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Mar 31, 2021

Travel Insurance vs. Medical Insurance

For a lot of seasoned travellers, the concept of travel insurance comes across as a new idea. In reality, across several jurisdictions like Europe, it is mandatory to have a travel insurance plan and other documents to travel on a Schengen visa. When you dive into what is travel insurance and explore its benefits, it does make sense. A standard travel insurance plan can cover your medical expenses, emergency expenses, cancellations, and immediate cash needs. When it comes to covering the medical expenses, you might get confused while thinking – is travel insurance the same as medical insurance? The short answer is – No. To get a better idea of the critical differences between the two, read further!  

Travel Insurance vs. Medical Insurance

Most medical insurance plans do not include foreign treatments unless specifically mentioned in the insurance documents. Hence, the travel insurance plan is more comparable with international medical insurance, as they compare cross-border medical risks. Here are the common differences you will find when you research on is travel insurance same as medical insurance:
  1. Width of Coverage: Travel Insurance covers a wide range of possible risks like theft, cancellations, and medical expenses. Medical insurance is designed to cover just the medical costs incurred as per the policy's directives.
  2. Location of Treatment: If you face a medical emergency in a foreign location, the travel insurance plan may necessitate only emergency care to be conducted there and all later procedures to be undertaken in your home country. International medical insurance will allow you to get the treatment you need in a foreign location, as far as it is already specified in the policy.
  3. Pre-Existing Medical Conditions: Most travel insurance plans will not cover the pre-existing medical conditions you have. You would be asked to get a rider or an add-on or consider buying another insurance policy to get the necessary coverage. On the other hand, health insurance plans tend to cover the existing medical conditions and the foreseeable conditions since such risks are already priced into the premium you have been paying.
  4. Tenure of Coverage: Travel insurance plans can give you coverage for 30, 60, 90, or more days. But, in most cases, the travel insurance plan would at best cover you across multiple trips in a year – not the entire year. Your medical expenses for the whole year or the stipulated tenure are covered in a medical insurance plan.
  5. Medical Emergency Before the Travel: Imagine a scenario where a 28-year old architect from Delhi, Ashok, plans to travel to Sydney for a conference. He gets a comprehensive travel insurance plan for himself and his team. Unfortunately, on the night before the scheduled departure, he trips from the stairs in his office and ends up with a pulled hamstring. He has to be hospitalized and undergo treatment.
In this case, the travel insurance plan may cover the cancellation charges, not the medical expenses he will endure for staying in the hospital and recovering. On the other hand, a medical insurance plan would have covered the medical costs throughout his recovery period. Still, it would not cover the cancellation charges he faces for the bookings and flights he will no longer use.  
Travel Insurance vs Medical Insurance
Travel Insurance Medical Insurance
1. Covers medical expenses, loss or damage to luggage, theft, emergency cash needs, and several other risks. 1. Covers only the medical risks as mentioned in the policy documents.
2. Pre-existing medical conditions are generally not covered in the plan. 2. Pre-existing and foreseeable medical conditions might be included in the program.
3. Tenure of coverage is usually around the length of travel. 3. Tenure of content can range between a year to a few years, depending on the policy.
4. Medical expenses pre or post travel tenure are generally not covered. 4. All the medical expenses as stated in the coverage document are taken care of.


  1. Should You Consider a Travel Insurance Plan or a Medical Insurance Plan?
The answer would require information on – what are you planning to get with the insurance plan, irrespective of whether you buy travel insurance online or offline. If you are seeking any of these three criteria, you should go for a travel insurance plan:
  1. Travelling and seeking medical, loss of goods, or cancellation protection for yourself, your group, or your family.
  2. Looking exclusively for a travel insurance plan as per the visa policies of the place you are visiting.
  3. Travel planner who wants to mitigate the cancellation risks.
If you are seeking any of the following criteria, you should go for a medical insurance plan:
  1. You are seeking protection specifically against health risk expenses, with or without travel.
  2. You have pre-existing medical conditions.
  3. You want protection for medical expenses you may incur before or after the travel.
  1. Can I have both a travel and a medical insurance plan?
If the travel insurance plan does not cover all your needs, you should first explore the available add-ons. If you still seek additional coverage, it would make sense to have a medical insurance plan. You can buy travel insurance online and compare your options. Also Checkout domestic travel insurance & travel insurance for senior citizens offered by Bajaj Allianz General insurance.

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