“It is very difficult for Americans living abroad to get insurance. Period. Under any circumstances. I’m an American who has been living in Europe for more than 13-14 years now, and they simply won’t cover you.”
Joe, originally from Florida, realized after his two kids were born that the potential of the unforeseen could occur at any moment, particularly because he had a job that required extensive long-haul travel. It was time to start thinking about life insurance.
“Of the few life insurance policies available in Europe for Americans, they would only provide the equivalent of one year’s salary, which wouldn’t help my kids out for very long. I wanted an American-style policy where the payout is significantly more substantial, so I could be sure it would cover my family’s future needs.”
Joe had visited other insurance offices in Europe, but because at the time he was not fluent in the local language, he found it very difficult to comprehend all of the terms due to poor translation of the original document. “You didn’t know what you were signing,” he recalled.
Up around the bend: making the choice
Joe was not alone in his thinking in his decision to obtain life insurance. Among the 57% of U.S. citizens who own life insurance, more than half of those policyholders are 45 or older. When it comes to choosing life insurance for Americans living abroad, however, the following key points should be kept in mind:
- Cost: All life insurance policies are basically the same, except for the underwriting standards. So if you are as fit as an Olympic athlete you will most likely get the lowest price quoted, however, if you have even minor medical issues the premium can be readjusted. It is advantageous, therefore, for your insurance broker to work with multiple carriers because in the event of imperfect health, bids can be made by each competing carrier to get you the best price (with the medical examination only needing to be performed once). It is also worth noting that only three major carriers will cover an American living abroad.
- Financial strength of the insurer: Selecting a highly-rated life insurance company is paramount because you clearly don’t want the risk of a having a no-name life insurer going out of business. It is also beneficial to verify that the insurer has a license in the state of New York (though it doesn’t have to be based there). This is because New York has the highest criteria for life insurance charter vis-à-vis how the life insurance company may invest clients’ assets and cash reserves for death benefit. Furthermore, New York State has the best reserve guarantee protection in the event of insolvency, which is an extra safeguard. Basically, If a company is not licensed in New York, don’t buy life insurance from it.
- Automatic application / fast delivery: Modern insurance brokers are aiming to make the process of selecting and applying for life insurance as easy for you as possible. Some life insurance websites, such as LifeInsuranceAbroad.com, are set up in such a way so that you can compare, choose and buy cost-effective term life insurance policies in your own home, without every having to talk to an agent (who will most likely end up trying to sell you non-related items such as mutual funds). Fast, easy and efficient.
Peaceful, easy feeling: where results matter
In the end, Joe was able to take advantage of a big family Thanksgiving reunion in the United States in order to update his life insurance. Working with LifeInsuranceAbroad.com, a paramedic visited the family home at a convenient time for a short, 45-minute medical examination. After having answered a few questions, provided blood and urine samples, and signed a couple of documents, a temporary coverage was issued immediately, then transferred into a full policy upon the release of medical results only one to two weeks later.
Joe recalled, “After having read a few good reviews on a local expat website, I applied to LifeInsuranceAbroad.com, and was pleased to subsequently find out that the office behind the website was fully English-speaking. I was convinced to go with them because with a US-based product the rates are so much lower, and the benefits much greater, even though I live in Europe.”
To speak to LifeInsuranceAbroad.com about your life insurance needs, please contact us here.