If you’ve already moved abroad for good or are looking to move your life overseas for the foreseeable future, you are going to need insurance. More specifically, you are going to need expat insurance which is specially designed for your particular needs and requirements of being a non-national living in another country.
However, choosing expat insurance can be a bit of a minefield. There are so many options that the choice can be incredibly overwhelming to the point it can be a little intimidating. And, on top of that, it is important to get it right as, without it, you may find yourself with hefty legal or medical bills.
So what should you look out for when choosing expat insurance? Here we discuss what exactly expat insurance needs to include. In understanding that, you can buy it, fully confident that you are not leaving yourself liable to any future issues or financial difficulties from sky-high bills that arise in unforeseen circumstances.
What is expat insurance?
Before knowing what expat insurance needs to include, it is highly beneficial to fully understand what it actually is in the first place. Briefly put, expat insurance is an insurance policy that is offered by insurance providers to UK residents who leave the UK to live in other countries abroad. UK residents need this type of insurance to protect themselves against any medical bills that may arise from illness or accidents. Given that the NHS is not an option for those living overseas, it is critical for UK residents to be able to pay for medical care should they need it when they are living abroad.
As a non-national, they will not be eligible for any of that country’s free healthcare system – if there is one. Plus, healthcare systems in different countries can vary dramatically from one nation to another. By having expat insurance in place, you make sure that you can access any medical care you need without having to worry about the costs involved. Expat insurance policies will vary, however. Not all are the same and it is important to choose the one that most closely aligns with your needs and circumstances.
Additionally, expat insurance policies also need to cover for income protection, travel, and car insurance. Such policies will be similar to what you would purchase living in the UK while taking your individual circumstances into account. For that reason, the policies need to take into account the destination you are moving to – just like you should for expat health insurance.
What does expat insurance need to include?
So, given that not every expat insurance policy is the same, what do they need to include as standard? Well, in short, there is no standard. You have to determine what your aforementioned particular needs and circumstances are. They will depend on your level of health as well as how many people need to benefit from the expat insurance policy you take out. It will also depend on where you are going to live.
How to pick expat health insurance
When it comes to your health, you need to be open and honest with yourself when looking at your expat insurance policy possibilities. Perhaps none more so than when you are looking at the health insurance portion of your expat insurance policies. Have you had any illnesses in the past that are at risk of coming back at all? Do you have any ongoing medical needs? Or do you have a history of a particular illness in your family?
On top of that, take into consideration your family’s healthcare needs too. Are you moving abroad at a time that you are thinking of starting a family? Or do you have family members that are accident-prone – going in and out of A&E?
The more positive responses you have to the answers above, the higher the amount of medical cover you need to purchase with your expat insurance. You also need to investigate what medical expenses potential policies will – and won’t – cover. Some insurance policy providers will not cover individuals who already have known illnesses, though some do. So, it’s not always clear-cut which insurance providers will cover you and which won’t. Such complexity is why you need to be so careful when purchasing expat insurance policies and why they can vary so much in cost.
Then, you need to consider where you are going. What is the level of healthcare like there? But, importantly, what is the welfare state like in the country you are moving to? By fully understanding the level of care the state provides where you emigrate to, you may have a better idea of the likelihood of needing medical attention. For that reason, you may want to buy an insurance policy with a higher amount of medical expenses to cover you for each trip you have to the doctor or hospital.
Other types of expat insurance
As mentioned above, your expat insurance will also need to include the following as well. Either by purchasing it separately, or all together.
Travel insurance you purchase in the UK when you go travelling abroad from another country will often be void and not cover you for any claims you make when on holiday having moved abroad. You, therefore, need to ensure that the travel insurance policy you do purchase, does cover you for your travels and any situations that arise when you are away from your home. You need to consider the chances of theft in the country you are visiting, as well as the healthcare system and the activities you are partaking in when vacationing (skiing, scuba diving, etc are often an extra expense to cover with a travel insurance policy)
When moving abroad as a non-national, you may not have the same access to the welfare system in that country as you would do living in the UK. For that reason, it can be a highly advantageous idea to take out some form of income protection policy. It will help you cover any expenses should you lose your job and not be able to claim the same benefits that you would live in the UK. It can help tide you over therefore in between finding a job or making a decision to move back to the UK.
What to be wary of when picking expat insurance – key takeaways
Picking expat insurance is one of those things that should be on every would-be or current expat’s to-do list – yet is so easy to forget in the excitement of moving abroad or living a wonderful expat lifestyle. However, it is highly recommended to do so as it will help protect you suffering from financial losses should anything go awry on your adventure. However, what the policy, or policies, you purchase must cover is broad and far-reaching.
For that reason to ensure you purchase the best policy for you, it can be very useful to speak with a financial adviser who can help point you in the right direction. They will be able to direct you as to the best policy for you depending on your own specific needs and circumstances.