Do I need travel insurance or international health insurance?

It is generally considered the norm to take out travel insurance if you’re heading overseas. Whether a city break or two weeks basking in the sun, most people will default to travel insurance. However, it can be confusing for many when iPMI is offered as a product too. Whilst travel insurance will help you with a lost passport or flight cancellation, what about if you require serious medical attention abroad? Fear not. We have the answers to all your questions; just keep reading to discover all there is to know regarding travel insurance and international private medical insurance.

Understanding travel insurance

Travel insurance is typically used to cover you whilst you’re abroad on a short-term basis – usually six months or less. This means it is a perfect solution for breaks and holidays. However, many people don’t realise that travel insurance policies cover more than just baggage loss and lost return tickets. With Expatriate Group, medical treatment and evacuation are covered by the basic level of international travel insurance cover. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Emergency and accidental medical treatment
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Air ambulance
  • Hospitalisation
  • Surgery

The different tiers of cover available are geared towards suiting the individual, with standard and comprehensive policies, as well as a winter sports package and business package as options.

With an abundance of supplementary options available and the chance to essentially build your own travel insurance product it may seem like any other product would pale in comparison. However, if you’re moving abroad or will be overseas for a longer period of time, you shouldn’t forget about iPMI.

What is international healthcare insurance?

Whilst iPMI may not include elements of travel insurance you may find important; the healthcare benefits are far superior to those covered by a travel insurance policy. The level of healthcare that falls under the travel insurance umbrella is focused around the usual illnesses and accidents that occur when you’re on holiday. Whereas, iPMI is focused on protecting expats or individuals abroad for extended periods of time when they may need comprehensive healthcare cover. For example, Expatriate Group’s iPMI covers, but is not limited to:

  • Cancer treatment
  • Psychiatric care
  • Home nursing
  • Organ transplants
  • Rehabilitation
  • Palliative care
  • Maternity care
  • Dental care
  • Optical care

If you head abroad for an extensive period of time it may be wise to consider iPMI cover. Travel insurance is an ideal product for shorter stints abroad, particularly holidays. However, it does not present the same comprehensive cover as international healthcare insurance. If you were to utilise travel insurance only whilst living abroad, you would likely end up having to pay for treatment that fell outside of the cover. This can be extremely expensive in some countries.

Should I purchase travel insurance or iPMI?

Deciding upon which product to purchase will depend on a number of factors, including how long you are overseas and whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Consider travel insurance if:

  • You’re going on holiday
  • You’re abroad for a period under six months
  • You require cover beyond just medical
  • You don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions

Consider iPMI if:

  • You’re moving overseas
  • You will be abroad for over six months
  • You require comprehensive medical cover
  • You have pre-existing medical conditions

It may appear that travel insurance and iPMI have overlapping benefits. However, they have significantly different purposes. International healthcare policies are there to provide cover for expats and travellers that may need ongoing or preventative care, particularly in countries that don’t have a public healthcare system like the NHS in the UK. Travel insurance is there to protect you against accidents and emergencies that can sometimes occur whilst on holiday.

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