International Health Insurance vs Travel Insurance: What You Need To Know Before Choosing One

International Health vs Travel Insurance – which should you get, and why? From coverage details to who should go for them, we explore the ins and outs of both.

ValueChampion Editorial Team

by ValueChampion Editorial Team on Jun 27, 2024

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Singaporeans have been travelling en masse as of late. As we plan for our vacations, the topic of insurance coverage while you are overseas is bound to come up.

If you’ve done your research, you might just find yourself confused by the two types of insurance plans that offer coverage for medical attention overseas: travel insurance and international health insurance.

Which should you get, and why? From the coverage offered by each insurance plan to who should go for which, we look at each option and weigh the pros and cons.

Table of Contents:

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Key Differences Between International Health & Travel Insurance

The key differences between international health insurance and travel insurance are the target audience and purpose of the plans.

Details at a Glance

CoverageTravel InsuraceInternational Health Insurance
Emergency Medical CoverYesYes
24/7 Medical AssistanceYesYes
Medical EvacuationYesYes
Trip Cancellation CostYesNo
Baggage CoverYesNo
Rehabilitative CareNoYes
Chronic Medical ConditionNoYes
Coverage DurationMaximum of 90 DaysYearly Contract (short-term plan is available from 3 months)
*List is not comprehensive

International Health Insurance targets travellers who are staying in a foreign country for a long period of time, usually with yearly renewals. It provides policyholders with health insurance coverage in multiple countries since they do not have any local health insurance in the country of interest. From the table above, the coverage exclusive to international health insurance has more long-term care and recovery coverage.

Travel insurance, on the other hand, targets holidaymakers who are going for short holiday trips, with coverage geared towards travel inconveniences. As observed from the table, the medical coverage is mainly for emergency treatment and for travel setbacks like baggage loss and trip cancellation.

Discover The Best Health Insurance PlansFind Out More

Who Should Get International Health Insurance?

International health insurance is targeted at those who are looking to stay in a foreign country for a prolonged period of time. Therefore, students or employees who need to move to a foreign country for school or work for an extended period of time should get worldwide international health insurance.

The coverage will be more comprehensive for both emergency and routine healthcare needs, and the plan will be more flexible, allowing you to choose your preferred doctor and treatment facility.

Emergency Medical Cover
Hospital Stays
Medical Checkups
Outpatient treatment
Medical extensions such as dental, eye checks, pregnancy
Pre-existing or Chronic Condition

As observed in the table above, international health insurance is like any regular health insurance that you will get in your home country but with the benefits extending overseas where you need to stay for a prolonged period of time.

Related: International Health Insurance — What Is It and Should You Get One?

Tips To Choosing The Right International Health Plan For You

Just like any other global or local health insurance, you will want your international health insurance to be customisable yet comprehensive.

This includes multi-country coverage, the option to go for high deductibles, and value-added services.

One example of value-added service is the Allianz Expat Assistance Programme, which provides a range of 24/7 multilingual support services.

For most international health insurance plans, if you find that the premium too expensive, you can select an optional deductible or increase co-payments. Increasing deductible and co-payments will lead to lower premium prices, but at the expense of a higher payable amount when you make a claim.

Another important factor to look out for is multi-country coverage as this means you’ll be protected when travelling, whether for work or leisure.

Everything You Should Know About Travel Insurance

Travel insurance, on the other hand, covers a short-term overseas stay. Though travel insurance covers emergency medical expenses, the focus is not on long-term care and recovery.

Personal Belongings
Trip Cancellation/ Delay / Interruption
Emergency Medical Cost

Travel insurance covers emergency medical costs for things like contracting COVID-19 before, during, and after a trip. Travel inconveniences include trip cancellation, travel delay and lost baggage are also typically covered under travel insurance plans. However, travel insurance focuses more on the short-term inconveniences to holidaymakers, insuring against situations like trip cancellation and loss of personal belongings.

Find The Best Travel Insurance PlansFind Out More

Tips To Choosing The Right Travel Insurance Plan For You

More than 70% of Singaporean travellers get travel insurance when they go overseas. After all, travel insurance is purchased in case of uncertainty, and you cannot deny that travelling in today’s day and age is riddled with uncertainty.

It is crucial to buy comprehensive travel insurance. Even if your destination country no longer requires travel insurance to enter, it would still be a good idea to have one.

Related: 3 Reasons to Get Travel Insurance & 3 Questions to Ask Before Getting One

calculating insurance coverage
Source: Getty Images


Both international health and travel insurance are different products that serve different purposes.

Travellers looking to go overseas for a short vacation or business trip should purchase travel insurance. While those who are staying for longer, such as relocating for work or study, should consider international health insurance.

Ensure that you read the policy wordings carefully, whether you’re going for travel insurance or international health, and add the necessary additional coverages that you need to stay protected.

Learn more about the best travel insurance plans at our travel insurance comparison page below.

Find The Best Travel Insurance PlansFind Out More

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