Packed, bagged-up and insured: some facts for expats

Packed, bagged-up and insured: some facts for expats

You’ve decided to take the plunge and pursue your life abroad? Welcome to the expat club! But before you pack your bags, it’s worth drawing your attention to some potential pitfalls, especially regarding insurance. For instance, regular travel insurance can end up costing you dearly and a local policy is often too limited. Then again, expat insurance is not always the best choice. Are you still with us? Below, we will clear up some misunderstandings so that you can go on your foreign adventure without any worries.


Travel vs local vs expat insurance

A common misconception is that travel insurance provides sufficient cover for an extended foreign stay. In reality, it is limited to 90 days abroad. That seems ample for the mere mortal, but expats pass that limit pretty quickly. After those 90 days, your annual policy is used up and you are uninsured abroad. Alternatively, you could take on a local insurance policy in the destination country. Here, though, it is important to apply for it well in advance, as most insurers will not cover pre-existing conditions and people over 70. So you can't get insurance early enough. On top of that, local insurance often ties you to that one country. Expat insurance is a more convenient option in many cases. Although there are age limits and pre-existing conditions are not covered, expat insurance generally offers a lot more geographical flexibility. Unlike local and travel insurance, you are protected worldwide*, all year round. An added advantage is that you can always return to your home country if you need or want to. The home country is covered by an expat policy, not covered at all by travel insurance, and not usually covered by a local policy, or it may be very limited in time and subject to prior approval from the local insurer.

* Worldwide: many policies exclude the USA and some more expensive countries, or limit costs there, to avoid excessively high premiums. If you do not live there and only go there once on holiday, such a limited policy is sufficient. But make sure your home country is fully insured. If you do live in the US, you can opt for the more expensive and more comprehensive version.


Just a trip

Recently, a new client, let's call him Guy, came knocking at the door of Expat & Co. After a busy career as an entrepreneur, this active octogenarian decided to emigrate to the Caribbean islands, where the sun always shines, in the autumn of his life. Previously, Guy had taken out travel insurance with an insurer in his home country. He regularly submitted medical expenses which were carefully reimbursed each time. No harm done, then. Until one day, when the company began to wonder why charges were coming from the Caribbean at all times of the year. After a brief investigation, they found that Guy was no longer domiciled in his home country and had been abroad for at least 90 days. Like a thunderclap in the clear Caribbean sky, his contract was terminated without a word, completely in line with the terms and conditions. Also, any monies paid after the 90-day period were recovered. Facing this type of reality, even in the Caribbean, is no fun... so should Guy have opted for an expat policy? 


Capital matters

When taking out insurance in the destination country, the insured capital is obviously aligned with local medical costs. This is not necessarily a problem if you plan to stay in that country. But if you want to return to your home country for surgery, for example, it becomes a bit more complicated because, as an expat, you usually no longer enjoy your home country's social security. Thus, the bill becomes 4-5 times more expensive than for your sibling who still lives in your home country. If this happens, you’re better off with expat insurance. But even then, there may be a few snags. For instance, many expat insurance policies in Asia or Middle East, just like local policies, focus on local medical expenses. In other words, not enough for an intervention in your expensive Western homeland. Do you want comprehensive expat insurance, with enough flexibility and capitals high enough to cover surgeries in your home country too? At Expat & Co, you've come to the right place.


Expat & Co

Our Expat insurance is a comprehensive package that covers all your needs as an expat abroad. It is the only health insurance in the world that is portable and adaptable to more than 15 different social security schemes, regardless of your country of residence. So thanks to our Chameleon principle, you enjoy a smart plan that adapts to each country you visit. With full coverage or supplementary to local social security.

Moreover, Expat & Co thinks beyond health costs. Death, disability, civil liability, assistance and contents can also be insured. Smart insurance, indeed.


More info? Go to and create your own policy! 


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