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Expat income protection insurance

If you’re already living or thinking of moving abroad, you will need a source of income. But what if your best-made plans break down? Whether by illness, an accident or injury that prevents you from working, one of the worst-case scenarios when living abroad can be loss of income. In these situations, it’s good to have a Plan B to support yourself and your family with expat income protection insurance.

What is expat income protection insurance?

International income protection insurance is a form of insurance that will cover you if you become ill or injured and unable to earn money while living overseas.

  • Expat income protection insurance is designed to protect expats who lose their regular income through injury or illness abroad.
  • With William Russell, your expat income protection insurance applies worldwide (except Iran, North Korea, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Switzerland), and you’ll have access to a dedicated account manager to help you make the most of your insurance. It is fully flexible, can be deferred from three to six months and can replace up to 80% of your insured salary (up to a maximum of US$144,000).
  • New plans are available to expats aged 18-60 with an insurable income. Expat income protection insurance with William Russell pays an annual income benefit during your period of disablement, until you are medically certified as fit to return to work on a full-time basis, your death or your 65th birthday, whichever is sooner.

Why do expats need expat income protection insurance?

Anything could happen while you are living abroad, whether an In these events, you may find yourself unable to work and – depending on the social security system in your new country and your contractual rights to sick pay – you may find yourself without a sustainable level of income.

Expat income protection is the best way to safeguard yourself and your family while living overseas, especially if:

  • You live in a country that does not offer universal welfare payments for expatriates who are unable to work
  • You are the main breadwinner for your family, or the loss of your income could seriously disrupt your family’s quality of life
  • You are worried about the impact of, for instance, a motor vehicle accident, trip or fall, or serious illness impacting your ability to work
  • Or if, for any other reason, you become ill or injured and suffer a loss of income.
In these events, you may need to access a replacement income – and that’s exactly what income protection offers.
It starts from as early as three months after your injury or diagnosis and covers up to 80% of your salary.

It’s especially important for expats, as you are likely to have monthly costs that you will need to meet, such as:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Car hire/leasing fees
  • School fees

At William Russell, your international income protection policy pays out so long as you are signed off work for at least as long as your deferment period, covering up to 80% of your insured salary (up to a maximum of US$144,000 per annum).

In which countries is expat income protection insurance a requirement?

As far as we know, no country requires expats to have international income protection by law. However, as an expat, you should be aware of the local laws in your new country and how they affect you, especially those related to welfare/social security, sick pay and disability pay. This is because:

  • There may be a maximum number of days per year you are entitled to sick pay by law (e.g. 90 days per year in Dubai)
  • You may not be able to access state welfare, disability pay or sick pay as an expat
  • Your sick pay, disability pay, or welfare/social security payments may not be as much as your salary, which could affect your ability to meet certain payments such as rent and school fees.
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What makes a good expat income protection policy?

When shopping around for an expat income protection policy to suit you or your employees, look for factors such as these:

  • Maximum salary value – at William Russell, our International Income Protection benefit payments cover individuals for up to 80% of their full salaries, up to a maximum value of US$144,000. Our benefit payments are also inflation-locked, meaning they will always increase at a compound rate of 2% year-on-year
  • Monthly premiums – your repayments are likely to be affected by your age, the amount of cover you need and, in some cases, your health
  • Eligibility requirements – many providers stipulate a maximum age, a minimum level of health and will pay attention to the type of labour a worker fulfils. At William Russell, you are eligible so long as you are over 18 and under 60 in good health and work a non-hazardous occupation, usually an office-based job, and not living in one of our excluded countries (Iran, North Korea, South Sudan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Switzerland)
  • Length of term – if you choose international short term disability insurance, this typically pays out for a period of up to two years. Our payment of benefit continues until you return to work, die or reach the age of 65 – we do not cap the total amount you can receive during this time.

What affects the cost of expat income protection insurance?

The costs of taking out expat income protection insurance are affected by:

  • Your health – if you’re in good health, you will pay less to insure yourself
  • Your age – the older you are when you take out the policy, the more you are likely to pay, as your risk of getting ill increases
  • Your job – if you do a risky job, you will pay more for cover
  • Hobbies and lifestyle – if you take part in dangerous hobbies or you smoke or drink heavily, you will pay more for cover
  • The waiting period – the longer you can wait before you make a claim, the cheaper your premiums will be
  • Whether you might be prepared to do other kinds of work than your own if you get ill – it usually costs less to take out income protection insurance if you say you will only make a claim if you are unable to do any work at all, rather than just your own job.

Can I get expat income protection insurance if I am self-employed?

Absolutely! You can apply for expat income protection insurance through the same process as an employed person. If you are self-employed and your earnings fluctuate, we will use your average earnings over the three-year period before your last day at work as the basis of your usual income. You can then apply for expat income protection insurance as normal.

Expat income protection insurance for groups of employees

Who can I trust to provide expat income protection insurance for me or my company?

When looking for an insurer to provide expat income protection for yourself and your employees, you’ll want someone who:

  • Provides cover to you and your employees for up to 24 months from the end of your deferment period, or until your death or 65th birthday
  • Offers protection of up to 80% of a person’s salary, mitigating some of the impact of sick pay while allowing a person to focus fully on their recovery
  • Will offer to reimburse the cost of the medical examinations as part of your plan, so you’re not left out of pocket.

What do I need to do to make sure I and my employees are covered?

Applying for expat income protection insurance, whether for yourself or on behalf of your global workforce, is easy. Simply click the button below and enter your or your company’s details to get a quote. See our Feefo reviews.

You’ll know if you and your employees are eligible for a Group policy if:

  • You and your employees are aged 64 years or younger
  • You and your employees are in good health i.e. do not have any terminal or degenerative diseases you know about
  • You and your employees work in a 100% office-based role, or a similar role that is not considered high-risk.

You and your employees are even unlikely to need a medical examination to apply for cover, so long as you and your employees are under 50 years old, fit and healthy, and applying for cover of less than US$75,000.

Groups can have cover up to $200,000 if their salary allows.

How much does expat income protection with William Russell cost?

The indicative prices below give you a ballpark figure for how much cover might cost. We can also cover groups of employees.

Expat income protection insurance with William Russell

From US$81 per month

Indicative price for a 30-year-old living in Singapore covering their salary up to US$50,000 (6-month deferment period)

From US$118 per month

Indicative price for a 45-year-old living in Hong Kong covering their salary up to US$50,000 (6-month deferment period)

  • Cover up to 80% of your salary, subject to a maximum of US$144,000 (US$200,000 on groups)
  • Worldwide cover (restrictions apply)
  • Choice of deferment period
  • Income benefit paid if you are unable to work due to accident or illness
  • New plans are available to expats aged 18-60 (18-64 on groups) with an insurable income
  • Income benefit paid until you are able to return to work (your own occupation, or any suitable occupation after 24 months), aged 65 or death, whichever comes sooner
  • Cover available to individuals and companies

Looking for expat income protection?

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Frequently asked questions about expat income protection insurance

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about expat income protection and insurance plans from William Russell.

When you are applying for cover think about:

  • how long your employer would continue to pay you
  • how much they would pay you as sick pay
  • any other income you would be entitled to, such as income from the state, or payments from another insurance company.

You can insure up to 80% of your annual earnings, but if you make a claim, the amount we would pay you would be the lower of:

  • The amount you have insured, and
  • 80% of your pre-disability annual earnings, minus any other income you are entitled to, such as state benefit, sick pay, or payments from another insurance plan.

So the amount you can claim will be reduced if any other income plus the income you have insured, are more than 80% of your pre-disability earnings.

If you are self-employed and your earnings fluctuate, we will use your average earnings over the three-year period before your last day at work.

In most cases, we can only provide income protection to expats. By expat, we mean people living and working outside of their country of nationality (e.g., a German national living in Thailand, an American national living in Chile). Typically, our members reside permanently in a foreign country. But we can sometimes provide income protection to people expecting to spend at least 6 months of the year living or travelling abroad. In certain countries, we can cover people living in the same country that issues their passport. These countries are Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, Estonia and Malawi.

As soon as you know you are likely to be off work for longer than your deferment period, contact us for a disability claim form.

We will then contact the doctor who is treating you to get the information we’ll need.

Once your claim has been assessed and agreed, and your chosen waiting period ends, your income payments will start. No income will be paid during or for the waiting period.
If, after becoming eligible for income from your plan you return to work then suffer a relapse within six months, your payments will re-start immediately. You won’t have to go through another waiting period.

make a claim

With our plans there’s often no need for a medical exam or reports.

If you are under 50, fit and healthy, and applying for cover of less than US$75,000 we may be able to offer you cover straightaway. Otherwise, we’ll let you know if we have any medical requirements. If we do, you can go to a nearby clinic to get your exam done, and we will reimburse you once your policy starts.

The working week can look very different depending on the country you are working in, with many factors like paid time off, working hours and minimum wages varying wildly from place to place. This is something that expats will need to consider when making the decision to up sticks and move to another country for work, as they may be surprised by the level of workplace benefits differing from what they’re used to. We investigated some of the different employment benefits across the world to reveal the countries that could be the most attractive for prospective expats.

Check the full list

Don’t leave anything to chance. Choose total peace of mind instead.

How do you choose a partner to help you settle into your new life overseas? We recommend choosing one with 30 years’ experience providing insurance exclusively to expatriates like you.

At William Russell, we go the extra mile to make sure our members are not only kept safe but get to enjoy the highest quality of life possible overseas. Our dedicated account managers are famous for their highly personalised service, and making a claim is as easy as filling in an online form.

Things sometimes go wrong. But when you choose William Russell as your provider of international income protection insurance, you’ll know you’re in the safest possible hands. Speak to us today to find out more about expat income protection insurance for individuals and for businesses.

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