Expats at risk with no travel insurance

Expats risk no travel insurance

Many expats don't buy travel insurance when they go home

Industry insiders claim many expats don’t take out travel insurance when they go on holiday.

Most expats are aware of making sure they are covered by health insurance when living abroad. However, when they travel back home the majority don’t consider the need for travel insurance.

Research published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) shows young people are more likely to buy a present for the family they are visiting than to take out travel insurance. Nearly two-thirds of people who said they were travelling to visit friends and family say they aren’t buying travel insurance in order to save money.

Even if an expat still holds the nationality of their home country, once they stop being a resident, even temporarily, they are no longer entitled to healthcare. For example:

  • The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK states that as a “residence-based system”, people who are no longer resident and not paying full UK taxes cannot receive free healthcare.
  • In Canada, if a person spends more than six months abroad and they do not pay their healthcare premiums then they would not ordinarily be entitled to free healthcare when they return.

An expatriate health insurance plan will not provide cover when an expat goes home to visit as they are not considered an expat there. Some plans may offer downgraded coverage for when policy holders go home.

Expats should bear in mind that an international health insurance plan will not cover them when the airline cancels their flight and then loses their bags. For this at least, travel insurance is vital.