In the 45 years that I’ve been directly involved in travel insurance I’ve noticed 3 major misconceptions about travel insurance that always seem to be lurking in the shadows.
Let’s debunk these misconceptions right now:
- Pre-existing medical conditions: not all things are considered pre-existing conditions. Travel insurance policies have very specific definitions for what is a pre-existing condition. If your condition does fit the definition than it will be considered a pre-existing condition and you’re better off finding a plan that offers a “waiver of pre-existing conditions”. But if you are not eligible for the “waiver” and your condition doesn’t fit the definition of pre-existing than you can still buy travel insurance with confidence.
- Medical coverage doesn’t cover outside the USA: Many medical plans will provide coverage outside the USA but they may scale back coverage because you’re outside of network. Notable exceptions to coverage outside the USA would include Medicare which is basically limited to the USA only, Medicaid, and many individual plans available through the new Health Care Exchanges. With many Medicaid and Health Care Exchange plans coverage might not apply outside of the insured’s State of residence. It’s best to be an informed consumer. Check with your health insurance coverage to find out what coverage applies outside the USA. That way you won’t be misinformed when buying travel insurance.
- Buy baggage insurance to avoid a homeowner’s claim: There is a persistent misconception that if you buy travel insurance than you can avoid placing a claim under your homeowners insurance which would than increase your rates because you’ve had a claim. In very limited situations this might be true however, most baggage insurance plans are “secondary” coverage which means that even though you have the travel coverage you must first submit the claim to your home owners insurance and only after they have adjusted your claim can you finalize your claim with the travel insurance company. So even though you bought the coverage to avoid your home owners insurance you will still be forced to file the claim.
Bottom line is that travelers should take the time to become informed and savvy consumers by seeking advice through experienced travel insurance professionals.