For small businesses and the self employed

For small businesses and the self employed

International health insurance : For small businesses and the self employed

With a few minor variations, the vast majority of expatriate / international health insurance policies for the self-employed and small businesses, are identical to those offered to individuals. Our guide to international health insurance for individuals will therefore be of value in helping you decide what is appropriate for your business.

We also provide profiles of the major companies providing international health insurance and their products.

The self employed

With mobile technology and a shrinking world, an increasing number of self-employed UK nationals are based permanently, or for long periods, outside the UK. The international health insurance industry has been slow to develop any special products for this sector, arguing that self employed individuals should buy an individual policy and try to get it accepted as a business expense by the taxman.

Hardly any insurers will offer business cover to one individual.

Small businesses

Most, but not all, insurers offering individual private health insurance cover offer similar health insurance for the self employed or to small businesses. A handful of insurers only offer cover to businesses. Insurers offering business cover, invariably have a limit on the number of individuals insured, below which they will not offer business cover.

There are often two advantages, even when insuring only a few individuals, of going for group/corporate cover:

  • Insurers often offer discounts from individual rates.
  • Insurers are more willing to listen to requests for tailoring the policy.

Choice of cover plans

Where there is basic core cover and lots of options as to what else you can add or take away, these are known as Choice of Cover Policies. There are only a few of these on offer.


Some businesses own yachts or motorboats that sail around the world rather than being based in one country. Specialist cover is available for crews.

Oil and gas

People working in this industry may have special health insurance needs as a result of working on-shore and offshore. Offshore work always has problems as to which country has the responsibility for treating ill or injured workers, while local facilities may not be adequate.

Package Plans

Where there is compulsory cover and a few options these are known as Package Policies. Most international health plans are now packages.


International schools have teachers and pupils working and learning in countries other than their own. Parents may be working in different countries entirely. Some schools / school organisations can offer special cover to teachers and/or pupils.

Short term travel health insurance

For some UK expatriates, they may have, or be happy not to have, health insurance cover for both the UK and the country they live in. This may be particularly true in France or Spain. If a business has several such individuals who travel to other countries regularly on business, there is logic in setting up a special policy just for when they are away from either the UK or the country they now live in as an expatriate. 

Special short-term travel health insurances can cover emergency medical expenses when they are travelling.



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