One of the most popular questions during trip planning is “Do I need international travel insurance?” Most often, it encompasses broader concerns related to the health and medical realm of traveling. This post helps to understand differences between terms “international travel insurance” vs. “international health insurance”; explains even more complicated position of US citizens traveling to foreign lands; lists health-related resources for further reading.
The health insurance topic pertains to US citizens, but other resources are applicable to everyone.
Peculiarities of the US Healthcare
The US is the only developed country without universal healthcare. This fact seriously affects long-term American travelers. I was surprised how many people who travel outside of the US or just planning to travel for an extended period of time (i.e. been abroad for more than a year) didn’t do their homework about what implications their lifestyle might have on their insurance policies.
At least some of US health insurance policies have a misleading clause about medical treatment abroad. However, it meant only for short-term trips: a week-long European vacation is Ok, but a year-long voyage around the world is not. As an experienced insurance broker explained to me, insurance companies are very suspicious about claims from abroad and could easily drop you if they suspect policy violation.
The answer to this debacle is getting an international health insurance. It is specifically designed for travelers and comes in two “flavors”: including US coverage or excluding it. Intriguingly, the cost of international insurance could be lower than a domestic one.
Differences between international travel insurance and international health insurance
It is important to understand the difference between international travel insurance and international health insurance:
- international health insurance covers inpatient treatment check-ups and continuing treatment of chronic conditions abroad
- international travel insurance is meant for people on vacations or short trips abroad to cover cancellations, personal belongings and emergency medical treatment. Usually, it will return you back home to continue treatment once you are fit enough to make the trip back.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not an insurance agent. If you have any questions or looking for health insurance while traveling, please seek professional advice from a qualified insurance professional.
International Health Insurance
- Insurance Services of America
- Good Neighbor Insurance
- ALC Global Health Insurance
- International Medical Group
- Expatriate Healthcare– their international private healthcare plans provide medical cover for expatriates living and working abroad
- Expat-Health.com – broker
- Cigna Global
- MSH International
- Clements Worldwide – providing insurance solutions for expatriates and international organizations. Founded in 1947, it offers worldwide car, property, life and health, and specialty and high risk insurance to clients in more than 170 countries
How to verify that an insurance company is legit and it’s rating (in the US)
- Dive Accident Insurance – provides coverage for the medical costs of diving accidents. Available for all DAN Members
- CoverMore – travel and medical insurance for travelers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand
For Traveling Women
- Safe Travel Resource Guide for Women – from The International Insurance Travel Group
- Pregnancy travel insurance guide – from Compare Travel Insurance, Australia’s leading travel insurance comparison site
- Traveling When Pregnant – how to enjoy a holiday with a baby on the way
- Health for Women on the Road
Traveling with a Medical Condition
- The Essential Guide to Traveling with a Medical Condition by Insurancewith
- Living With Diabetes: A Traveler’s Guide – by Rootfin, an independent life insurance agency. The guide provides useful information on everything from how to get through airport security to life insurance considerations
- Traveling with Diabetes Type 1 – a practical guide by The Globetrotter GP
Health and Travel
- Sick on the Road – travel health tips, stories and advice
- Expat Insurance: Travel Insurance for Full-Time and Long-Term Travelers – by The Professional Hobo
- Travel Insurance Advice – by Sick on the Road
- Expat Heath Insurance When You Live Overseas
- Expat Health Insurance News – from Expats Blog
- Airports and Special Needs Travel: A Complete Guide
- Disabilities and Medical Conditions – information provided by the US Transportation Security Administration
- The Ultimate Guide To Travel Vaccinations And Anti Malarials – by Tara/Where is Tara?
- How to Travel Without Hugging the Bowl: 10 Tips for Staying Healthy on the Road – from Uncornered Market
- How to Shit Around the World: The Art of Staying Clean and Healthy While Traveling (Travelers’ Tales Guides) – by Dr. Jane Wilson-Howarth
- How to avoid a bout of belly ache – originally, about how to eat Indian street food safely, but this common sense applies to eating at any part of the world
- What to do about health, travel and car insurance while living as a digital nomad from JohnnyFD.com
You might also like:
- Budget Airlines And Regional Carriers: Flying Under The Radar
- Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
- Long-Distance Gifts
- Luggage Selfie
Published: May 2015. Last update: March 2019
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