Life Insurance for Non-Australian Residents and Australians Overseas

Can I get life insurance if I'm not an Australian resident or if I'm an Australian overseas?

If you're a non-Australian resident or Australian working overseas you can take out life insurance, but you will be subject to different application requirements. This could include providing

For non-residents

  • Country of origin
  • How long you have lived in Australia
  • Visa status

For Australians overseas

  • Country of stay
  • How often and how long you intent to come back to Australia

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Life insurance requirements for Non-Australian residents living in Australia

Whether you can take out life insurance in Australia as a non-Australian resident will depend on a number of factors including;

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

  • Eligible countries: 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, most South American nations and a number of others.
  • 12 months in Australia: You must have been residing in Australia for at least 12 months, and need to be intending to stay for longer.
  • Visa status: Your visa generally needs to allow you to stay in Australia for extended periods, or indefinitely. Different insurers may accept different visas.

1. The country you originate from

First and foremost, only residents of specific countries that are a part of the Level 1 and Level 2 countries as specified by the federal government in Australia are eligible to buy life insurance in this country. Some countries that qualify are India, South Africa, Thailand, and Malaysia. Hence, if you are a non-Australian resident currently but you hail from any of these countries, then you may be eligible for life insurance in Australia.

2. Whether or not you have lived in Australia for more than 12 months

The second important criterion that needs to be fulfilled by is that they should be staying in Australia for at least one year. If you have been living in the country for less than 12 months, then your life insurance application is likely to be rejected by Australian insurance companies. Also, those who do fulfill 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.

3. The status of your visa

The third important factor for non-Australian residents in order to receive life insurance cover is their visa status. In general, you must hold a type of visa that allows you to stay in Australia for at least two to four years, or more, to be eligible to apply.

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.

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, 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.

Common life insurance questions for non-residents of Australia

Can US residents get life insurance in Australia?

Yes, but you will typically need to be living in Australia at the time you get cover and planning on staying for a long time, or permanently.

Can I get life insurance on a bridging visa?

How likely you are to get life insurance on a bridging visa may depend on which type of bridging visa class you hold, how long you have been in Australia and how likely you are to remain for an extended period.

Insurers may accept or decline bridging visas on a case by case basis. Generally, the likelihood of success may depend on how likely you are to get a substantive visa.

  • Bridging visa class C, D and E: These bridging visas are held pending your successful substantive visa application, or are only temporary visas while you make arrangements to leave the country. You may not be able to get life insurance with these visa types.
  • Bridging visa class A and B: Depending on the circumstances of your residency in Australia, you may be more likely to get cover with one of these bridging visa types. However, not all insurers will accept them.

Can non-resident seniors get life insurance?

Yes, depending on the insurer and the circumstances. Seniors can find it harder to get life insurance regardless of residency, and it may be particularly difficult for non-resident seniors. It will generally be easier to find funeral insurance than a full life insurance policy.

Can non-residents get life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Yes. Pending acceptance in line with any other eligibility requirements, life insurance can cover non-residents with pre-existing conditions the way it covers residents. Learn about life insurance for pre-existing conditions to see how it might impact your cover.

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 be ideal.

Cover from your previous policy

Depending on your policy it might be possible to keep the same cover as before. However, your policy from home may 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.

Factors to consider when taking out life insurance in Australia

  • Cost of living: If the cost of living is higher for you in Australia than it was overseas, you may need to increase your sum insured accordingly.
  • Life changes: Having children, getting a mortgage, changes to your employment or income, and other expenses can all impact your cover needs.

Medical requirements

Depending on the policy, you might also need to take a medical test before getting cover. Not all policies will require this, but for effective cover it’s generally a good idea to look for policies that do. If you are in relatively good health it may be a particularly useful way of keeping costs down and making sure you have adequate cover.

Underwriting requirements

This is the process by which insurers assess applications to determine the premiums and types of cover available. It includes analysis of factors including age, lifestyle, overall health and general risk level.


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.

The type of cover available while you’re overseas and the requirements to maintain it can also vary for different aspects of your policy, and might be different depending on which insurance options you’ve selected. The benefits paid may also vary depending on location. For example, a policy might pay out an additional lump sum for overseas injury to help cover the cost of returning to Australia.

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.

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

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”.

In general, insurance providers will want to know:

  • Which country you intend to live and work in
  • And for how long.

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.

What if I’m moving for an extended period of time?

If you’ll be moving overseas for an extended period you should let your insurer know. The requirements may vary between insurers, but are often between six months and three years.

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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William Eve

Will is a personal finance writer for finder.com.au specialising in content on insurance. While he cannot give personal advice to clients, Will enjoys explaining the intricacies of different types of protective cover to help individuals and businesses find affordable cover that won't leave them underinsured.

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6 Responses to Life Insurance for Non-Australian Residents and Australians Overseas

  1. Default Gravatar
    cheeel | October 26, 2016

    Hi

    looking for a provider of Mortgage Protection Plan that covers for Australian Expat

    Thanks

    • Staff
      Maurice | October 26, 2016

      Hi there Cheel,

      Unfortunately the team of advisers that finder.com.au partners with does not have access to mortgage protection insurance. Alternatively, if you’d like to compare income protection insurance you can do so here: https://www.finder.com.au/income-protection

      Best of luck,

      Maurice

  2. Default Gravatar
    NRAY | October 25, 2016

    What are the requirements for a Nepalese citizen living in australia for last 10 years but on a student visa followed by 457 visa since 2012. Being on a 457 visa and on transit to permanent visa what conditions are to be met for life insurance or injury/income protection insurance?

  3. Default Gravatar
    cheryl | August 16, 2016

    My husband and I are moving to Perth in January 2017 on a 457 visa. We are looking for life insurance. My husband and I are non-smokers. He is 63 and I am 46 years old. Please could you send me quotes for life insurance for both of us. many thanks.

    • Staff
      Richard | August 19, 2016

      Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and not an insurer. If you would like to receive a quote from the insurance brands in our panel, please enter your details into the form above and an adviser will be in touch.

      All the best,
      Richard

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