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How travel medical insurance can help you if you fall sick abroad during your trip

Are you worrying for you health while traveling abroad? Learn more about how travel medical insurance helps if you fall sick abroad.

  • 04 Mar 2022
  • 3 min read

Travelling is a refreshing experience, especially if you are visiting another country for a vacation. But, just like any change, travelling comes with its own set of inconveniences. A change of climate, food, or travel-related exhaustion can lead to common cough and cold, or you may even fall severely sick or be injured. During such trying times, getting hospitalised or availing of medical treatment in a foreign country can drain you off your funds. As a precaution get yourself travel medical insurance before you set out on your journey. This would help you to meet the healthcare expenses if required so that you can travel stress-free. Note, that travel medical insurance or health insurance for overseas travel differs from regular health insurance. Keep reading to know more about travel medical insurance in detail.

A travel medical insurance would cover the cost of emergency medical treatments or injury as per the limits of your policy. You will find that most of the domestic health insurance policies are not valid abroad, so you have to buy additional travel medical insurance. This insurance would be active only as long as you are travelling. With travel medical insurance, you will get foreign language help if you are not comfortable communicating in the country’s official language. Your insurance provider will facilitate it in case you have any problems related to communication. In certain countries, it is compulsory to show proof of travel medical insurance for entry permits.

Coverage under medical insurance for overseas travel

Travel medical insurance covers emergency medical treatments including:

  • Bone fractures
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Emergency dental procedures
  • Medical evacuations
  • Emergency transport
  • Emergency repatriation
  • Ambulance service
  • Doctor consultation fees
  • Hospital and operating room charges
  • X-rays, examinations, treatments, lab tests and anaesthesia
  • Drugs and medicines
  • Emergency medical evacuation or arrangements for sending back the patient to the domestic country

There are two types of health insurance for travel abroad

• Stand-alone plan for health insurance for abroad

It covers emergency medical and dental expenses that you may have to pay for while travelling. It will not include any other expenses related to travel insurance. Travel medical insurance will cover medical emergencies while travelling such as a sprained ankle, fracture, injury etc. while sightseeing. It will not cover non-emergency issues or regular treatment procedures.

• Comprehensive travel insurance cover

In addition to emergency medical benefits, a comprehensive travel insurance package plan provides coverage for trip cancellation, trip delay, emergency medical evacuation, baggage loss etc.

You can buy travel medical insurance as primary or secondary coverage, depending on your requirements. If it is the primary coverage, it will pay for the expenses irrespective of any other health insurance that you have. If you have existing health insurance and buy travel medical insurance as secondary coverage, you have to claim from the primary health insurance first. You can claim the balance amount from the secondary cover.

If you travel to a country where your domestic or primary health insurance is not valid, then the secondary travel medical insurance will become the primary coverage due to lack of other insurance. Take care to know about the policy rules for evacuation in case of a medical emergency. Some policies may require a minimum period of hospitalisation abroad before you are evacuated.

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Exclusions under travel medical insurance

There is a limit up to which you can receive coverage under this policy. There are certain medical conditions that the policy would not cover but it varies from one insurance provider to another. Some common exclusions are:

• Pre-existing diseases

Coverage for pre-existing diseases varies among insurers as some insurance providers may provide coverage with conditions or at a high premium. Some insurance companies will verify your past medical records to check if the condition was present during the last one year. You may get coverage for pre-existing conditions if you buy the policy within a month after you book your trip. Some insurers allow a pre-existing condition exclusion waiver if you buy the policy within 14 days of booking your trip.

• Alcohol, drug or other substance abuse

If you fall sick or get injured due to consumption of alcohol, drugs or other types of intoxicating substances, then your treatment or hospitalisation costs would not be covered by the insurer. Health issues occurring due to the consumption of intoxicants are a standard exclusion followed by insurers as consumption of these substances are illegal in several places.

• High-risk activities

If you get injured due to participation in a risky activity or sports such as mountain or rock climbing, skydiving, parasailing, bungee jumping, rowing etc. your health insurance cover abroad will not pay for your hospitalisation expenses. If you plan to travel specifically for doing adventure sports, there are separate policies to cover them. You can find out if your insurer offers adventure travel insurance plans so that any loss to you from these particular activities will be covered.

• Other exclusions

Travel medical insurance typically excludes the following:

  • Routine medical examinations such as vaccinations or immunisations
  • Surgery or treatment related to cosmetology, plastic surgery, obesity or weight-loss treatment and intestinal bypass surgery
  • Organ or tissue transplants
  • Expenses for corrective devices such as eyeglasses or contact lenses

While travelling abroad, make sure to get travel medical insurance as a financial security against emergency medical expenses. Illness or injury can occur all of a sudden and getting quick medical care may prove difficult and quite expensive in a foreign land. This cover also arranges for transportation to your place of residence under specific medical conditions.

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