Does Your Health Insurance Remain Valid If You Move Abroad?

Health insurance is one of the best investments that you can make to address your future medical needs. They can be purchased by everyone in India on payment of a premium amount. But what happens to your health insurance policy when you move abroad? Let’s find out.

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    Geographical Limit of Health Insurance Plans In India

    Most health insurance plans in India are designed to cover the medical expenses of people staying within India. It provides coverage for hospitalization expenses, day care procedures, OPD treatment, etc. incurred at a hospital or health clinic in India. This means that if you avail healthcare facilities while travelling abroad, your health insurance policy will not cover it. Even road and air ambulance charges can be claimed under your policy as long as you have availed the services within the geographical boundaries of India.

    To address this issue, several health insurance plans offer worldwide coverage to their customers. If your health policy comes with global coverage, your insurance company will pay for your medical bills incurred while travelling to a foreign country. The only catch here is that most health insurance plans offer global coverage as an add-on cover, which can be availed only on the payment of an extra premium amount.

    However, several personal accident insurance plans in India come with in-built global coverage. They cover you against any accidental injuries irrespective of whether the accident took place within India or abroad. They also offer compensation if you get disabled or die during an accident in a foreign country.

    Is Your Health Insurance Policy Coverage Valid When You Shift Abroad?

    The answer to this question depends on the coverage offered by your health insurance policy. If you have a basic health insurance policy without global cover, it will not be valid to provide medical coverage once you move abroad. On the contrary, if your health policy or personal accident policy comes with worldwide coverage, it will remain valid even after you shift abroad and cover the medical expenses incurred there. Thus, your health insurance policy cover will remain valid only if it comes with global coverage.

    Alternatively, benefit-based health insurance plans, such as a critical illness policy, may remain valid even if you move abroad. This happens because a critical illness insurance policy will pay you a lump sum benefit if you are diagnosed with a critical illness, such as cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc. So, it does not matter if you raise a claim under your critical illness policy while living in another country. However, it is best to check with your health insurance provider if your critical illness policy is valid outside India.

    Should You Cancel Your Health Insurance Policy In India If You Move Abroad?

    If you have a regular health insurance policy that offers domestic coverage only, it is logical to cancel the policy before you move abroad. You won’t be able to raise a claim while staying abroad and thus, it makes no sense to keep paying its premium.

    Instead, you should buy a health insurance policy in the foreign country where you have shifted to. The health policy purchased abroad will cover your medical expenses incurred in the foreign country. In fact, a lot of countries have made health insurance mandatory for everyone residing in the country, be it their citizens or foreign nationals. For example, health insurance is mandatory for everyone in Germany.

    Which Health Insurance Plan Should NRIs Buy If They Travel Regularly to India?

    If you are an NRI or Non Resident Indian who travels frequently to India, buying a top up insurance plan is a great idea. A top up plan provides coverage for your medical expenses after you have paid the deductible amount. With a top up plan, you will be covered against huge medical bills by your insurance company but will have to manage minor medical expenses on your own. It will also be helpful if you plan to eventually move back to India.

    Besides, you will save a lot of money on premiums by buying a top up plan. This is because the premium of a top up plan is more affordable than the premium of a regular health plan with a high sum insured.

    In A Nutshell

    The geographical limit of different health insurance plans may vary from each other. While most health plans in India will cover the medical expenses incurred within India, some plans do offer global coverage. It is essential to check the scope of geographical coverage for your health plan before you move abroad to check its validity and decide whether to continue or discontinue with the plan. Moreover, you can compare and buy a top up insurance plan on if you are NRI travelling frequently to India.

    Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 30 September 2021

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