How An Expat Partner Made Sure Her Family Were Protected!
Tuesday, 2 June, 2020
If Your Partner's life insurance didn't
work what would it mean for you?
Becoming an expat partner can be an amazing experience though the initial move has many pitfalls…
There’s so much to do, packing up, shipping, finding somewhere to live and picking the right school.
Often it also means that one partner is working (employed that is) and the other isn’t.
Meaning much of the responsibility for sorting out the move can fall on the person who isn’t employed…
Yes that’s the expat partner…. You!
There’s so much to do how could you possibly cover everything?
One area that doesn’t get the attention that it ought to are your finances.
You may have had things sorted out before the move…
With protection, investment and estate planning all in place.
It may have been joint decisions that put your current financial structure in place.
Though this can change when you moves overseas.
Your employed partner can move to the forefront when it comes to financial decisions.
Whilst this isn’t always the case it is a very common occurrence.
If you find yourself in this situation then be aware that this new dynamic is rarely your best option.
This is because your partner doesn’t have the time to devote to it that it deserves.
New job, environment and extra pressure can mean that things get overlooked.
What you’ve probably done is send out change of address notifications… to all your financial providers.
They’ve sent you an acknowledgement letter… “We’ve updated our records accordingly”
That’s that everything’s good!
And so you carry on…
You’re completely unaware that some of these financial products…
Don’t work for you anymore!
Nowhere is this more true than with your life insurance.
You see, most life policies stop working six months after you moved abroad. They acknowledge the change of address and they keep taking your premiums.
When it comes to making a claim it’s a very different story…
Unfortunately around 90% of domestic policies won’t pay benefits in the event of a claim.
Once you’re an expat you need to ask your life insurance provider… “Am I still covered?”
it impacts an expat partner the most
If you’re the expat partner…
Then this is going to have a massive impact on you and your kids!
Imagine something happens to your partner, their income stops.
On top of that the life insurance that you took out, won’t pay!
So do you know for sure that this doesn’t apply to you?
As an expat spouse you want to be confident that you have effective life insurance.
If anything happens to your partner the loss is enough to deal with.
You don’t want to have financial worries on top of that.
Theres no reason why should either…
You can have life insurance that will pay irrespective of where you live.
On top of that you can have confidence that this payout will be fast.
That means that you have the resources to be able to take care of your kids…
And you can bring them up as you both had planned.
Imagine that having the certainty that your family is protected financially.
Knowing that you’ve made sure that they have this level of security.
Even if you don’t have or don’t want a financial adviser.
Or if you’ve never done anything like this before you can still do this for yourself!
Keep reading and we’ll show you exactly how you can do this for your family and yourself.
How an expat spouse did it for herself!
Katie is a British expat partner who moved with her family to Singapore back in 2017.
It was their first time living outside the the UK and there was a lot to deal with.
There’s her husband (Dan) and their three kids aged 8, 5 and 2.
Dan works with a large international media company. His employer helped to make the transition as easy as possible.
Sorting out movers and their initial accommodation after they arrived in Singapore. They’d helped them find a great school for their three kids.
Katie still had a massive amount to do!
One thing on the list was finding an agent to rent out their property. They’d decided to keep their house just in case things didn’t work out.
It would give them a base and a fallback option. Luckily it didn’t take long for the agents to find a tenant which was a big relief.
On top of that she had to sort out what they were taking with them and getting rid of things that they didn’t need.
She said that clearing all this stuff out of their life brought it home that they were moving on to something new.
sorting out the money stuff
She also dealt with the financial stuff as well.
Dan was swamped wrapping up with his old company and preparing for his new job.
Making financial decisions had always been a joint effort…
Neither of them were particularly money minded. Though they had worked with a financial adviser from their bank so they had things in place.
She wrote to everyone letting them know about the move and giving a Singapore address.
Katie received letters back acknowledging the change and that was it.
Well she thought it was, until she read an article which got her thinking about their situation.
It prompted her to take action...
What she found out was a big surprise!
Though at the end of the whole process she was delighted with what she managed to achieve.
what Katie found out!
The article that she read was “If You’re An Expat WHY You Should Be Talking To Your Insurance Company” and we wrote it…
It was part of a series written to help expats make sure that they were doing the right thing for them.
The series focused on life insurance…
And it’s a step by step guide to ensure that any expat has enough life insurance that is effective and pays fast.
Irrespective of where they live, they can guarantee portability of their protection benefits.
Having a global approach providing financial stability with almost immediate effect.
The aim is to make sure that they don’t have to deal with endless red tape, bureaucracy and the inevitable delay.
Simplifying and streamlining the process of making a claim at what will no doubt be a difficult time.
You’ll make sure that what you’re doing now is effective and if it isn’t you’ll know what you need to do.
Also you’ll know how much cover you need, making sure that you’re not going to struggle.
And you’ll avoid being put in a situation…
Of being asset rich yet cash poor.
Katie contacted us earlier in the year to say thank you for the article.
She hadn’t used any of our insurance products (which she felt a bit guilty about) though we’d helped her.
We asked her if she’d tell us her story and if she’d allow us to use it…
She very kindly agreed to this with the condition we protect her privacy.
So here’s Katie’s story…
Where katie was!
Katie & Dan were keeping their UK bank accounts because they still had direct debits and the rental income.
This meant that they didn’t have to make any major changes to how and where things got paid.
It was a daunting thing that they’d done and they’d got through it.
Leaving the UK to settle in Singapore!
At first after the move she’d felt a little isolated after they arrived.
She wasn’t working so her social network consisted of Dan and the kids. He was at work all day so it was a real challenge.
This soon changed as she started to make friends through school and she was getting a social life.
They started to make friends with other expat couples from Dan’s work and school.
Also, they started to spend weekends away in idilic places.
Paradise was on their doorstep and they had the resources to enjoy it.
how things were changing
She started to notice some changes that made her uncomfortable.
Dan would come home and say that he’d been speaking with financial advisers.
And while she didn’t know why this bothered her she just knew it did.
After all it wasn’t as though she enjoyed dealing with this kind of thing…
Though they’d always done it together.
She asked Dan what he’d talked about with the financial advisers he’d been meeting.
He said that they’d only talked about investment and mainly pension replacement. He didn’t have one with his current job so he felt that he needed to do something.
They’d been saving money, though they hadn’t been doing anything with it.
Also for the past two years Dan hadn’t been saving towards his retirement.
He promised that he’d go through everything with her before he made any decisions.
So, she understood what he was saying though didn’t feel 100% comfortable.
being an expat partner was different
Katie wasn’t earning money, Dan was the only one working.
That wasn’t so different to the UK after they’d started their family.
They’d done their financial planning through their bank back home.
They’d both sat down with the guy and sorted it out together.
Though things were different there…
The avenues available for dealing with their finances weren’t so familiar.
As she mentioned dealing with money wasn’t her favourite thing to do.
However, she found herself reading more financial articles.
It wasn’t just the feeling of being left out that spurred her curiosity.
She also wanted to make sure that what they did was the best thing for the whole family.
One day she was looking through facebook and came across a post in a group.
The post was linked to an article about life insurance for expats.
At first, her thoughts were “we’ve got all that sorted out”.
Though as she read on, she started to become less confident and was getting concerned.
why katie felt exposed
It was saying that so many expats leave home and keep their life insurance.
They keep paying the premiums every month thinking that everything is fine.
When, in reality if they had to make a claim on a policy it wouldn’t pay out…
And this wasn’t only relevant to a few policies it applied to almost all of them.
This really made her think about their own situation…
She realised that if this were to happen to them, then she wouldn’t be able to cope!
If they lost Dan where would they even begin?
The emotional impact for the kids and her would be traumatic enough.
To add financial worries on top of that was unthinkable.
Especially when they’d already taken steps to deal with it.
If the life insurance policy didn’t pay then she’d only have their savings, Dan’s pensions and that was it.
She wouldn’t be able to clear the mortgage with that.
So, she wouldn’t be able to keep the house long term.
The thought of this happening plus raising three kids was completely mortifying!
She couldn’t believe that they’d been there for two years and she’d only just found this out.
The article went on to say that even when you send through your change of address notification.
The insurance company won’t let you know that there’s an issue.
They’ll send you an acknowledgment and keep taking the premiums.
If you want to find out then you’ve actually got to approach them and ask if you’re still covered.
Whilst Katie couldn’t quite believe that this could actually be real.
She decided that it was better to be safe than sorry, better to find out now before it was too late.
So she decided that she was going to take the next step!
Where katie is today
Today Katie knows exactly where she stands.
If anything happened to Dan she’d have enough to make sure that their mortgage got paid off!
There’d also be enough to bring up the kids as Dan and her had planned.
Anything else on top of that would help make life a bit more comfortable for them. As the kids got older she could go back to work.
There were no worries about where her and the kids would live.
She also knows that they wouldn’t have to struggle to pay the bills if they were in this horrible situation.
Also if anything happened to her, Dan would have the money to get the help that he’d need with the kids.
The funds would also be available for him to pay off the mortgage as well.
She knew that if anything happened to him, she’d take the kids back home.
There, she’d have a better support network than she would in Singapore. Plus staying there as an expat would be almost impossible in terms of visas.
Dan doesn’t know what he would do, he doesn’t like to talk about this kind of thing.
Though he’d have the choice of going back home or staying as an expat.
She’d gone from being oblivious of the situation to having peace of mind.
Now knowing their kids future is secure!
She’d also learnt to not take things for granted and make sure that she always asked questions.
Also she knows that if they were to move to another country they wouldn’t have to do anything else.
What she’s put in place is completely portable and would work wherever they were living.
This meant if either of them got sick or developed a condition that made them uninsurable…
They wouldn’t get into a situation where they didn’t have insurance.
It wasn’t an issue for them because they’ve got global coverage.
She also knew that they weren’t paying money every month for nothing.
So, they weren’t wasting money on something that wasn’t going to work for them when they needed it the most.
In fact she was working on getting some of that money back from their old insurer.
She’s confident that she’ll get everything refunded.
The most satisfying thing is the sense of achievement that she has.
She’s done something that she doesn’t love, so she knows the people she loves the most are taken care of.
That makes her happy!
She did it all by following the steps in our Life Insurance Series…
here's some background information
There are three principles that guarantee any expats life insurance is always effective.
This is particularly important for an expat spouse or partner who’s not employed.
Life insurance is essential if you lose your only source of income…
If it doesn’t work then you could find yourself left high and dry.
So following these three principles is a must for any expat family.
First of all make sure that you’re getting international coverage.
That is, a policy that continues to provide coverage wherever you’re living.
Number two, make sure that you have the right type of policy for your families circumstances.
This may mean using more than one!
Using the right policy in the right situation is important and it will make a big difference.
It’s going to save you money and also ensures that it works effectively for those who need it!
Finally, setting up and structuring the policies properly is essential.
This effects how fast a policy pays and the hassle that’s involved for the recipients.
Following each of these will mean that you have life insurance which works wherever you live.
Not only that it’s going to pay out quickly and avoiding probate.
Which applies for where you live now and your home country, avoiding any long delays.
how Katie did it!
After reading the initial article she downloaded our “Life cover confirmation pack”.
This gave her a template letter to send to her existing life insurance provider.
She contacted them using the e-mail template adding the details for her policy.
And asking if moving to Singapore had effected the cover on the policy.
The insurance company wrote back and confirmed what our article had detailed.
They said that the policy only extended cover for 6 months after the move to Singapore.
Any claim made after this period residing outside the UK would be declined.
This meant that her family had no life cover!
There would be no money to clear the mortgage and it would be a real struggle for her if anything happened to Dan.
Also it would present real challenges for Dan also if anything happened to her.
They were paying premiums every month for nothing!
By requesting our life insurance confirmation pack she also received our “Expat Life Insurance E-mail Series”.
Which she then used to great effect.
She now knew that she needed to replace the life insurance policy that they’d had from back home.
Then Katie checked with Dan whether the advisers he’d been talking to had raised the topic of life insurance.
Katie talked to him about how important she felt it was to get this situation sorted.
So Dan asked the advisers that he was talking to, about it.
They wanted to get the investment sorted out first and then deal with any insurance issues later.
She didn’t agree!
That’s when she set about finding a new policy, for them.
If she was doing this she wanted to make sure that she was getting it right.
So she decided to look again at what they needed.
They’d had another child since they set up their last policy.
One thing that she’d picked up from our series of articles was about splitting life insurance up.
For example if you have a mortgage then it’s a good idea to have a separate policy to clear this debt off.
There are several reasons why this is good advice which we included in the original series.
It would also be a good idea to have this policy set up on a joint life first death basis.
She knew what she needed for the mortgage debt and how she should set it up.
Now she moved on to figuring how much they would need if anything were to happen to Dan or her.
The amount of cover was going to be more on Dan’s life than it was hers because he was the only earner for their household.
So figuring this out was more complicated.
Initially she used our life insurance calculator to give her an idea of what they’d need for his policy.
This made things much easier because she could just plug in the figures (minus the mortgage).
Our calculator did everything else for her.
The policy on her life was a bit more straight forward.
She worked out how much she thought help for Dan with the kids would cost each year.
Then she looked at how long he was going to need it which she figured was around their youngest being 12.
So they’d need three life insurance policies.
She knew how much each one was for and how long the term should be.
The mortgage policy should be equal to the rest of the term that was outstanding on the mortgage.
The policy on Dan’s life should run until the youngest would finish university around the age of 21.
So this was going to be a nineteen year term.
The policy on her life would be fine at ten years.
Next it was time to find policies that would do what they wanted.
She’d seen several insurance companies advertising in Singapore that she recognised from home.
So she decided to get in touch with them to see if they could help.
She contacted about five different companies and asked about their life insurance policies.
It turned out that only two of them could provide global coverage in sterling.
She wanted to use pounds as the policy currency because their expenses would be in it.
Other companies only had local coverage which would left them in the same position if they moved.
If one of them had a serious illness in the meantime they could find themselves without cover.
Some others only provided Singapore or US Dollar policies.
And this left them with some currency risk…
This was more of an issue in terms of their mortgage than anything else.
Out of the two companies that gave them what they needed.
One of them wanted to refer them to a financial adviser and wouldn’t work directly.
The other one would work with her directly even without an adviser.
So she started to move forward with them…
Going through our life insurance articles helped her to know the right policies.
What she’d use for the mortgage was different to what she would use for Dan and herself.
She’d also fine tuned the amount of cover that they’d need for Dan’s policy.
The mortgage policy figure was what it was, there wasn’t much scope for interpretation.
And the policy on her life was pretty set also.
This wasn’t the case for the policy on Dan’s because there’s more than one way to calculate life benefits.
Especially when it comes to providing income.
So she used different calculators from different insurance providers.
She combined them with the figure that she’d got from ours and she took an average.
Now she’d got the right amounts, policies, currency and policy terms time to move on…
Now it was time to set the policies up.
Again she’d learnt enough from our article series to know what to do.
She understood how important this step was and the difference it would make to them if she didn’t do it right.
She set up the policy for the mortgage in joint names on a first death basis.
This meant if one of them died the policy would provide funds to pay the outstanding mortgage!
When it came to the policy covering Dan he was the life assured and she was the policy owner.
The reverse was true for the policy that they were setting up on her life.
By doing this the proceeds from any claim made on the policy would avoid probate.
Which meant that they’d receive the money within weeks at the most.
She completed the forms, another thing that she didn’t really enjoy though she did it.
She arranged for them to go for their medicals in a clinic close to Dan’s office.
Once the insurance company underwriters gave them the thumbs up that was it job done.
She was still talking with the insurance company from back home in an effort to get some money back from them.
Understandably, it irritated her that they’d kept paying for 18 months for nothing.
At first the response was it wasn’t their responsibility and referred to the policy terms.
She was still plugging away at them and they were starting to change their tone.
So she remained optimistic of getting something back.
If you’re an expat spouse and you want to do what Katie did then click below for our life insurance conformation guide.
We’ve added in questions that you should be asking depending on the responses you get.
There’s also extra questions that you should be asking any new insurance provider.
We’ve added these especially for expat spouses/partners like Katie!
Why it's so important for an expat spouse to get involved!
Right now you may well find yourself in the same situation as many other expat spouses.
Katie was also in the very same situation as you.
Maybe, you’re also feeling less involved in making financial decisions.
This is very common in some ways it’s part of expat life.
Depending on where you live, it may be even more of an issue.
Financial advisers tend to focus on expats where they work rather than in their homes.
Another issue that has a big impact on an expat spouse is that they focus on investment.
They often ignore protection (insurance) completely.
You may well have been proactive in implementing a financial plan.
So, you may already have insurance polices that you set up back home.
You could have even been an expat for quite a long time with several postings under your belt.
Or you’ve even set up a policy after you moved overseas in a country you’ve moved away from.
None of this matters now and unless you can categorically say that this life insurance will pay.
Then you’re exposed to potential financial uncertainty…
Imagine relying on something as a safety net and then it lets you down.
You’ve been paying premiums and then after everything you’ve been through…
Your insurance won’t pay!
Are you stuck with a mortgage?
Can you afford to pay the bills and look after the kids?
The people who are affected the most when this situation arises is the expat spouse.
Taking control of the situation as Katie has, will mean you’ve got confidence in your future.
You’ll know that your kids and you are financially stable if your situation changed for the worse.
You’ll know that money is being well spent and in the long run it will work for you.
And if anything were to happen you’d know exactly what you have to do.
Could you say that right now?
We’re happy that what we’ve produced helped Katie even though we didn’t get her business!
We’ve put the resources together so you can get your life insurance working for you.
Whether it’s working your way through our series of articles.
Or it could be using our life insurance calculator to figure out how much cover you need.
Feel free to help yourself…
And if you need a quote or have questions then please let us know!
Finally, we’ve also put together this bonus material for you.
It’s designed to to help any expat spouse/partner to take action for themselves.