Will a travel policy really cover your overseas staff?

Duty of care is essential for all employees, but are you really delivering on this legal requirement for your overseas staff? Many companies believe a travel insurance plan will cover the risk of their staff requiring medical cover overseas, instead of international private medical insurance — when often this is simply not the case.

Both products provide invaluable cover, but there is a significant difference between the two: not only in the price, but also the distinct needs that they are each designed to meet. Here is a brief summary to help you decide what’s right for your employees.

Travel Insurance International private medical insurance
What is it?

Travel insurance is designed to provide emergency medical cover for individuals while travelling outside of their country of residence.

It often includes cover for delays and cancellations as well as a level of personal possessions cover.

International private medical insurance is designed to provide medical cover for individuals while living and working overseas.

This includes routine medical care.

How is it bought?
  • Single trip or annual policy — if annual renewable, usually requires re-underwriting
  • Annual policy — renewable without re-underwriting
When is it needed?
  • When travelling overseas for limited periods at a time (as a rule, less than three months)
  • When living and or working overseas (i.e. on a three- to six-month basis) or for globally mobile employees
  • In some areas where it is a legal requirement (such as Abu Dhabi)
What does it typically cover?
  • Accidents and emergencies
  • Treatment in any country within your chosen cover until you are fit to return home (either to continue on NHS or through private medical insurance)
  • Countries except your home country and those where you are advised not to travel
  • Depending on the policy bought, it may be limited to business only or leisure only and not a combination of both
  • Not all cover pre-existing conditions
  • Limited number of days or trips overseas
  • Personal possessions up to set limits
  • Cancellation and curtailment within set limits
  • Accidents and emergencies
  • Elective treatment
  • Ongoing treatment of chronic conditions (available with some products, including Jelf International’s exclusive umbrella scheme)
  • Treatment within the country of residence or any country that you are travelling to within your chosen area of cover and level limits
  • Cover is available 100 per cent of the time
  • Pre-existing conditions are covered for those who meet the qualifying criteria
  • Unlimited days/international trips
  • No personal possessions cover
Approximately how much does it cost? Costs vary dependent on provider, number of lives insured, age and level of cover required. The average range is circa £50–£80 per individual* Costs vary depending on provider and level of cover required, but with our exclusive umbrella scheme, we can provide cover from as little as £440–£530^

As a rule of thumb, you should consider unternational private medical insurance if you:

  • Have employees working outside their home country for more than three to six months per year or they are globally mobile
  • Have employees working in countries where healthcare is a legal requirement
  • Want to be assured that you are providing duty of care — especially where there is no NHS equivalent or the standard of healthcare is poor

For more information visit Jelf International’s website or speak to our dedicated team of international specialists.

*Through our exclusive partnership with Aetna, on the basis of 21–50 lives enrolled, we can offer basic cover up to the age of 69 at £46.82

^Based on the lowest level of cover for an individual aged 23 and 33 and a limited range of countries