Should I buy travel insurance or expat medical insurance?

Let’s define travel cover: Travel insurance is usually for short intervals but some policies from Australia I’ve seen can be for up to 3 years. Travel insurance covers accidents and emergencies only, and won’t cover urgent or elective medical problems. Travel insurers expect you to end your trip and return home for elective or urgent treatment, and some policies require return immediately upon diagnosis. . . .

By Alex Routh, President

Let’s define travel cover: Travel insurance is usually for short intervals but some policies from Australia I’ve seen can be for up to 3 years. Travel insurance covers accidents and emergencies only, and won’t cover urgent or elective medical problems. Travel insurers expect you to end your trip and return home for elective or urgent treatment, and some policies require return immediately upon diagnosis. For example, if you were diagnosed with cancer while on a travel policy, there might be an urgent requirement to commence treatment, but it is not life or death to wind up your affairs and then return home to commence treatment after several weeks. Travel insurance is also not renewable, if you have a serious medical problem, your cover will end at expiry or when you return home. The underlying assumption behind travel cover is that you have proper medical insurance at home to return to in the event of an urgent or elective medical condition. For more information, check out more travel insurance basics.

Ready to buy travel insurance? Get a quote now.

Expat medical insurance covers everything travel insurance covers plus urgent and elective medical treatment. Importantly, it is guaranteed renewable if you are in the midst of a course of treatment at renewal time. If you have international medical insurance, you don’t need travel insurance unless you are traveling outside your area of cover.

Expat Insurance for Americans

For Americans, because insurance law is governed at the state level, there are laws prohibiting outside insurers from insuring residents in any state. Policies therefore have provisions limiting cover if you are outside of your state for more than 6 months. The assumption is that you are a resident in another state, and if they are covering you, then they are violating that state’s regulations and subject to huge monetary penalties. They don’t seem to consider that you might be living out of the country! So the danger is that they might cancel your policy if they learn you are resident out of your home state for more than 6 months. That’s where expatriate medical insurance comes in to replace your stateside insurance. If you are only resident outside your home state for less than 6 months, then travel cover will do, so long as you maintain your cover back home.

Expat Insurance for Canadians and Brits

For the Canadian case, if you are resident outside Canada for 183 days annually and satisfy a few other conditions, then you can live tax free. The downside is that you can’t be on your provincial medical plan back home, and it takes 3 months to enroll again after returning permanently. Until you are back on the roster, you could be paying thousands of dollars per day for a hospital bed in Canada. Canadian hospitals charge American pricing to non-resident Canadians and foreigners. So if you are still paying Canadian taxes and a resident, you can buy a “Snowbird” travel policy meant for older travelers otherwise a regular policy. If you are not tax resident, then you need medical insurance. The British case is similar in that a few years ago the National Health Service changed the rules regarding residency. If you are not “ordinarily resident” in the UK, then you’re not entitled to free NHS treatment and you’re going to pay high prices unless you have expat medical cover.

For more information on international expatriate medical insurance, please visit Protexplan.com

Ready to buy medical cover? Get an expatriate health insurance quote.

 

Why buy travel insurance?

From emergency health expenses, including air evacuation, to losses or damages of luggage during travel, you are not protected unless you have a quality travel insurance plan.

When you’re on holiday, or preparing for a holiday, the last thing you may want to think about is how your best-laid plans could go wrong. But, a new study shows that while travelling you may not be as protected as you think you are.

A recent study done by ABTA, the UK’s leading travel association, shows that travellers are increasingly opting out of travel insurance. As much as 48 per cent of travellers between the ages of 15 and 24 years old regularly travel without travel insurance. These numbers are increasing, too.

According to an article in the International Travel Insurance Journal, many travellers wrongly believe that their domestic insurance, including national health care or the European Health Insurance Card, will cover emergency expenses abroad—including airlift evacuation. Sixteen per cent of those surveyed by ABTA even thought their government would assist with the costs.

With a quality travel insurance plan, you should be guaranteed protection if:

  • your flight is cancelled or interrupted;

  • you lose your baggage or any valuables during travel;

  • you become ill, are injured, or become disabled; or

  • you die and need to cover foreign funeral expenses and repatriation of remains.

 

Not all plans are fully inclusive. If you plan on participating in adventure activities or you have a pre-existing condition, enhanced travel insurance may be necessary.

 

For more information about international travel insurance or to get a travel insurance quote, visit our homepage.

 

International Travel Insurance Basics

What is international travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a medical and financial safeguard, usually bought prior to travelling, that protects travellers from unexpected emergencies that may occur during their trips. Travel insurance can be bought to cover trips lasting a few days to a couple years and can be limited by activities and locations. International travel insurance includes packages and plans that cover travel world wide.

What does travel insurance cover?

The coverage provided by travel insurance will depend on the plan or package bought; however, some risks that are often covered by travel insurance include:

  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption (missed connection due to airline schedule, travel delays caused by weather, etc.)

  • Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal effects or travel documents and delayed baggage (and emergency replacement of essential items)

  • Medical emergencies caused by accident or illness, often including emergency evacuation

  • Return of a minor

  • Overseas funeral expenses and repatriation in case of death

  • Benefit for accidental death, injury, or disablement

Additional coverage can usually be added to enhance benefits for already covered risks as well as to protect travelers with pre-existing conditions or who want to participate in activities with an element of danger (diving, water-skiing, trekking, etc.).

Key facts about buying international travel insurance:

  • Insurance should cover all planned activities for the duration of the trip. So, be sure to double check that your skiing or ski-diving will be covered by the plan you buy.

  • For most companies, insurance must be purchased prior to travel. (Gatinsure allows travellers to purchase insurance after starting their trips.)

  • Also, many travel insurance providers require customers to be members of their national health insurance program. (Gatinsure provides travel insurance policies without this requirement.)

  • Most companies also require that the insurance be purchased in the traveller’s home country. (Gatinsure allows travellers to purchase insurance from anywhere in the world.)

For more information about buying travel insurance and to get a travel insurance quote, please visit our homepage, Guardian Angel Travel Insurance.