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Life insurance for Non-Australian Residents

You can get life insurance for non-Australian residents if you’re on a working or permanent visa.

In most circumstances, it's fairly easy to get life insurance for non-Australian residents. You'll need to have lived here for more than 12 months and hold a type of visa that allows you to stay for at least two to four years.

Australian and living overseas? Read this life insurance guide

Life insurance requirements for non-Australian residents living in Australia

To take out a life insurance policy as temporary resident in Australia means meeting specific eligibility requirements, including:

Number 1

Be from an eligible country

You must be from a nation classified as Level 1 or Level 2 by the federal government. These include most Western nations, India, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, and most South American nations.

Number 2

Spend 12+ months in Australia

You must have been residing in Australia for at least 12 months, and intend to stay for longer – for example, be in the process of applying for another visa or PR. Those who do fulfil the criteria of a year can help their cause further if they are already in the process of receiving a permanent resident status in Australia.

Number 3

Your visa status

Your visa generally needs to allow you to stay in Australia for an extended period of time, or indefinitely. Without one of the suitable visa statuses such as permanent work visa, business visa (890 visa), spousal visa (820/801 visa), or being nominated by an Australian employer to stay and work in the country (121/856 or 457 visa), a person will not be able to apply for life insurance in Australia. Different insurers may accept different visas.

Requirements may differ between insurers

It is important to note that these are just some of the standard requirements that have to be met by non-Australian residents so that they can take out life insurance cover in Australia. However, different insurance companies may have some specific requirements that differ from the ones mentioned above.

What kinds of visas are accepted?

The following common visa types are generally accepted by Australian life insurance providers.

  • Working or business visas: An employer sponsored 457 visa (The 457 Visa has been replaced with the TSS Visa. For new applicants looking TSS requirements check the TSS (482), many kinds of skilled worker visa, business owner visa or investor visa are accepted.
  • Migrant visas: Partner visas and other migrant visas are widely accepted depending on how long you intend to stay in Australia, and how long you’ve been here.
  • Agent parent visas: Insurers will often accept aged parent visas, depending on age limits and other acceptance criteria.

You may find it difficult to get cover with certain student visas and other more temporary types, but it can be worth checking with insurers to see if you’re able to find cover.

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Do I need a new life insurance policy when moving to Australia?

Moving overseas is a significant change, and it’s unlikely that your previous life insurance will cover you. Many specify that you’re only covered overseas for a limited time.

For example, you might only be able to use your existing policy in Australia for up to 6 months, and won’t be covered after that. Contact your current insurer or check your policy terms to see how if you can take it with you to Australia.

Funeral insurance for non residents in Australia

What is funeral insurance?

Funeral insurance is similar to life insurance, and is designed to pay-out a lump sum in the event of death to help cover immediate expenses. You can generally choose your own cover in the range of around $10,000 to $30,000.

What’s the difference between funeral and life insurance?

Funeral insurance does not generally require medical tests, unlike many life insurance policies, and the age limits tend to be higher than they are for general life insurance polices

Can non-residents get funeral insurance?

Australian residents and citizens may be automatically accepted when within age limits, and without needing to take a medical test.

For non-resident funeral cover, you'll generally not be able to get these “guaranteed acceptance” terms. You can still get cover, but applications are accepted or denied on a case by case basis. Some of the key conditions to watch out for include:

  • You will need to be intending to stay in Australia
  • Additional policy exclusions may apply for non-residents. For example, you might not be covered outside of Australia, whereas an Australian permanent resident would be.

Can I travel with my policy?

Check the terms of a policy to see how you’re covered while overseas. Australian life insurance policies usually include worldwide cover automatically, often without limitations. However some policies might specify limitations, and these may vary depending on your residency and citizenship status.

While long term travel insurance policies can include benefits such as income protection or death cover these will typically be limited and are not an effective substitute for a dedicated life insurance policy.

If you will be travelling frequently or spending a lot of time overseas, it’s a good idea to make sure you know how you will be covered overseas. If you’re only going to New Zealand, some of these requirements may be waived.

Here’s how some policies work outside of Australia

  • Income protection: Your income protection insurance benefit period may be limited outside of Australia or New Zealand. For example, you might only be able to receive up 3 months of benefits while outside these countries.
  • Trauma, TPD and death insurance: The full payout may be contingent upon your return to Australia if you were temporarily outside the country.

Life insurance requirements for Australian expats living overseas

Australian citizens can often enjoy uninterrupted life insurance cover overseas, whether travelling for work or pleasure. However, this may pose additional challenges when making a claim. The beneficiaries will need to be able to provide sufficient medical evidence and a range of other documentation which can be more difficult for insured events that occur outside of Australia.

Am I eligible?

Australian citizens who live overseas, including Australian expatriates, also have to fulfil certain criteria to be eligible for life insurance cover in Australia.

Number 1

The country where you intend to stay for a short-term

Insurers will often extend the same cover in Australia and New Zealand, and many of the requirements, such as time limits or the need to return to Australia, may be waived.

If you'll be moving overseas for an extended period you should let your insurer know. You don't necessarily need to inform them whenever you take an overseas holiday, but insurers may specify specific time limits after which it no longer counts as a "vacation" and instead becomes "migration".

Whether or not you can retain your cover is also based on factors such as the country's risk category according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT). If you'll be residing in a high risk country your application may be more likely to get declined, and you will not be able to take your cover overseas.

Number 2

Whether you'll return to Australia and how often

To retain valid life insurance overseas you may have to return to Australia a certain amount. This might be once every few months, or once every few years depending on the insurer.

If, as an Australian citizen, you'll be living overseas for the better part of the year then this has to be clearly stated in your application.

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Common life insurance questions for non-residents of Australia

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