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Questions to Ask Before Buying Travel Medical Insurance

Travel Team | May 16, 2024

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Travel insurance is an investment. This investment is in your health and your peace of mind. But of course, it’s a bit of a financial investment as well. Because of all this, it’s important to get the coverage you expect.

To make sure you get the right travel medical insurance coverage, it helps to ask the right questions before you buy anything. You’ll have fewer surprises, and you’ll feel more confident that you’ll be protected if the unexpected happens.

Here are 11 questions worth asking so that you know what you’re investing in.

1. How much does travel medical insurance cost?

We know what you’re thinking. With all this talk of investments, is travel medical insurance affordable? Is it worth the cost? Yes and yes. Here’s how to estimate that cost.


Your travel medical insurance premium (the cost of the plan) is affected by several things, including your medical maximum and deductible. Seven Corners’ plans allow you to choose these amounts.

If you select a higher deductible, your premium will be lower. Similarly, if you choose a lower medical maximum, your premium will also be lower. This is because you are taking on more risk. If you get sick or hurt, a high deductible and low medical maximum means you will pay more out of pocket.

On the other hand, if you choose a lower deductible and a higher medical maximum, more of the risk is assumed by the insurance company. You will pay more for the plan because the insurance is taking on more responsibility. If you get sick or hurt while traveling, your travel insurance will pay for more of your care, and you will pay less out of pocket.

The key is to find the balance you’re most comfortable with.

Your age and length of coverage can also impact the cost of travel medical insurance.

2. How are medical benefits paid if I get sick or hurt while traveling?

There are two types of travel medical insurance — scheduled and comprehensive — and the key difference between them is how benefits for medical treatment are paid.

  • Scheduled benefits: The plan has a medical limit for how much it will pay for each injury or illness and for each type of medical treatment you receive.
  • Comprehensive benefits: The plan has a medical limit for your coverage period rather than for individual treatments.

Both types of plans have medical maximums, but there may be more limits besides that. Make sure you know what the limits and sub-limits are in your plan so that you know how much to expect to pay out of pocket, if anything, after your insurance makes its payment. These limits will be listed in the "Schedule of Benefits" section of your plan document.

We know this can be confusing, which is why we’ve written another whole article about it. Read more about the key differences between scheduled and comprehensive benefits.

3. What is not covered by travel medical insurance?

What isn’t covered is referred to as an exclusion. Certain conditions or types of treatment might be excluded from your plan’s coverage. Benefits and exclusions might also be based on the situation and if certain events meet the requirements to trigger coverage.

Understanding exclusions is often where people get confused during the claims process. The best way to avoid this confusion is to read your plan document and talk to your travel insurance agent if you still have questions.

“We can explain your coverage details to you, so that you have no surprise exclusions to keep your claims from being paid,” says Julia Peterson, who has worked in several roles at Seven Corners, including with our Customer Service team.

4. Does travel medical insurance cover my pre-existing conditions?

Pre-existing conditions are a big deal for some travelers. Some plans will cover these conditions, while others won’t. Similarly, some plans only cover emergency acute onset of those illnesses.

If pre-existing conditions are a concern for you, consider these factors before purchasing a travel insurance plan:

  • What is considered a pre-existing condition? How long you’ve had the condition, when it was diagnosed by a doctor, and any steps you've taken to manage the condition before traveling can all affect coverage of pre-existing conditions, if one is available on the plan.
  • Is there an exclusion period, or waiting period? Some plans will only provide coverage for pre-existing conditions if an acute onset of that condition occurs after a certain period of time following the start of your coverage.

Learn more about how Seven Corners’ plans define a pre-existing condition.


5. Does this plan include pharmacy coverage?

Some plans cover prescriptions completely, while others only have partial coverage. Remember that travel medical plans are designed to cover illnesses and injuries that arise while you are traveling. Typically, medications related to those scenarios will be covered.

If you take a prescription medication regularly, it’s best to make sure you have enough before you leave home.

You’ll also want to know whether your plan requires you to pay out-of-pocket at the pharmacy and file a claim later to be reimbursed, or whether the pharmacy can bill the insurance directly.

6. What is a network?

Some plans have a provider network, or PPO, while others do not. Providers who are “in-network” have a contract with your insurance provider. Because of this, expenses for medical treatment are typically less expensive.

If the plan has a network, ask how large it is. If the network is smaller, or all the doctors are located in major cities but you’re traveling to remote areas like somewhere in west Texas, it will be more difficult to find medical care in the network.

7. What is my coverage out of network?

Some plans have the same coverage whether you choose an in-network provider or not. Other plans, however, will cover less for medical care received from out-of-network providers. This means that you will pay more out of pocket for that treatment.

Again, make sure you understand what your plan’s network is and how your out-of-pocket expenses will be affected if you seek treatment from a provider not in the network.

8. Can I renew this plan and for how long?

Sometimes you’re having such a great time, you decide to extend your trip a few more days. Sometimes you suffer a medical emergency and you’re unable to return home on time because of a doctor’s orders not to fly. In both these examples, you may need to extend your travel insurance coverage.

Often, you can extend your coverage, but before you even leave home in the first place, make note of the steps you must take to do so. Some plans may not let you renew past a certain point, and some may not let you renew unless you do it before it expires.

Know when your coverage expires and try to be proactive so that you don't have any lapse in coverage. If you think you may need to extend your plan, contact the travel insurance provider for more details and requirements.

9. What is the claims process?


In all honesty, we hope you never have to use the plan you purchased. But the unexpected can rear its ugly head (or as we like to say, trip happens). That’s when you want to know what to expect when you file a claim.

  • Have a basic understanding of how to file a claim. Most of the time, including with Seven Corners, it’s an online process you’ll complete through your account.
  • Know what the timely filing limit is. This is just insurance jargon for knowing the deadline to submit your claim. For most plans, you have 90 days to file your claim.
  • Know what types of documentation is needed for a claim. Your insurance provider will share the required forms with you, but it’s also a good idea to know if you need to keep receipts. Depending on the situation, you might also need to submit a police report, doctor’s reports, and similar paperwork. We don’t expect you to memorize the full list, but a general familiarity with the requirements is helpful.

Gather this information before you travel so that you know what you’ll have to do if filing a claim becomes necessary.

10. What is the appeal process?

If your claim is denied, and you believe that your plan should have covered it, know what to do about it ahead of time.

Start by kindly asking the insurance provider for an explanation of the denial. Travel insurance is complicated, and it doesn’t work like home or car insurance. The provider will be able to explain the reason for the decision. If you would still like the claim re-reviewed, ask for details of the appeal process.

11. Can I cancel my coverage?

For travel medical insurance, you can typically cancel your coverage if you submit a written request for cancellation prior to your effective date.

If it is after your effective date, you can still request a refund for the unused portion of the plan cost. There may also be a cancellation fee.

It’s important to note that if you’ve made a claim, you can no longer cancel your plan. You also cannot cancel an annual plan after its effective date. Check with the insurance provider for more details and requirements before purchasing the plan.

How to Buy Travel Insurance

We’ve said it a few times already: travel insurance can be complicated. There are exclusions and deadlines that impact how benefits can be bought and later applied when you travel. That’s why it’s so important to turn to the experts when you have questions.

Seven Corners’ team is full of licensed agents who can not only answer your questions, but also recommend the best insurance for your trip. Contact them today or get more details on our website at SevenCorners.com.

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