What types of insurance are available for expats?

ExpatRoute is here to help you invest in the most suitable insurance policies to give yourself complete peace of mind and enjoy a greater quality of life when living abroad.

Moving abroad can be a very exciting time for any would-be expats planning to live in a new country.

However, life-changing moments such as this can also come with plenty of worries and concerns. Ahead of relocating overseas, there are often numerous aspects of your new life to arrange and insurance for you, your partner and your family should be among them.

Before going, it’s sensible to take some time to consider which types of expat insurance you need to protect yourself in case the worst happens. Often, securing expat insurance prior to travel is much easier and one less thing to worry about when you’re preparing to head to your new destination. But what kinds of insurance are available and which of them do you need to make the most of your new life overseas?

What insurance do expats need?

Insurance is an essential starting point for any of the five million British expats now living abroad.

The types of insurance you need as an expat will depend on your circumstances and whether you are moving to retire, work or travel.

If you are pursuing a new job, then you should invest in income protection insurance in case of redundancy. This can be essential if you suddenly lose work and need to cover large outgoings such as mortgage repayments or rent. Anyone driving to and from work may use a vehicle, which will require insurance in case you are involved in an accident or your car is broken into. You should also consider travel insurance on your outward journey. as well as if you’ll be going between different places when abroad. Medical insurance should also be at the top of the list for many expats in case of sudden illness or injury.

Expat medical insurance

Expat medical insurance is an insurance product used to protect an individual for any medical expenses or care when living abroad.

Any previously held medical insurance is unlikely to cover your new life as an expat, as your new country of residence will have a very different health system to the UK.

Even with some cover offered by a previous plan, this is likely to be limited and may not protect you in case of a serious incident or if you need ongoing care – for example, during pregnancy. Impromptu treatments can eat up large chunks of money, so arranging insurance in advance can be a cost-effective precaution.

The authorities of the country you are planning on moving to may also require proof of medical insurance before providing a visa or work permit and allowing you to enter.

Expat medical insurance will usually provide cover for routine care including:

● hospital stays
● routine check-ups
● cover for pre-existing medical conditions
● cover for ongoing chronic conditions
● access to medical experts.

In many cases, expat medical insurance will give you access to the best doctors and hospitals as well as choice of appointment date and time. You will usually be able to speak with a doctor fluent in English too.

Critical illness insurance

Expat critical illness cover will provide you with financial security in case you are diagnosed with a severe illness or disease.

In these circumstances, you may no longer be able to work – this insurance can help pay for accommodation, bills and other outgoings. If you have a family, then this cover can pay for treatment in event of ill health. Alternatively, if you need to make any amendments to your home or car as a result of an injury, then this insurance will cover these additional costs too.

Conditions protected by this insurance differ but some common illnesses or injuries are:

● cancer
● heart attacks
● strokes
● major organ transplants
● deafness
● traumatic head injuries.

Travel insurance

Expat travel insurance is a policy you can take out to protect your outward journey from your place of residence to your new home.

The majority of these policies will cover your outward journey – such as a flight or ferry trip – and will usually end 24 hours after you exit border control in your final destination.

With this insurance, you should expect to be covered for:

● medical care expenses
● hospital benefit
● personal accident cover
● personal belongings and baggage
● legal expenses
● accommodation.

It’s important for expats to remember that travel insurance and expat health insurance are different insurance products – confusing the two could mean you are travelling without any cover in place.

Medical cover as part of travel insurance is usually only aimed at supporting you during emergencies. For example, it will help you return home for treatment but will not protect if you require ongoing medical care.

Income protection insurance

Income protection can offer expats living abroad greater financial security and a regular income benefit if you lose your job.

Whether it be due to illness, injury or redundancy, then this cover will support you and your family financially while you recover or seek a new job.

Before taking out, it’s important to calculate your monthly budget and how much money you need to maintain your lifestyle and cover any outgoings. The more money you need each month will usually mean a higher premium – but it’s important to make sure that you’ve got sufficient cover in case of a sudden change of circumstances.

Car insurance

Many expats looking to set up a new life overseas like to take their car with them when moving.

You can tailor your policy to include breakdown cover or roadside assistance, add countries you’re protected in and courtesy cars. Protection can also include use in the UK if you ever choose to return for a visit.

Now the UK has left the EU, car drivers will also need a green card. This is an internationally recognised document of proof that your vehicle is insured.

Why you should invest in expat insurance

There are numerous benefits to investing in specific expat insurance. You can often take out local insurance plans for health and income protection but they usually come with certain restrictions.

For example, you might be limited to a particular geographic area or certain network of doctors or medical providers. If you move from country to country, then an expat policy can be the best option as this will protect you wherever you may go.

Ultimately, investing in expat insurance of any kind will give you peace of mind and ensure you get access to the best cover in your new home country. If you suffer an unexpected illness or your car is broken into, then seeking medical care or fixing your vehicle can be very expensive without the appropriate cover in place. Expat insurance can enable you to effectively manage your costs while staying protected.

Next steps

Finding the right insurance as an expat can seem difficult at first glance. However, ExpatRoute is here to support you by providing up-to-date information and support on your expat insurance options.

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