Travel insurance has one goal: to keep you and your stuff safe from harm while out on an adventure. As we’ve discussed, there are several components to standard travel insurance: vacation cancellation, medical, evacuation, baggage, and flight. While most of us only utilize the last two options, hundreds of thousands of people around the world pay millions of dollars to add the emergency medical component to their policy.
The medical portion of travel insurance is one of the trickiest to balance. Some policies offer lower and high medical expense options, which ultimately affect how much you pay. The higher prices are most often used for countries with high medical costs, such as the United States. That said, travel insurance is often far cheaper than a standard health insurance plan in one of these high-cost countries. Though used only for short periods of time, travel insurance can be hundreds of dollars cheaper than a U.S. healthcare plan.
Travel insurance, however, is not intended to be a substitute for a health insurance policy in your home country. While there is a medical component in you travel insurance policy, it is only designed to cover sudden illness or accident—not preventative, rehabilitative, or diagnostic care. To that end, an individual can choose the level of coverage they purchase before a trip; some travel insurance plans won’t have the medical component.
While this is not necessarily a common practice among those who purchase travel insurance, you have to admit—the idea of paying significantly less for healthcare is pretty enticing. You’ll just wait for your symptoms to get bad enough to facilitate an emergency trip to the hospital, right? While this might seem like a clever scheme, it puts your health in extreme peril. Plus, few travel insurance providers will actually provide insurance for this reason.