If I’m already abroad can I still purchase or extend coverage?
- Yes you can. There are policies that allow you to take out travel insurance if you’re already overseas.
- Getting travel insurance while abroad
- Is it possible to get full coverage if I’m already overseas?
- How to compare travel insurance policies for those already overseas
- What if I don’t plan on returning home?
Though there are many insurance providers who don’t offer this type of cover, there are respected brands who do offer protection to Americans who are already abroad. Consider the following when looking for coverage:
- Return to the US. Most insurers will require you to have a return ticket to the US in order to purchase your policy.
- The level of coverage. All the usual benefits and features such as cover for emergency medical expenses, cancellation fees and lost luggage, are provided.
- How long you’ll wait for coverage. Depending on the insurer you choose, there may be a waiting period before you are covered. This means that you won’t be covered if you suffer a serious injury or illness until the waiting period is complete. Some companies have a waiting period between three to seven days.
- Your age. Most policies have age limits, with cover typically not available to travelers aged over 69 years of age.
- Pre-existing medical conditions? You may not be eligible to take out cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition that’s not automatically covered. You may have to submit additional documentation about your medical history and even undergo some medical tests in order to be covered.
- Confirmation. Once you’ve applied, your insurance provider will send you an instant confirmation email with your certificate of insurance and details of your policy. Keep your information in a safe and secure place to ensure you have access to it if you need to make a claim or contact the insurer.
- Length of coverage. You can purchase cover for a maximum of 12 months. If you wish to extend your policy, you’ll need to contact your insurer and request an extension. Do this within a week of the policy expiration date.
Is it possible to get full coverage if I’m already overseas?
Yes. Travel insurance policies when you’re already overseas will generally offer the same level of coverage found on other plans. Where policies can differ is in the eligibility requirements. Your overseas policy should still cover you for:
- Overseas medical assistance and hospital expenses. One of the most important features offered is overseas emergency medical assistance, which includes medical costs, ambulance fees and medical repatriation to the US, if required.
- Cancellation or amendments to your trip. Coverage is offered for cancellation fees and lost deposits when unforeseen circumstances force you to cancel or cut your trip short. For example, if you suffer a serious illness and are unable to travel, non-refundable expenses from your pre-paid travel and accommodation will be covered by your policy.
- Hospitalization or death. If a relative dies and you are forced to return home, the cost of cutting short/cancelling and resuming your trip will be covered. There’s also a hospital cash allowance if you are hospitalized for more than 48 consecutive hours while overseas. A death benefit is payable if you die because of an injury sustained during your journey.
- Theft, damage or loss of your belongings. If your luggage or personal belongings are stolen, lost or damaged during your trip, you’ll be covered for the repair or replacement. Coverage is also available to purchase essential clothing and toiletries if a transport provider delays your luggage.
- If your passport, travel documents or travelers checks are lost or stolen during your journey, your policy will cover their cost of their replacement. Similarly, if your cash is stolen or if you become a victim of credit card fraud, you will be reimbursed for your loss.
- Other benefits. Other benefits and features include disruption of journey, personal liability, rental vehicle excess, and alternative transport expenses to get you to a pre-arranged event— like a wedding — on time.
- Pre-existing conditions: Most insurers will not provide cover for any pre-existing conditions that are not automatically covered under your policy.
If you’re living overseas for an extended period, you’ll want to take out travel insurance to go explore. But when it comes to taking out coverage, you are usually required to have a return ticket to the US. If you’re living in another country and have no plans to return home, you might want to consider taking out coverage with an international provider instead. There are a number of insurers offering expat travel insurance to Americans and if you’re planning on travel while you’re abroad, explore other insurers.
Is it safe to take out a travel insurance policy with an overseas provider?
Just as you would when choosing an American insurance product, you should look at two main factors when comparing international travel insurance:
- The insurer. Are they a well-known and respected company? You can find out more about an insurer by visiting their website and reading their history, years in business and who underwrites their policies. You can also visit insurance comparison websites and online discussion forums to see what kind of a reputation they have for customer service, complaints handling procedures and number of claims paid..
- The policy. Does it offer the level of cover you need? Insurers normally offer a basic, mid-range and comprehensive cover option, so make sure the policy you are considering covers everything relevant to your situation. Also, how flexible is it? Can you add or remove components to tailor it to your needs? What are the exclusions and are they acceptable, without limiting your level of cover? Does it include repatriation to your country of residence? What are the individual benefit limits and are they high enough?
All these things need to be considered and if either the policy or the provider falls short of your requirements, you should shop around for a more suitable option.
Comparison of travel insurance policies
Tips for comparing travel insurance policies if you are already overseas
There are a number of tips you should be aware of to help ensure you end up with the best already overseas travel insurance policy to suit your needs.
- What countries are covered? Consider where in the world you’re planning on traveling. Does the policy you want provide cover for that particular region or would you be better off selecting a worldwide plan?
- What activities are covered? Consider the activities you’ll be engaging in. Will you be just relaxing beside the pool most of the time or are you planning on engaging in higher-risk activities like skydiving? Some policies will exclude certain activities, so make sure you know what is and isn’t covered.
- Will you be covered for medical repatriation to the US? If taking out travel insurance while overseas, it’s important to find a policy that will cover the cost of medical repatriation to the US. In the event of an accident or illness your insurer will determine with the local medical authorities whether or not it is necessary for you to return to the US.
- What’s the deductible? Some insurers will apply an increased deductibles for already overseas policies.
- What is the waiting period? Most insurers will apply a waiting period of about seven days before cover will commence.
- Need to return to the US? Check the fine print of each policy to determine whether you need to have departed from and be returning to the US in order to be covered.
- What’s hidden in the fine print? As with any other type of insurance policy, it’s essential that you read the product disclosure statement to familiarize yourself with the policy. This will give you an idea of the benefits, features, limits and exclusions on different policies, helping you decide which one is most suited to you.
- How do the policy features and benefits stack up? Like with any policy, it’s important to know what you’ll be covered for under and the maximum amount that will be paid in the event of a claim.
- Need cover for the family? Most insurance companies offer Family coverage so that you can cover your spouse and children under one policy. Coverage for dependents under the age of 21 is generally included in the package.
- Does the price match the quality of cover? It might be tempting to pick the lowest premium, but it’s no good to be stuck with a dud policy that doesn’t give the level of protection you need. Low cost cover will generally mean a higher deductible charges and less benefits.
Take the time to obtain quotes from multiple insurers for comparison purposes. Don’t be sucked in by the cheapest price — it pays to look at exactly what is offered under each policy. finder.com’s comparison tools can be a great help when determining the true value of each policy.
Can I extend my policy if I am still traveling overseas?
Yes, most insurers will allow you to extend your period of coverage, but the request will usually have to be made within a certain number of days before the policy expiration date. Some insurers will require at least seven days before the policy lapses. The general process for extending your cover is:
- Call the providers call center or email the provider directly.
- Provider will assess your reason for extending cover and provide you with a quote.
- Pay for the extension of coverage either online or on the phone.
Coverage won’t be extended:
- For any pre-existing conditions unless specified by the insurer.
- For medical conditions that you suffered during the first period of cover on your original policy.
- If you haven’t notified your insurer of events that may lead to a claim under your original policy.
- If you’re over the maximum age eligible to apply for an extension under your insurers policy.