Medical benefits included in travel insurance policies are provided on either a primary or excess basis. What does this mean to you and which is better?
Primary coverage means that the policy will cover you from the very first dollar of expense without regard to any other insurance you may have. However, primary insurance only covers medical expenses for treatment during your trip and will not cover any additional expenses once you return home.
Advantage – you do not have to file a claim with any other insurer.
Disadvantage – continuing expenses after your trip are not covered and may be subject to deductible and co-insurance provisions of your personal medical policy.
Excess coverage means the policy will coordinate benefits with other medical insurance you have that may also cover your claim. With excess protection your coverage continues to cover your medical expenses for up to one year after your illness or injury.
Advantage – since coverage continues up to one year after your illness or injury, it is unlikely you will have any out of pocket expense.
Disadvantage – you will have to file a claim with your medical insurance carrier along with filing a claim under your travel insurance policy.
Important Tip! While people do not like paperwork, excess coverage may provide better financial protection. For example, if there is no other insurance available, excess policies pay first dollar and if there are continuing expenses after the trip (which is not uncommon) the additional excess coverage plugs the gap of deductibles and co-insurance.