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How is Travel Insurance Different from Basic Health Insurance?

As an expat or a frequent traveler, taking out insurance should be an essential part of your travel plans. You need insurance for your trip in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and other countries in the European Union if you want to be financially secure in cases of unforeseen accidents, and medical emergencies. 

However, amongst the important insurance forms that you might need as a foreigner, two terms are often used interchangeably: travel insurance and basic health insurance. While both are often used by expats and frequent travelers, they both have different functions. To avoid taking out the wrong coverage, we will be highlighting the core differences between these two insurance forms.

Related Read: Pros and Cons of Travel Insurance

Here are the core differences between travel insurance and basic health insurance.

What Is Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is designed to compensate travelers for the extra cost they might incur after any loss of important items and belongings. It covers loss of baggage, trip cancellation, travel delays, medical emergencies, loss or theft of passports, and other travel documents.

What Is Basic Health Insurance

Basic health insurance is recommended for expats who will be spending a relatively long time in a foreign country. For the purpose of work, education, or simply living. This insurance covers all medical expenses up until full recovery.

Travel Insurance vs Basic Health Insurance  

Here are the differences between both forms of insurance that’ll help you decide which you need for your next trip.

  • Medical Coverage

Travel insurance covers medical urgencies. It provides you with short-term medical treatment that you need while on your trip. However, if further medical treatment is required, this insurance doesn’t cover it. Complete treatment will be done back at home.

Also, minor injuries and non-emergency medical treatments will be paid for from your pocket or charged from your international health insurance plan, if you already took out one.

Health Insurance covers all medical treatments, urgent or not. It covers all medical expenses required during your stay: regular medical check-ups, maternity cover, newborn cover, compassionate visits, and many more. Depending on the plan, you can get treatment for pre-existing conditions.

  • Duration of Coverage

Travel Insurance covers six months or less. You can take out this insurance even if you’ll be spending a few days abroad. The annual plan also covers your stay for a few days per trip; you’re at risk of financial insecurity if you exceed those days.

Health Insurance covers your stay abroad for as long as you decide to. It is also extendable for people who might be staying longer.

  • Cost

Travel Insurance cost depends on your age, length of stay, and the kind of coverage you want.

The Health Insurance cost usually depends on the kind of treatment you wish to have, the number of medical procedures, dental, maternity, and other treatments. As such, most health insurances may cover services with experts like the Dentist in Raleigh.


The type of insurance you take should depend on your purpose for traveling. If you’re traveling for the holidays, a business trip, or any short visit, take out the travel insurance. But, if you’re traveling abroad for work, school, or any other purpose that requires you to stay for a long period (above six months), basic health insurance is more suitable.

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