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What is International Health Insurance? Meaning, Importance and Benefits

A safety net that adds to a peaceful travel experience, international health insurance covers insured travelers against medical emergencies while traveling or during their stay abroad.

  • 5,160 Views | Updated on: Jan 22, 2024

Health emergencies can occur at any time without any warning. And, if you get hospitalized overseas, the high cost of treatment may cause a considerable dent in your travel budget and ruin your entire travel plan. This is where international health insurance comes into the picture.

You can easily cover the cost and keep the travel budget intact if you have international health insurance coverage. Similar to home health insurance, you are also covered for your diagnostic and follow-up care in addition to emergency care. However, short-term coverage is the best option for you if you will be working, traveling, or residing abroad for a period of less than a year.

What is International Health Insurance?

International health insurance is a specialized form of coverage designed to provide individuals with access to medical services and financial protection while they are living, working, or traveling abroad. Unlike domestic health insurance plans, which are confined to specific geographical regions or countries, international health insurance offers a broader scope of coverage that extends across borders.

Benefits of Buying International Health Insurance

Traveling can be stressful sometimes. The sudden change in climate conditions and the difference in time zone can significantly impact your health and put you at risk of getting ill. This is where health insurance is beneficial for all. If you travel overseas anytime soon, here are a few ways international health insurance in India can benefit you.

Global Coverage

International health insurance offers coverage worldwide, allowing policyholders to receive medical treatment in various countries. This feature is particularly beneficial for frequent travelers and individuals living in countries with limited healthcare infrastructure.

Emergency Medical Evacuation

Many international health insurance plans include provisions for emergency medical evacuation. In the event of a severe illness or injury, policyholders may be transported to a medical facility with the necessary expertise, even if it requires crossing international borders.

Access to Quality Healthcare Providers

Policyholders have the flexibility to choose from a network of healthcare providers, including hospitals, clinics, and specialists, both within and outside their home country. This ensures that they receive quality care, regardless of location.

Customizable Coverage

International health insurance plans often offer flexibility in terms of coverage options. Policyholders can tailor their plans to include specific benefits, such as dental care, maternity coverage, preventive services, and mental health support.

How to Buy International Health Insurance?

You can easily purchase the health insurance of your choice online. Let us look at the process of buying the policy:

  • Browse through the international health insurance section, compare the different plans, and click on the ‘buy now button’.
  • Fill and submit the application form with relevant details like name, age, destination, travel dates, the purpose of travel, etc.
  • Comply with the documentation and submit relevant documents
  • Read the policy terms and conditions and pay the premium
  • The insurance company will send the policy papers to your registered email address

Exclusions Under International Health Insurance

While health insurance policies offer extensive coverage, it is equally important for policyholders to be aware of exclusions, conditions, or circumstances for which the insurance provider may not provide coverage.

Pre-existing Conditions

Many international health insurance policies have exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions. These are typically illnesses that existed before the start of the insurance coverage. While some plans may provide coverage for pre-existing conditions after a waiting period, others may exclude them entirely.

Elective and Cosmetic Procedures

International health insurance often excludes coverage for elective and cosmetic procedures. These may include non-essential surgeries, aesthetic treatments, or procedures deemed unnecessary for medical reasons.

Injuries Resulting from Risky Activities

Engaging in high-risk activities such as extreme sports, adventure activities, or hazardous pursuits may lead to exclusions in the insurance coverage. It is crucial to review the policy’s terms and conditions to understand the limitations related to specific activities.

Non-emergency Dental and Vision Care

Certain international health insurance plans may exclude routine dental and vision care. Coverage for dental check-ups, eyeglasses, or contact lenses may be limited, with policyholders advised to explore standalone dental or vision insurance if needed.

Mental Health and Behavioral Disorders

Some international health insurance policies may have exclusions related to mental health and behavioral disorders. Coverage for therapy sessions, counseling, or treatment for certain psychological conditions may be limited or excluded.

Is International Insurance Worth it?

An international health insurance policy is beneficial for all, and it is worth it. Several things can go wrong when traveling overseas for work, business, tourism, or studies. A medical emergency can happen anywhere, at any moment. In such a situation, travel health insurance can significantly help get the best medical assistance without worrying about the cost.

Final Thoughts

In a world where mobility is the norm, international health insurance emerges as a vital tool for maintaining well-being and ensuring access to quality healthcare services. The global coverage, emergency assistance, and financial protection it offers make it an essential investment for those leading international lifestyles. As individuals continue to explore and embrace the opportunities of a borderless world, international health insurance is a reliable and comprehensive shield for their health and peace of mind.

Key takeaways

  • International health insurance is a form of coverage for individuals living, working, or traveling abroad.
  • It covers the majority of medical costs, giving you peace of mind and financial protection.
  • Many international health insurance plans include emergency medical evacuation.
  • International travel insurance policy also covers cancellation of the hotel or airline reservation or the financial collapse of the travel agency or cruise line.



Can international health insurance cover burglary in a foreign country?

No, international health insurance typically does not cover burglary or theft. International health insurance is designed to cover medical expenses and related healthcare costs incurred while you are abroad. To protect against theft or burglary, individuals may need to purchase separate travel insurance or personal property insurance that specifically includes coverage for such incidents.


Is hijack covered in an international insurance plan?

Hijack coverage is not typically included in standard international health insurance plans. However, some travel insurance policies may offer coverage for incidents like hijacking. It is important to carefully review the terms and conditions of the insurance policy to understand the specific coverage provided. Travelers who are concerned about such risks may explore specialized travel insurance options that include coverage for hijacking.


Do I need a health check-up before buying international health insurance?

In many cases, international health insurance does not require a health check-up for approval. These insurance plans often operate on a “guaranteed issue” basis, meaning applicants are accepted without needing a medical examination. However, pre-existing conditions may have specific terms or limitations, so it is crucial to disclose accurate medical information during the application process. It is advisable to carefully read the policy details and consult with the insurance provider to understand the specific requirements and coverage conditions.


Can international insurance be bought for anyone?

Yes, international insurance can often be bought for someone other than the policyholder. This is particularly common for family or group plans, where one person may purchase coverage for themselves as well as their dependents or travel companions. The eligibility criteria and coverage options may vary between insurance providers. So, it is recommended to check with the insurer to ensure that the intended individuals can be included in the policy and to understand any specific requirements or limitations.

- A Consumer Education Initiative series by Kotak Life

Amit Raje
Written By :
Amit Raje

Amit Raje is an experienced marketer who has worked in various Fintechs and leading Financial companies in India. With focused experience in Digital, Amit has pioneered multiple digital commerce in India. Now, close to two decades later, he is the vice president and head of the D2C business department. He masters the skill of strategic management, also being certified in it from IIMA. He has challenged his challenges and contributed his efforts in this journey of digital transformation.

Amit Raje
Reviewed By :
Prasad Pimple

Prasad Pimple has a decade-long experience in the Life insurance sector and as EVP, Kotak Life heads Digital Business. He is responsible for developing user friendly product journeys, creating consumer awareness and helping consumers in identifying need for life insurance solutions. He has 20+ years of experience in creating and building business verticals across Insurance, Telecom and Banking sectors

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