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Top Tips: Getting the right health insurance for your travel

There are many things that need to be checked, prepared and packed when getting ready to travel the world: passport, flight times, foreign currency, but not many are more important than ensuring you have the right medical insurance.

Medical insurance is designed to protect your health and well being wherever you are in the world. The quality and cost of healthcare provision varies greatly from country to country and as a foreign national you are unlikely to be entitled to free or subsidised care. By investing in health insurance you can ensure you will always have access to good quality healthcare without the risk of expensive medical bills. Here’s our tips for navigating the whole process.

leg injury while on the road

Limitations of travel insurance

The most common form of medical insurance used by travellers comes as part of a travel insurance package. Travel insurance is designed to protect you from damaging expenses such as medical bills whilst on a short trip (generally no more than a month or two) and whilst it can be an effective solution it does have its limitations.

The medical cover provided by travel insurance is designed to get you well enough to be repatriated before flying you home for full treatment. This can be the ideal solution if you fall ill during a week-long holiday but can lead to extended trips being unnecessarily cut short by injury or illness. Moreover, travel insurance often has a maximum trip duration, which can be restrictive for ambitious expeditions.

What does expatriate health insurance offer?

Solutions for many of the limitations of travel insurance can be found in expatriate health insurance. These policies are designed to provide quality, affordable health cover for those travelling, living or working in a foreign country for extended periods of time. Unlike travel insurance, expatriate health insurance facilitates your treatment and recovery whilst abroad and has no maximum duration; policies can be extended for as long as you need them.

Moreover, policies are generally flexible and can be tailored to fit individual needs. Entry level policies will tend to include cover for hospital treatment and accommodation and may include some provision for cancer treatment and maternity care. Add-ons might include cover for emergency medical evacuation, a prudent option for extreme sports enthusiasts, and insurance covering doctors’ visits and prescriptions.

If you are planning an extended trip abroad, expatriate health insurance could be an excellent way to protect your physical and financial well being.