Insurance FAQ


We’ve gathered a comprehensive set of inquiries frequently posed by expatriates regarding insurance matters, reflecting common concerns and issues faced by individuals navigating expatriate and international insurance. We understand the complexities and frustrations often associated with these matters, hence our endeavor to address as many of these queries as possible through our FAQs page.

Should you have a question not covered here, we encourage you to reach out to us without delay. While some queries are addressed below, others may redirect you to detailed responses on separate pages.

Our clientele, comprising both prospective and current expatriates from diverse geographical locations, regularly seek guidance as they transition abroad or reside overseas. Our aim is to cater to the needs of both present and prospective expatriates seeking comprehensive global medical insurance solutions.

For global nomads and expats, securing a global medical insurance plan is paramount when relocating abroad, given the potential financial devastation of an uninsured medical claim. Such coverage is indispensable for safeguarding not only your own health but also that of your family. Explore our list of FAQs on global medical insurance for in-depth insights today.


Because there are so many questions and answers on global medical insurance coverage, we have compiled all the FAQs on one page.

General Expat Insurance Questions:

What is an expat?

A: An expatriate or otherwise known as an ‘expat’, is often referred to was a person who lives in a country other than their country of citizenship and has probably not fully integrated or become a local citizen of that destination. Such expats move abroad for employment, retirement, extended travel, education or become a global nomad. Note that many expats may reside permanently or temporarily abroad and will not spend more than 180 days back in their country of citizenship. They also generally give up ties and residence back in their home country and are officially residing abroad. Learn More…

What is Expat Insurance? 

A: Expat insurance generally refers to insurance coverage for people living abroad for a year or more and are covered by expat insurance. This often includes expat healthcare, life cover or international health insurance,

What is Expat Health Insurance?

This is health coverage for people living abroad for a year or more and will not spend more than 180 days back in their home country. The insurance is only available to expatriates and is not meant for local citizens who are staying in their country of citizenship. International healthcare is designed to provide health and medical-related coverage to people residing outside their home country and will often provide basic or comprehensive cover for emergencies, non-emergencial, medical evacuation, out-patient care and wellness. These highly customized plans can often cover work and non work related medical claims abroad, but also regionally and globally. They are designed to cover overseas expenses, which domestic health plans often can’t. The policies can be on an individual basis or purchased by an expat employer.

Most individual expat health plans are purchased to cover foreigners living abroad because they are not eligible for local healthcare or local medical care and insurance is not appropriate, portable or comprehensive enough. The policies are meant to protect the financial well-being of the expat or global citizen by providing prompt and excellent healthcare options and solutions.

What is Global Medical Insurance?

A: Global medical insurance is really another way of referring to expat healthcare or international health insurance. It is global medical care for individual expatriates and their family members. Still, some insurers can provide global health coverage to some local nationals who live in countries where local healthcare is unavailable or substandard. The insurance typically offers a wide range of benefits, including coverage for hospitalization, outpatient services, prescription medications, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation.

How Does International Health Insurance Work?

International health insurance works pretty similarly to domestic health insurance policies that you might see in Europe or the USA, but they are meant for and tailored to the needs of individuals living abroad for at least a year. They are not like travel medical insurance plans that are meant to cover a person for under one year for emergencies only. Here’s how these global health plans work:

  1. Coverage Options: Most of these plans offer a range of coverage options, including hospital care, outpatient services, medications, wellness and other typical medical care. Many plans have optional dental and emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. These plans can be customized based on individual needs, destination, and budget.
  2. Claims Process: When someone living abroad as an expat receives medical treatment, they may have to pay for the services upfront and then submit the claim to the expat provider via their app or computer. The insurance provider may require medical reasons for the claim, such as a doctor’s prescription or report. For most hospital claims, the expats should request a guarantee of payment from the insurer if the hospital abroad is outside the insurer’s medical network. Direct billing for outpatient care if sometimes available depending on where the expat resides.
  3. Premiums: The premiums are based on a variety of factors, such as your country of citizenship, destination country, age, health status, coverage levels, and much more. Check out our video on the subject. Policyholders pay a premium, typically monthly or annually, to maintain coverage. Remember to pay your premium promptly, as coverage ceases without payment.
  4. Deductibles: Deductibles are out-of-pocket expenses that individuals must pay before the insurance coverage kicks in. The bigger the deductible, the lower the risk to the insurer and this reduces your premiums.
  5. Global Networks and Providers: Some international health insurance plans have networks of healthcare providers or preferred hospitals where policyholders can receive medical care without having to pay the provider directly. This can save a lot of time and offer the global citizen much more convenience. Note that most expat health plans may also have the flexibility to choose their healthcare providers, including doctors and hospitals, even outside the network.
  6. Coverage Abroad: We find that most international health insurance provides coverage outside the policyholder’s home country, offering peace of mind and financial protection against unexpected medical expenses while residing abroad for at least a year or more. Many of these global health schemes can also cover you back in your home country. Some plans allow for medical treatment in the USA, but this will increase your premiums – something many American expats are willing to do.
  7. Emergency Medical Assistance: Some expats living abroad in countries with substandard medical care may purchase optional medical evacuation and repatriate coverage. This will include emergency assistance services, such as a 24/7 helpline, medical advice, coordination of emergency medical evacuation, assistance with language barriers, and navigating healthcare systems in foreign countries. Note that evacuations have to be approved by the insurer under the direction of a medical doctor, and you can’t choose where to be evacuated to.
  8. Policy Terms and Conditions: We strongly recommend that expatriates carefully review the terms and conditions of their international health insurance policy. The plan terms are often on the website or quote page or can be provided via email. They will include coverage limits, exclusions, pre-existing conditions, and renewal provisions.

We find that most international health insurance offers comprehensive coverage and support for individuals living or traveling abroad, ensuring access to quality healthcare services and financial protection in the event of illness, injury, or medical emergencies. It makes sense to talk to an expat insurance expert, and there’s no fee associated with working with our firm. Learn More….

What is a Deductible?

A: A deductible or as referred to in the UK as an excess, is the amount of money that an individual must pay out of pocket for covered medical services before their insurance plan kicks to pay for eligible expenses. For most policies, the deductibles are either per policy year or per calendar year. Once the deductible is met, the expat insurance entity will cover a portion or all of the remaining costs, depending on the policy terms.

Deductibles are very common in most insurance plans, including health insurance, car insurance, and even homeowners insurance. The reason people have deductibles is that they share the financial responsibility between the insured individual and the insurer. You as the expat help bear the initial cost up to the deductible amount before the insurer begins to contribute to your claims.

We find that in the expat market, deductibles can vary widely depending on the insurance plan and may be specified as an annual amount or per incident. Learn More….

What are Expat Health Plan Limits, and Why are they Important?

A: Most expatriate medical plans will have some limits that refer to the maximum coverage an insurance provider offers for medical expenses within a defined period or for specific benefits. Your premiums are based on these limits, and they are important for expatriates because they determine the extent of coverage and financial protection provided by their health insurance plans.

When choosing global healthcare, you need to understand these limits and make the right choices on your global coverage to adequately meet your needs and budget.

There are many limits, including overall policy maximums, specific benefit limits, and annual or lifetime limits, each affecting coverage differently. We recommend that expats select a plan with appropriate limits, which is essential to ensure expatriates have sufficient coverage for potential medical expenses while living or working abroad. As noted above, it is sent to a consul with an experienced insurance advisor. Learn More

What is coinsurance?

A: Coinsurance is the percentage that you pay after the deductible has been satisfied in a given policy year. An example of this would be where you pay 10% of a claim to a pre-set maximum. Co-insurance means you are taking on some of the risks and thereby reducing your premiums.

Why do you need expat health insurance coverage?

A: Expat health insurance coverage is essential for a variety of reasons:

  1. Access to Healthcare: Global citizens often encounter different healthcare systems at their expat destination. Many healthcare standards of care in their host countries may not be up to a high standard.  Buying global health insurance ensures access to quality medical services and facilities, providing peace of mind in case of illness or injury.
  2. Local Healthcare Not Available: In many countries, you might not qualify for local medical plans so you need to secure a global plan
  3. Coverage Back Home: Most local plans in your expat destination will only cover you locally, not globally, including your home country. Such as a Canadian living in Cambodia.
  4. Financial Peace of Mind: Healthcare costs can be significant, especially in countries where medical expenses are high. Expatriate health insurance provides financial protection by covering medical treatments, hospitalizations, and other healthcare expenses, reducing the risk of facing exorbitant bills.
  5. Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions: There are a few expat health insurance plans that can cover SOME medical conditions that existed before you apply, but it really depends on the condition. Group plans often cover them as the risk is shared.
  6. Emergency Medical Evacuation: In the event of a medical emergency that requires evacuation to a different location for treatment, expat health insurance can cover the costs associated with transportation and medical repatriation, ensuring prompt and appropriate care.
  7. Visa Requirements: Since the pandemic, some countries require proof of health insurance coverage as a condition for obtaining a visa or residency permit.

It is worth repeating that expat health insurance coverage is essential for safeguarding health, financial well-being, and compliance with legal requirements while living a global lifestyle. Learn More….

What is wellness coverage for expats?

A: Yes, most global health plans that we offer from large and secure global medical companies will provide an option to cover wellness-related expenses, such as check-ups, pap smears and much more.

Should I Get Travel Insurance or Global Medical Insurance?

A: Generally, if you are losing your health coverage back home and you are travelling for a year or more, you should get a global health insurance policy. Check out our article on the subject.

Do Your Company Offer Group Plans?

A: Yes, we do offer group expatriate medical plans to companies with 2 or more expatriate employees in most circumstances, depending on a range of factors, such as the company’s overall size and the domicile of the policy and general availability of the coverage from the numerous suppliers we work with. If we can’t assist, we have access to a large network of brokers that we work jointly with. Expat Financial, a division of TFG Global, is a leading source for expatriate employers! Contact us to discuss your organization’s requirements.

What is a Pre-existing Condition?

A: A pre-existing condition refers to a health condition or ailment that an individual has been diagnosed with or has received treatment for before obtaining a health insurance policy. Some plans exclude pre-existing conditions entirely while others can cover some current conditions.  Learn More

What is Maternity Coverage for Expats Like?

A: Most maternity coverage for expats will vary greatly depending on the specific insurance plan and provider. Some maternity coverage for expats often includes:

  1. Prenatal Care: Very helpful for pregnant expats who need overage for prenatal check-ups, consultations with obstetricians, ultrasounds, and other routine prenatal examinations.
  2. Postnatal Care: Coverage for postnatal care for both the mother and the newborn, including follow-up visits, breastfeeding support, and newborn care.
  3. Labor and Delivery: Most expat insurers have some coverage for the costs associated with childbirth if you get it as an add-on or take the higher level of coverage. They can include hospitalization, labour and delivery expenses, and the services of healthcare professionals such as midwives and obstetricians.
  4. Complications of Pregnancy: Unfortunately, complications can happen, but some expat plans will cover complications that may arise during pregnancy or childbirth, such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, or emergency cesarean sections.
  5. Newborn Care: Some plans may also provide coverage for newborn care, including initial check-ups, vaccinations, and any necessary medical treatments.
  6. Waiting Periods: For individual expat health plans that cover pregnancy, there is always a waiting period of at least 9 or 12 months at least. This can’t be waived for any reason. For some expat group policies, pregnancy can be covered from day one.

Global nomads and expats should consider the cost of maternity coverage when selecting an insurance plan and ensure that it meets their specific needs and budget. Learn More….

What is Medical Evacuation Coverage for Expats?

A: Medical evacuation coverage is essential for expats, as it provides peace of mind knowing that they can receive timely and appropriate medical treatment, even in remote or challenging locations. It helps mitigate the financial and logistical challenges associated with medical emergencies abroad and ensures expats receive the care they need to recover or stabilize their condition. Learn More

Do you have a List of Hospitals for Expatriates?

A: Once you become a client of one of the insurers we work with, you will gain access to their large list of in-network providers around the world. But we have also put together a list of international hospitals by region.

How do I Choose Between a Local or Global Health Insurance Plan?

A: The best choice between a local or global health insurance plan depends on your individual circumstances and priorities. It’s essential to assess your healthcare needs, geographic mobility, and financial considerations to determine which type of plan offers the most suitable coverage for you. Consulting with an insurance advisor can also provide valuable guidance in making this decision. Learn More…..

What is Out-Patient Medical Coverage for Expats Cover?

A: It’s essential for expats to carefully review the details of their out-patient medical coverage, including any limitations, exclusions, co-payments, or deductibles, to ensure that it meets their specific healthcare needs while living or working abroad. Additionally, comparing different insurance plans and providers can help expats find the most suitable coverage for their circumstances and budget. Learn More….

Does it cost me more to buy through Expat Financial?

A: No – you are charged the same rates for international insurance if you purchase via our site and firm. Coverage is also the same and premiums are payable directly to the insurance provider you choose. Day to day communications and claims etc… are direct with the insurer. You do get our added service, advice and advocacy both before and after your purchase online or offline.

How do I Choose the Best International Health Insurance Provider?

A: It is important to be careful when picking your expat insurance company, as this is often a long-term choice. By carefully considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can choose the best international health insurance provider that meets your needs and provides peace of mind while living or traveling abroad. Learn More

Are Your International Health Insurance Plans Renewable?

A: Yes, all the global medical plans we offer are renewable without medical evidence. Most plans are not renewable if you move back to your home country and live there for more than 6 months. It makes sense to examine the plan terms before you apply online or contact us to discuss your requirements. Learn more.

How are global medical insurance premiums paid?

A: Most providers allow expatriates to pay annually, monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. By paying annually, you can save 5 to 10% on your premiums over paying monthly.

Can my global medical plan cover vaccinations?

A: Before obtaining vaccinations, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare provider or travel medicine specialist to determine the specific vaccinations needed based on your health status, travel itinerary, and destination-specific health risks. Additionally, verify with your insurance provider regarding coverage details for vaccinations to ensure you receive the necessary immunizations before traveling abroad. Learn More

How long before moving abroad can I purchase global medical coverage?

A: Generally, you can apply up to 30 or 45 days before you move abroad.

I have already moved abroad, can I buy international health insurance?

A: Yes, you can purchase expat medical coverage if you have already moved abroad.

How do I save money on international health insurance premiums?

A: This is a common question for international citizens before and after they leave their home country. Everyone likes to save money, but generally, the less you pay for your global healthcare, the less you get in coverage and maybe service. Saving on your premium requires careful consideration of several factors and strategies to reduce costs while maintaining adequate coverage. Here are some quick tips to help you save money on international health insurance premiums:

  1. Shop Around
  2. Choose a Higher Deductible
  3. Consider a Managed Care Plan
  4. Review Coverage Options
  5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
  6. Choose a Local Plan
  7. Get Covered by Employer Plan
  8. Ask for a Discount
  9. Maintain Continuous Coverage
  10. Review and Update Annually

Try to implement the above strategies and talk to us as we are experts in this subject. You can save money on international health insurance premiums without compromising on coverage quality or financial protection. We have written a great article on this subject:

How to save money on your international health insurance premiums


What is the difference between travel insurance and international health insurance?

A: Remember that travel insurance primarily covers short trips abroad for under a year, and you should maintain your health coverage back home as these emergency-only plans do not cover you back in your home country. Travel insurance policies are designed to cover trip-related risks and emergencies during travel, while international health insurance provides comprehensive medical coverage for individuals living or working abroad for an extended period, focusing on routine and emergency healthcare needs.  Learn More….


Why Choose a Cigna Global Health Options Plan via Expat Financial?

A: Choosing a Cigna Global Health Options plan via Expat Financial provides expatriates and global citizens with comprehensive coverage, global access to healthcare, flexibility, reliability, and support, making it an excellent choice for international health insurance needs. Learn More……

Can International Health Plans Cover Expats for Life?

A: Yes, international health plans can provide coverage for expats for life, depending on the specific policy terms and conditions. Many international health insurance providers offer renewable coverage options that allow expatriates to maintain their health insurance coverage for an extended period, including into retirement and beyond.

International health insurance plans can provide expatriates with coverage for life, offering peace of mind and financial protection for healthcare needs both now and in the future. However, it’s essential to review policy terms and conditions carefully and work with an experienced insurance advisor to select a plan that best meets your long-term healthcare needs and preferences. Learn More…..

Do I need expat insurance?

A: More often than not, yes. It really depends on your existing coverage and will it still cover you abroad as an expatriate. Many domestic life insurance contracts will continue if you live abroad, but most domestic health plans will only cover you in your home country and will offer little or no coverage when you move abroad permanently or even for short periods.

Does Expat Financial charge a fee to individual expatriates?

A: No, we are paid by the insurance company or provider and the premiums are the same regardless. Plus you get our added advice and service before and after your purchase. This includes our independent advocacy if you have any problems in dealing with the insurer.

Is Expat Financial an insurance company?

A: No, we are a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., which is a well-established and experienced global insurance brokerage which works with individual expatriates and expat employers to source global medical, life and disability insurance coverage. We also source business travel, special risk, and evacuation insurance.

Does Expat Financial offer many different insurance company plans?

A: Yes, we have access to many different insurance companies from around the world. We usually recommend one or two different insurance firms, depending on your circumstances and needs.

Who do I pay the premiums to?

A: All insurance premiums are paid directly to the insurance company you choose for your added protection. Most of the companies we service will allow you to pay the premium by credit card, wire, cheque and bank debit. You can usually pay in a variety of currencies.

Can I obtain coverage after I have left my country of origin?

A: Yes, some plans will even cover you either shortly before you leave or can even cover you in your country of residence.

Can Expat Financial provide coverage to local citizens?

A: Yes, in many areas throughout the world for health or travel insurance, especially in less developed countries. Contact us to see if we can arrange coverage for you. Expatriate life and disability insurance is only available to citizens who live outside the country for which they hold a passport.

How do I obtain a quote?

A: Simply go to the Quote Page for individual quotes. Corporations can go to the bottom of the Group Insurance Page. Feel free to check out the Contact Page.


Expat Disability Insurance Questions

Is it possible to obtain long-term disability coverage as an expat?

A: Yes, it is possible, but there are only a few insurance providers that can cover individual expatriates living abroad and generally only for white-collar occupations, but there are some exceptions.

What does expatriate disability insurance cover?

A: This can’t be detailed in a short answer as you must refer to the plan terms and conditions. However, the best expat disability plan for individual expats is offered by our William Russell Limited provider, and the plan terms can be downloaded via our Expat Disability page.

Expat Life Insurance Questions

Can I buy expat life insurance online?

A: If you want a year-to-year expat life plan, the William Russell plan can be quoted and purchased online. Our more standard expats life plan that can cover expats with a level premium for 10 or 20 years are not sold online. You have to contact us to see if you are eligible and we can then forward a quote if you provide us with your occupation, name, date of birth, citizenship, how much coverage is required and where do you live.

Why do I need expat life insurance?

A: Most people purchase expat life coverage because their family members depend on their income or have liabilities, such as mortgages and loans. Life insurance is a vital component of any financial plan, especially for expatriates. We recommend that you get a quote for expat life coverage and also review your global life insurance needs based on your income and liabilities.

We hope that the above questions and answers are helpful to you if you are an expat in need of a global medical plan to secure your future life abroad. The above questions and answers are also helpful for global mobility managers who require international coverage for their expatriate employees. Please contact us to learn more.


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