Generally speaking, expatriates are usually regarded as static occupants of another nation – i.e., they are just people who live permanently somewhere else!  But in actual fact, an awful lot of expats make the very most of their time living, working or retired abroad, and travel extensively.

They like to get to know their new home nation, explore all the exciting destinations within reach of their new homeland, and spend a lot of time on the road or in the air discovering whole new worlds.  So, do expats need travel insurance?

Yes!  Most of the time they do – especially when travelling outside their new country – and even in some cases, such as for those expats living in Canada, when travelling outside their own province or state!  In this article we explain expat travel insurance, who needs it, what it is and how to get the best deals.

Before you expatriated, you would probably only take out travel insurance or renew a policy annually when you planned a trip abroad – i.e., a trip outside your own home nation.  Well, nothing differs particularly for expatriates – except for the fact that more expats travel outside their new nation compared to the numbers of their peers who reside ‘back home’ in their original nation!  So, more expats need travel insurance!

As stated in the introduction to this article, this is because expats usually like to make the very most of their time abroad and explore all around them.  Expats from North America who move to work in the UK find that the whole of Europe is literally on their doorstep, and this makes it easy for them to discover the delights of France, Italy and Spain for example.  Britons who relocate Down Under can explore New Zealand and Asia more easily, and even expats who go and work in Dubai find that they want to explore neighbouring states and GCC countries such as Qatar and Kuwait.

Well, for every expat who wants to explore, there is a travel insurance policy that needs to be bought!  And now for a brief word about Canada – in Canada residents have healthcare cover for the specific province in which they reside, but this cover does not travel with them and means that if they live and work in Toronto and want to visit Vancouver perhaps, they will need travel insurance too!  The basics of the insurance are the same no matter where you live.  You need to have your baggage covered for loss or theft for example, you need to be insured against issues that could arise and affect your ability to travel – but more important than all of this are the healthcare considerations of your insurance policy.

Depending on where in the world you’re living as an expatriate, chances are high that you will have taken out medical insurance as few countries have a 100% free national or state healthcare scheme.  This policy is probably just domestic and will not cover you if you travel outside the state or the country in question.  But do look at your policy first and see if it does offer you any international cover.  If it does not, then you need to think about where you will be travelling to and what level of cover you are likely to need.  Will you need repatriation insurance for example?  Are there any particular threats or issues that you need to insure against, are health facilities adequate in the new country or will you have to be medically evacuated out of there if you fall ill?

All of these considerations will guide your decisions when it comes to getting insurance.  In terms of which policies are best for you, you will need to shop around and can do so both online and off.  Online you will have access to international insurers, offline you will probably only be able to access insurers in your own new nation.  Whoever you decide to go with, check the small print and wording of policies to make sure that everything you need insuring is covered and that you are aware of exclusions, exemptions and your excess.