Does Your Health Insurance Cover You Outside The USA?

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on December 15, 2008

I called my insurance company and asked what coverage I have if something happens outside the USA. They were clueless. Should call back and speak to someone else? Sally

Hi Sally,

First, get out your plan’s Description of Coverage to have handy. Next, call back your insurance company and ask this: “If I get hit by a cement truck in the Caribbean (or another destination), how much will I have to pay out of pocket?”

As silly as this sounds, this will work to find out how much your insurance pays. The main reason it works is because insurance company customer service reps often talk to complaining and / or whining people who are sometimes rude, too.

I (& many others) have found that using a silly example like this brings some much-needed humor into the customer service rep’s day. And, of course, anything you can do to brighten someone else’s life is a good thing.

Plus, asking “If I get hit by a cement truck in the Caribbean (or another destination), how much will I have to pay out of pocket?” reveals exactly what your deductibles and copays are.

If you just ask, “Am I covered by my insurance in the Caribbean?” and they say “Yes”, that tells you nothing of any value.

No matter what answer the rep gives you, ask them to show you where in your plan’s Description of Coverage they are finding the answer for your future reference.

While you’re on the telephone with your insurance company, find out if they are Primary or Secondary to a travel insurance plan’s coverage.

Once you know the answers to the above, you can make a better informed decision about which travel insurance plan to get. There’s no reason to pay extra for medical coverage you don’t need nor do you want to ignorantly expose yourself to a large uncovered medical claim. Click here to get travel insurance plan comparisons & prices.

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