After purchasing a policy but before it goes into effect, you have a free look period in which you may decide to cancel the policy and get a refund of the premium you paid. You will usually get a full refund during this period, though there may be a small processing fee for certain policies. If you did not look deeper into the policy you bought, now is the perfect time to do so. If you find something within the policy that could prevent you from getting the help you might need, you can cancel the policy before it even starts. Depending on the insurance carrier and the policy you buy, the free look period is anywhere from 10 to 15 days long. That’s plenty of time to get familiar with the plan you chose.
Read the Document of Coverage
All plan certificates and Documents of Coverage can be found on the insurance provider’s website. But if you haven’t read the entire thing, use the free look period to do so. The certificate will go into detail about what is covered and how it will be covered. You’ll be able to see coverage amounts, coverage reasons, available reimbursements and procedures, and time constraints. For example, you’ll be able to see that a physician visit is covered up to $10,000. But it is only covered for emergency and sick visits, not for follow up visits or preventive care. At this point you may re-assess whether you are okay with it or if you need to find another policy.
Make Sure You are Aware about the Exclusions
Each policy will have a set of exclusions mentioned in the plan documents. Before the policy goes into effect, you need to make sure you don’t fall into any of the exclusions listed. The exclusions won’t keep you from purchasing a policy, but they could affect your claims later. For instance, let’s assume you are traveling to a country with political unrest for a holiday. If you need to be evacuated due to the unrest, then, unless covered by the policy, evacuation claims may be denied. You should find a policy that doesn’t list an exclusion that could affect your medical care. It’s also good to be aware of what is considered excluded from a reimbursement standpoint. If you need to evacuate and cancel certain trip expenses, you need to be aware of what exactly you will be paid back for. This will help you make emergency trip decisions if they become necessary.
Familiarize Yourself with the Coverage Limits
Each plan has a coverage limit, meaning there is a maximum amount of money the policy will pay for each claim. When purchasing a policy, you should know each maximum and how it compares to your trip expenses. If you are spending quite a bit on your trip, you should have coverage to match. Your trip insurance should not be what you skimp on. Double-checking the coverage limits is important in case you misread or even flat out missed a limit that could be important later on.
Consider Adding A Rider
The free look period is a great time to consider adding additional coverage to your policy in the form of riders. There are riders for acute onset of pre-existing conditions, additional caps on reimbursements, and more. Each carrier will have specific riders for you to choose from. Since you have a policy in place, you can find out which riders will best work with your policy. You may find that you don’t need one at all, but it’s good to look at them just in case.
All of this can most certainly be done before the purchase of a policy. But when you are busy planning a trip, things like this could slip through the cracks. That’s why there is a free look period in which you can change your mind. You can take the time to really dig into the policy and then confirm your decision.