What is the difference between primary and secondary coverage?

If you potentially have more than one source of coverage, the coverages will be classified as primary or secondary.

If you’re eligible for reimbursement, benefits will come from the primary coverage first. Travel insurance, such as World Nomads, is secondary coverage, which means that the plan won’t pay out until after you’ve exhausted your benefits from your primary source.

Sources of primary coverage may include:

  • Your medical insurance
  • Your tour operator
  • Your common carrier
  • Other travel providers
  • Worker’s compensation

Secondary insurance may pay the remaining expenses that your primary coverage may not, up to your maximum benefit amount and in accordance with the plan terms.

An example of secondary coverage: suppose that your luggage is lost in transit. You may be entitled to compensation from your airline. The airline agrees to pay you for a certain amount, but not for the entire cost of the missing items. In this case, your World Nomads plan may compensate you for the difference, if you’ve provided the proper documentation.

Prior to filing a claim with World Nomads, you’ll have to submit a claim first with any sources that could provide primary coverage, such as those listed above. Once you’ve filed a claim, your primary coverage will advise you if:

1) they can reimburse your expense; and
2) how much they will be willing to reimburse.

Once you have that information, you’ll need a copy of the decision to submit with your World Nomads claim. We will be looking to reimburse you for your remaining expenses and will be unable to process your claim without this information.

It’s important to inform yourself of the medical coverages available to you as you travel abroad. Some primary medical insurance providers may not offer coverage for incidents occurring outside the United States. Two such examples include TRICARE and Medicare. However, please note that some Medicare supplements may have foreign coverage that could come into play while you’re traveling.


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