The difference between travel insurance and international medical insurance
Posted by Stephen Whitfield
When living or travelling abroad it’s important to get an insurance policy that’s right for you. This means understanding what types of insurance are available and exactly what you need from a plan depending on the period of time and the reason you will be overseas.
In particular there seems to be some confusion around the difference between health insurance and travel insurance. Although both are intended for people spending time abroad, the level of cover and intended purpose of each plan is significantly different.
So here are the main points of the two types of policies:
Travel insurance is intended for short trips overseas, usually ranging from a matter of days up to twelve months. It’s a product that is ideal for people who are going on holiday or travelling who would like cover for emergency medical treatment while abroad.
Travel insurance can also offer protection against travel related issues such as…
- Loss of personal property
- Flight cancellations or delays
- Loss of luggage
In terms of medical cover; travel insurance plans are intended to provide cover for emergency/short term treatment. Most commonly customers are expected to return to their home country for further treatment when they are in a suitable condition to do so.
Travel insurance usually covers the costs for this emergency treatment; however will not cover for long term medical care in a foreign country. This means that you will likely have to return home should you require any substantial treatment.
If you were to need medical treatment two days into a six month trip, that could spell disaster and a flight home.
International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI)
Unlike travel insurance; international medical insurance is more appropriate for people living overseas long term. It offers protection against costs for long term healthcare abroad that could include:
- Cancer treatment
- Treatment of chronic conditions
- Prescriptions and doctors’ visits
- Maternity care
- Dental work
Health insurance is perfectly suited to someone who is spending a long period of time abroad and would want to receive medical care in that country should such a situation arise.
There are a lot of factors involved in the cost of IPMI including age, location, pre-existing conditions and much more. That's why it's important to decide exactly what you need from a plan so you don't end up paying for additional benefits you don't need.
Although more expensive, IPMI is the answer if you are looking for high quality of care in a local healthcare system which may otherwise be unavailable to uninsured foreigners.
If you’re still unsure which type of policy is right for you, or would like to find the best plan for you free of charge, you can contact Medibroker who offer free an impartial advice.
Call +44 (0) 191 270 3034 or email firstname.lastname@example.org