Life Insurance for Expats

Before moving abroad, make sure you're covered by life insurance for expats. You can update an existing policy or purchase a new worldwide life insurance policy, but there are important aspects to know about before you move. Compare international life insurance companies with our free quote tool to make sure you get the best possible rate.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Quick Facts

  • Life insurance options for expats can vary by country.
  • It’s important to notify your existing life insurance carrier of a move, as benefits could be denied if you don’t.
  • There are companies that specialize in international life insurance and are familiar with many of the questions you may have about getting life insurance while abroad.

Whether you’re headed abroad for long-term retirement or an extended vacation, it’s important to make sure that you’re covered by life insurance for expats.

The best coverage for the cost is often a term life insurance policy, but ensuring your carrier is aware of your plans to live abroad is critical in order to get accurate coverage and full benefits in the event of your death.

Our free quote tool can help you get an idea of what premiums to expect from international life insurance providers.

Accuracy is Critical to Qualify for Life Insurance While Living Abroad

Lying when applying for life insurance is never a good idea, especially when applying for international life insurance. It can be considered fraudulent to lie about any aspect of your life insurance application.

Worldwide life insurance carriers can dispute claims or deny death benefits if they find that you weren’t truthful when applying for life insurance. Lying about residency, destination, or your occupation could result in a loss of benefits.

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What to Consider When Choosing Worldwide Life Insurance

A life insurance provider takes many parts of your life into account when deciding on coverage and premiums. International life insurance companies take standard things like your age, health, and lifestyle into account, but you can also expect them to consider the following.

  • Place of Residency — Worldwide life insurance providers will want to know where you will claim residency. In most cases, they will expect you to maintain official U.S. residency, or a U.S. bank account at the very least.
  • Destination — Your destination country will affect what kind of coverage you get and how much you can expect to pay. Living in what’s considered a low-risk country will likely be fairly easy to insure. However, living as an expat in a high-risk country may disqualify you from receiving benefits at all.
  • Length of Stay — The amount of time you plan to spend abroad is also a major consideration. Typically, the shorter your stay, the easier it is to qualify for overseas life insurance.
  • Occupation — Occupations are always considered when applying for life insurance, even more so if you plan on working while abroad. Particularly risky jobs may pay large premiums or not qualify at all. Missionaries, political officials, and journalists in high-risk areas may have a harder time qualifying for expat life insurance.
  • Apply in the U.S. — Getting an international life insurance policy requires planning ahead.

Even if you choose a no medical exam term life insurance policy, you may have to be in the U.S. while you apply.

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Should you update your existing policy to include overseas life insurance?

If you have an existing life insurance policy, updating it to reflect your travel plans may be an easy way to get life insurance while overseas.

Some insurance carriers offer additional riders or updates to life insurance policies that can ensure you’re covered while living abroad.

Since you likely have a relationship with your underwriter already, they may have a good idea of what types of benefits you need and can streamline the process for you.

If your current life insurance provider doesn’t offer international travel plans or won’t offer coverage because of where you plan on going, it may be worth looking into companies that strictly deal with international life insurance policies.

Choosing Between International Life Insurance Companies

There are companies that specialize in providing life insurance to expats and know the intricacies that it requires. They also commonly offer shorter term lengths than what is standard; some are as short as 90 days.

International life insurance providers also can offer policies that provide benefits even if you plan on going to more than one country.

Rates will fluctuate based on the risk factors discussed above, but an overseas life insurance provider will be well-versed in understanding the issues that can arise when applying for expat life insurance.

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Whole vs. Term Life Insurance While Living Abroad

Most international life insurance policies are offered as term life insurance plans, meaning they are valid for a certain term whether that’s 90 days or 30 years.

However, each person needs different benefits from their policy and it may be worth considering term vs. permanent life insurance policies.

An existing permanent life insurance policy’s cash value may be an asset when considering living abroad and could work as a loan for large costs associated with moving overseas.

However, don’t assume you can withdraw funds before checking with your existing carrier. It may be easier to do before leaving the U.S. than it will be in a different country.

Compare Rates Between International Life Insurance Companies

Add purchasing worldwide life insurance to your pre-travel checklist. It’s necessary to do while still in the U.S. and having enough time to weigh policy options will work to your advantage.

Spend some time researching what the average costs are for international life insurance policies and decide whether it makes more sense to start a new policy or adjust an existing one.

Whichever you choose, knowing you’re insured and that your family will be covered will make your time as an expat a little more carefree.

Use our free quote tool to compare rates between international life insurance providers today.

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