Travel Insurance

How to Make the Best Use of Travel Insurance


You have bought yourself travel insurance. Great. But do you know how you can use it in case you fall ill or meet with an accident and need medical assistance, while travelling in a foreign land?

With the rise of potential risks, such as unexpected injury or sickness, terrorist attacks, weather changes, and even flight delays or cancellation, lost baggage, etc., more and more people are looking to invest in something that can protect them against these unforeseen events. And travel insurance is the best way to ensure that you focus only on enjoying yourself during the trip. In fact, unlike earlier times, people today are not looking at travel insurance as an optional expenditure, but a mandatory one.

However, equipping yourself with the right insurance policy isn’t enough, you also should know how to make best use of it. Learning more will also help you when you need to file a claim for reimbursement of expenses.

Here’s a step-wise look at the process of using travel insurance in the event that the policy holder falls ill during their trip. The first thing you should do when you suspect an ailment is to note down the symptoms. You will need this when you notify your insurer’s third party administrator when filing the claim.

If you are carrying suitable medications, try them first, but if the symptoms persist, seek medical treatment without wasting more time.

Step 1: On Visiting a Doctor or Hospital

The first thing you should do when visiting a doctor is to notify your travel insurance company’s third party administrator immediately, to avoid delays in receiving the appropriate support from your insurance provider.

Every visitor’s insurance provider sends some sort of insurance ID card when you buy insurance from them. When you visit a medical facility, you need to show this ID card to the staff at the reception before they commence your treatment.

Step 2: Obtain Copies of All Medical Bills

You should know that upon medical treatment, you could either be asked to pay the deductible or co-insurance with the insurance company paying for the rest, or pay upfront and file a claim later. When making payments, make sure you get each and every proof or receipts of the payments, including hospital visits, doctor’s charges, medication, surgical treatment, lab charges, etc.

Obtaining copies of all bills is the most crucial step, since these bills will have the list of all services itemized with corresponding medical service codes, which needs to be sent to your insurance company when filing a claim.

Step 3: File a Claim

If you have paid upfront for the medical treatment, you need to seek reimbursement from your insurer. Download the claim form from your insurance provider’s website and fill it. To file a claim, you will need to submit the complete claim form, a copy of your I-94, if your trip was to the US, copy of your passport, including photo, visa and along with entry and exit stamp pages, as well as copies of all receipts, medical bills and itemized services.

Now, the insurance company will analyze your documents and either deny or approve your claim. On approval, you’ll get reimbursed for the medical expenses within the next 4 to 6 weeks.


Having lived in 3+ countries, worked for companies small and big in USA, Middle East & India, I have a lot of stories to share about international travel, immigration and living as an NRI in the US.

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