Travel Health Insurance Myths

Posted by on in Insurance

Do any of the following travel medical insurance myths sound like a reason that has prevented you from buying a policy? Hopefully your situation is unlike the millions of people who travel every year, and find themselves in precarious circumstances without the protection of travel medical insurance. Here are some travel insurance myths you should learn about before you decide whether or not to purchase a plan before your next trip abroad.

Myth #1: “My current health insurance plan covers me while I travel outside my home country.”

traveler standing with luggage

Often times a traveler will depart from their home country under this impression, and find out they do not have health insurance coverage after it is too late. According to the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, most U.S. medical insurance carriers, including Medicare and Medicaid programs, do not provide coverage to members outside of the U.S.

Unfortunately, many health plans will not cover your medical treatment once you leave your home country. Many countries with socialized medicine will not provide full-services to non-residents, and uninsured patients can be refused medical treatment.

Purchasing a travel medical insurance plan like Atlas Travel offers risk mitigation benefits for all eligible travel-related illness, injuries, or trip interruptions.

Myth #2: “I am healthy and don’t need to buy medical coverage for my trip abroad.”

According to the World Health Organization, key risk factors while traveling include:

  • the method of transportation
  • season of travel
  • purpose of travel
  • food/accommodation standards
  • the existing health of the traveler

Accidents happen to healthy people often, and assuming that you will not get sick or hurt can be an expensive assumption. Your existing health is only a small factor in the overall risk that you will be injured or become ill while you are traveling. There are benefits to a travel medical insurance plan that cover you beyond your current state of health. For instance, with Atlas Travel, you have a crisis response benefit in the case of a kidnapping, emergency medical evacuation coverage, and a network of doctors and hospitals to choose from anywhere around the world.

Myth #3: “Only people with pre-existing conditions get sick, and travel medical insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions.”

The most common travel-related illnesses and accidents do not depend upon your health in advance of travel. Despite any pre-existing conditions you may or may not have, the following travel related illnesses and injuries can still happen to you, causing a need for a travel medical insurance plan:

  • Jet lag
  • Motion sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Altitude sickness
  • Food poisoning
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Respiratory infections
  • Sports adventure accidents
  • Weather related accidents
  • Transportation accidents
  • Animal bites

Purchasing a travel medical insurance plan like Atlas Travel covers these types of common travel illnesses and accidents that anyone traveling is susceptible to, regardless of any pre-existing conditions.

Myth #4: “If I live in the USA, I can add my parents to my current health insurance plan while they visit.”

Parents are not considered dependents and can’t be added to a son or daughter’s insurance plan while they are visiting them from another country. It is essential for your parents to have their own travel medical insurance plan when visiting the United States, to protect against the high cost of medical care in the U.S. if something unfortunate should occur.

Travel medical insurance coverage from a company based in the U.S. can also help you understand and navigate the U.S. healthcare system, and can protect you from incurring medical costs for your visitors. Purchasing your parents a travel medical coverage plan for the duration of their visit, like Atlas Travel, gives you an insurance card that can be shown to U.S. doctors and hospitals to prove you have medical insurance coverage.

Myth #5: “I don’t need travel insurance because if my flight is delayed the airline will cover my unexpected expenses.”

delayed flights

Only if you are flying on a European carrier in Europe will the airline cover any extra expenses the delay may have cost you, and they can still deny the claim based on anything they deem as “extraordinary circumstances.”

A United States airline is not obligated to compensate you for any inconveniences a delay causes you, and can only offer you a seat on their next available flight. If you have purchased a travel insurance plan and experience a travel delay, depending on the maximum coverage provided, your plan will cover meals or hotel expenses.

Myth #6: “I am an extreme sports enthusiast and can’t find a travel medical insurance plan that will cover me.”

Adventurous travelers can still be covered by an insurance company—they just need to find the right providers. Some companies will cover specific sports and will list any exemptions on their website, or you can ask your insurance agent about the limitations on sports activities within a plan’s coverage. Not all travel medical insurance policies are alike, and in specific instances of potentially dangerous travels, there are options for creating a tailor-made plan.

Myth #7: “I am a multi-trip traveler and can’t afford the expense of an annual multi-trip plan.”

In the case of the multi-trip traveler, it is a common belief that it is more expensive to purchase a multi-trip travel medical insurance plan than to purchase coverage as you travel. This is a myth because, in fact, a multi-trip travel insurance plan gives you the freedom to buy in advance and travel as you will—without the burden of remembering to activate your travel medical insurance plan before your departure date. A larger purchase price up front will, in the long run, save you money if you are traveling between 5 and 364 days out of the year to different locals.

Myth #8: “I have a travel insurance policy provided by my credit card company, and I don’t need additional coverage.”

If you do have a travel insurance policy with your credit card contract, there is a high likelihood that it is a very limited coverage plan. The features the credit card company advertised may have low maximum coverage and cover only trip interruption and baggage loss. It would be to your advantage to compare existing travel insurance policies you may have to that of a full-service insurance provider to ensure you are getting the amount of coverage you need during your trips abroad.

Travel medical insurance myths are pervasive, and amongst the most common preconceptions about insurance coverage. A coverage plan is not always a one-size-fits-all solution to the traveler’s problem of protecting themselves from the unexpected occurrences while traveling abroad. Your travel medical insurance plan may differ from your parents’, friends’, or neighbors’ in its limitations and coverage options. It would be to your advantage to consult an insurance agent or sales associate at a full-service provider to discover the kind of coverage you will need for your unique travel experience abroad.

Visit our travel insurance comparison page for more information on an international medical insurance plan.

travel myths cta


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