Health emergencies can occur at any time, even when you are travelling or are on a trip overseas. Getting hospitalised internationally and availing of medical services overseas can be quite an expensive affair. Health care costs in foreign countries are much higher in comparison to India. So, how can you cover your cost and save your travel plan or budget from getting ruined?

Simply by purchasing an international health insurance plan. Let’s take a detailed look at what an international health insurance plan is and how it can be beneficial for you.

What Is International Health Insurance?

International health insurance is a kind of health insurance policy for travel that offers coverage for medical emergencies while travelling or staying abroad. It provides protection against unforeseen medical emergencies and financial security for hospitalisation costs or accidents. It also allows policyholders to avail of any healthcare services they may wish for during their travel. Basically, an international health insurance plan helps the policyholder cover their medical expenses and ensure their safety while on a trip. International health insurance can be bought for any travel purpose - vacation or business.

Difference Between International Health Insurance And Travel Health Insurance

International health insurance provides a wide-ranging level of health care to those who leave their home country for a more extended journey or a certain period of time. In contrast, travel insurance provides cover for emergency treatment while you are in an international country for a shorter span.

Travel insurance plans are designed to cover foreign trips of a limited duration. It is intended to offer protection against travel-related issues like;

  • Foreign travel cancellations
  • Loss of luggage or personal belongings
  • Emergency medical treatment when overseas

In terms of medical coverage, travel insurance provides short-term emergency medical treatment which is within your specified area or period of cover while in an international country. Travel insurance is designed to cover urgent medical treatment and then get you back home. If any other cure is required, you will be first sent back to your home country, and once back home, the travel insurance cover ceases.

On the other hand, international health insurance is intended for those living or working overseas for a prolonged period of time. It covers treatment for both routine and emergency healthcare when in a foreign country. It also offers flexibility in terms of choice of treatment facility or health care provider with the ability to obtain treatment anywhere within the region of the cover.

When you are travelling to a foreign country where you may not speak the language or are not aware of the healthcare system, an international health insurance plan helps you get the proper medical care, whether an emergency or routine. International health insurance offers protection for treatment internationally, including;

Exclusions To International Health Insurance

In many countries, the local health care options do not meet your needs or are extremely expensive as you may fall ill there. International health insurance gives coverage to protect your costs and the choice of medical providers as well. Exclusions to international health insurance include;

  • Any medical expenses for treatment of injury or illness occurring due to alcohol consumption or any other intoxicating substance like drugs while overseas or travelling.
  • Any injury or illness due to events such as war, acts of terrorism or protests while overseas or travelling.
  • No cover for treatment costs for self-inflicted injuries while overseas or travelling.
  • Any injury due to adventure sports such as river rafting, bungee jumping, paragliding, or skiing while overseas or travelling.

The flexibility of international health insurance plans can help you tailor them as per your specific needs while in a foreign country and cover expensive medical care making you and your family financially accessible.

Benefits Of Purchasing International Health Insurance

While travelling overseas, if you fall ill and pay for medical care, it may be a financial hit to your budget. Climate change, the difference in time zone or worsening of any pre-existing condition while on an international trip can significantly impact your health and put you at risk. International health insurance offers the right coverage and protection while you are overseas, managing your health as well as your finances precisely.

The wide-ranging benefits of international health insurance are;

  • Cover of medical expenses for treatment taken overseas
  • Pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalization expenses cover
  • Transportation cost coverage, in case you wish to return to your home country
  • Coverage for all, whether an individual, a senior citizen or a family travelling abroad
  • Regardless of location and the purpose of your travel, international health insurance provides coverage in all situations
  • It makes international travel stress free as it covers for everything
  • If you get injured or meet with an accident while travelling with the right health insurance cover, you can travel without worry
  • You are guaranteed of getting financial assistance during a medical emergency in a foreign country under international health insurance

International health insurance is highly beneficial for all travelling abroad or going to stay overseas for a while.

How To Buy International Health Insurance?

International health insurance can be easily purchased online from your choice of healthcare insurance provider. All you need to do is;

  • Go to the official website of the insurance provider and check for the international health insurance section.
  • Compare the different plans they are offering and choose the plan that best suits you depending on your age, time of travel and health condition.
  • Submit the duly filled application form online with a copy of relevant documents and your travel details like travel destination, travel dates and purpose of travel.
  • Make sure to read the policy terms and conditions before you pay the premium.
  • Once your payment is processed, the insurer will mail the policy papers to your registered email address.

You can also purchase international health insurance offline by meeting the insurance company or through an agent.

Claim Procedure For International Health Insurance

In case of an emergency while in a foreign country, firstly inform your insurer or the third-party assistance provider about your medical situation. Then, get the medical treatment coverage as offered in your plan. Arrange for relevant documents as needed for claim settlement by the insurer. Submit all the documents either online or offline via post as feasible. Post verification, the claims team of the insurance company shall settle the claim. There is the option of cashless claims as well. In case of cashless claims, the insurer will clear the bill directly with their network hospital abroad once your treatment is over.

Remember, in case your plan has expired while on a foreign trip, you can quickly get it renewed online by visiting the insurer's website and following simple plan renewal instructions.


When you travel overseas for either work, business, tourism, or studies, anything can go wrong. Medical emergencies can occur at any time, anywhere. So, to handle such situations, international health insurance can be of crucial help in getting the best medical assistance without worrying about the expense while in a foreign country.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Let's take a look at some frequent queries on international health insurance;

Q1. Can burglary in a foreign country be covered by international health insurance?

Yes, in case you lose your wallet or your money or belongings are stolen in a foreign country, your international insurance plan covers the same.

Q2. Do insurers provide COVID 19 cover in foreign travel?

Yes, with the changing times due to the pandemic, the international insurance plans have started including COVID 19 treatment costs covered during overseas travel or stay as well.

Q3. Is hijacking covered in an international insurance plan?

Although a less likely situation, hijacking is a traumatic experience and is covered in international health insurance plans provided by many insurers under distress allowance.

Q4. Do I need to get a health check-up done before buying international health insurance?

No, a medical health check-up is not needed while travelling overseas unless you are of age 65 years or above.

Q5. Can international insurance be bought for anyone?

Yes, anyone can buy international health insurance if travelling abroad regardless of age, the purpose of travel, or any existing condition.


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