Even though we sometimes begrudge the monthly premiums that we pay out each month, most of us will readily acknowledge the necessity of insurance. As far as most of us are concerned, there’s not much point in working yourself to the bone if you’re not healthy enough to enjoy the rest of your life.

Perhaps that’s why we feel that we’re doing the right thing when we get a travel insurance policy for yourself or your employees for business trips or even for extended stays abroad. After all, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do, as a responsible employer? Isn’t that what responsible freelancers do as well, when they’re out living their digital nomad lifestyles?

Unfortunately, while travel insurance is certainly better than no insurance at all, most travel insurance policies offer very limited protection.

The term “travel insurance”, in itself, is also a very imprecise term that’s prone to misinterpretation. Travel insurance policies may cover trip cancellations, flight delays, property losses, and even medical evacuation. However, generally speaking, they do not provide the kind of coverage that you will need if you’re going to be working for an extended period abroad.

Travel insurance is, of course, a good thing to have, and you should probably invest in a policy that covers property loss, theft, delays and so on. However, that type of coverage usually isn’t enough for someone on a long-term business trip or foreign posting. What you should look for instead, is international health insurance or a policy that has similar coverage.What is international health insurance?

In contrast to travel insurance, international health insurance (also known as ‘international insurance’) offers coverage against illness, accidents, and other health issues.

The scenarios covered by international health insurance may not necessarily be important for someone leaving their home country for a few weeks, but  can critical for anyone living and working abroad for an extended time. Some types of international health insurance may even include maternity care, outpatient care, and dental work as part of their coverage.

Another feature that sets international health insurance apart from other types of insurance is that the coverage tends to follow the policyholder wherever they go. A normal insurance policy also usually only offers coverage within one country or pre-defined territory. This means you’ll only typically need one international insurance policy to cover a business trip that spans several countries.

It’s also important to consider the fact that some countries and economic zones also require that you have an existing international health insurance policy before they grant you legal entry.  This makes it especially important to have international insurance on open-ended trips where you may not be exactly sure which countries you may have to visit down the line.

Who offers international insurance?

Many major insurance providers offer international insurance products. However, we recommend that you get a plan from a specialized provider, such as Now Health International, as these firms tend to provide more generous terms and coverage as well as lower premiums.

Ideally, business travelers and those on long-term foreign postings should invest in an international insurance policy that matches their specific needs. A travel insurance policy, on the other hand, while nice to have, is much less important for these types of travelers.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].