Buying Visitors Insurance Does Not Guarantee Full Coverage

Many international travelers believe that buying visitors insurance guarantees they are 100 percent covered during their travels, but what they may not know is that there are certain medical situations that are generally not covered by any visitors insurance.

The insurance industry in the US is much different than that of the rest of the world. US insurance policies have many limitations and exclusions that may not apply in other countries, and especially with the high cost of healthcare in the US, travelers must not overlook these policy details.

After buying visitors insurance, policyholders need to know what to expect from their plan, and this means knowing that their policy does not guarantee 100 percent complete coverage. Certain benefits are not included in most policies, and how much insurance pays for covered benefits varies depending on the plan.

What Is Not Covered With Visitors Insurance?

Visitors insurance almost always excludes the following care or benefits.

  • Preventative care. Without reading their policy, some travelers may assume they can just walk into any hospital for a regular checkup or routine test. This is not true. Visitors insurance does not cover preventative care such as routine checkups, blood tests, and immunizations.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Illnesses and injuries related to pre-existing conditions may not be covered. Travelers with pre-existing conditions should read the policy details carefully and look for benefits like acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage.
  • Pregnancy and maternity care. Most visitors insurance policies do not cover regular pregnancy and maternity related checkups. Only in some cases may unexpected pregnancy complications and emergencies be covered.
  • Dental and vision coverage. Dental and vision care is typically not covered by visitors insurance. Some plans may cover dental emergencies and eye accidents, but be sure to check your policy for complete details.

What Expenses Are Not Covered?

Some travelers may think that because they paid their visitors insurance premium, the travel insurance company is liable for paying all other incurred expenses. However, visitors insurance only pays for eligible benefits up to the coverage limit. The insurance company does not pay for:

  • Expenses that exceed the coverage limit. If your medical bills exceed the coverage limit or policy maximum, you are liable for those expenses.
  • Co-insurance. Comprehensive plans often only pay a certain percentage of the bill up to a specified amount. An 80/20 co-insurance plan means that if the insurance company pays 80 percent of the charges, then you are responsible for the remaining 20 percent.
  • Deductible. The deductible is the amount you must pay before the insurance company starts paying for covered expenses. You are responsible for the deductible before the coverage begins. Deductibles vary from plan to plan.

Most importantly, visitors insurance does not reimburse expenses for non-covered benefits. Travelers may assume that after buying visitors insurance, they are covered for any medical treatment or procedure they need, but this is not true. Benefits are paid only according to the policy brochure, so be sure to check your visitors insurance exclusions.

Also, the insurance company does not default to rejecting claims. The insurance company is liable to pay all eligible claims according to the policy terms.

Remember that buying visitors insurance does not guarantee that you are 100% covered during your trip. Visitors insurance policies have strict terms and limitations that are your responsibility to understand, so be sure to keep this in mind when purchasing a plan.

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