1. See if your credit card, homeowners insurance and/or employer policy provide travel coverage for losses arising out of medical issues and lost baggage. Some credit card companies offer cheap/free benefits to cardholders who charge a trip on a credit card. For example, assistance finding adequate medical health care provider abroad, reimbursing you for lost baggage, replacing a lost passport, etc.
2. Make a list of potential problems, then call and ask whether you’d be covered. Prior to buying any insurance, call your health
care provider and ask whether you’ll be covered for those issues in the country you are traveling to.
3. Check exclusions, particularly pre-existing medical conditions. Medicare is not always available in foreign countries. Preexisting medical conditions: The rules aren’t as strict as they used
to be, experts say—so long as you buy the coverage when you book your trip, or very shortly
thereafter. “You have a buying window,” says Peter Evans of InsureMyTrip.com.
“For a preexisting condition and some other exclusions, the window is usually 15 to 21 days
after you make your first deposit on the trip.” If you buy the insurance after that, any
future claim could be automatically denied.
4. Consider add-ons. One of the good developments in the insurance industry is the option to buy additional coverage à la carte, – just for medical concerns, add some for lost baggage or trip delay/interruption, etc. Some of those add-ons cost no more than $10, and may very well be worth it.
5. Evacuation coverage may be worth the premium when traveling to countries prone to natural disasters where the medical coverage may not be adequate.
6. Don’t buy from a tour operator or cruise line. Those plans normally cover only the time you are on the tour or the boat.
7. Insurance is not a waiver. A “cancellation waiver” allows you to cancel within a certain time frame and get your money back. If this is important to you, make sure your policy addresses that.