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Do you know the risks of being expat?

16:25 19/06/2015
Sure, we’re all optimists and we don’t want to think about the risks we incur every day. But in the end, we all want protection from unforeseen and potentially expensive mishaps, and paying an insurance premium may cover us for such risks and help us sleep better. So beware: as an expat, there are some typical risks that people are unaware of.

 As an expat, when you move between countries some of your insurance cover will come to an end; car insurance is a good example. The transition may be made more difficult if, for example, your insurance company in your home country doesn't offer car insurance in your host country. However as the industry becomes more global, that sort of case is becoming less and less common, particularly within the European Union: many companies now have operations that reach far beyond their own borders.

Key insurances: don’t leave home without them

Fire, theft or civil liability insurance for your property is an obvious example of a key insurance; it's something you're strongly advised to have, and often your landlord or mortgage lender will make it mandatory.  Car insurance (legally mandatory in Belgium) is another. Health insurance cover is mandatory in Belgium, where the system is relatively well developed, but that's a vast subject in itself, so we won't be dealing with it in this article.

Insurances paid by your company? Awesome, but make sure to ask these questions 

Some expats get some of their insurance cover paid by their company, but it's essential to check the extent of that cover. Some questions to ask your HR Officer:

• Who is included? Only the expat? The accompanying family?

• Do you need to be married for your partner to be included?

• What about same-sex partners?

• What is the situation of a family member studying abroad?

Premiums may vary between insurance companies even if the conditions of the insurance are the same and it's worth shopping around to compare. Low insurance premiums may also be linked to more limited cover, so it's important to check out the small print. Find out what is being covered, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

4 tips for expat insurance

  1. The situation regarding travel insurance is peculiar. Unless you have international insurance, a regular travel insurance policy will typically state, in the terms and conditions, that you are no longer covered if you are not a resident in the country for a certain period of time. Do not forget to cancel such insurance and take out a new policy – or an international policy – in the country you're moving to.
  1. It is also vital that you check whether you have all the insurance you need. Not only can it save you money, but, more importantly, it will clarify the risks for which you are under-insured or not insured at all. When something bad happens, it's too late to take out insurance for the past.
  1. Double or dual insurance, where the same risk is covered by two independent policies, is something to be avoided. However, some insurance is better than no insurance.  
  1. Last but not least, we come to insurance linked to renting a house or apartment: tenant civil liability insurance. The landlord may include this in your rent. Good insurance gives you the option to also include the contents of your apartment or house, insurance against burglary and family insurance for damages incurred by third parties, for example if your children accidentally damage a neighbour's property by kicking a ball through his or her window.


So dig up that dusty file with your insurance policies in it this weekend, and check things out. You might save yourself some money, or at least win some extra nights’ rest!



Written by Sponsored by ING