Why Do You Need International Health Insurance?

A camera, passport, radio, mobile phone, coffee cup, sunglasses and bulbs placed on the top of world map.

While insurance might seem like an added expense for your trip or simply a necessary part of relocating temporarily, it can also offer a lot of benefits for travelers, expats, global nomads, and anyone else traveling or living outside of their home country.

International health insurance provides financial protection against the high cost of medical care outside your home country, which can be devastatingly expensive without protection. In countries where medical care can be prohibitively expensive, such as the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavian countries, international health insurance is a way to offset your out-of-pocket costs.

On average, healthcare costs in the United States amounted to over $12,000 per person in 2021 and were over $7,000 per person in Germany for the same year–two of the most expensive countries for healthcare spending. A traveler to any country with high healthcare spending runs the risk of financial strain and even ruin if not adequately insured.

If you’re still wondering why you need international health insurance, consider how much it might cost to treat an injury you sustain while traveling abroad, or to obtain a life-saving medical procedure or prescription.

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Who Is International Health Insurance For?

International health insurance is essential for those who travel or live abroad, as it can provide coverage for medical expenses and other related costs. With international health insurance, you’ll be able to access quality care in any country you visit, giving you peace of mind knowing that if anything does happen, no matter where you are, you will be covered.

International health insurance is for anyone who will be traveling or living outside of their home country and will not be adequately covered by an existing health insurance policy one may have at home–which is most people.

With the right health insurance company and plan, you can explore the world with confidence knowing that should something happen while away from home, all necessary medical bills will be taken care of.

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Types of International Health Insurance

There are two primary types of medical insurance for travelers and expats, comprehensive international health insurance and emergency medical travel insurance.

International health insurance, which is also referred to as international health insurance, is considered comprehensive, not only because the policy will cover the cost of your doctor visits when you are sick, but also because it covers preventative care visits to the doctor and routine medical procedures necessary to maintain your health and ensures you stay well. 

We recommend this type of coverage especially for travelers staying or traveling abroad for one year or more.

Emergency medical travel insurance is considered to be basic coverage, since it is intended to only cover care for medical emergencies, including accidents, injuries, and critical illnesses. We recommend this type of coverage for travelers staying or traveling abroad for shorter periods, usually less than one year.

While the type of coverage you choose will determine your benefits and covered medical care, having any type of coverage is better than having none!

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International Health Insurance Benefits

While most people think of international health insurance as simply a way to pay medical bills, there are a variety of benefits that can help you stay healthy and on track during your time outside of your home country.

In fact, international health insurance can offer a wide range of benefits including access to quality care in any country, protection against high medical costs, transportation and evacuation in the event of an emergency, and peace of mind knowing that you’re protected no matter where your travels take you.

International health insurance plans cover:

  • Most Medical Expenses
  • Hospitalization
  • Medication
  • Surgeries
  • Diagnostic Testing
  • MRI’s
  • X-Rays
  • Doctor Visits

Emergency medical travel insurance plans cover:

  • Emergency Medical Expenses
  • Emergency Room Visits
  • Emergency Treatment
  • Repatriation
  • Emergency Evacuation

Emergency medical travel insurance may also include 24/7 access to an emergency assistance medical hotline to speak with medical experts, among other benefits. Both types of insurance may also include transportation to a hospital and evacuation back home in the event of an emergency.

Worman traveling

Access Medical Care, Everywhere

For more intrepid travelers, medical care may not be the same everywhere you go. In more remote locations and developing countries, medical care is fraught with issues – including lack of specialist care, long wait times, outdated technologies, and lack of resources to treat more serious conditions.

Having access to medical insurance regardless of where you travel means that you can more easily access the doctors and facilities that can provide the level of care that you or those that you are traveling with may need.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that travelers obtain health insurance that covers medical care abroad. They also urge those who plan to travel to remote areas to buy additional insurance that will cover health care and emergency evacuation.

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Protect Yourself & Loved Ones

It is essential for those who travel abroad or live outside their home country to ensure they are covered by international health insurance; it is an invaluable safety net should something happen while away from home. With the right company and plan in place, you can have confidence exploring the world knowing that all necessary medical expenses will be covered.

In addition to providing financial reimbursement for medical care, international health insurance provides resources for travelers and expats to help them find health specialists, doctors and medical facilities, 24/7 health services, translators, and more.

While it might seem like a simple thing to some, having someone who speaks your language and understands local healthcare practices in your corner during a healthcare emergency, or even in your day-to-day life, can add peace of mind and make getting the care you need much easier.

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Find An Insurance Company

There are plenty of international health insurance companies out there, but finding a reliable company who will help you when you need it most can be difficult on your own.

Luckily, Friendly Global is here to help. We have over 25 years of international insurance industry experience and have helped thousands of individuals, families, and groups find the right companies for their travels or temporary relocation. We have done a deep dive into the best insurance companies, based on their reputation, plans, and their history of paying customers’ claims and got the answers for you.

To find the right insurance company and plan for your needs, take our quick travel health insurance quiz, to find a international health insurance company and to view our insurance comparison chart of top-rated companies.