Travel|December 1, 2010 7:13 am

Travel Insurance or Expat Insurance?

Ever been run over by a taxi? Me either, but I’ve had a few close calls, and I know a guy who went to Hanoi and subsequently parked himself, and his scooter, under a bus. It happens. It happens often, and, although we hope it won’t happen to us, it’s foolish to assume that it won’t. But what’s the best way to prepare for such an event, or, more specifically should I get travel insurance or expat insurance? I’ll provide some insight into the question by renaming these two kinds of insurances.

Travel insurance is now going to be called “I’ve Fallen off My Elephant and I Can’t Get Up.” Why? Because travel insurance is designed to protect you from freak accidents while you are in a country, for whatever purposes, that is not your own. And it’s great for this purpose. If you’re mugged in Manila, don’t worry. You’re covered. If you’ve fallen of your bike in Bangkok, likewise, you’ll be taken care of.

But what if that bad disk in your back starts acting up while you’re on a business trip in Jakarta? Well, now you’re in trouble if travel insurance is all you have. Your bad back is not the result of an accident overseas. It’s a condition, probably caused by your bad posture, that you had before you left home, and any treatment for it is not likely to be covered, which is where expat insurance comes in handy.

So, what can we call expat insurance? Let’s call expat insurance, “The Same Old Boring Coverage that You’d Get Back Home.” Why? Because it’s the same old boring coverage you’d get back home, with a few differences. The biggest difference is that you can save money by opting out of coverage in your home country. This is particularly helpful if you are from a place that has particularly high health care costs, like America or Germany. If this is the case for you, and if you’re going to be overseas for an extended period of time, opt out and save some cash. You’re not going to use the coverage anyway!

I’ve provided you with enough information to get you thinking, but you’ll need more to make an informed decision. For everything you want to know about travel insurance, check out To do a quick price comparison for expat insurance, check out

Got any tips on choosing an insurance plan? Let us know in the comments below!

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