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After reading a bit about international travel insurance concept and policies and about relocation insurance concept and policies I didn't recognize any essential difference by policy content.

  • Both do especially with health but not with personal welfare or relatives/payees welfare

  • Both cover generally all states of the planet (with the common exception of USA and/or Singapore; likely due to insanely high healthcare costs in these two countries

  • Both throw exception for (don't cover) states in war or some disputed territories

  • In all that has to do with possible health problems, both mostly cover bodily damage from accidents that require immediate hospitalization and that occurred when functioning without any significant health problem but which was or were not caused by what a policy development team grasps as a "voluntary risk", such as an "extreme sport" that will not be otherwise covered by a plan extension ("improved" or "custom" plan)

  • Both are marketed to different audiences: Tourists and expats respectively

I concluded that if that there is a difference, it's only or mostly about how such policies are marketed, which of course isn't essential by policy content; but I think that maybe I'm wrong, so I ask:

What is the essential difference between international travel insurance and relocation insurance, if at all there is one?

3

It's about the purpose of the policies, and the concomitant risk which comes along with those purposes.

Obviously, travelers face different risks than expats.
As such, the policy coverages emphasize different things.

Because the risks are different, they aren't going to let someone get one type of coverage when this someone needs the other.
Moreover, they'll cheerfully sell a policy to someone... but when this someone files a claim, they'll probably won't pay (or will set extreme "regulations" for paying that might not worth the hassle.

So if someone buys travel insurance, and the container containing all their furniture and household items gets dropped into the harbor at Southampton, they're not going to pay for that, because travelers don't bring along containers of furniture.

If one argues it's six of one, half dozen of the other; then she or he essentially says all travel+relocation insurance should be lumped into the same risk pool.
That's an actuarial decision best left to actuaries, and they have decided it's valuable to separate them.

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