International/Travel Health Insurance
If you are someone who travels a lot, for either business or pleasure, it is a good idea to have an international health insurance plan in place so that you know you are covered in the event that you are taken ill or suffer an injury. Travel health insurance works much like a normal individual health insurance policy except, instead of being covered in one country, you have access to thousands of medical facilities across the globe. This means that no matter where you are, you should be able to have some sort of guaranteed medical care available to you in case you need it.
This guide will explain the different forms of travel health insurance that are available on the market and the different levels of cover that you can choose between. This will include the different areas that you can choose to be covered in and what kind of medical care you are covered for. In an ideal world you would be covered for everything everywhere but this is not realistic due to both costs and the type of cover that is available on the market. This guide will talk you through the best ways to find a cost effective travel health insurance plan to suit your needs.
What areas do you want to be covered in?
As with any form of insurance, the type of plans on offer will vary from provider to provider, for this reason that it is important to remember that this guide will only be speaking generally about plans that are considered to be typical and in some way representative of the market. If you want to know exactly what type of cover a plan will offer, you should contact the company directly and have a thorough read of the small print.
Most companies will offer you a choice of two different areas of cover and these will be either worldwide cover or worldwide cover excluding the United States of America. The reason for this is that the USA has a much higher priced healthcare system than the rest of the world and being covered there requires a much higher premium than if you were to exclude it. Therefore it is worth thinking about whether or not you are planning on going to the USA very much, if at all, because if you are not, then you could save yourself a lot of money by excluding it from your travel insurance policy.
What level of cover would you like?
In the same way as with other insurance plans that are solely for the UK, the different travel health insurance options come with varying levels of cover. When deciding upon what level of cover you would like to take out, you should think about how long you are likely to be spending overseas and what countries you will be spending your time in. If you are going to be going to country that offers universal healthcare such as Norway, then you may not want to invest too heavily in a travel health insurance scheme - unless you simply prefer to receive private care. However if you are going to a country where healthcare is extremely expensive, such as the United States, you may want to think about it more carefully as a slightly more expensive policy could save you thousands of pounds in the long run.
Another reason that you may want to have a higher level of cover on your international health insurance is because of the standard of public hospitals in certain countries. In the UK we are lucky enough to have a National Health Service that operates at a very high standard across the country. This means that care in the case of things like pregnancy is going to be of a high standard and will be free at the point of delivery. However in some other countries this may not be the case and you may therefore want to opt for a plan that covers pregnancy as well. This is actually offered on many travel health insurance plans unlike normal individual plans.
How much excess would you like to pay?
One thing that you should consider before you decide upon an international health insurance policy is the amount of excess that you are willing to pay. The higher the excess you are willing to pay, the lower the cost of your premiums will be. This may sound like going for a higher excess is an obvious choice but there is a catch that you should consider. The amount of excess that you have on your plan indicates the amount that you need to pay towards your medical care before your insurance company then starts making contributions. Therefore it is important to remember that if you choose a higher excess, you may not be able to claim on your insurance unless you have a seriously high hospital bill.