Choosing The Right Insurance Policy For Your Travels

When it comes to health insurance you have a wealth of different options at your disposal. Generally, the main types of medical insurance are as follows – international health insurance, local health insurance and travel insurance. On the surface the difference between the three types of insurance seems evident – one is for expats, one is for those that reside in their home country and another is for anyone that’s taking a vacation. Whilst this is the truth, there are many more disparities between the three insurance policies. Global health insurance plans aren’t merely beneficial for expatriates. They hold many benefits over the other two options, which is why all people should consider a worldwide medical insurance plan before making their final decision. 

Taking out medical insurance that covers you around the world

If you want ultimate peace of mind and maximum benefit options, you need to go for international medical insurance. As the name suggests, this type of policy offers worldwide cover. Nevertheless, it is important to note that some countries may be excluded from particular policies, so make sure you read the full terms and conditions. A keyword associated with global health insurance is ‘flexibility’. This is undoubtedly the chief advantage. You have the ability to completely tailor your policy to suit your requirements because you have the full range of cover options at your disposal. From dental care, to vaccinations, to optical care, to well-being check-ups, to maternity care… the list is endless. You are not obliged to go for a worldwide medical plan with all of these benefits. But, the options are there, and therefore you can be confident that you’re getting the most value from your policy. Your health plan will be devised to suit your preferences and profile. This is not the case with local health insurance and travel insurance policies. 

The advantages do not end there when it comes to international health insurance. Aside from this, many providers offer lifelong renewability. This means that your policy will never expire, so long as you continue to renew it. In terms of pay-outs and annual limits, they tend to be a lot higher with worldwide medical insurance. You may even find policies that will cover pre-existing conditions. This may mean that you are subject to higher premiums, a waiting period or some other type of stipulation. However, as you may well have discovered, finding a local or travel plan that covers pre-existing conditions in any shape or form is usually impossible.  Thus, as you can see, there are lots of great benefits associated with global health insurance, and these are advantages that are not only beneficial to expats but plenty of other people as well. Once we start to explore local and travel plans further, you may well discover that international medical insurance is the better option for those who travel regularly or those who simply want access to the best care and treatment in their home country. 

What about local health plans?

So let’s move onto local health insurance policies which if you haven’t guessed already are designed for locals. These policies are typically only valid in one country. So, if you are a French national and you take out a local health insurance policy, you’ll be able to receive care and treatment in France. However, if you go abroad you won’t be covered. This may be suitable to some of you, especially those that rarely travel. But, could a local medical plan hold you back in other ways? One thing a lot of people don’t realise until they begin to assess their options is that most local policies cover the cost of treatment in a limited selection of public or private hospitals. With a global health insurance plan you get access to the best network of hospitals, facilities and doctors, no matter where you are. The same cannot always be said in regards to a local policy. 

There are actually some expats that consider a local health plan. Let’s say you move from Australia to China. You’re not planning on taking a trip back to Australia any time soon. So, why not just take out a local policy in China instead? It’s not a difficult logic to comprehend. However, you’ll likely experience a lot of hurdles along the way. Take communication as a prime example. If you don’t speak the local language you could find yourself in a tricky predicament if care is required, especially if it is an emergency. Aside from this, as briefly touched upon, local health insurers will not provide cover for pre-existing conditions.

Finally, what about travel insurance?

Last but not least we have travel insurance, which a lot of people mistake for international medical insurance because they both have a more global theme to them. There are actually some similarities, for example you will find a lot of travel insurers that offer multilingual support. Nevertheless, there are some stark differences between the two options as well. Travel insurance is trip specific, you’re not covered no matter where in the world you are. Instead, you will be covered for a certain number of days and you will be covered in the destination you are going to. For instance, you could have a 30-day European travel insurance policy. These plans are designed solely for holidaymakers. They’re not merely for health purposes, but they cover the likes of flight cancellation and lost luggage. 

Frequent travellers may find that international health insurance is the better option for them. Why? Well, it may be more economical to go for this policy, as opposed to taking out travel insurance every time you go abroad. Moreover, with travel insurance, you’re typically only covered in the case of an emergency, and you’ll find that the pay-outs on these policies are a lot lower. The hospital accommodation is semi-private, which a lot of people are more than happy with but there are those that would prefer their own private room whilst hospitalised. 

Plus, if you are going to be abroad for a long period of time, your travel insurance policy may not cover you for this. Most policies are less than a month. So, if you want to volunteer in Bali or go backpacking, for instance, a world health policy would be more suitable. If you are unsure, you can always consult with an insurance expert and they will be able to put together a bespoke plan that is right for your trip specifically.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the three different options you have at your disposal when it comes to health insurance. When comparing the three, global medical insurance is undoubtedly the best option in terms of ultimate cover and flexibility. If you want the highest degree of care and quality, this is the choice for you. Nevertheless, this is not to totally dismiss the other two options. If you feel a local policy or travel plan is more suited to your requirements, then by all means search for one, but make sure you do so with great care and assess your options thoroughly. A lot of people dismiss international medical insurance as the expensive option but no one wants to take chances with their health and nowadays the price differences between the various plans really aren’t that far apart. So, whether you’re an expat or not, give worldwide health insurance a bit of consideration before taking out your next policy.  


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