Purchasing insurance before embarking on your travels is an extremely necessary precaution in not only protecting your health and well being, but your finances as well. While it is imperative, it can also be a confusing and tedious process to navigate. Here are some tips that will guide you through your purchasing process and send you on your way to safe, fulfilling, and stress-free travels:
- Read all documents thoroughly before making a purchase. This will help you make a well-informed decision and will not only keep you from losing a great deal of money, but also buy you peace of mind.
- Review all policy documents before you purchase so that you know what is covered under the policy. This will prevent you from acquiring services that are not covered in your policy, saving you money in the long run.
- Check for the option to renew your policy. When you purchase a renewable policy, you won't have to run after insurance providers for cancellations or refunds for the unused part of your policy. For example, when you plan for a 4-month trip and the trip is cut short unexpectedly, policies with shorter period of coverage with a renewal option work well.
- A "schedule of benefits" only provides the benefits listed under your coverage. If you can afford a pricier plan, it is always wiser to spend a little more for comprehensive coverage. With that said, this doesn't mean that basic coverage plans aren't good for any unexpected emergencies and unpredictable expenses.
- Remember to renew the policy before your policy expires if your stay is extended.
- Make a few copies of your insurance ID card. Carry one along in your wallet with you, one in your suitcase, one with a friend back home, and one with the family member/hotel you are visiting. This is especially important for those who expect to travel a lot and tour different places.
- Save all receipts and all other insurance-related paperwork by order of date for easy referral while filing a claim with your insurance provider.
- The start date on your plan should be the day you leave your home country. The end date should be the day you return to your home country. Coverage can start as early as 24 hours after purchase, or any future date you select.
- Existing prescriptions that you have will not be covered. Carry prescriptions from your home country. Be sure to pack more than you need in case of any discrepancies in your travel plans.
- Always buy insurance from a reputable and reliable agent/website who is not pushy and provides comprehensive information about policies. Never make a decision under the influence of emotions while choosing a plan or a company. Just because a company's name begins with your country's name or contains “America” does not guarantee that you will receive what you are looking for. Be rational and always choose a policy that is popular because of its range of acceptance.
- Never travel to a country like the United States where medical care is extremely expensive, without travel medical insurance.
Insurance Buyers Tips
Prevention is Better than Cure.
It is impossible to predict a natural disaster, a sudden illness, or an injury. A traveler should be cautious when entering a new environment and try to become well- acquainted with their surroundings. Taking necessary precautions is better than having to spend your vacation time at the doctor’s, thereby not only ruining your own time, but also causing your loved ones inconvenience.
Based on a study, including feedback from many of our users, here is a list of the most common problems people visiting the US face. These apply especially to elderly visitors, who travel all the way from South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, China etc.:
- Slipping in the restroom: There is a remarkable difference in lifestyles and housing between India and the US. All the restrooms are finished with vinyl or tile flooring, which makes the floor slippery when wet. Puddles of water are also less visible on such types of floors, which makes them even more dangerous. Take precaution and cover the area in and around tubs and sinks with carpeting.
- Slipping in the bathtub: Another common injury is often caused while getting in and out of bathtubs. Be sure to lay a non-skid, latex-coated bath mat in the tub or rubber silicone suction mats that ensure firm footing even when the tub is soapy.
- Road accidents: Familiarize yourself with local road rules. Respect and follow rules for pedestrians. Avoid distractions while driving, such as constant talking, loud music, and telephone use. Avoid racing or any such dangerous driving activities. Parents/visitors need to know the importance of traffic rules, like, waiting for a signal to cross the road, and general pedestrian safety. Give a general orientation on traffic rules to your parents/visitors.
- Sickness related to weather change: Be prepared for different weather conditions, and frequently changing weather. Bring adequate and appropriate clothing. When touring different places, check the weather report before, and carry clothing accordingly.
- Bring plenty of any medication you may need: Carry your general medicines with you at the time of travel. People who are on any prescribed medicines should bring an excess stock in case of a longer stay or unplanned delays. While you travel, carry all your general and prescribed medicines along with your insurance documents and ID at all times.
While there are many risks associated with traveling to an unfamiliar place, many of these risks can be protected against by purchasing a travel medical insurance policy with adequate coverage to fit your individual needs.