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Full Guide

How to apply for expat life insurance

Our complete guide walks you through the steps for applying for life insurance. Starting right with the ‘hmm, I need life insurance!‘ moment, all the way through to receiving your plan documents.

How to apply for expat life insurance

Life insurance might seem confusing at first. With life insurance, you’re not buying something for yourself; you’re buying financial protection for your family.

You may have questions like:

  • What’s the right amount of life insurance to purchase?
  • How long will it take to apply?
  • Will I need a medical assessment when I apply?
  • How can I make it easy for my beneficiaries if I die unexpectedly?

This guide helps you understand each stage of our application process for life insurance, so you know what to expect and what to prepare.

Key facts about expat life insurance

  • We’ve designed our life insurance plans for expats, frequent travellers, digital nomads, foreign nationals, and other people living and/or working abroad.
  • We pay out a lump sum to your family or other named beneficiaries in the event of your death, up to 20 times your annual salary to a limit of US$2 million.
  • We pay your lump sum before your death if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Of course there are terms and conditions, so make sure you fully understand life insurance before your purchase. This guide will help you.

Our guide on how to apply for life insurance with William Russell

1/ Learn about expat life insurance

Before you purchase something like life insurance, make sure you know your stuff. We have tonnes of guides on our website to help you learn about expat life insurance.

Our collection of frequently asked questions is a great place to start. We also have a complete guide to life insurance and a nifty online calculator that helps you choose how much life insurance to purchase.

Expat life insurance differs from a normal life insurance policy -
it covers you no matter where you travel in the world

2/ Get a quote

You can get a online quote in under 2 minutes. One of our team will contact you within a couple of days to answer any questions. That person will be your contact at William Russell if you wish to become a member and purchase a policy.

3/ Submit your application form

Once you’ve decided how much life insurance to purchase, it’s time to apply. We have a PDF form that you complete online inside your browser.

The form has 8 pages, but don’t worry—you should only need about 20 minutes to complete it.

Here are the sections in the form:

Form section

What you need to do

Broker/intermediary details
You need only complete this section if you’re being advised by a broker.
Personal details
Please leave your personal details (including contact details).
Start date required
Let us know when you want your plan to start. NB it must be within 90 days of the date you completed the form.
Previous/current insurance
We need to know about your previous/current insurance policies.
Your occupation
What you do for a living can affect your premium.
Please select the cover you require
Let us know the life benefit you need. This is usually stated on the quote document you're accepting.
Paying for your plan
Let us know how you want to pay your premium.
Beneficiary nomination
In this section, let us know to whom you want us to pay your life benefit if you die or if you develop a terminal illness.
Health declaration
This is the longest section. We ask you about your entire medical history. Please complete the health questions truthfully and with as much detail as possible. This helps reduce back-and-forth with our medical team and speeds up your application.
How we use your information
We take data protection extremely seriously, so this section lets you know how we process your data.
Communication preferences
We respect your wishes, so let us know how much (or little) you want to hear from us!
Declaration for your plan
Your insurance plan is a contract of insurance. This section sets out your responsibilities under your plan.

4/ While we’re processing your application form

There are a few things you can prepare while we’re processing your application:

  • Please send us a copy of your passport.
  • Please send us a copy of a utility bill from the last four months. The utility bill must confirm your current residential address. Our members typically send us document like gas/electricity bills, water bills, broadband or phone bills etc. If you don’t have utility bills from the last four months, we can discuss your options with you.
  • If your contact at William Russell has told you that you’ll probably need a medical assessment, now’s the time to arrange one. You can choose any doctor to perform your assessment, provided they have recognised medical qualifications and the reports are in English.

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5/ Take advantage of our fast-track options

If you’re age 49 or under, you’re healthy, and you’re applying for a life benefit of less than US$750k, we don’t typically need you to undergo a medical assessment.

If you’re looking for cover over this amount, we may still be able to insure you up to this level while you then arrange any medical information needed to make sure you’re protected as soon as possible.

For example, let’s say you’re age 40, you’re moving to Singapore, and you’re purchasing a life insurance benefit of US$1m.

Rather than delay your life insurance plan until you can complete a medical assessment, we can give you cover up to US$750k immediately while you organise and complete the assessment.

Please ask us about the fast-track options available to you!

6/ If you do need a medical assessment

The medical assessment depends on how much life insurance you’re purchasing, and your age at the time of the application. For example, we might need you to undergo a medical examination, receive blood tests, or have an ECG. We’ll let you know what you need to do once you’ve accepted a quote for life insurance.

If you need a medical assessment with a doctor, we’ll reimburse the fee (even if we cannot accept your application). Remember, we need the reports in English from a doctor with recognised qualifications in the country where they practise.

We don’t need you to repeat the medical assessments each time your plan renews. You only need the medical assessment for your application.

What are the key benefits of our life insurance plans?
Find out more here

7/ Once we’ve reviewed your complete application

Our medical team will review your application, including reports from any medical assessment we’ve asked you to undertake.

If we can offer you cover, we’ll send you an Acceptance Invitation. This is an invitation to purchase life insurance from us, with no obligations on your part.

The invitation contains the following:

  • Confirmation of how much life insurance you’re purchasing
  • Statement of any special terms or conditions beyond the standard terms of the plan agreement
  • Confirmation of your premium and information on how to pay it

Once you’ve paid the premium stated on your Acceptance Invitation, we’ll send your plan documents within 2 working days. Your cover takes effect as soon as we receive your premium.

If we cannot offer you cover, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

8/ Once you’ve purchased your life insurance

Once your cover starts, please make sure that you’ve nominated your beneficiaries to receive your life insurance benefit if you die.

It’s also important to organise proof of your salary and make sure your beneficiaries have access to it (we limit your life insurance benefit to 20x your annual salary). We don’t need this proof for your application, but we’ll need it in the event of a claim.

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

At William Russell, we have 30 years’ experience providing insurance exclusively to expatriates like you.

When you choose William Russell as your provider of international life insurance, you’ll know you’re in the safest possible hands. Trust William Russell to protect what’s precious. We’ve worked in over 200 countries, so we have the global expertise you can depend on.

Once you have asked yourself the essential questions in this guide, you will be close to deciding the type of policy that suits you. Do not hesitate to contact us today – we’ll be happy to help.

Looking for expat life insurance? Get a quote

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