International Expat Insurance Guidance


It is essential for world travellers to protect and plan for health, finances, emergencies and the unexpected when heading abroad. With a complex array of choices available, Travel Daily News International summarises and simplifies the international health coverage options.

International expat insurance might be a good option to consider for health coverage abroad but the process of choosing can be complicated. Whether country-specific or international expat coverage is the better fit will depend on a variety of factors. Travel insurance choices when moving to or from a country and how to choose the best insurance plan are explored here.

What is expat insurance?

Having health insurance in your home country does not automatically mean you will be covered while travelling or living abroad. Expatriate or international insurance is dedicated insurance which covers healthcare expenses while an expat lives or works in a country other than their own. 

Insurance policies to cover the duration of a trip may be bought, usually in six-month increments. 

For the majority of cases, international expat insurance provides cover for more than just preventative care. Hospitalisation, medical emergencies and repatriation are commonly covered through expat insurance. This level of reassurance can ease concerns about being far from home and make time abroad easier. 

International expat insurance or country-specific insurance?

Travellers face two choices when weighing insurance options, either country-specific or international insurance plans. Both are designed for expatriates to receive medical care abroad but they share few other similarities.

International expat insurance offers global coverage meaning that health needs are covered no matter where you travel. Yet its lack of specialisation can make it tricky to get the specific care you need when travelling. The coverage comprises a global network instead of being tailored to a local market so a provider in your network might not be in the immediate vicinity. 

Country-specific travel insurance is tailormade for the destination country. Canada, for example, requires health insurance proof at the port of entry. Insurance has to cover any costs associated with health expenses, hospitalisation and repatriation in an emergency. By checking requirements you can choose a plan which will allow you to enter the country.

Country-specific plans also include a network of local options to help you quickly get medical care when you need it. The benefit of that local element to your travels abroad is not only more options for healthcare but also reassurance that you will not be without proper coverage when you most need it.

Choosing the right international expat insurance plan

Travel insurance needs are as singular as the traveller. Before buying insurance coverage, you must consider the destination country, the length of your trip, and what the plan covers. 

When travelling to a country like Canada, your international expat insurance plan has to meet the government requirements of Canada’s insurance. Remember that plans are completely different for each country. When making a comparison of plans and providers bear in mind that only plans meeting these specific requirements will save you time and trouble. With such consideration, you can narrow the options to find coverage that suits your particular needs.

With the right insurance, you can travel freely and have the comfort of knowing your health is protected.