insurance policies

Do my insurance policies cover me when I’m overseas?

While making the decision to live and work overseas can offer some fantastic cultural and financial benefits, it’s important to be aware of any changes that can come into effect when you become an expat, such as whether or not you’ll be able to claim any benefits under your Australian insurance policies.

So that you can understand any changes that can impact your life or health insurance policies when you live or work overseas we’ve listed these below:

Will my life insurance policy cover me if I become an expat?

You will find that, whilst most retail life insurance policies will cover you whilst you become an expat and live and work overseas, not all do. For example many insurance policies offered through your superannuation fund (eg. by industry super funds, employer funds etc) often do not provide coverage when you live and work overseas, and in some cases when you travel overseas!

As such, it’s vitally important that you read and understand the fine-print contained in the terms and conditions of your particular policy to be sure.

To be clear, we believe that it’s important to check the terms and conditions of your policies well in advance of your departure date.

If your life insurance policy does not cover you when you go overseas, then you should consider changing to a policy that does. After being accepted for cover, this normally means wherever you are around the world you’ll be covered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Even where your policy does cover you when you travel, or when you live or work overseas, it’s also well worth checking whether your insurance policy has any clauses that specifically limit or exclude cover in high-risk countries, or for particular high-risk circumstances.

Am I entitled to private health cover if I become an expat?

Depending on your private health cover policy, you’ll generally be covered when travelling overseas, but again it pays to read the fine print contained in your policy documents to check whether your private health care policy will cover you overseas.

In 11 countries, including New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Australia already has reciprocal health care in place that entitles you to enjoy basic health care services.

If you’re living and working in these countries it may be worthwhile suspending your Australian health cover policy while overseas, so you don’t pay premiums. You should check your policy also to check whether you’ll avoid waiting periods and a higher rate or premiums when you return and reinstate your policy.

In addition to the above, it’s often a smart alternative to invest in travel insurance before you head overseas as travel insurance will often cover you for a range of other travel related issues that could arise such as sickness, loss of luggage or early trip cancellations and more.

For further information on expat insurances, finances and taxes including completing your expat Australian tax returns, contact our friendly team of expatriate tax specialists today.

Shane Macfarlane CA
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