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HomeGerman HealthcareWhy Expats in Germany should think about international travel health insurance

Why Expats in Germany should think about international travel health insurance

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If you want to travel carefree internationally, you should get international travel health insurance. The statutory health insurance companies in Germany only provide limited or to no protection abroad.

What you should remember about international travel health insurance:

  • It is also worth comparing the prices of travel health insurance abroad. There are special tariffs for families. Be careful if a deductible is required.
  • It is advisable to read the fine print carefully. Exclusions can lurk there.
  • With the most important point: the return transport. It should be able to take place when it is “meaningful” medically. Under some conditions it must be medically “necessary”.

European Health Insurance Card

Even in the EU member states and the countries with which Germany has a social security agreement, holidaymakers can stay entirely or at least partially at their expense. If the European health insurance card is not accepted, the doctor treats the vacationer as a private patient at higher costs. 

If the treatment takes place as a private patient, each treatment must also be paid for immediately. A hospital stay can easily cost several thousand euros.

The return transport from the holiday destination is also not part of the catalog of services provided by statutory health insurance (GKV). The costs can only be reimbursed through private international travel health insurance.

Such policies offer indispensable protection and often only cost a few euros.

Compare international travel health insurance prices

Annual contracts are available for less than 10 euros, but also for a multiple. It is provided for every trip abroad, which – depending on the contract – may not last longer than six or eight weeks. For long-term trips over several months, a special policy is required, which is then significantly more expensive. For example, seniors who winter in southern countries or young people who want to spend a year abroad after leaving school should think of this.

Many international travel health insurance providers also have special tariff offers for families in their program. With some companies, annual contracts start at around 20 euros. It is therefore advisable to check the scope of the insurance carefully beforehand and to compare it with other tariffs. Above all, attention should be paid to the age up to which co-insured children enjoy insurance cover. Because the insurers have very different regulations.

Read the fine print

If you take out private travel health insurance, you should not only pay attention to the price, but also to the benefits. Although most contracts are similar, some policies contain awkward clauses. For example, if a holidaymaker suffers from a chronic illness for which he or she needs treatment, the insurance can later refuse to pay. However, some companies do not pay for existing chronic illnesses only if treatment was necessary six months before the start of the trip due to acute deterioration or if the treatment was already certain on the basis of a medical diagnosis before the start of the trip.

The chronically ill should sign such a contract.

If you do not get private insurance cover, you should speak to your statutory health insurance fund in order to exceptionally receive cover in the holiday country, regardless of where it is.

To be on the safe side, you should get a declaration of no objection from the attending physician before departure. Some companies also do not pay if accidents occur abroad during competitions or club sports.

Advance payment clause

Attention, only remaining costs are covered here that are not covered by a statutory health insurance company. Consequence: Later, you have to be billed twice, which is inconvenient.

Check the grace period

It can happen that a sick holidaymaker cannot travel home as planned. In the meantime, many companies still pay the bills until the insured person can be transported again, even if the insurance cover has already expired. When concluding the contract, care should therefore be taken to ensure that these subsequent services are not limited in time or are granted for a long time.

Return transport

The return transport is one of the most important points on the list of services. According to the insurance conditions, the costs should already be covered for a medically sensible and not just for a medically necessary repatriation. 

As a precaution, people with private health insurance should also pack travel insurance in their suitcase in order to secure repatriation in an emergency or – if this is part of the scope of the private contract – then, if necessary, to spare their deductible.

However, you should avoid providers who only pay for the return transport if it is “medically necessary and ordered by a doctor”. These requirements are almost impossible to meet. The return transport is only medically necessary if the standard of medical care in the host country is so low that there is no prospect of successful treatment there.

Therefore, you should only choose companies that, according to their conditions, take over the ambulance transport if it is medically sensible and justifiable.

Expensive treatment costs

Before particularly expensive treatments abroad, the patient should have his insurance company confirm by fax that the costs will be covered.

Deductible

A few insurance companies require a customer contribution for annual contracts. You should keep your hands off such contracts.

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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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