There are various reasons why you would want to opt for a private health insurance plan in the UAE. For one, you will have to buy a health insurance cover for your spouse and children if your employer doesn’t already cover them.

If you have dependent parents living with you in the UAE, they will also have to be covered by a health insurance plan. Have a full-time household help? She must be covered too.

That’s not all. You might be looking for a health insurance plan for yourself, to top-up the basic benefits you already have through your employer’s group medical insurance.

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Here are some tips to help you choose the right private health insurance cover for yourself and your dependents.

How do the costs compare with the benefits?

A health insurance policy with higher coverage, a wider hospital network, no deductible and all around greater benefits, will come at a higher premium. When browsing the health insurance market for the right cover, make sure to check whether the premium of a policy is justified by its benefits.

[Related: What’s Included In Mandatory Health Insurance]

Are treatments in your home country covered?

As an expat, you might spend your children’s spring break and the holidays back in your home country. So it is important to have a health insurance plan that covers you for treatments there as well.

When choosing a private health insurance plan, check the geographical scope – Is it local, regional or international? A regional policy, for example, may cover treatments in all or some of the countries in the MENA region. If you’re choosing an international policy be aware that many such policies exclude treatments in the US and Canada.

Is the plan tailored to your requirements?

A health insurance plan must meet your as well as your family’s specific needs. Everything from policy exclusions and handling of pre-existing conditions to coverage of specialized treatments and inclusion of specialty hospitals in the network must be carefully taken into consideration.

For example, you or one of your dependents may require coverage for a pre-existing condition or chronic ailment. While the DHA’s Essential Benefits Plan will provide coverage for such conditions, there will be a six-month waiting period applicable. Alternatively, you could opt for a different, more premium policy that provides you coverage for pre-existing conditions from Day 1.

Similarly, you may want to look into the maternity benefits if you and your spouse are planning to start a family in the near future. This would warrant a careful analysis of what’s covered in terms of pre-natal check ups, ultrasound scans and investigative tests, as well as the actual delivery.

Don’t forget to compare your options

Instead of buying the first health insurance plan you come across, do some research. By spending some time browsing the market, you will be able to find the appropriate plan for you and your family, with all the benefits you’re looking for. In fact, you can even compare prices of similar plans to find one that fits within your budget. Some insurers may also offer a no-claims discount or agree to shave a chunk of the premium off if you buy a family plan.

When comparing plans offered by different health insurance providers, be sure to check the different types of plans (i.e., levels of coverage and benefits) provided by the same insurer. For example, an insurer may offer silver, gold and platinum plans to suit the different needs of individual customers.