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Expat income protection insurance

Will income protection cover you if you're working overseas?

Updated . What changed?

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You can get income protection if you're an expat or are working overseas. But some insurers are specific about the eligibility criteria, so it pays to be informed.

Does income protection cover you abroad?

Yes, many policies can. To be eligible for income protection while working overseas, you will generally need to do one of the following:

  • Let the insurer know of your work or travel plans when you apply for cover. It will likely increase the cost of your premiums, but ensures you're covered while overseas.
  • Provide evidence that you intend to return to Australia within three to five years. Evidence can include a clearly defined overseas contract, temporary work visa or return flights. If you don't intend to return, you are best to just get income protection insurance from a provider in the country you're living in.
  • Provide evidence of your occupation. Some insurers may also need to see evidence that your job requires you to travel overseas.

Who provides income protection with worldwide cover?

ProviderConditionsApply
AIA Income Protection
AIA Income Protection
If you travel overseas, AIA's income protection policy covers you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere in the world. You will need to inform the insurer of your travel plans when you apply for cover as this may alter the cost of your premiums.
Picture not described
AMP Elevate Income Insurance
When you are accepted for cover, AMP will offer insurance protection 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere in the world. However, if you fall ill or are injured outside Australia or New Zealand, you may need to provide additional medical documentation and/or undergo an additional medical examination by a medical practitioner chosen by AMP.
Asteron logo
Asteron Income Protection
When you apply for cover, you'll need to provide details about your travel plans, including your destinations and the purpose of your trip(s). 24/7 worldwide cover is available from Asteron, although special loadings and exclusions may apply to cover.
BT logo
BT - Income Protection
BT income protection cover offers protection anywhere in the world all year round. However, special loadings and exclusions may apply to cover.
Clearview logo
ClearView LifeSolutions Income Protection Cover
Unless the policyholder and the insurer agree on special cover terms at the time of application, ClearView offers income protection cover anywhere in the world.
CommInsure logo
Comminsure Income Protection
Cover is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere in the world. However, specific exclusions may be applied to your policy for injuries sustained in certain countries, or specific circumstances (eg, terrorism) in certain countries that could lead to an injury.
MLC Income Protection Insurance
MLC Income Protection Insurance
When applying for cover, you'll need to provide details about your travel plans including your destinations, duration of trips and purpose of travel. Cover is offered 24 hours a day all around the world, but specific exclusion and loadings may be applied depending on where you are planning on visiting.
Picture not describedOnePath logo
OnePath OneCare Income Secure Cover
OnePath offers protection 365 days a year anywhere in the world, subject to any specific terms and exclusions which may apply to your policy.
TAL Accelerated Protection - Income Protection Insurance
TAL Accelerated Protection - Income Protection Insurance
Worldwide injury and illness cover is offered by TAL, while the 'Premier' policy even includes reimbursement of travel costs if you are injured or fall ill overseas. Of course, depending on your circumstances, exclusions and premium loadings may apply.
Zurich logo
Zurich Income Replacement Insurance
Zurich Wealth Protection policies provide cover all year long, all around the world. However, if you are claiming income replacement benefits you will need to have a medical examination every 12 months in order to continue receiving benefits.

Can I use Australian income protection while working overseas?

With so many Australians working overseas in industries such as oil, gas and mining, there are plenty of insurance companies happy to cover Australians working abroad for periods at a time. The main requirement is that you can show you intend to return within three to five years.

Name Product Maximum Monthly Benefit Maximum % of Income Covered Maximum Benefit Period Waiting Period Options
AAMI Income Protection
$10,000
75%
5 years
14, 28, 60 or 90 days
Insuranceline Rate Saver Income Protection
$10,000
85%
5 years
14, 28, 60 or 90 days
Get a $100 bonus gift after 2 months. Plus get 12 months cover for the price of 11 if you pay annually. T&Cs apply.
NobleOak Income Protection
$25,000
75%
Up to 65
30 or 90 days
First month free for NobleOak Income Protection Insurance. T&Cs apply.
Medibank Standard Income Protection
$7,500
75%
5 years
30 or 90 days
Medibank health members save 10% every year. T&Cs apply.
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Does life insurance cover you overseas?

Yes, life insurance can cover you while you are overseas. Here's a breakdown of how it works:

  • Life insurance. Unlike income protection, it's possible to get Australian life insurance cover even if you don't plan on returning. There may be some more cover restrictions and your premiums might be higher, especially if you're in a country the Australian government considers dangerous, but you'll be covered as long as you continue to pay your premiums.
  • TPD insurance. Insurers may require total and permanent disability insurance policies to be modified so that you have to return to Australia within a certain period of time after being unable to work. This clause is usually inserted so that you can receive treatment to Australian standards.
  • Trauma insurance. You should also be able to get trauma insurance if you're living overseas. Keep in mind though that if you're residing in a dangerous area or working in a dangerous job, you might not be able to get cover.

What other insurances will cover me overseas?

There are two other important types of insurance you need to consider when travelling overseas.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance can fill in the gaps between life, income and health insurance, covering you against risks and events that other types of policies do not. It covers:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption. You've booked and paid for a big six-week round-the-world trip, but one week into your journey a close family member dies and you need to return home. With little choice but to cancel the rest of your journey, in most cases you'd be left significantly out of pocket by cancellation fees and lost deposits. But if you have travel insurance cover in place, you'll be reimbursed for those expenses.
  • Overseas emergency medical costs. If you suffer a medical emergency while overseas, any expenses you incur as a result will be covered. This includes ambulance transportation, hospital and medical bills and even repatriation back to Australia if needed. Insurers also offer 24/7 emergency assistance hotlines which can be a godsend when you find yourself in a sticky situation overseas.
  • Luggage and personal items. Lost, stolen or damaged luggage? Your policy will cover the cost of its repair or replacement. Has your travel provider lost or misplaced your luggage? Your insurance will provide an emergency allowance to help you purchase essential items like clothing and toiletries.
  • Other benefits. Travel insurance also covers you for things like stolen cash, lost travel documents and passports, rental vehicle insurance excess, personal liability, accidental death and much more.

Health insurance

Medicare doesn't provide any cover overseas, so if you're travelling, working or living abroad, you need to think about health insurance for expats. It can cover you for the following:

  • Hospital accommodation
  • Surgical and theatre fees
  • Ambulance transportation and treatment
  • In-hospital medicines
  • Rehabilitation
  • Nursing care
  • Day surgery
  • Pathology, X-rays, diagnostic tests
  • Prosthetic implants and appliances
  • Specialists' fees
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Medical repatriation to Australia
  • Cancer treatment
  • 24/7 emergency medical advice and assistance
  • Physio, chiro, osteo, speech therapy, natural therapies, dietitian and more

Australia also has reciprocal health care agreements in place with 11 other countries which can be a helpful supplement to health insurance. These countries include:

  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • Sweden
  • Netherlands
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • Malta
  • Slovenia
  • Norway

Do I have to tell my insurer if I'm going overseas?

If you plan to go overseas for a significant period of time, then you need to let your insurer know. This is because it won't have factored the added risks of being overseas into your cover. As a result, you risk not being covered if something happens.

When you let your insurer know that you're going to be overseas, it's likely to raise your premiums to account for the added risk (and the potential cost of repatriation) and it may introduce specific conditions where you won't be covered.

Is travel insurance enough if I'm working overseas?

Probably not. Many travel insurance policies provide a limited benefit for loss of income, which may not be enough in the long run. The table below shows how much you can receive for loss of income with some of the top providers and policies available on Finder.

ProviderMaximum amount
Amex ultimate$400/week, maximum $10,400
Cover-More premiumMaximum $10,400 (up to $1,733.33 per month)
Kit comprehensive$12,000
Fast Cover comprehensiveMaximum 25 weeks up to $10,000
World2Cover top cover$400 per week for 26 weeks

If you do plan to rely solely on travel insurance, make sure your insurer does not exclude cover for working overseas. Check before you purchase a policy.

Picture: GettyImages

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