Frequently Asked Questions about Expatriate Insurance

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our expatriate insurance and healthcare plans are displayed below. Click on a question to view the answer. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please contact us.

Q.How much will an expats international health insurance plan cost?
You have to consider several factors including your age(s), geographical area, level of cover chosen and any pre-existing conditions. Please complete the quotation form to receive further details.
Q. How much do you charge for your services?
Nothing. When you buy a plan through us you will get the benefit of our expert knowledge built up over 20 years. As there are many large and varied insurance products available worldwide, you need the help of a specialist who constantly monitors conditions, premiums, availability and, most importantly, the claims handling on your behalf. We provide this service free-of-charge to our clients as we receive a commission directly from the insurance company. The cost to you will be the same if you purchase through us or directly from the insurer.
Q. How long have you been in business and are you a member of any regulatory bodies?
The company was founded in 1995. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under license number 526928, and we are members of AMII (Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries) and BIBA (British Insurance Brokers Association).
Q. Are you tied to any particular insurance company?
No. We pride ourselves on giving truly impartial advice on all the products available. Unlike some other companies, we do not receive “marketing allowances” for promoting a particular company’s plan.
Q. I hear all sorts of horror stories about internet fraud. How do I know you will pass on my payment to the insurance company?
As a third-party intermediary we do not accept premium payments from clients. We actually prefer that you pay your premiums by credit card or personal cheque directly to the insurer.
Q. What criteria will you use to choose a particular plan to recommend to me?
Selecting the most appropriate insurance plan for you can be complex. You can expect the following from us:
We will never ask you how much you want to spend on a plan and then sell you a product to match this figure when cheaper, suitable plans are available.
We will find the plan that is the most suitable for your personal situation, not the one that gives us the most commission or pays us incentives for reaching certain sales targets. We sometimes recommend that spouses/partners/dependants purchase separate plans if it is more cost-effective to do so generally where there is a large age gap between them.
Q. Who can purchase an international health insurance plan?
Expatriates of any nationality living anywhere in the world can purchase an international health insurance plan. Local nationals may also be able to purchase a plan subject to any local licensing restrictions.
Q. Are there upper age limits for the international health insurance plans?
Yes, different insurers apply different upper age limits. Please contact us for further details.
Q. Is there a payment plan which allows us to spread the cost of our medical insurance?
Yes, depending upon the health plan chosen you can pay by monthly, quarterly or half-yearly instalments, by credit or debit card.
Q. Is there a plan that will provide health cover for the whole family?
Yes, depending upon the health plan chosen you may be able to get free or discounted premiums for your children.
Q. Do the international health insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions?
It may be possible to cover certain pre-existing conditions with a supplemental premium loading. You will have to submit a recent full medical report from your doctor, the contents of which will determine any additional premium required. You can submit a no obligation health insurance application to us to find out what terms are offered. Please click on this link for further information.
Q. I already have medical insurance – if I change to a new health insurer will I have to start the waiting period again for pre-existing conditions to be covered?
Not necessarily – depending on your circumstances some health insurance providers offer what we call “Switch terms” where you are allowed (subject to completion of a simple declaration and acceptance by the underwriters) to switch into a new scheme, but take the start date of any pre-existing condition waiting period as the start date of your previous policy. This means that you don’t have to start the waiting period again.
Q. We are planning to have children in the near future. Is childbirth/maternity cover available?
Yes, however there is usually a 10 or 12 month waiting period before any benefit for pregnancy or childbirth is payable so you need to plan well in advance. Please also note that maternity benefits are generally only included in the highest level of cover provided by an insurer.
Q. I am living in the USA and have dual US citizenship. Can I purchase a plan?
Yes, plans are available to expatriates of nationality living in the USA and holding a non-US passport. If your spouse/partner or children are US citizens they can join the plan as dependants of a non-US citizen. If you have dual nationality please state only your non-US nationality on the application form.
Q. I am currently single and living in the US. If I marry a US citizen can she/he be covered under my international health plan?
Yes, the US citizen will be your dependant for the purposes of the health insurance application.
Q. My current health insurance has diminishing cover as I have to rejoin each year and any medical conditions for which I’ve claimed in the current year are not covered in future years. Does this apply to your plans?
This is a common aspect of budget medical emergency plans but does not apply to full International Health Insurance Plans. Once accepted into a full plan, you will have met the underwriting criteria and you’ll have full cover with no reduction in your benefits if you make a claim.
Q. Can I visit any hospital or doctor for treatment or do I have to go to the insurance company’s network provider?
You generally have complete freedom to choose any hospital or doctor of your choice, worldwide. However, some insurers may recommend a certain hospital should specialist treatment be required that is not available at the hospital of your choice, and some specialist plans have restricted hospital limits to keep premiums low.
Q. How are medical claims settled?
For in-patient hospital treatment the health insurance company usually settles all bills directly with the hospital, so you can concentrate fully on your recovery and not have to worry about payment. For outpatient treatment, such as doctor’s office visits and prescriptions, you will pay the doctor/pharmacists directly and submit the original paid itemised bills to the health insurance company for re-imbursement. These are usually paid within 7-10 working days less any deductible/excess that may apply.
Q. If I make a large claim will my health insurance policy be cancelled or will I have to pay extra premiums in future?
No, once you’ve been accepted into a plan your health insurance policy will not be cancelled for making genuine claims and you will not incur any individual loadings for future premiums. However, your cost may increase with future renewals to offset annual medical inflation or if you move into a higher age band.
Q. How can I be sure that the claims will be paid?
Despite the sales and marketing hype, health insurance is only as good as the claims experience you receive. Although we do not handle claims or emergency assistance, (specialist companies appointed by the plan administrators do this) we will always liaise between clients and the insurers to help resolve any issues that may arise. If we find that a company is not living up to the high standards we expect, we will not recommend them to new clients and will suggest alternatives to our existing clients when their policy is due for renewal.
In addition we continually and regularly review the financial performance of the Insurers we recommend to ensure their stability.
Q. If I buy an international health insurance plan while living in one country and then move to another country, will my insurance still be valid?
You’ll have full coverage in the geographical area originally chosen. If you move to an area of higher premiums, such as North America, you would pay an additional premium to have your cover extended to that country. Conversely, if you moved from the USA to Europe, your health insurance premium would be reduced.
Q. Are there any hidden extras I have to pay on top of the premium (e.g. taxes etc)?
In certain countries (mainly in the European Union) your premiums may be subject to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT). The rates vary from country to country and we will advise you of these at the time of purchase. The insurer is required by law to collect these taxes and pass them on to the tax authorities in the relevant country.
Q. How long does it take to set up an insurance policy and are there waiting periods before the coverage is effective?
It depends on the plan chosen: some are effective the day your application and payment is received; others commence on the first day of the month after your application is received; some may have a waiting period for routine cover but you’ll have immediate accident coverage.
Q. My job involves a lot of travel. If I buy an international health insurance plan would I be covered wherever I go, and is travel insurance included?
You’ll have full cover in the geographical area(s) you choose at the time of purchase. Some plans may include travel insurance at no extra cost or as an optional extra. We can also provide annual travel insurance plans for worldwide travel from third party companies if required. For more details please click here.
Q. Is routine dental treatment such as checkups and teeth cleaning covered on an international health insurance plan?
Yes, depending upon the plan you choose.
Q. If for any reason I purchase a plan and I am not happy with it can I cancel & get my money back.
Yes, most plans have a “cooling off period” of between 14-30 days. If, during this period, you’re not fully satisfied with your plan you can receive a full refund subject to no claims having been made.
Q. Do international health insurance plans cover sporting activities?
Yes, normally, as long as you are not paid on a professional basis to engage in the sport. If you participate in professional sports, please contact us as we have a specialist plan for this.
Q. What is the difference between a standard and a comprehensive international health insurance plan?
A standard plan will usually cover in-patient or day care treatment, post hospital treatment, nursing at home, emergency dental and complications of pregnancy. It will also cover out-patient costs.

A comprehensive plan will cover all the above plus more comprehensive out-patient care. A fully comprehensive plan will generally also cover routine maternity and routine dental benefits.

Q. What is in-patient treatment?
Treatment received in a hospital when you stay overnight but where you do occupy a bed.
Q. What is day-patient or day surgery treatment?
Treatment or surgery received in a hospital or clinic when you do not stay overnight.
Q. What is out-patient treatment?
Non-hospital treatment, such as is received at a doctor’s office or surgery, or in a hospital but where you do not stay overnight and do not occupy a bed.
Q. What is a deductible?
An amount of money which each insured person agrees to pay for eligible claims each policy year before being reimbursed by the insurer.
Q. What is an excess?
An excess is the amount you will have to pay towards the cost of your treatment. Your excess is applied to each claim you submit during each period of cover or can be applied on an annual basis. A claim is defined as a course of treatment for a specific illness, injury or dental condition.
Q. What is a premium loading?
An additional premium added to a basic premium because of the additional risk.
Q. I have seen on the internet that there are health insurance policies designed specially for persons working in international schools. Are you able to provide this cover?
Yes, we are able to provide you with an international schools policy that offers specialist protection for teachers, staff and their families whilst abroad. Further information can be found by clicking this link. Alternatively please contact us for a free, no obligation quotation by submitting the free quote form.
Q. I am a student and will be studying abroad. Are you able to provide me with a low cost policy that will suit my needs?
We are able to offer a range of low cost, tailored and flexible solutions to international students of all nationalities. Further information can be found by clicking this link, alternatively please contact us for a free, no obligation quotation by submitting the free quote form.