medical evacuation and repatriation plans

Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance Importance for Expats

Learn the Importance of Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance for Expats

At Expat Financial, we encourage expats to include evacuation and repatriation insurance. It is particularly important when they are on the other side of the world, living and working. In this article, we will learn the difference between the two and the importance of evacuation and repatriation insurance for expats.

What you need to know about evacuation and repatriation

medical evacuation

Note that medical evacuation and repatriation plans are often either included in international health insurance policies or can be added to your global medical plan for an extra cost. Most international citizens living abroad. Some travel insurance plans will also include medical evacuation coverage. Here are some details on the medical evacuation and repatriation coverage that many expatriates will purchase when living abroad.

You may see a lot of insurance coverage providing evacuation options. You may also think that you don’t need it. Here’s why it’s a bad idea not to include it in your coverage. Evacuations during a medical emergency are carried out when expats or their dependents are injured or ill and need immediate medical attention. If treatment is not available locally, they must be taken to a nearby medical facility.

If you’re in countries like Cambodia, Libya, and Mozambique, you may not have access to high-standard hospitals, and you will be most commonly be evacuated toa nearby contry where you can receive excellent medical Treatment. So, if you are an expat living in Africa, you may be evacuated to South Africa or Germany for example. These countries have proven medical excellence and specialists who will be able to give immediate treatment.

Finally, some global health plans will include security or disaster assistance evacuation coverage in their plans.


Medical repatriation coverage is also essential for expats who are living and working abroad. This coverage is for expatriates returning to their home country for treatment for appropriate care. It also helps expats recuperate in an environment closer to their close family and friends.

Similarly, when an expatriate dies, repatriation benefits should cover the costs of returning mortal remains to the home country. We understand dealing with loss while abroad is an expat’s worst nightmare. Expatriates who do not wish to burden their families with the financial cost of repatriation can have peace of mind knowing the cost is covered in their international health insurance.

Global health insurance providers such as Cigna Global and Allianz have an excellent process from communications during evacuations to getting the member to the destination safely and quickly as possible.

medical evacuation and repatriation

When you’re purchasing coverage for your insurance, it is essential to know what you want. Understanding the difference between repatriation and evacuation will help in deciding the type of coverage you want. Simply put, medical repatriation insurance covers the cost of return to your home country for treatment. On the other hand, medical evacuation insurance covers the cost of traveling to a nearby country for appropriate treatment. Insurance providers like Cigna Global and Allianz provide both plans.
Another major difference between medical evacuation and medical repatriation is that medical evacuation services are given to cases of medical emergency when treatment is not available in your expat destination or at the nearest facility. For example, if you like in Mozambique where there are no hospitals to provide you emergency treatment, you might be evacuated to South Africa, where you have access to professionals and facilities to get the treatment you need.
Medical repatriation, on the other hand, offers evacuation services alongside the freedom to get treated in their home country in a familiar environment where they have their families and friends by their side. Or maybe the plan will assist you in transport back to your expat destination. One similar thing to note about medical evacuation and repatriation is that both involve evacuating the ill or the injured on a medically equipped flight. Note that medical evacuation always has to be approved and coordinated by your medical insurance or evacuation provider.

While each evacuation and repatriation can be unique to each individual, insurance companies offer coverage covering the medical care patient will require during transportation. It includes life support or oxygen, while some include bedside to bedside transportation services. Typically the plan will cover you within a specific number of miles by a certain kind of aircraft.

As an expat living in a city or country, you may think you will hardly need such services. But there are instances where emergency medical evacuation insurance may become critical:
If you are traveling to an impoverished country or an unstable country, medical facilities such as hospitals and even professional doctors may be limited, and in some cases, unavailable. Having insurance coverage will get you the help you need immediately to a nearby city or country. You may be vacated by road or medical ambulances.
Medical Claim
If you received emergency treatment locally at your expat destination, but your current condition requires ample time to recover, you may want to choose a familiar place or a better place to rehabilitate. Getting repatriation coverage ensures you have access to the best medical care to speed up your recovery.
When you are recovering from an injury or navigating during an emergency, it can be difficult to discuss medical issues in a foreign country. International health insurance will come in handy in certain countries where there is less penetration of the Universal language such as English or other common expat languages.
Costs and administration
Lastly, it is important to know that evacuation and repatriation can be very costly if you don’t have insurance. You don’t want to be paying tens of thousands out of your pocket during an emergency. It can also be a burden to your family if they have to fork out the money too. Having global health insurance to cover this is vital for expats.
Similarly, depending on your passport, you may need an emergency visa to travel to another country for treatment. The administration process and the paperwork will only delay your access to treatment. Most international health insurance providers have a good network of medical partners globally so that you can avoid this obstacle.

Final Thoughts

Having international health insurance is important for expats living and working abroad. If you would like to purchase insurance, the process is simple at Expat Financial. Get a quote online from one of our international health plan providers. Then choose your options and coverage levels in your application. Depending on your pre-existing conditions, you may require medical underwriting. Other than that, some cases are approved in a few minutes.