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Travel insurance for Americans already overseas
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.
When should I take out this type of coverage?
- You’re already overseas and forgot to purchase insurance.
- You’re already overseas and your policy has expired.
- Your insurer won’t extend your current policy.
- You are an American expat living overseas and require coverage for short trips.
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What’s in this guide?
General conditions for getting travel insurance while abroad
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.
What if I don’t plan on returning home?
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.Back to top
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:
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.
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.
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.
- Which countries are covered. Check if the policy provides coverage for all your destination countries and regions. If not, you might be better off selecting a worldwide plan.
- Activities covered. Some policies will exclude certain activities, like skydiving, backcountry skiing or bungee jumping. So make sure you know what is and isn’t covered.
- Medical repatriation. Does the policy cover the cost of medical repatriation to transport you back to the US?
- The deductible. Some insurers will apply an increased deductibles for already overseas policies.
- Waiting period. Most insurers will apply a waiting period of about seven days before cover will commence.
- Departing and returning. Check each policy to determine whether you need to depart from and return to the US in order to be covered.
- The fine print. Read the product disclosure statement to familiarize yourself with the benefits, features, limits and exclusions on different policies.
- Policy features and benefits. 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.
- Coverage for the entire family. Most insurance companies offer Family coverage so that you can cover your spouse and children under one policy.
- The price and what it covers. It might be tempting to pick the lowest premium, but low cost coverage will generally mean a higher deductible charges and fewer 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.
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