ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Travel Insurance Vs International Health Insurance: What’s the Difference?

Updated on October 14, 2019

Whether you’re off on a relaxing holiday or you’re moving abroad for a longer period of time it’s important that you make arrangements as to how you will be looked after if you require emergency medical attention or treatment whilst abroad.

When it comes to protecting yourself when travelling or moving abroad you will want to purchase either travel insurance or international health insurance. You may have heard of these terms before but the difference between the two can cause confusion.

Here we highlight the difference between the two and hope to help you understand which one is applicable to you whilst emphasizing the importance of both.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is designed for covering you for holidays and short trips abroad. Its purpose is to offer protection if you require emergency treatment whilst you are in another country for a short period of time.

Usually travel insurance includes cover for other travel related issues as well such as cancellations, loss of luggage and loss of personal belongings depending on what type of policy you purchase. However, policies often come with limitations that many people are unaware of.

When it comes to medical cover, standard travel insurance usually only covers you for short term emergency medical treatment enough to get you well enough to return to your home country. Once you return home you are no longer covered by your travel insurance and if your treatment needs to continue this will no longer be covered.

International Health Insurance

International Health Insurance, on the other hand, aims to cover those living or working abroad for an extended amount of time. It covers both emergency and routine treatment and gives expats the flexibility to choose where they receive treatment.

International health insurance is required when you are relocating to a different country or if you have a home overseas that you visit regularly and want to be covered by comprehensive medical insurance. This will ensure that you get the medical attention you need should you experience a healthcare emergency while abroad.

What is covered by your international healthcare policy can vary depending on who you go with and the plan you choose. But a regular comprehensive international healthcare policy will generally include:

  • Hospital benefits
  • Outpatient & GP benefits
  • Assistance services and special benefits
  • Maternity care
  • Dental care
  • Optical care
  • Preventative care

Most international healthcare plans are designed to be flexible so that they can be tailored to your needs to make sure that you have the right level of cover for yourself and your family if needed.


Travel insurance
International health insurance
Covers only health emergencies alongside lost luggage, personal belongings and sometimes cancellation
Solely focused on health
Limited health support services
Extra health support provided as standard
Covers only emergency treatment
Covers everyday care and routine checkups as well as emergency treatment
Often excludes business trips and only provides personal cover
Covers you for every kind of trip
Cover amount is usually limited (check details on your specific policy)
Not usually any restrictions
Covers you only for the short period of time you’re abroad
Can also cover you when in your home country

Here’s a brief comparison table to help you identify the key differences between the two:

Which type of insurance do I need?

If you’ve booked a week or two in the sun to catch some rays and relax then travel insurance should give you the level of cover that you need. Some countries won't let you enter without travel insurance so it's important to check the entry requirements for your destination.

However, if you’re planning on going abroad to live, work or go on an adventure for a much longer period of time then international health insurance will give you access to any healthcare you might need while you’re away, it will also give you peace of mind that you are totally protected.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)