Thursday, March 23, 2017

The More You Know: Knowing Which Insurance to Buy When Travelling Abroad

It can be a difficult thing looking for insurance, but taking the time to ensure you purchase the right plan can save you money in the long run. Travelling and insurance can be even more complex as you’ve got to consider the local laws, health systems and how comprehensive and portable your medical coverage is. 

Travel insurance can make things simple, but what if short term cover is not appropriate for you?

This article, by leading international insurance broker UAE Medical Insurance, explains what your health insurance options are when heading overseas and why one may be more appropriate than others, depending on your needs. 

Travel insurance

If you’ve ever travelled before, you’ll know a thing or two about travel insurance. It’s the most common product offered to anyone travelling overseas and is generally cheap and simple. Your typical travel insurance benefits will include:

  • Flight cancellations 
  • Travel delays 
  • Emergency medical expenses, or necessary medical evacuations 
  • Repatriation costs 
  • Accidental death and dismemberment 

Travel policies are often better for short term travellers, normally covering up to 3 months but some insurers can provide travel coverage for up to 12. 

The added advantage of travel plans is that they cover you for things such as lost travel documents and flight delays, however the health benefit components are generally less comprehensive. The main aim of travel plans is to get you healthy enough to return home.

The other advantage of a travel plan is that they are often the least expensive health coverage option when abroad. 

They’re readily available from most airlines and travel agents who can add the cost to your whole booking fee, and include the documentation with your tickets. Keep in mind that travel plans often exclude pre-existing conditions, charge more for certain regions of the world, and don’t reimburse you if you cancel your trip. 

Local healthcare coverage

Relying on the local healthcare system of the country you’re visiting can be a mixed-bag, and really depends on the type of system the government provides:

  • Free, state funded health cover 
  • Compulsory state provided insurance 
  • Optional or mandatory private medical insurance coverage 

Some countries, such as the UK, can provide tourists with fantastic medical coverage at virtually no cost (through its nationalised NHS system). 

France’s Couverture Maladie Universelle is paid through compulsory deductions from employee wages, so working expats can attend healthcare facilities like a French national would. Finally, countries like the US and Dubai, legally require you to hold private medical insurance for entry.

If you’re a mid-to-long term traveller, purchasing a health insurance plan from the country you’re based in can make more sense. 

They’re like purchasing cover in your home country and can come with a range of comprehensive benefits from inpatient and outpatient care, to vision, dental and even maternity coverage. Local plans will be more expensive than travel plans and will often only cover you for the country you’re in.

Many of you enjoying travel in your later years will also need to be aware that some insurers will either increase the premium for older customers, or may even flat out deny coverage altogether (retirees in places like Nicaragua will find it impossible to find local insurance). 

Pre-existing conditions can be difficult to find coverage for, and you’ll also want to consider the state of the health system in the country you’re in.

International medical insurance

International medical plans are the most comprehensive form of insurance you’ll find on the market, however they do come with a hefty price tag. They’re designed especially for longer-term expats, both working and retirees, and can include the following benefits:

  • Extensive medical coverage both in your home country and abroad 
  • Options to add dental, maternity and wellness benefits at an extra cost 
  • A wider choice of private and semi-private hospitals, medical staff and care options to choose from 

These plans are the most useful for travellers as they will often act as one policy that can cover nearly all of the countries you can think to visit. 

This can make for a lot less stress when booking trips and heading to other places, and you’re often guaranteed to have access to the best healthcare facilities and professionals available in a country should you need it.

Older travellers will find international insurance plans to be the most flexible out there; allowing you to tailor your coverage and benefits to something that best suits your needs. 

Insurers will be more open to accepting applications containing pre-existing conditions, however you should always be clear about what coverage you need when applying.

Author bio: Choosing the right option for you

Nobody knows your situation and needs like you do, but it can be a good idea to talk things through with an insurance expert. Broker UAE Medical Insurance (UMI) has been providing high quality health insurance to expats both in the UAE and around the world for more than 15 years. Their expert team strive to deliver fantastic insurance solutions with exceptional customer service.

To find out how the UMI team can help you save money on your insurance needs abroad, contact them today!

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