The Questions I had Buying International Medical Insurance - and the Answers

Get answers to the questions I had when buying international medical insurance the first time around: Do I need a short-term or long-term plan? How much does international medical insurance cost?

Mar 23, 2017, 10:28 AM

IMG has compensated the author for providing this article.


When I was first looking for international medical insurance, I had so many tabs open on my computer. I didn’t know how to start breaking down the information to find the best plan for me. 

Since that time and after many calls to different insurance providers, I have learned what to look for and who can provide me the best coverage for my international medical insurance needs. 

If you are starting out on your quest for coverage, here are some questions to consider: 

Why do I need international health coverage?

International medical insurance is a must-have item when you’re embarking on an international trip. Even if you have good insurance in your home country, it may not provide the medical coverage you need while you’re traveling or living internationally.  

Consider this: What would happen if you broke your ankle on your trip? Who would you turn to for help if you suddenly encountered a medical emergency and couldn’t speak the local language? Let’s face it: While traveling to another country is an exciting adventure, it’s essential to be realistic about what could happen while you’re away from home.

When you purchase an international medical insurance plan, you get peace of mind that if something does happen, you’ll have the support and benefits you need. 

Do I need a short-term or long-term plan?

In the international medical insurance world, there are two plan types: short term and long term. There are many other variations of plans, but you’ll want to first identify whether your international trip falls into the first category (generally a trip lasting between five days and one year) or the second category (an international stay lasting longer than one year).

IMG has a multitude of excellent policies to choose from. I have used Patriot Travel Medical Insurance for my short-term trips, and Global Medical Insurance (GMI) for my long-term travel. Take a look at the full list of coverage options available here

Where do I plan to travel?

Some plans offer “coverage areas,” allowing you to select the coverage you need based on where you’re traveling. Other plans are designed specifically for travel to certain countries. 

Decide where you plan to travel and narrow your focus to plans that include coverage for that country or region. 

What is the plan’s maximum coverage?

The plan’s maximum coverage – or “maximum limit” – can be found in the schedule of benefits. Many plans allow you to choose the maximum limit based on your coverage preferences. I typically choose a maximum limit of $1 million or more. 

The deductible is the amount you must satisfy before your insurance provider begins to pay for your benefits. I have chosen deductibles ranging from $250 to $10,000, depending on where I’m traveling and what I plan to do while away from home. I like the flexibility I get with IMG’s plans, which allow me to choose the deductible based on my own preference. 

Is coverage for an emergency medical evacuation included?

For me, coverage for an emergency medical evacuation is an absolute must and a key benefit I always ensure is included. In the worst case scenario, if I become injured or serious ill while abroad, I want to know that my transport to the nearest qualified medical facility is covered.  

What is an adventure sports activity?

Insurance companies differ on what they classify as an adventure sports activity. If you plan to participate in any non-organized, non-contact sports – such as hiking, scuba diving or skiing – make sure you have thoroughly reviewed your policy. 

Many plans offer an adventure sports rider, which is additional coverage for these activities. Take a look at a sample policy certificate or request one from the insurance provider to read the full details on what’s covered.  

How much does international medical insurance cost?

The cost of international medical insurance varies based on many factors, but in my research and experience, IMG’s plans provide the best coverage at the best price.

Most recently, my annual worldwide coverage through IMG, with the sports rider added on, cost me less than $100 per month, which is an amazing deal! For four months traveling around South America, also with the sports rider included, I paid $254 total for my short-term travel medical insurance.

My advice is to look for the best value for the type of coverage you need. 

Who offers the best coverage?

Every time I need to purchase my international medical insurance, I browse the marketplace. I can safely say that nothing compares to the coverage options and value that IMG offers me. 

On multiple occasions I have had to file claims with IMG and each time was a hassle-free experience. I was reimbursed according to my plan and always corresponded with friendly and helpful team members. 

IMG’s Customer Care team, combined with its wide variety of plans, flexible coverage options and price make IMG my international insurance provider of choice. Click here to find the best plan for you.

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