Travel medical insurance offers protection for illness or injury incurred during either domestic or overseas travel. It's valuable because many medical insurance policies have coverage limitations and might apply only to travel within a certain part of the world. Purchasing additional travel insurance can ensure that the policyholder has the same coverage that he or she would with their primary medical coverage.
Travel medical insurance ensures that travelers have access to medical care just as they would if they were in their home country. Some countries, for example, might require payment up front or might refuse treatment to anyone who doesn't have insurance. Countries that have public healthcare systems might not provide full medical services to visitors from other countries. In these cases, the insurance might be the only way for a traveler to receive necessary medical treatment.
There are two primary forms of travel medical insurance: travel medical and major medical. Basic insurance policies are designed for short-term travel, such as business trips or vacations. Coverage ranges from five days to as much as one year, depending on the policy and provider. Major medical is designed for extended stays, from six months to one year or even longer. Both types help cover medical costs and assist policyholders in locating doctors, hospitals, healthcare facilities and even translators.
Travelers can also purchase medical emergency evacuation insurance, which reimburses policyholders if they must be transported to another location to obtain needed healthcare. Medical evacuation might be required if a traveler becomes ill or injured in a remote or rural area where there are either no medical facilities or none that provide the level of care that the policyholder needs. If the policyholder needs to be transported to an urban location with more extensive healthcare facilities or even taken back to his or her own country, medical emergency evacuation insurance will cover those costs so he or she doesn't have to pay a large amount of money up front and out of his or her own pocket.
Travelers can purchase travel medical insurance on a per-trip basis or as multi-trip coverage, which provides coverage for multiple trips per year but might require each trip to last for no more than 30 days. Frequent travelers can purchase an annual policy that provides coverage for an entire year.