Six differences between an international and a
local health policy insurance

Health insurance is designed to be a guarantee of access to top medical centers and specialists when an accident or illness strikes.

Nowadays, with the broad diversity in different types of insurance, such as local and international, let’s explore some differences in before you make a decision about which policy works for you and your family.

International or local health insurance?

Both types of policies are designed to offer quality medical services to the insured. Broadly speaking, the major differences between them are as follows:

1. Scope

International health insurance offers coverage in different countries of the world, offering patients the possibility to be transferred to hospitals abroad to receive specialized and high-quality medical attention. Local insurance focuses on the country in which the contract is signed. The doctors and medical centers it offers are the ones available in the main country. There are some cases where foreign coverage is also offered.

2. Coverage

In general, international health insurance offers more comprehensive coverage, including plans with unlimited coverage. Due to this, these are used for major medical expenses, such as surgeries or more complicated treatments. On the other hand, local insurance policies often have a lower coverage cap because they are designed for minor conditions.

3. Portability

In the case of a change of country of residence, international insurance offers portability – the possibility of changing the territory in which benefits are received. In the case of local insurance, this possibility doesn’t exist.

4. Waiting periods

In international insurance policies, the waiting period is usually 30 days from the date coverage begins; only specific benefits, for example bariatric surgery, prophylactic surgery and HIV coverage require a longer waiting period.

In contrast, local insurance usually has waiting periods of 3 to 9 months for contracted diseases, except for infectious diseases and accidents. That coverage is immediate, as in international insurance.

5. Second medical opinion

International insurance offers access to a second medical opinion from international experts. In contrast, local insurance companies usually do not provide this service and only rely on the opinion of local doctors.

6.- Pre-existing conditions

International insurance covers some pre-existing conditions, depending on the medical evaluation made for each plan. Usually, local policies do not cover these.

Although every person has specific needs, as described in the categories above, it’s easy to deduce that international health insurance is essential for expatriates, frequent travelers and people who spend long periods of time away from their home country.

It is the smart choice for those who want the peace of mind that comes with knowing their health insurance covers the options they need in the event of a sudden illness or accident experienced when they are out of country.


What type of insurance does VUMI® offer?

VUMI® offers international health insurance with benefits in the insured’s home country and around the world. Therefore, anyone with a VUMI® policy can receive emergency care and medical treatment anywhere in the world, taking into account the features and coverage of their plan.

In addition, while abroad, you can receive multilingual advice and guidance on the processes you need to follow in order to access your plan’s benefits.

To learn more about our international health insurance policies and the extensive benefits included in our plans, contact your insurance agent or click here.