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Life insurance and moving abroad

Moving abroad offers many exciting opportunities. But you’ll also need to make some big financial decisions. One of the most important is around expat life insurance. 
Whether you’re retiring in the sun, travelling long term or have a new job, it’s worth thinking about life cover. Your move abroad could potentially invalidate any
existing policies you have. So, it’s worth investigating life insurance while living abroad. Here’s what you need to know about life insurance for UK citizens living abroad. 

Is my existing UK life insurance valid if I move abroad?

If you’re planning to move abroad it’s worth taking a look at your policy documents. Some insurers only offer cover to people who are a permanent resident in the UK. So, if you passed away while living outside the country, it could invalidate your policy. That means your dependents wouldn’t receive a payout. Other providers are happy to offer you life insurance when living abroad.

After all, you might not have expected this to happen when you first took the policy out. If you’re unsure what would happen to your life insurance if you moved abroad, contact your provider. Tell them where you plan to go and how long for. Sometimes they will allow you to keep your cover. This is especially true if you plan to return. Keeping your existing life insurance if you live abroad permanently might be harder.

Does moving abroad affect my application for life insurance?

If you’re applying for life insurance and expect to move abroad, you should tell the insurer. It could affect how they calculate how much cover you need. Say you planned to go to work and live in a country they class as more dangerous. This would put you at a higher risk so the insurer would want to know about it. The laws of the country you’re moving to could affect things too. Some countries’ inheritance rules can make things complicated when it comes to life insurance payouts. And of course, some insurers simply don’t support any kind of expat life insurance. So it’s worth telling them about your plans during the application.

What might my insurer ask me?

If you’re thinking about getting life insurance and moving overseas, the policy provider is likely to ask questions. These include:

  • What’s the purpose of travel? Are you retiring or changing your work location? The purpose will help identify and calculate cover.

  • Which country will you live in? Some countries are more dangerous than others, so this affects the threats you might face.

  • What might you be exposed to? Different jobs come with different risks. A frontline health worker might face more dangers than a banker.

  • How long do you plan to stay there? Are you settling down for retirement, or have you been seconded to the country for a few months? Some insurers will be more susceptible to a short-term stay.

  • What financial ties do you have to the place? Are you buying a retirement home there or starting a business? The more financial ties, the more cover you may need.

  • What financial ties will you maintain in the UK? Will you keep a property or investments back home? Are there people who depend on you financially there? These ties will also be used to calculate an adequate amount of coverage.

Can I get life insurance from a UK provider if I already live overseas?

Yes, life insurance for UK citizens living abroad is available. To get cover, you’ll need an ‘insurable interest’ in the UK. You need a reason to be insured in the country. This might be something like a mortgage or a business. It could also be that someone depends on your income. You will also need a UK bank account and correspondence address. Depending on your circumstances, you might have to shop around for expat life insurance specialists.

Does life insurance cover death overseas?

In most cases, life insurance covers death overseas. But there are several caveats to be aware of. If you’re in any doubt, always check with your insurer. If you passed away while on holiday, travelling for work or even backpacking, you’d normally be covered. As long as your permanent residence is in the UK, you’d usually be protected. 

The same goes if you are living abroad. If your policy documents say you’re covered when living overseas, your loved ones should get a payout. There are a few circumstances where your cover could be invalidated. Sometimes, insurers will put exclusions around death abroad in certain countries or scenarios.

This could cancel your cover. If you cut all ties with the UK, sold your property and had no more links, you may no longer be covered. It’s always best to speak to your insurer and find out what options are best-suited to your needs. 

Relevant guides and articles

  • Life insurance application guide

    What’s involved in the life insurance application process? Our guide takes a closer look at the questions and why they’re important to the application.

  • Life insurance for high-risk occupations guide

    Some jobs or lifestyles expose individuals to more danger. High-risk life insurance covers people who are at a higher risk. Learn how it works, here.

  •           Whole of life guide                              

      Whole of life insurance guarantees a payout to your loved ones when you die. Find out how this cover can protect your family's financial security.