Besides checking adequate medical insurance protection you have to be aware of possible gaps in your other insurance covers such as your home, household items, shipment, storage, valuables, documents and travel.
It is amazing how often these issues are neglected when preparing for a life in a new country. There are a number of precautions to take to avoid disappointment when reimbursement of cost is refused due to lack of coverage.
You may like to get insurance in the host country where many experts will be at hand with knowledge about the specific local risks involved. Schedule an appointment with an expert during your pre-visit to the host-country.
When traveling to your new destination ensure that you are covered by your health insurer. This also applies for your pre-visit (‘look see’) trips.
Use the list below to compare health insurance benefits and their range of cover by visiting the web sites of the insurance companies mentioned below. A key factor determining the premium of a healthcare insurance policy will be the country you live in, travel to or take holidays in.
Some specific covers have a ceiling, stating the amount of money the benefit may total in a year. If you are in extreme sports this will usually be excluded and you should opt for a hazardous sports injuries cover. It is also very important to find out, if your insurance premium will be increased regularly with your age.
Here is a checklist to help you assess the type of health protection that you and yourloved ones may need:
|Health Insurance Benefits||optional||yes||no|
|Accidental damage to teeth|
|Adult accompanying child under 16|
|Chronic Illness Cover|
|Compassionate Emergency Travel Home|
|Compassionate travel benefit|
|Conversion of international health cover to onshore plan|
|Critical Illness Cover|
|Direct Payment of Hospitals and Clinics|
|Evacuation including Travel and Accommodation Costs|
|Guaranteed Direct Payment to Hospitals|
|Hazardous Sports Injuries Cover|
|Home Country Cover|
|Maternity/Pregnancy Cover Waiting Period|
|Maximum payment for treatment in the US|
|Medical Evacuation Worldwide|
|Out of area cover|
|Pregnancy routine complications|
|Primary and Secondary Cover|
|Psychiatric Care Chronic Illness|
|Radiotherapy,Chemotherapy,Tomography, Brain Scanning, Body Scanning|
|Rising premium with age|
Road Ambulance/Emergency Transportation
|Routine dental care|
|Terrorism and War Risks|
|Time guarantee on Reimbursements|
|Voluntary Deductible (excess)|
A comprehensive insurance package for a first class medical treatment including reimbursement of all costs related to health recovery are of prime importance in personal safety planning for the assignment in Asia. Depending on the country and the location of your new assignment the local medical facilities may be very different from those familiar to you at home. Costs in serious medical cases may, therefore, be extensive especially if the patient has to be transported to distant cities or in some cases even other countries to receive proper medical treatment.
General Practitioners (GP) and Specialist out patient charges are a major area where most claims will arise. You need to confirm that GP’s charges are fully reimbursed either by an insurance plan or by your employer. In all cases the insurance cover should include all family members at the same level of cover.
Company Group Insurance Cover
In many cases the company provides worldwide healthcare plans for the staff which include all overseas expatriates. These will take into account the specific additional needs
of insurance cover in the Asian countries.
In some instances, a company may only provide a group health insurance scheme on a local basis i.e. according to local standards. This may be the case if you have a local work contract.
Recently, cost cutting corporate policies have compelled some companies to encourage self insurance for their overseas expatriates. In these cases a lump sum insurance subsidy may be paid by the company. You can either find local insurance solutions or the extension of the existing health insurance cover to the country of assignment may be an alternative solution.
Extension Some health insurance companies are prepared to extend the existing insurance policies to include the host country on a temporary basis e.g. three years. In this case the following factors should be considered:
● Upgrade scope of cover to ensure best medical treatment and include medical evacuation and other medical treatment related expenses
● Keep re-entry option e.g. by paying eligibility premium. In some home countries the insurer will not automatically provide cover when you return home at the same conditions as before your relocation abroad. This applies especially when the insurance is canceled or suspended during your overseas assignment. Some insurance companies accept reinstatement of conditions if an eligibility premium is paid during the dormant period.
Local Insurance Cover
Local Insurance Cover applies for local work contracts, local employee benefits schemes and if private local insurance solution is sought. Usually this insurance is available in a package form combining several insurances at better prices then individual insurance policies. Cover should include:
● Medical consultation and treatment (General Practitioners) and specialist treatment: Often paid by company without insurance solution with annual reimbursement limit or as part of insured healthcare scheme. These schemes often exclude routine medical screening or health checks.
● Hospitalization & Surgical Insurance: covers room & board, intensive care unit, surgical fees, in-hospital consultation fees, pre and post hospital treatment according to different benefit plans.
● Dental Treatment: Often paid by company with annual reimbursement limits. Dental work is usually excluded in local policies except dental surgery as a result of an accident.
● Travel: There are territorial constraints e.g. 90 days maximum insurance coverage for overseas travel. Sometimes the overseas hospital expenses are benchmarked to local hospital charges. Therefore, not all costs may be reimbursed.
Personal Accident Insurance
At Destination, this covers:
● Accidental Death
● Temporary or total disablement resulting from an accident
● Medical expenses resulting from an accident
● 24 hours worldwide cover
This insurance is often included in an employees benefits scheme either during business activities only or on a 24 hours worldwide cover basis.
Whole Life / Term Life Assurance: The sum assured becomes payable on the death of the assured. This assurance is often offered as part of the employees benefits scheme on a 24 hours worldwide cover basis.
Endowment Assurance: this insurance combines savings with life assurance protection. It is often used to secure and repay mortgages. This assurance could be considered to top up retirement funds as local premiums are often very competitive. Also, advantageous tax implications may be considered.
Critical Illness / Dreaded Disease Insurance
May be considered in view of higher health risk exposure especially in tropical climates. Therefore, some companies offer this insurance cover to expatriates.
● Payment of the sum insured in the event that a predefined serious illness is diagnosed such as heart attack, cancer or stroke.
● This cover can be bought as an extension of a life policy.
This insurance may be bought on a per trip basis or as annual policy covering all trips worldwide during the insured period. Often the company pays a travel insurance for its employees only. The family should be included or insured with a private travel insurance program.
A comprehensive travel insurance package typically covers the following risks:
Comprehensive overseas medical expenses
● Medical and accidental dental expense incurred overseas
● Hospital confinement benefit to cover additional costs incurred
● Compassionate visit by a relative if the insured person cannot be evacuated and requires hospitalization for more than e.g. five days
● Child guard to pay for a person to accompany the children home following hospitalization of the insured person
Personal Accident Protection
● Accidental death & disablement
● Increased (e.g. double) indemnity for death in public transport and automobile accidents
Travel inconvenience cover
● Travel cancellation. An important cost factor only provided by travel insurance policies
● Trip curtailment including aircraft hijacking
● Personal baggage including golfing equipment and laptop computer
● Baggage delay
● Travel documents: replacement costs
● Travel delay
● Travel disconnection
● Personal liability
Home Guard covers home contents during duration of trip.
Rental vehicle excess pays the cost of the insurance excess of a car rented by the insured person if it is involved in an accident.
Home/Household Goods Insurance
The insurance of your household goods shipment is typically organized by the moving company. This makes sense as the same insurer usually covers the forwarder’s insurances and liabilities.
This procedure ensures that in case of a loss there are no gaps in cover or disputes regarding liabilities. The insurance cover is provided door to door and includes transit storage before shipment and at destination before delivery to the new home.
Be sure to state the proper values of your shipped goods in order to avoid under insurance which would result in partial reimbursement only in case of a loss.
If your household goods are stored in your home country whilst overseas a warehouse storage insurance must be in place. If the goods are stored in the mover’s warehouse the insurance would be provided through them. In other cases you may have a more competitive insurance solution. However, check conditions and scope before choosing a self insurance solution.
If you leave behind a house or flat the following points should be checked:
● Verify existing insurance cover if home is left uninhabited for a longer period of time or if it is rented out. Often, the policy does not include these cases unless agreed.
● Reduce contents cover if household goods are taken along. This will save insurance premium.
Landlord Liability Insurance
If you rent out your home it is important to obtain a Landlord Property Owner’s Liability insurance.
Mortgage Protection Life Insurance
If your property is mortgaged check the renewal dates of the mortgage protection life insurance if in place. The insurer should be informed of your assignment to Asia and the envisaged duration of stay.
Home Contents Insurance
● Covers all contents e.g. furniture, furnishings, household appliances and personal effects against accidental loss or damage in the home including burglary.
● Electronic equipment e.g. computers usually have a maximum limit cap.
● Jewelry, high value works of art, collections and money usually have sub-limits or exclusions and must be specifically listed to be fully insured.
● Often excluded: theft not accompanied by forcible and violent entry or theft in case the premises are unoccupied beyond e.g. 60 days.
You may like to view the home insurance program of our partner in Singapore which is currently one of the best on the market.
Personal Possessions Insurance
This insurance covers your personal belongings outside your home not only on travel.
● Covers all personal belongings, valuables and sporting equipment against accidental loss or damage anywhere in the world.
● Usually excluded are money or credit cards, contact lenses and theft from unattended vehicles.
● There often are territorial constraints e.g. 90 days maximum insurance coverage for overseas travel. Therefore, a separate travel insurance is advisable.
Personal Liability Insurance
During Relocation and at Destination
● Covers legal liability to third parties arising out of accidental bodily injury or accidental damage to third party’s property.
● Usual exclusions are fines and penalties, property in custody or control, claims in connection with any business, profession or employment.
● Cover is usually provided worldwide excluding USA and Canada. Cover for North America can be bought at extra premium.
This insurance should always cover all family members and especially include children.
Motor Car Insurance
If you are provided with a company car the company will carry all insurance costs. Insurance covers:
● Third Party (compulsory) Covers the insured person’s legal liability to a third party for bodily injury and property damage.
● Third Party Fire & Theft Covers the motor vehicle against loss or damage caused by fire, external explosion, self ignition, lightning or theft and the insured person’s legal liability to third parties for bodily injury and property damage.
● Comprehensive (always advisable) Covers the motor vehicle against any loss or damage caused by accidents, third party liability and fire & theft.
During Trip and in Quarantine
If you have decided to take along your pet the proper insurance cover has to be in place. A sufficient pet owner’s liability is important as your pet will be confronted with many new environments and strangers. This increases the possibility of overreacting e.g. biting or scratching which in turn may trigger third party liability claims against the owner.
Locally available insurance policies provide cover for:
● Accidental death
● Veterinary fees
● Cremation / burial expenses
● Boarding expenses
● Recovery cost
● Third party liability
Usual preconditions are that the pet is licensed and has all necessary vaccinations.
Credit Card Insurance
A practical additional risk management decision may be to buy a credit card insurance. Available card protection schemes provide centralized card issuers notification and card replacement service in case of theft or loss.
In most countries specific insurance is compulsory for employment of full time maids.
The following insurance would apply:
● Personal Accident resulting in death or permanent disablement
● Hospital and surgical expenses
● Day surgery and accidental medical outpatient treatment
● Repatriation expenses
● Wages compensation including levy
● Insurance guarantee i.e. security bond ( if required by local government regulations)
Business Related Insurance
Directors’ and Officers’ Liability Insurance (D&0) This insurance covers against liability of directors and officers of a company in respect of wrongful acts such as negligence, breach of trust or wrongful advice. Although D&O is often provided by the company on a worldwide basis you should check if you are specifically included with your new function overseas. Especially in the case of startups and ‘green field’ projects this is often overseen by the company’s risk managers.
● Same procedure as before relocation to Southeast Asia
● Revive local home covers e.g. Healthcare schemes
● Increase Home contents insurance and change cover to homeowners own use level, e.g. cancel landlord liability insurance