The Itinerary

5 Tips for Visitor's Health Insurance

Posted Mar 4, 2016 3:17:59 PM in Travel Insurance 101 by Amanda Hand

Here at TravelSafe, we field a lot of calls regarding questions to visitors health insurance. Visitors health insurance is a form of short-term coverage, usually anywhere from a few weeks but can provide coverage for up to one year. Often times, the party looking for visitor’s health insurance is the host and relative of a family member from outside of their home country. They want to be sure their loved ones are receiving the coverage they need should they have to seek medical treatment while abroad.

The visit could be a few weeks, months or even a year, but they aren’t always sure what the best value or coverage is going to be for their relative.


Photo courtesty of G1G Insurance 

Zubair Jeewanjee from gave an overview on how you can lower costs and maximize your visiting relative’s travel medical insurance. With tips like understanding that cheaper is not always better (but neither is the most expensive) and being sure you read the fine print, you are able to begin the search for visitors medical coverage with a level head and clear understanding.

With visitor’s insurance having global reach and countries all having different regulations, it is important for travelers and their families to do their research. Here are some tips for finding the right travel medical insurance.

1. Price shouldn’t be the deciding factor

Value should be. When planning travel, it is hard not to focus on your budget. Sometimes, we spend hundred or thousands of dollars planning a trip, and this can feel overwhelming. To compensate, travelers will often try to cut corners where they can, and we hear a lot of travelers trying to do this with their insurance. But this can really hurt your further down the road.

One thing that we see travelers do is purchase fixed benefit plans because they cost less up front. The problem with fixed benefit plans is they are insurance “a la carte” and for the sake of keeping costs low, travelers will often miss out on important benefits and see themselves buried in medical bills. These are costs they could have avoided had they purchased a more comprehensive policy.

2. Each relative should have their own plan

Zubair Jeewanjee says, “ Age is one of the two most important factors in determining cost and scope of coverage that insurance companies are willing to offer (the other being duration).”

Travelers are put into age brackets, usually spanning ten years. If one traveler is 68 and the other is 70, they can be in different brackets. This would cause for the coverages to be slightly different as well as the cost. It is safer to book the plans individually, to be sure that coverage is maximized and at the best price.

3. Plan your deductible wisely

“Research has found that trips lasting longer than 30 days drastically increase the likelihood of a traveler filing a claim. By opting for a higher policy maximum, you ensure coverage against more costly claims, while offsetting the price of the plan by selecting a higher deductible.”

If you can afford for a higher policy maximum alongside of a lower deductible plan, you will get the most value should you have to file a claim or experience a medical emergency while traveling.

4. Don’t allow for difference in time zones to default coverage

You can maximize your benefits by selecting a visitor’s travel insurance plan that will start the day you leave your home country and the day your return. This way there is no chance that the time zones can be the reason for denied claims.

5. Read the fine print

“Most travelers skim the summary of details, which gives you a good idea of what major items are covered. Low and behold, the policy brochure contains details regarding benefits that you didn’t even know you had, such as lost/delayed luggage, flight delays and interruptions, as well as additional medical coverage,” says G1G.

This is something that can cause problems down the road. Travelers get a basic understanding of their coverage and often find out later they could have filed a claim for an event they assumed wasn’t covered. This also rings true in travel insurance. Travelers will often get a general understanding of their coverage, but not really understand just how broad their coverage can be, or any exclusions that can make them ineligible for a claim.


So if you are planning for relatives from another country to visit you, be sure to understand the benefits of travel medical insurance. Know how much is covered and under what circumstances. Take time and read about any exclusions and never hesitate to reach out to a customer service representative with the more complicated questions.

New Call-to-action