Nearly two thirds of expats risk life overseas without insurance, it is claimed

by Ray Clancy on May 7, 2012

Expats more likely to have health insurance than life or income protection, survey finds

A large number of expats are taking the risk of not having any life or income protection insurance in place when they move overseas, according to a customer survey.

Whilst it is generally accepted that taking out suitable international private medical cover represents a prudent investment for expats, it would seem that, on the whole, purchasing protection products is not considered as important.

When health insurance clients were asked by insurance provider William Russell whether they had any life or income protection insurance in place, with any insurer, 61.4% of respondents indicated that they didn’t, with a further 5.7% saying they were unsure. So, only 32.9% of those questioned had life and/or income protection insurance.

When life and income protection insurance clients were questioned about their health insurance arrangements, just under 70% said they had health insurance in place, with a further 7.4% saying they were unsure.

The results of the survey suggest that expats are far more likely to insure their health than make financial provision for either their untimely death, or the risk of them being unable to work due to an illness or injury.

‘Although we are pleased to see that a high number of expats are making provision against the risk of needing expensive medical treatment whilst they’re abroad, it is worrying to see how many are not making financial provision in the event of their untimely death, or an illness or accident that would prevent them from working,’ said James Cooper, sales director at William Russell.

‘International Life insurance protection is available and can prove invaluable to families struggling to cope with bereavement. Also, with advances in medicine meaning that more people are living for longer with a serious illness or injury, the need for income protection insurance is now just as significant as the need for life insurance cover,’ he explained.

The survey also found that despite the popularity of online technology, one in four policyholders still prefer to access and view their insurance documents in hard copy format. Additionally, the ever-growing popularity of smart phones was reflected in the fact that almost two in three customers would encourage the development of a William Russell mobile app.

The survey also provided information on social networking habits. Facebook proved to be the most popular social networking service, with just under 60% of respondents indicating that they have an account. LinkedIn followed with 47.3%. Google+ emerged as more popular than Twitter with 19% using Google+ and 14.5% with a Twitter account. Finally, much feted up coming service Pinterest still appears to have a way to go, with only 1.4% of respondents indicating they have signed up. The remaining 22.73% of those surveyed do not hold an account of any of these social networking facilities.

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Connor Davies May 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Another thing to consider is health insurance for trips back to your home country. I have been living in South America for many years, but when I go back to the UK for a few weeks I end up having to purchase travel insurance because I am no longer covered for my healthcare by the state. If so many expats don't have health insurance when they are away, I can only imagine how few take out insurance for when they return for short stays in their home countries.

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