Long Stay Travel Insurance

Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria Quinney

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No one likes to think about bad things happening while on an extended vacation away from home, but illnesses and accidents don't take a break, even when you do. What will you do if you become ill while you are away? How will you get the medical care or the medicines you need? Don't let your time abroad get ruined by runaway medical bills: consider purchasing a long stay travel insurance policy for your peace of mind.

What Is Long Stay Travel Insurance?

Long stay travel insurance is an insurance policy that covers your travel-related and medical expenses while you are living abroad. It is designed for people who will be living away from their home country for an extended period of time. In addition to covering all of the normal travel related expenses such as the costs associated with lost baggage and trip cancellation, it also covers you for routine medical costs, such as doctor visits and prescriptions.

Why You Need Long Stay Travel Insurance

Imagine that you are living in Zimbabwe the next year and you have a medical condition that requires periodic monitoring and for which you are taking prescription medication. Long stay travel insurance will pay the costs of seeing a doctor in Zimbabwe for the duration of your sojourn there and will cover your prescription expenses. In other words, it will pick up where your medical coverage back home leaves off, allowing you the flexibility of living in Zimbabwe without bearing the brunt of paying for medical care on your own. Additionally, it provides you with all the benefits of a travel insurance policy on top the medical coverage. Even if you are completely healthy, buying a long stay travel policy is wise because it lets you avoid the surprise of large medical bills should you get seriously hurt or ill while you are away from home.

What Is the Difference Between Long Stay Travel Insurance and Travel Insurance?

The differences between long stay and regular travel insurance involve the coverages offered and the length of the policy term. Long stay travel insurance is more flexible than plain travel insurance in that it can be extended, if necessary, and renewed from abroad. Plain travel insurance is offered per trip and covers you only for that specific trip, and it can't be extended or renewed. Furthermore, travel insurance is meant to cover you for a short time frame, typically no longer than six months, while long stay travel insurance can cover you for a year or more. Also, while travel insurance will cover you for emergency medical treatment, it will not typically pay for regular medical care: long stay travel insurance does.

What Does Long Stay Insurance Cover?


Long stay travel insurance coverage includes all of the coverages that regular travel insurance does with the addition of more comprehensive medical coverage. Here is what a typical long stay policy includes.

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    Trip cancellation or interruption. Trip cancellation reimburses you for travel related expenses such as the cost of airline tickets, car rentals, and hotel stays while interruption compensates you for things such as the remaining time you've booked in hotels or tours if you need to return home in the middle of your vacation. Make sure you review your policy thoroughly because coverable expenses vary from insurer to insurer.
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    Emergency medical costs and travel back home. Emergency Medical coverage pays for the costs of emergency treatment should get hurt or very ill while abroad. It will also pay for getting you back home if it is medically necessary.
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    Lost baggage and stolen items. This coverage takes care of the costs associated with lost baggage and theft while you are traveling. These coverages are pretty narrowly defined, so you need to read your policy carefully to find out if the default coverage limits are enough to protect your items, particularly if you are carrying expensive electronics, such as digital cameras, laptops, tablets, etc. If the coverage isn't deep enough, you always have the option of buying more.
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    Personal disability. Personal disability compensates you in the event that you become disabled during your time abroad. While some policies include this coverage by default, it may be optional for others.
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    Personal liability. Personal liability protects you against claims for accidental damage to property or person for which you are liable.
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    Missed or delayed departure. If you miss your flight or it is delayed, this coverage will pay any expenses you incur in these circumstances.
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    Outpatient and inpatient medical treatment, as needed. Similar to your medical insurance coverage back home, long-stay travel insurance covers you for doctors' visits, other outpatient treatments, as well as the costs of hospitalization and inpatient treatments.
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    Medications. Long-stay travel insurance will also compensate you for the costs of your prescription medication.
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Special Considerations for Seniors Over the Age of 70

When you reach the age of 70, buying a long stay travel insurance policy gets a bit harder; the older you get, the more likely it becomes that you will need medical attention. However, some insurers offer policies specifically for older people, although these policies will be more expensive, typically double the price of a policy for a younger person. Your best bet for finding an affordable policy is to shop around since rates will vary quite a bit, as will the age cut-offs, from insurer to insurer. For instance, for some insurers, the age cut off is 65, whereas for others it might go up to 75 or older.

What About Pre-existing Conditions?

All travel insurance policies, whether they are long stay policies or not, require you to disclose any medical conditions you have that predate the policy. If you fail to disclose such a condition, and you make a claim on the policy because of that condition, your claim will not be covered, and the policy will likely be rescinded. Therefore, it is very important that you are always upfront and honest when you apply. Some conditions may be covered, even if they predate the policy, while others may not be; it just depends on the insurer. If you aren't sure whether your illness will be covered or not, call the insurer's customer service line; its agents should be able to clarify the coverage for you.

Where Can You Buy Long-Stay Travel Insurance?

The best place to shop for long stay travel insurance is online. There, you will find a multitude of companies that offer this insurance, but be sure to carefully read about the kind, amount, and extent of the coverage offered before applying. Here are some companies that offer long stay travel insurance:

  • InsureMyTrip (insuremytrip.com)
  • SquareMouth (squaremouth.com)
  • GoCompare (gocompare.com)
  • JustTravelCover (justtravelcover.com)

Tips

  • Always disclose any pre-existing conditions in your application for insurance
  • Make sure that you buy enough coverage (policy limits of $1,000,000 or more)
  • Make sure that your expensive items are adequately protected
  • Shop around for the best and most affordable policies
  • Don't just pick the cheapest policy; make sure that it provides adequate coverage
  • Try to find a policy that offers direct billing from most doctor's offices and medical facilities around the world

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Travel & Leisure

Recent edits by: Kathy McGraw

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