What is Expat health insurance? Who needs it? When do they need it?


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Do you know what Expat health insurance is? Who needs it? When is it good to get it? How much does it cost? Expat health insurance (or incoming travel insurance in Germany) covers foreigners during their stay in Germany. Find out more.

Expat health insurance: Are you traveling to Germany for internship, work & travel or just vacation? Enjoy your stay and don’t worry about paying medical bills and other unexpected expenses. With the Expat health insurance, you’ll enjoy comprehensive protection against illness and accidents in Germany and when traveling within Europe for up to 5 years. Find out more below.

Expat health insurance

What is Expat health insurance?

Expat health insurance is an insurance policy that provides health coverage for individuals and families who are living and working abroad. The policies can be renewed annually. If you are living and working abroad for more than a year, expat insurance gives you access to the best healthcare in your new country of residence.

Components of an Expat health insurance coverage

  • outpatient and inpatient treatment
  • pain-relieving dental treatments
  • Return transport to the home country
  • transfer of the deceased
  • makes sense: coverage of denture costs
  • optional: accident and liability insurance

Common Expat health insurance exclusions

  • treatments serving the purpose of travel
  • Treatments known to be necessary at the start of the trip (existing preconditions)
  • Drug, Alcohol, and Addiction Disorders
  • need of care
  • psychotherapies
  • Sports competitions and extreme sports

What’s the difference between Expat health insurance and normal travel health insurance?

Travel health insuranceExpat health insurance
DefinitionTravel insurance is designed for international travelers who live in one country but are temporarily visiting another. Expat health insurance or Expatriate health insurance is specifically designed to provide coverage for the same range of medical treatments that you would usually have in your home country.
OfferPlans usually offer things like trip cancellation, belongings cover and other details which aren’t relevant to someone who is moving permanently abroad.It gives you and your family access to private hospitals, doctors, nurses, prescription medications and emergency medical assistance for the entire time you’re living abroad.
Insurance periodLimited to a few weeks – Most are only limited to a maximum travel duration of six to eight weeks per tripLimited to a maximum term limit of five years. This five-year term starts on the first day you arrive in Germany.
Main benefitProvides coverage for emergenciesProvides coverage for you in everyday life – regardless of whether it’s a check-up at the dentist or reimbursement for visual aids.
DeductibleUsually a very low deductible. 
Many insurers offer international health insurance without a deductible.
Customers can often flexibly set the deductible themselves. 
A high deductible can significantly reduce insurance premiums.
CostInexpensive tariffs available from 
approx. 35 euros per month. 
Costs depend on the scope of services. 
Comprehensive health insurance is significantly more expensive than Expat health insurance. 
Health check requiredNo. Coverage is usually possible without a health examination.Yes. (usually, a health questionnaire has to be filled out. A health certificate may be required for persons over 60 years of age)
Expat health insurance

Who is Expat health insurance suitable for?

  • For foreign guests staying in the EU or Schengen countries for business or pleasure. They receive high-performance German health insurance for foreigners, which offer protection against possible costs in the event of illness.
  • For expatriates who are seconded by their international companies for a temporary project. This gives you comprehensive health protection during your stay.
  • For foreign visitors, for example tourists who want to obtain a visa. They must provide proof of statutory health insurance in order to meet the requirements for a visa.
  • For foreign students, au pairs and language students who are staying in Europe and the Schengen area for up to 93 days and therefore need short-term health insurance for around three months.
  • For foreign seasonal workers staying in Europe and the Schengen area for up to 93 days and only doing short-term employment.

EU countries:
Your foreign health insurance coverage will be recognized in Germany if you are a resident of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland or Norway. In this case, you can apply for the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) from your current health insurance provider in your home country. 

Non-EU countries:
All third-country nationals traveling to Germany require Expat / incoming health insurance coverage – Visitors from non-EU countries usually require a visa to enter Germany. In this case, you must present proof of health insurance when you apply for a visa. An Expat health insurance coverage is ideal because it is valid for up to five years.

10 global companies with the best health insurance for Expats in 2022

The following 10 global companies offer the best international health insurance for Expats:

1. International Medical Group (IMG)IMG provides long-term (1+ year) worldwide medical insurance for individuals and families
2. Safety WingSafety Wings provides health insurance for Expats with the Nomads insurance package. You can sign up for SafetyWing insurance even if your journey has already started.
3. Foyer Global HealthFoyer Global Health offers you an innovative and comprehensive product range with the right insurance cover to suit your needs. On offer are the ESSENTIAL, SPECIAL or EXCLUSIVE options which differ in nature and extent of the services included.
4. Global UnderwritersGlobal Underwriters offers comprehensive benefits for international assignees and globally mobile employees and group members. It provides seamless worldwide insurance benefits and services designed to protect the well-being and productivity of your global workers.
5.GeoBlueGeoBlue offers premier international health insurance that covers you inside and outside the U.S. Their GeoBlue Xplorer combines comprehensive worldwide benefits with unparalleled medical assistance services, which include an impressive array of online and mobile tools used to identify, access, and pay for quality healthcare all around the world.
6. Cigna Global Insurance PlanThe Cigna Global Health plan offes comprehensive annual international medical insurance for Expats and global citizens living or working outside of their country of citizenship/nationality for six months or more per year. Cigna provides the reassurance of comprehensive core cover and the flexibility of adding the extra benefits you want.
7. Generali Global AssistanceGenerali mostly provides health insurance for businesses with globally mobile employees and employee groups. They offerthree different “core plans”, Select, Classic and Premier, and three additional outpatient options which are compliant worldwide, including North America.
8. Bupa GlobalBupa is a health insurance provider headquartered in the UK, with other bases of operation across Australia, EU countries, as well as Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. It offers health insurance for US Expats through its partner GeoBlue. The Expat medical health coverage is for US citizens travelling abroad or anyone moving to the US.
9. AXA GlobalThe AXA international health plan offers superb cover, giving you access to private healthcare when you need it. With their Expat health insurance, you pay a predictable monthly premium, which you can tailor to match your needs and your budget.
10. Allianz Worldwide / AetnaThe Allianz international health insurance plans help protect expat individuals, professionals, students and families as they work and live abroad. NOTE: Aetna Expat insurance will soon disappear. That’s because Aetna International has been acquired by Allianz and will stop issuing new policies effective July 1, 2022.

What is Expat health insurance?

Expat health insurance is an insurance policy that provides health coverage for individuals and families who are living and working abroad for more than a year.

Do I need expat health insurance?

Yes. If you are an Expat, foreign student, or guest worker living abroad on a long-term basis or permanently, then you should get Expat health insurance.

Expat health insurance

Health insurance for Expats in Germany

Are you travelling to Germany? Do you plan on staying in Germany? Do you have international expat health insurance? Then you should familiarize yourself with the Expat health insurance. It’s a requirement to make sure you settle into life in Germany without worrying about your healthcare costs. Below is a look at Expat health insurance in Germany.

What does Expat health insurance in Germany cover?

  • for help in personal emergencies (illness, accident, death) and organization of the return transport with medically adequate means as soon as this is medically reasonable and justifiable.
  • for illness or accident during temporary trips to all countries of the European Union or a member state of the Schengen Agreement.
  • for outpatient treatment by a doctor.
  • for medicines and medical treatments prescribed by a doctor.
  • for inpatient hospital treatment and medically necessary, doctor-prescribed rehabilitation measures as follow-up treatment.
  • for shorter stays by students, for example on a language trip or during the semester break.

What does Expat health insurance in Germany not cover?

  • for benefits in the countries in which the insured person has their permanent place of residence .
  • for treatment that you knew was necessary before you started your journey or that you had to expect based on the circumstances you were aware of.
  • for prenatal check-ups .
  • for deliveries after the completed 36th week of pregnancy .
  • for foreign students who are planning a long-term stay in Germany for their studies, as the insurance is limited to a maximum of 93 days 

Expat health insurance providers in Germany at a glance

The following companies offer the best Expat health insurance in Germany.

DeductibleMax. travel timePayment
Yes365 daysmonthly, annually or once by direct debit or credit card

Read more on the HanseMerkur Expat health insurance HERE

DeductibleMax. travel timePayment
Yes365 daysmonthly, annually or once by direct debit or credit card

Read more on the Würzburger Expat health insurance HERE

DeductibleMax. travel timePayment
Yes365 daysonce by direct debit / credit card

Read more on the ERGO Expat health insurance HERE

DeductibleMax. travel timePayment
Yes365 daysonce by direct debit / credit card

Read more on the ADAC Expat health insurance HERE

DeductibleMax. travel timePayment
No93 daysonce by direct debit

Read more on the Allianz Expat health insurance HERE

Expat health insurance

Who needs Expat health insurance in Germany?

Expat health insurance in Germany, or incoming health insurance as it is locally referred to is geared toward providing coverage for the following:

WhoWhy you need incoming health insurance
Visa seekersWhen applying for a visa for Germany, you will need to provide proof of health insurance. Expat health insurance offer you the best options since it is valid for the whole of the Schengen region.
New arrivalsAlthough Germany has one of the best health care system in the world, it is only cheap for German and other EEA citizens. Without insurance coverage, third-country nationals requiring medical care would end up paying a lot of money. That is why it is important to immediately take out Expat health insurance which covers you for up to 5 years. As an added bonus, if you lose your passport, luggage or other items, after you first arrive to Germany, your Expat health insurance will cover them.
Residence Permit extensionWhen applying for a German resident permit extension, the Expat health insurance coverage with be very helpful. The continuous health insurance cover must be presented with every application for an extension of the German residence permit. 

The required adequate health insurance cover must be taken out while the visa issued by the embassy or the general consulate is still valid.

This international health insurance coverage must include the services to which the statutory insured persons are entitled pursuant to Section 11 Paragraphs 1 – 3
have a claim.
StudentsExpat health insurance or incoming health insurance in Germany provides adequate coverage to young foreigners who are in Germany to study. It alos offers coverage for the rest of the Schengen region.

How do you choose the best Expat health insurance in Germany?

The German insurance market place has a lot of options. However, now all providers offer the same coverage. The costs also vary greatly from provider to provider.

When applying for Expat health insurance, you should take into account the following:

  • Make sure that you are aware of and are satisfied with the services being covered.
  • Make sure it covers the entire territory of the Schengen area with a minimum coverage of €30,000.
  • Check if they cover dangerous activities like motorcycling, diving and even trekking if you plan to participate in such activities.
  • Find out how direct billing or reimbursement works.
  • Find out if they offer cheaper insurance plans for certain categories and if you fall into one of those categories.


Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany


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