Record breaking travel has been both anticipated and noted by the Port of Seattle for SEA-TAC airport. Through November, 2011 passenger traffic was up 4.1% compared to 2010 which is ahead of the airport’s projection of a 1% increase for the year. Year-end traffic is now projected to be up 3.5% to 4% over 2010. That would exceed Sea-Tac’s highest ever year in passenger traffic (2008) with 32.1 million passengers. Weather conditions in other parts of the country can affect your travel here in Seattle even when the weather here is not an issue. Travel insurance is one of the ways to reduce headaches during winter travel. As holiday travel continues and plans are being made for 2012 travel, many travelers are looking into purchasing travel insurance to protect their expenses.
According to Squaremouth.com, a site for comparing and purchasing travel insurance, many travelers are spending more money on travel insurance policies to cover pre-existing medical conditions simply because they assume they need it.
Here are three tips to prevent three common mistakes many travelers make when buying travel insurance:
Many travel insurance providers offer policies that cover travelers in the event a pre-existing medical condition prevents them from traveling. However, many travelers mistakenly buy a more expensive policy because they think they need coverage for their pre-existing condition.
What many travelers are not aware of is what travel insurance providers consider to be a “pre-existing condition”. Each travel insurance provider has a look back period to determine if a condition is pre-existing. For example, some of Travel Guard’s policies have a 180 day look back period. If someone’s condition has been stable during the 180 days prior to effective date, Travel Guard will not consider that person’s condition to be pre-existing. That person will not need pre-existing coverage, allowing them to have more travel insurance options for a less expensive price.
Pre-Existing Coverage for a Non-Traveling Family Member
In other situations, travelers buy travel insurance to protect them in the event an ill family member’s condition worsens, and they are unable to take the trip. Depending on the travel insurance policy, some will require travelers to buy pre-existing coverage, even though they do not have the pre-existing condition. It is common for travelers to be concerned if their travel insurance quote does not return policies with pre-existing coverage. In these situations, Squaremouth recommends looking for a travel insurance policy that doesn’t look to see if a non-traveling family member’s illness was a result of a pre-existing condition.
“The key is too look into a policy’s definition of a pre-existing condition to determine who needs pre-existing coverage,” says Chris Harvey, CEO of Squaremouth. CSA Travel Protection, Global Alert, HTH Worldwide, MH Ross, Seven Corners, Travel Insurance Services and Travel Safe all offer policies that only define travelers as those who need pre-existing coverage.
Limitations on Pre-Existing Coverage
When buying a policy that covers pre-existing conditions, make sure to read the fine print.
Sqaremouth offers an example: HTH Worldwide’s TravelGap Excursion and IMG’s Patriot International both cover pre-existing conditions, however, the traveler must be enrolled in a primary health insurance plan for coverage to be valid. HCC Medical Insurance Services and Seven Corners offer policies limiting the amount of coverage that can reimbursed for pre-existing medical conditions.
Another example: although the policy offers $50,000 in emergency medical, HCC’s Atlas International policy will only reimburse travelers under the age of 70, $15,000 per unexpected recurrence resulting from a pre-existing condition.
TIP: Important to remember
If a traveler requires pre-existing coverage, they should shop early for travel insurance. Almost all travel insurance policies require a policy to be purchase within 14-30 from the first trip deposit for pre-existing coverage to be available. Alternatively, CSA Travel Protection and HTH Worldwide plans are the exception to the rule. Most of their plans cover pre-existing conditions if the insurance is purchased within 24 hours of the final trip payment, regardless of the deposit date.
Additionally, contact your local travel agent for travel insurance and other travel advice. Research via websites in advance is a good thing, but there is nothing like having a person to turn to for both advance travel advice and assistance when you have an emergency.