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Published on the 10th July 2023

Living Abroad: Do I Need Travel and Health Insurance?

Reading Time: 6 min read

Living Abroad: Do I Need Travel and Health Insurance?

Finding the right travel insurance is essential, and it’ll differ wildly depending on our circumstances, plans, and destination. Those living abroad on a permanent or semi-permanent basis have complications to consider. This depends on the length of their stay and the terms of their visa. In many circumstances, living abroad for the long term will likely mean you’ll need separate travel and health insurance policies to cover all eventualities.


How Does Insurance Work?

·    What is a Covered Reason?

·    What are Travel Risks?

·    When Living Abroad

Travel and Health Insurance for Expats

Additional Health Insurance When Travelling


How Does Insurance Work?

Insurance means being financially protected if anything goes wrong. Emergency medical treatment, personal accidents, theft, delays, and cancellations can all be covered by travel insurance. This requires paying a pre-agreed fee to be compensated for unforeseen events.

·   What is a Covered Reason?

Covered reasons are the details of an insurance policy. Every covered reason listed is a potential occurrence that you’ll be compensated for, should it happen. Different providers will list different covered reasons, and individuals should compare these with their own needs to find the best deal.

Covered reasons will also differ depending on whether you’ve taken a basic, standard, or comprehensive level of cover. For example, flight cancellations caused by airline operators may be covered by 100% compensation. However, someone cancelling their trip for non-essential reasons may only be compensated by 50-75% of the original costs. This cancellation won’t be listed as a covered reason by that policy.

·    What are travel risks?

Travel risks are potential occurrences during a trip, which may or may not be listed under covered reasons. It’s up to individuals to decide on the types of travel risks they need covering for, and then to match these to a particular insurance policy. Should anything go wrong during your holiday, here’s how to make a travel insurance claim.

·    When living abroad

Travel insurance is usually taken out by persons who are going overseas, typically on holiday. If you happen to be living abroad on a permanent or semi-permanent arrangement, travel insurance may not cover your direct needs.

Those who have settled in a different country may need a separate health insurance policy to cover their general healthcare costs, with an additional travel insurance policy to cover trips away. Much will depend on your legal status abroad, and whether you have citizen status or just a long-term visa. We’ll look into this in more detail below.

Travel and Health Insurance for Expats

Different types of insurance depend on individual circumstances. This means t’s worth establishing the following as a starting point when making decisions relating to insurance:

·    Are you planning to live abroad permanently?

·    Are you planning to travel much after moving abroad?

·    What is your legal status as a citizen in the country of your choosing?

Travel insurance will likely cover shorter stays, as any visa will probably be tourist-related. Longer stays will depend on whether you have work-related contracts or citizen status through marriage or family. Such rights may mean you have certain levels of access to local healthcare, or even a private policy already arranged by an employer. Be sure to look into the specific situation found in your adopted country before making any decisions regarding travel or health insurance.

Those born in Europe and travelling within the continent may benefit from having a European Healthcare Insurance Card, although additional insurance may be needed to cover certain events.

For example, our own travel insurance is Malta-based and intended for Malta residents. Our insurance policy is hugely competitive for residents travelling out of the country and will cover most eventualities.

However, permanent or semi-permanent citizens may need to take out a separate health insurance policy to cover themselves for daily living eventualities, as they’ll no longer be classed as ‘travellers’ in their adopted country.

Additional Health Insurance When Travelling

Suppose you’re permanently based in a different country to the one you were born in, and your citizenship status is clear. In that case, you’ll likely need a form of health insurance, with an additional travel policy to cover you for any trips out of the country. Reciprocal health agreements will not only provide the best levels of coverage, but they’ll also offer the best value for money.

Before shopping around, establish your legal rights and what you’re presently covered for through health insurance. You should consider any specific personal needs and what you’ll need to be covered for during your time away.

You should actively assess any travel risks:

  • What threats to health may arise from travelling?
  • Is there much potential for delayed flights, or missed connections?
  • Are the weather systems reliable or unpredictable?
  • Do you need specialist cover for any existing healthcare issues?
  • Will you be travelling to more than one country?
  • Will you need separate plans if visiting more than one region? What are you planning to do whilst overseas?
  • Trip details, personal needs, & planned activities

Knowing how your trip will look is a great starting point. Next up, it’s a case of finding a particular travel insurance policy to match.

·    Research

The research stage is much easier if you’ve established your own personal needs and requirements at the offset. Try to find an insurance plan that matches your circumstances and planned activities. You should compare costs, and confirm the cover amount in the event of certain occurrences.

·    Clarify

Travel insurance policies can be complex, so take the time to gain a real awareness of your levels of coverage. Those living overseas must also know the details of any separate healthcare insurance policy. This includes knowing when each policy takes effect.

For further information, please read our article on Worldwide Travel Insurance: A Beginner’s Guide.


Researching travel, and health insurance policies is critical to know your rights and find a policy to match your needs. GasanMamo offers single and annual-trip insurance for all travel starting or ending in Malta, so look at our competitive and comprehensive benefits, optional extras, and annual offer on our travel insurance page.

GasanMamo Insurance is authorised under the Insurance Business Act and regulated by the MFSA.