What is the difference between primary and secondary coverage? Why does it matter?

Published by Chris Harvey September 10, 2007

Travel insurance policies offer either primary or secondary medical coverage. In the event of a medical claim or problem, primary coverage generally ignores your other insurance and pays the claim, if it’s for a covered service. Secondary coverage usually requires that you first go to your primary plan and request payment. With “secondary” coverage, you may be required to pay a deductible and may be asked to exhaust coverage from your other existing polices before filing a claim. In the event you do not have additional insurance coverage in existence, most secondary insurance becomes primary unless otherwise specified.