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Holiday Insurance: What’s the Plan?
Posted on Jul 08, 2014 by Ailee Slater
If you’re an expat family trying to decide what health or travel insurance to take out this summer, we’ve got your covered.
The days are longer, the sun is brighter and the family is itching to escape its school year routine for a summer holiday abroad. Planning where to go and what to do is difficult enough, but smart families also consider another very important question: do we need insurance coverage during this holiday? Vacationing families may choose health insurance, or travel insurance, or no insurance at all. What’s the right plan for you and yours? Read on.
If you are a UAE expat with employer-sponsored health insurance…
As an employee in Abu Dhabi, you are entitled by law to employer-sponsored health insurance, and workers in Dubai are just starting to enjoy similar legislation. Indeed, many companies entice high caliber employees to join their firms by offering excellent health care benefits. However, Abu Dhabi’s health insurance law doesn’t mandate coverage for travel abroad: employer-sponsored health coverage is almost always limited to medical care received within Abu Dhabi or the United Arab Emirates.
When traveling overseas, it is therefore essential to purchase an additional insurance plan; one that will cover costs should medical care be needed while on holiday in another country. Expatriate families with young children will especially appreciate the peace of mind that comes with holding an insurance policy – youngsters are more likely than adults to get sick with the flu or common cold while on holiday, and growing immune systems have a tougher time adjusting to new weather conditions or a new diet.
…consider a travel insurance plan for the family.
A single-trip travel insurance plan with coverage for every member of the family is probably what you’re looking for. This kind of plan offers limited-time health benefits (including hospital care, emergency transportation and emergency dental care) as well as travel-related financial protection (such as coverage for loss of passport, luggage or other personal belongings while on holiday). Cost of a single-trip travel insurance plan is based on the length of the vacation, keeping prices reasonable and coverage strong.
If you are a UAE expat without employer-sponsored health insurance…
Without workplace health insurance, it’s a good bet that you’re paying for your own health insurance plan. And why not? Private health plans can be both cost effective and extremely comprehensive; offering policy-holders personalized coverage options, a good choice of doctors, and additional benefits for a spouse and children.
However, not all private health plans keep you covered abroad, and if your policy only offers care in the UAE or your country of residence, additional coverage may be necessary during a summer vacation.
…consider a worldwide private insurance plan.
If you’re already paying monthly premiums for private health insurance, and if you’re living abroad and travel often, you might consider purchasing a new insurance plan – one that offers care wherever you happen to be. A worldwide coverage policy gives you and your family medical coverage around the world, whether you’re traveling to a new country for pleasure or for work.
Expats who move frequently appreciate being able to stay with one insurance plan – that same coverage and support system are in place, in every place, meaning one less thing to worry about when relocating the family to a new country. Travel, of course, is also made easier with a worldwide coverage plan that doesn’t require you to purchase anything additional before embarking on a vacation abroad.
If you are working temporarily in the UAE but hold an insurance policy in your country of residence…
Employees stationed in the UAE for a limited period of time will normally be given a short-term health insurance policy by their employer. A British employee, for example, will have access to national health care while at home, and enjoy employer-sponsored health benefits (for herself, her spouse and her family) while working in the UAE. However, this short-term workplace health insurance doesn’t usually offer coverage for travel: although you may be covered while on a business trip, taking a vacation for pleasure will leave you sans access to health care coverage – a major problem, especially if traveling with children.
…consider a travel insurance plan for the family.
Like any other UAE employee, you will probably want to purchase a single-trip travel insurance plan; one that provides medical coverage in whatever country you choose for your holiday, while also offering travel-related protections such as a money-back guarantee on cancelled flights and lost luggage.
However, keep in mind that most travel insurance plans don’t cover you if you should return to your country of origin or permanent residence during the trip. For citizens of Britain or the European Union, this isn’t a problem: health care is publicly funded, and no insurance policy is necessary to access affordable emergency or outpatient treatment. Citizens of the United States, however, are in a different position: publicly funded health care doesn’t exist for most employees in a mid- to high-income bracket, so before embarking on a summer holiday back home, Americans should investigate whether or not their employer will cover insurance during that trip.
If you are a UAE expat and traveling exclusively within the UAE…
There’s lots to see and do in the UAE and Gulf region; from culture to food to sports to all-inclusive city or spa vacations. Assuming your summer holidays plans don’t take you very far, your health insurance needs will be less comprehensive. Many employer-sponsored health insurance schemes already cover the entire Gulf Region, but if you’re with a plan that only covers the city in which you’re working, get a travel plan for the area you’ll be seeing this summer.
…consider a Gulf Region or UAE-specific travel insurance plan.
Even if your employer already offers coverage for the Gulf Region, you might still enjoy the benefits of an additional travel insurance plan for that area: that way, you and your family will be covered for not only health care, but travel needs as well. Having a regional travel insurance policy also means better emergency extraction and repatriation services. If you experience a serious accident or illness in a country without adequate medical care, travel insurance will pay for the cost of relocating you to a hospital with a good standard of service.
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