Many people who take frequent trips do not give much thought to the possibility of suffering an injury or becoming ill while they are traveling. However, such occurrences are not as uncommon as one may think. Often, people do not fully grasp the importance of obtaining appropriate health insurance for travelers until they find themselves in a difficult situation while visiting another country. It is at this time that many individuals realize that the insurance coverage in which they are enrolled at home is not valid abroad, and subsequently will be of little or no help. Travelers health insurance was created to bridge the gap between an individual's traditional health insurance and the coverage that may become necessary when he or she is abroad.
How Travel Insurance Works
Most travel insurance policies offer to pay a portion of one's health and medical bills should the covered individual become ill or injured while traveling. Such plans almost always work through the process of reimbursement. This means that the traveler must initially pay for any treatments, procedures or medications that are provided, and he or she will be reimbursed by the insurance agency upon arriving home. The claim is usually paid within ten days of one's return to his or her own country.
It is important to understand that there are certain activities that are not covered under travelers health insurance. Such activities include traveling to a foreign country for the purpose of having surgery, whether the procedure being sought is cosmetic or a standard health-related surgery. Insurance companies consider the act of traveling abroad to seek medical procedures extremely risky, and will refuse coverage for this activity. In addition, the insurance agency is under no obligation to pay for losses resulting from the covered individual's use of alcohol or drugs.
Injuries acquired due to one's participation in high-risk or extreme sports, such as sky-diving or heli-skiing, are also not covered in most cases. However, if the traveler intends to participate in such sports and makes this clear to his or her insurance agent, additional insurance can be obtained to cover such activities. Unfortunate incidents sometimes occur no matter how healthy or careful a traveler may be when first setting out on a trip. For this reason, it is wise for anyone who travels frequently to obtain suitable health insurance for travelers.