International health insurance

An international health insurance is a private insurance plan that covers you for medical care abroad.

The terms, conditions and coverage could vary significantly, depending on the chosen international insurance.

When do I need an international health insurance?

Medical care is expensive in The Netherlands. Hence, as an expat or international student, you may need or want an international health insurance. Especially, if you do not qualify for the Dutch health insurance.

You do normally not qualify for healthcare insurance in The Netherlands if you do not hold a Dutch passport, and one of these four situations applies to you:

  1. You are studying in The Netherlands, but you are not working in The Netherlands
  2. You are an expat, living in The Netherlands, but you are working for a foreign employer or government
  3. You are living in The Netherlands, but you are not working or paying Dutch income tax
  4. You are living in The Netherlands, but you are waiting for a permanent resident permit

Of course, you may also need international insurance if you are travelling a lot or if you are living or working outside The Netherlands and you do not qualify for the local country health insurance service.

European health insurance card (EHIC)

If you are from the European Union or European Economic Area (EEA) you could use your European health insurance card (EHIC) for medical cover within the EU/EEA.  

However, be aware that your EHIC:

  • Only covers urgent medical treatments, for example when you are involved in an accident
  • Only covers you temporarily for three to twelve months

You should take out international student insurance of expat insurance if you also want medical cover for GP-care, medication, hospital care (inpatient/outpatient) and psychological care.

How does international health insurance work?

Most health insurance plans only provide medical cover in the country where you live. With an international health insurance policy, you can choose the countries where you want to be covered for medical care.

For example, if you frequently travel between The United States and The Netherlands, you can choose plan that covers you in these two countries.

Or maybe, you want coverage in several other countries because you are travelling a lot for your job. An international insurance can be tailored to your personal needs.


Most international insurance companies provide various options with regards to choosing your medical cover, for example:

  • Inpatient care in hospitals and/or private clinics
  • Outpatient care in hospitals and/or private clinics
  • Dental care
  • Maternity care

Most international medical insurance plans also cover repatriation, meaning you can be treated in another country, if the treatment is not available in your country of residence.

How to choose an international health insurance?

When choosing an international health insurance, it is smart to take into account these three points:

1. Terms and conditions

Look closely at the policy's terms and conditions and especially:

  • Check what the maximum coverage is for different types of healthcare, such as inpatient and outpatient care
  • Check if there is a deductible applicable
  • Check whether you can choose any healthcare provider of your liking
  • See in which areas and countries you are covered and under which conditions (urgent and non-urgent care)
  • Verify when you can cancel the policy, for example when you no longer need it

Call an insurance agent if you need help with selecting and international expat or student insurance.

2. Premium

International insurance plans are usually more expensive than insurance plans that are offered through a country's government.

The insurance premium is highly dependent on:

  • Your age
  • Your country of origin
  • Your medical history and current health status
  • The desired coverage

It could be wise to collect quotes with at least three different international insurance companies, such as:

  • Allianz Care
  • Bupa
  • Cigna

3. Medical acceptance or age limit

Please note that most international insurance providers will take into account your medical background, age and current health in order to determine whether you are to be accepted for their insurance plan. Although, some insurers may be more flexible than others.

Sometimes a waiting times applies before the coverage can commence, for example, for maternity care.