Does travel insurance cover dental problems?
Travel medical insurance covers a myriad of medical emergencies – and it covers dental emergencies, too. But it’s important to understand what constitutes a dental emergency, and how much your travel medical plan will pay. Most plans include a lower limit for Dental coverage, $500-$1,000 for example. Check your travel insurance description of coverage for more details.
According to the ExactCare Extra® policy, a dental emergency is … well, the policy doesn’t define a dental emergency. However, it does state that routine dental care is not covered, as well as treatments that aren’t medically necessary.
Given that, you’d gather that covered dental procedures are anything that isn’t routine.
You can also infer more about what’s a covered dental procedure from the description of covered medical procedures.
The policy says that you’re covered if “you suffer an injury or sickness that requires you to be treated by a physician.”
Under that definition, the sorts of things that might be covered are:
- Lost bridgework
- Infections and abscesses
- Dental injuries
Things that wouldn’t be covered under that definition are:
- Lost fillings
- Whitening procedures
- Periodontic cleaning and scaling
- Implants and dentures
However, there’s some gray area as to what constitutes a dental issue severe enough to require immediate treatment, so it’s worth a call to your travel insurance provider before making an appointment for any dental procedure when you’re traveling.
The other thing that’s not covered is the dental version of medical tourism. Many Americans travel internationally each year for the sole purpose of having medical or dental work done. The prices are lower, they reason, and the quality’s good.
On the dental side, this is most often seen with high-dollar procedures such as endodontic work, implants, dentures, and cosmetic procedures.
While there may be no debate that a traveler needs an implant, for instance, it’s not an emergency – and if the sole reason behind the trip was to get an implant, the procedure, and any costs related to getting the procedure, won’t be covered.
The best way to make sure you won’t have dental problems when you travel is to take care of your oral health before you travel. Brush and floss and consider having an exam shortly before you travel, to make sure old fillings are still secure and any problem areas are addressed.
Once you’re on your trip, continue those good oral health habits.
Prevention is always better than treatment – and that’s especially the case with dental care.