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Know These Details Before You Go!

Know These Details Before You Go! Featured Image

If reading your insurance policy cover to cover doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, you’re not alone. If you’ve purchased travel insurance recently, your mind is probably on other, more fun things—what to pack, the sites you’ll see, the foods you’ll get to eat…

But as insurance experts, we simply can’t stress enough how important it is to read your policy so you understand how the insurance plan works as well as its limitations. To get you started, here are the top four details you must know about your travel insurance before you go:

1. Pre-certification is a must. Emergency medical evacuations, hospitalizations and surgeries must be pre-certified with the insurance company to avoid any penalties and reduction in reimbursed claims. The number to call for pre-certifications is located on the back of your ID card.

2. Treatment must begin on your trip. If an incident occurs while you are away from your home country, treatment must begin in the foreign country for you to be eligible to submit claims once back in the US. If you wait until you return home to seek treatment, the travel insurance company has no way of knowing where exactly the injury or illness began and they often won’t pay benefits.

3. Medical coverage once you return home has limits. Depending on your insurance plan, the amount of coverage you can receive for the continued treatment of an injury or illness once you return to the US may have a monetary or time limit. For example, those under our Atlas Travel or Day Tripper plans can receive continued treatment for an illness or injury for up to 90 days after they return to the US and the amount of coverage is limited to the policy maximum. Again, see #2 above, treatment for the injury or illness must begin while on your trip for continued treatments to be covered.

4. Pre-existing conditions are usually not covered. All travel medical plans are designed to provide coverage for the unexpected illness or injury while traveling away from your home country and are not designed to cover pre-existing conditions. These can include pregnancy, prescriptions, glasses, hearing aids and more—a list of what the insurance company considers a pre-existing condition is available in your plan brochure. However, some plans will offer coverage for the acute onset or unexpected recurrence of a pre-existing condition (asthma attack, for example), but again, treatment must begin while in the foreign country.

The exact details of your particular insurance policy are often found in your plan brochure. Plan brochures are available online at If you ever have a question about what you read in your plan, please contact a Client Advisor for expert help.

Are you a group leader? If you have purchased group travel medical insurance for a group of five or more, we suggest signing up for our Know Before You Go email.