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International Life Insurance FAQs


Living and working as an expat in Vietnam is a serious financial commitment, particularly if you’re starting or planning to start a family or taking out a mortgage. It’s worth considering how much your family would need to continue living in Vietnam or at home if you were no longer here. So, we’ve answered some common questions about life insurance for expats in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

Domestic life insurance plans typically cover you only while you’re permanently resident in the country where you purchased the plan. That’s usually your country of nationality or another country where you’re living permanently. With international life insurance, your cover is not tied to Vietnam, or any other particular country or region. You’ll have cover in Vietnam and all around the world. International life insurance can be a useful solution for people who live and work abroad, but who want an insurance product from a western insurance provider. It can also be a useful solution for people who travel frequently or live between two or more countries.

When you purchase life insurance, you choose the amount of money that we pay to your beneficiary in the event of your death. This amount is called the ‘life benefit’. 

When choosing your life benefit, you should consider your circumstances. People generally think about how much their family would need to meet existing financial commitments such as debts or mortgages. Thinking about these commitments may be a useful guide to how much you should insure.  

If you select a higher life benefit, your insurance premiums will be higher. Over-insuring means choosing a life benefit that exceeds your requirements, meaning you pay more in insurance premiums than you need to. Under-insuring means selecting a life benefit that leaves your dependants short of cash when you’re gone. 

When choosing your life benefit, it can be useful to think about funeral costs, your obligations under your mortgage or rental agreements, general living expenses, and the costs of childcare and tuition. You may also want to take into account your dependants’ lifestyles. How much would they need to maintain that lifestyle in your absence? 

To give you a quick online quote, we only need to know your age, where you’re living and working (e.g., Vietnam), and how much cover you need. We need to know your age because our premiums are age-related. They increase as you get older. We provide international life insurance, but we need to know where you live because there are some countries where we cannot provide cover (e.g., North Korea, Syria).


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Life insurance plans are usually quite straightforward. In short, if you die, your plan pays. But there are some things you won’t have cover for.  

  • Death arising from a pre-existing medical condition or related condition 
  • Death arising from your negligence or deliberate exposure to danger 
  • Suicide within the first three years of your plan 
  • Death while you’re in Iran, Libya, North Korea, South Sudan, Syria or Yemen 

There are some other exclusions that you should be aware of, so it’s important to read the terms and conditions before you purchase a life insurance plan. 

It depends on where you die and where your beneficiaries live. Before purchasing life insurance, you should check your inheritance tax obligations in Vietnam. You can writing your international life insurance in trust to help your beneficiaries avoid paying inheritance tax or any other taxes. 

There is a maximum life benefit of US$2,000,000 or £1,500,000 or €1,700,000. You can only apply for international life insurance cover up to this benefit. The life benefit we pay out when you die can be no more than 20 times your gross annual earnings at the time you applied for your plan.  

You can only have one life insurance plan with William Russell at any one time, but there’s nothing to stop you from purchasing additional life insurance plans from other providers. For example, you might want your own life insurance plan in addition to the one provided by your employer. 

You must be 69 or younger when you purchase your international life insurance. Our plans are annually renewable, and you can renew your plan until you reach the age of 70. 

We think that annually renewable plans are more suitable for people living and working abroad in Vietnam. It means our members aren’t tied into long-term contracts if they decide to leave Vietnam, return home, or if their circumstances change. Even though your plan is annually renewable, we don’t ask you more medical questions. You can renew your plan for as long as you need, even if your health deteriorates. 

Yes. You can renew your plan for as long as you need, even if your health deteriorates. We’ll only ask you more medical questions if you want to increase your life benefit. 

How much you pay depends on how much you wish to insure your life for and your age. The higher your life benefit, the more you’ll pay in insurance premiums. Equally, the older you get, the higher your premiums get. 

Yes. You can increase your cover for death by accident if you purchase the optional accident benefit. The accident benefit will also pay out if you survive the accident but it causes you a severe disability. 

Life insurance plans are a long-term insurance contract. Subject to the terms and conditions of the plan, we’ll pay your life benefit upon your death to your nominated beneficiary or beneficiaries. The insurer of your income protection plan is AWP Health & Life SA, a French insurer in the Allianz group of companies. Allianz is one of the largest and most robust financial services groups in the world, with insurer financial strength ratings of ‘AA’ with Standard & Poor’s, ‘Aa3’ with Moody’s, and ‘A+’ with A.M. Best.  

If you die, your family or executor will handle the claim on your life insurance plan. It’s important to let your beneficiaries or a trusted person know you have a life insurance plan so that your beneficiaries can benefit as you intended. If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, it’s best to contact us as soon as it’s convenient for you. We’ll talk through your options for paying out your life benefit.  

Our international life insurance does not cover you for death due to medical conditions or related conditions that existed prior to the start date of your plan. This doesn’t mean you cannot apply for life insurance if you have pre-existing medical conditions. We may agree to cover you for those conditions, or we may issue a formal exclusion for those conditions. 

We automatically cancel your plan if you fail to pay your premium by its due date. We usually allow your plan to continue if you pay the outstanding premium within 30 days of its due date.