Coverage considerations

Five Things Everyone Should Know About Travel Insurance


Travel insurance is more than a luxury; it’s a necessity if one’s trip is to be successful. However, travel insurance is not a cookie-cutter arrangement where one size fits all.  At, we recommend that travelers understand the following facts about travel insurance coverages:
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Pregnancy – is it covered by travel insurance?

One question that we get several times a week is about trip insurance for a traveler who is pregnant or might become pregnant. Is there coverage available? The answer is yes and no.

Yes, there is coverage available under some, but it only applies to trip cancellation coverage and the pregnancy must begin after the policy is purchased.

Generally, all travel insurance policies exclude pregnancy and childbirth. However, they usually have an exemption to the exclusion for complications of pregnancy. This exemption traces it’s origins back to New York State Insurance Department Regulation 62 which requires health insurance sold in New York to cover complications of pregnancy. They define complications as:

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Medicare – Doesn’t cover you outside the USA!

Are you covered by Medicare when you’re traveling outside the United State? This is one of the most common questions that we get from senior travelers. And the answer is basically no! You are not. According to the 2009 Medicare Handbook:

Travel (health care needed when traveling outside the United States): Limited to medical services provided in Canada when you travel on the most direct route through Canada between Alaska and another state. Medicare also covers hospital, ambulance, and doctor services if you are in the United States, but the nearest hospital that can treat you isn’t in the United States (the United States means the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa). In some cases, Medicare may pay for services that you get while on board a ship within the territorial waters adjoining the land areas of the United States.

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Understanding Pre-existing Medical Conditions.


In my 42+ years of travel insurance experience I’ve often had the question asked of me as to what is considered a pre-existing medical condition? And how can I get that exclusion waived?


The answer to those questions are fairly easy to understand if you look at the particular company’s definition of pre-existing conditions or their pre-existing conditions exclusion (yes they all have them) and read them literally. The following is a typical pre-existing conditions exclusion: 

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Travel Insurance Companies in the USA

Almost all travel insurance companies in the USA are really "plan administrators" rather than the underwriting company.  There is a major distinction between the two;

Underwriting Company: is the actual insurance company that underwrites the insurance policy - they are the ones that guarantee the benefits found in the policy.  By law, these companies have to be licensed and/or registered with your State Insurance Department.  As part of their licensing requirements they are required to maintain and to meet certain capital and surplus requirements and must retain part of the insurance premiums as reserves for future claims.  In addition they are also required to submit periodic financial reports to the State Insurance Departments.

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