlas Travel medical insurance plan here. This flexible, budget-friendly plan allows you to choose your deductible and overall coverage maximum. Plus, upgrades are available upon purchase!
Because unfortunate occurrences like injuries and illness happen every day, it’s important to consider your financial risk in case you face a travel issue or emergency outside of the country.
NOTE: Like trip cancellation plans, travel medical insurance plans, like Atlas Travel, usually don’t cover treatment for **pre-existing conditions. However, those with a pre-existing condition can still purchase a travel medical insurance plan to get coverage for other eligible expenses for injuries, illnesses, medical evacuation, and travel mishaps not related to a pre-existing condition or otherwise listed in the policy exclusions.
**A pre-existing condition is 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.
Acute Onset of Pre-existing Condition means 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;
c) You must be under eighty (80) years of age;
d) 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;
e) You must not be traveling with the intent or purpose to seek or obtain treatment for the pre-existing condition;
f) You must be traveling outside your home country
Travel Medical Insurance That Covers COVID
As people start to travel internationally again, the threat of contracting COVID before or during your trip still lingers. Some travel medical insurance plans provide coverage for emergency medical expenses related to COVID-19.
For example, our Atlas Travel plan offers up to $2,000,000 of overall maximum coverage, which includes eligible expenses related to COVID-19. This applies to medical benefits such as Hospital Room and Board, Local Ambulance, Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and more.
Atlas Travel also includes an Emergency Quarantine Indemnity COVID-19 benefit, though it only applies if you have a minimum of 30 days of coverage and are outside your home country. This benefit helps cover expenses in the event you are required to quarantine abroad due to testing positive for COVID-19 or being symptomatic and waiting on diagnostic test results.
If you’re seeking travel insurance coverage that would allow you to cancel your trip due to growing fears about COVID in your destination, consider a trip cancellation insurance plan like Atlas Journey that allows you to add an optional Trip Cancellation for Any Reason benefit. You can learn more about this optional benefit upgrade above.
Deciding on the best travel insurance or the best travel medical insurance for COVID depends on your specific needs and concerns. You may want the ability to cancel for any reason, so a travel insurance plan with a CFAR upgrade would provide this option. You may just want a basic trip cancellation plan which includes cancellation coverage if you become ill before traveling. You may also be satisfied having coverage for medical expenses resulting from COVID-19 with a travel medical insurance plan.
IMPORTANT NOTE! Some countries require travel medical insurance that meets specific requirements before you are allowed entry. Use this interactive travel restrictions map from Kayak to learn about entry requirements which could include vaccine, quarantine, and testing requirements. Also review your destination’s government website (i.e., government site, local health department site, or embassy/consulate site) frequently leading up to your trip. Then take your time in selecting the right insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.
Travel Health Insurance Cost
Travel health insurance is often budget friendly. Policy costs can vary based on age, length of trip, coverage amount, the deductible you choose, and whether you’re traveling inside or outside the U.S.
Travel Health Insurance Cost Outside the USA
WorldTrips' flexible Atlas Travel medical plan for international travel outside the U.S. starts at $0.50* per day and goes up to at $16.12** per day. That means Atlas Travel plans can fall anywhere between $3.50 and $112.84 per week.
For example, a 31-year-old traveler taking a week-long trip to Europe would pay $13.16*** ($1.88 per day) for an Atlas Travel policy if they choose $1,000,000 in overall maximum coverage and a $250 deductible.
*$0.50 per day based on a traveler in the youngest age group (14 days – 17 years) traveling outside the U.S. with a $5,000 deductible and a $50,000 maximum limit in 2023.
**$16.12 per day based on a traveler in the oldest age group (80+ years) traveling outside the U.S. with a $0 deductible and a $10,000 maximum limit in 2023.
***Prices valid as of February 2023.
Travel Health Insurance Cost Inside the USA
Live abroad and need travel health insurance for the USA? Your costs will be slightly higher due to the higher cost of medical expenses in the U.S. Atlas Travel starts at $0.93* per day and goes up to $21.26** per day for international travel to the U.S. That means Atlas Travel plans can fall anywhere between $6.51 and $148.82 per week.
For example, a 31-year-old traveler taking a week-long trip to the U.S. would pay $24.71*** ($3.53 per day) for an Atlas Travel policy if they choose $1,000,000 in overall maximum coverage and a $250 deductible.
*$0.93 per day based on a traveler in the youngest age group (14 days – 17 years) traveling inside the U.S. with a $5,000 deductible and a $50,000 maximum limit in 2023.
**$21.26 per day based on a traveler in the oldest age group (80+ years) traveling inside the U.S. with a $0 deductible and a $10,000 maximum limit in 2023.
***Prices valid as of February 2023.
Be Sure to Explore These Related Resources:
- Is Travel Insurance Really Worth It?
- 8 Times Trip Cancellation Insurance Might Not Cover You
- Trip Cancellation vs Trip Interruption: What Is the Difference?
- Atlas Journey Insurance
- Travel Insurance vs. Travel Medical Insurance: Is There a Difference?
- Should I Get Travel Health for My Trip Abroad?
- Atlas Travel Insurance
- What Countries Require Travel Insurance for Entry?
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WorldTrips is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies.
WorldTrips’ Atlas Travel Series and StudentSecure international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. 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.
WorldTrips' Atlas Journey, Atlas Cruiser, and Atlas On-The-Go trip protection insurance products are underwritten by Tokio Marine HCC's U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC). USSIC is a Texas-domiciled insurance company operating on an admitted basis throughout the United States. Coverage is available to U.S. residents of the U.S. states and District of Columbia only. This plan provides insurance coverage that only applies during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home, and automobile insurance policies. Coverage may not be available in all states.
In the State of California, operating as WorldTrips Insurance Services. California Non- Resident Producer License Number: 0G39705