Does travel insurance cover doctor visits?

Travel insurance is meant to protect you from unexpected medical emergencies, among other things. However, the key to making this lock turn is that doctor visits are unexpected.

For example, if you trip and fall while hiking and damage a tooth, your insurance may provide coverage for a visit to a dentist. But you’re not covered if you’re going for a general dental check up or any other regular appointment while on vacation.

Moreover, you’re allowed only one follow up visit after the initial emergency. This may occur when the doctor doesn’t have time to see you during your first visit, schedules testing for another day or asks you to return for a follow-up in the next two weeks. Even if that second visit is related to the original emergency, it still counts as a separate visit.

As you can see, it’s very easy to use up your “quota” of hospital visits and doctor appointments and risk losing coverage should you develop new symptoms or your condition flares up again.

If the doctor recommends a follow-up visit, you may wish to arrange that with your regular doctor in Canada to avoid paying out of your own pocket.

To that end, your policy may potentially cover your flight home. If your insurance provider determines that it would be preferable for you to return home, they will offer to pay for your return flight. Then it’s up to you whether you want to cut your vacation short, because if you don’t, and your condition reoccurs, you may not be covered.

With long vacations, you have two weeks to return home and address your illness. If the condition reoccurs two weeks later and you’re still on vacation, your insurance will not cover any additional hospital visits. Fortunately, your visit counter resets for any subsequent unrelated emergency or condition.

The key takeaway is to call your insurance provider as soon as you are able in case of a medical emergency on vacation. Because beyond insurance considerations, delaying a doctor’s appointment may end up damaging only only your finances, but also your health.