Travel Insurance or International Health Insurance: Which is the Best Option for You?

The world tourism industry saw a 4.5% rise in outbound trip in the first eight months of 2015, and in 2016, further growth of 4.3% is expected. Those who love to travel are undeterred by the multiple problems that the world is facing today.

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    This does not mean travellers are willingly venturing into the strife zones, but that they have become more cautious. Thanks to the internet and the rise of media, people are getting near real-time information about developments in all the corners of the world, which helps them identify how they will impact their travel plans.

    Thousands and thousands of people, for example, will be pouring to Brazil in order to witness the grandest sporting spectacle in the world - the Olympics.

    These visitors will not only be sports fanatics; there will be international correspondents, foreign delegates, and not to mention, the participating athletes. However, the country is also witnessing an outbreak of the Zika virus.

    As a precautionary measure, people are not only getting vaccinated and carrying emergency medical supplies but also purchasing travel insurance or an international travel health insurance plan, depending upon their requirements. If you travel anywhere in the world, it is always prudent to invest in an insurance plan that covers medical contingencies.

    There is a certain degree of confusion when people are asked about the difference between travel insurance and international health insurance. What is certain is that they are not similar, although how exactly they differ in their nature and objectives is a question that has many individuals perplexed.

    Let’s start with travel insurance, who needs it and why? While preparing for departure, the common set of instructions most people hand out are - ensure that the house is locked, check the tickets and keep them handy, and inform the neighbour, who can take care of any contingencies in your absence. A traveller will ask you instead if you have a travel insurance plan in place.

    Travel insurance is for trips with a limited duration. If you are going for a vacation, then you should ideally invest in a travel insurance plan.

    The objective of a travel insurance plan is to cover holidaymakers against any of these travel-related issues:

    • Emergency medical treatment
    • Loss of luggage
    • Trip cancellations
    • Delay in departure
    • Loss of personal belongings
    • Misplaced or lost travel documents
    • Personal liability

    Thus, a travel insurance plan will be perfect for those on a pleasure trip and for a short period of time. It is advisable too, to invest in such a scheme as you will be covered against any major contingencies arising while on a holiday. This will ensure peace of mind and relaxing vacation.

    You may also like to Read: Benefits of International Travel Insurance

    International health insurance, on the other hand, is for expatriates. So if you are working abroad or living overseas for a prolonged period of time, you should opt for international health insurance and not travel insurance. So if you are travelling abroad on a short vacation, it makes little sense in investing in an international health insurance plan.

    Here are the contingencies that are covered by international health insurance

    • Cancer treatment
    • Maternity cover
    • Newborn cover
    • Regular medical check-ups
    • Emergency medical cover
    • Rehabilitation
    • Compassionate visit

    However, an important thing to keep in mind will be the premium for international health insurance. For example, there will be a substantial difference in the premium amount if you opt for a ‘worldwide cover’ instead of a ‘worldwide cover sans the United States’.

    Essentially, travel insurance ensures that you are able to return home in order to seek treatment. International health insurance, on the other hand, facilitates treatment anywhere in the world, within the region of the cover. Thus, international health insurance is more flexible in terms of choice of physician and facility.

    So, now that you have packed your bags, perhaps you should also think of investing in a good insurance plan that fulfils your requirements.

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