Congrats on stumbling over this article! Why? Because I’m sure you’ve been avoiding this topic until the bitter end… At least that’s what most people do when they want to move abroad. Taking care of all the insurances you need is already annoying when you’re at home; in a foreign country it can be even worse.
The most important thing for you will be to find out what awaits you in your country of destination and how to cover anything you won’t have with additional insurances. In this article I want to provide you at least a little overview, so you know which kind of insurances you need when you move abroad for the first time.
The health insurance should be the priority on your list of expat insurances. Healthcare varies a lot in different countries and as soon as you move abroad permanently, you’re no longer insured in your home country. Although many countries provide state-run healthcare when you make national insurance contributions – for example, this is the case in Spain –, in some others you will have to pay for every medical treatment.
Have in mind: A travel insurance for expats will not be enough! You need a real medical insurance for residents.
It’s important that you understand the healthcare system of your new country before moving there. Where should you go first if you get sick? You can’t just make a doctor’s appointment in every country. Also, don’t assume that you’ll be automatically covered by the healthcare system. Depending on the country you’ll have to fulfil different conditions. In some countries you even must purchase health insurance to live there.
To summarize this, you must find out how to qualify for healthcare, what medical treatment you can get, how (much) you’ll have to pay and if there’s a national health system you can be part of. If you already found a job, ask your new employer for advice. He will tell you how it works in the company. Don’t forget that getting your insurance will take time. Make sure that you’re covered during the waiting period!
If you’re an EU citizen moving abroad within Europe, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) should cover you during the first three months.
International Health Insurance
An international health insurance for expats can be a possibility for you if you’re not in the national healthcare system yet and don’t have an EHIC. The best thing about this kind of insurance is, that it’s not restricted to a specific country and you have a good service when it comes to support in your native language. Still, depending on the insurance you choose, it might be not always accepted! You must check this before taking your decision.
A shipping or international property insurance can be useful if you want to move abroad with your whole life… meaning, really take all you’ve got. Some of your belongings might be very valuable, so it’s better to make sure you’re covered in case something gets lost or damaged.
I don’t assume you want to buy a house, so no need to take care of this insurance, but already if you rent an apartment, you should think about having a home insurance. It will cover you in cases like a water damage, fire or even if you break a window during your house-warming party. It doesn’t even have to be super expensive. In France, for example, you have Homebrella, a start-up which is being supported by the Admiral Group, a big insurance company. As it is a start-up it won’t be too expensive and a nice choice for expats.
Several other insurances to consider
Do you have a car that you want to take with you? In this case you will need to take care of an international car insurance, so your protected against any kind of damage, no matter where you are. Maybe you even thought about getting a life insurance for expats. Depending on your plans this could be an important move to protect your family or business. Unfortunately, nobody can take the work away from you at this point.
I think you understood, that the most important insurance for you will be the health insurance. After, a home insurance can save you a lot of money if anything should go wrong in your new flat. For the others you’ll have to sit down and think about what your plans are and whether you need them. Once you know what you need, start your research and compare offers. There are many start-ups out there that offer good prices for people like you and me, who want to live their dream abroad without spending the whole salary on insurances.