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Insurance for cosmetic surgery abroad

Insurance for medical travellers is a developing area within medical tourism. New medical travel insurance products have begun to appear. Many are aimed either at UK or US based medical travellers. There are two types of insurance that you should consider: travel insurance which is designed for the specific requirements and risks of medical travellers, and complications insurance which covers you against the risk of something going wrong.

Medical travel insurance

Standard travel insurance policies provide no medical cover for cosmetic procedures abroad, if the surgery or procedure is planned as part of the travel. i.e. you are travelling specifically to have cosmetic surgery in another country. When travel insurance is taken out for travel which involves "medical tourism" or treatment abroad, the travel agent, tour operator, medical tourism agency or medical provider should point out this lack of cover. But few will tell you, even on cover that they may help arrange or suggest, that standard travel insurance policies will in general automatically exclude ALL cover, if you are travelling for medical treatment.

So, if you take out standard travel insurance (or use your annual multi-trip insurance) and the purpose of your trip is for some form of cosmetic treatment or surgery, then the travel insurer may refuse your claim, even if it is related to something non-medical such as the loss of your luggage.

Medical travel insurance is simply normal travel insurance designed for medical travellers.

Medical complications insurance

An overseas medical practitioner and the health facility may be legally responsible if medical negligence can be demonstrated. This is known as medical malpractice. Not every operation or process succeeds. There can be many reasons for this, of which malpractice is only one. So insurance for medical complications is a good idea.

For cosmetic surgery, it is difficult to prove medical negligence for various reasons. As a result, the patient will often need to meet the cost of reconstructive cosmetic surgery from their own pocket. Even if medical negligence is demonstrated, recovery can be an expensive and uncertain process. Medical Indemnity Insurance is not compulsory in many countries, and even if it exists, may be limited in amount, or exclude foreign medical tourists.

Medical complications insurance provides some cover if the treatment has to be remedied or corrected.

Medical complications insurance is not medical negligence insurance, and does not enable you to sue hospitals, doctors or agencies.

Guide to insurance for medical travel

For more information on meeting your insurance requirements and for details on insurance providers, visit the Treatment Abroad Guide to insurance for medical travel

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This 28 page guide helps you explore the options for cosmetic surgery abroad

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