Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jan 4, 2022

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The Truth in a Nutshell

  • Many life insurance companies require that you live in the U.S.
  • Living abroad can be considered high risk
  • Life insurance payouts depend on the specific plan

If you need to buy life insurance while living abroad, you might have questions about coverage. For example, what does life insurance not cover for people living abroad? Are there differences you should know about?

The answers to your questions depend on where you apply and live. Learning more about life insurance companies that cover expats will help you get life insurance.

Before learning about life insurance companies that cover expats, enter your ZIP code to get free life insurance quotes in your area.

Is it hard to find life insurance companies that cover expats?

Life insurance companies base eligibility and rates on risk. Higher risk makes it more likely the company will have to pay a claim before you make enough payments. That means higher rates.

In addition, companies might deny coverage to customers that are too risky.

Companies consider living abroad to be riskier than living in the U.S. The main reason is the company knows less about foreign countries than it does about the U.S. However, not all countries pose the same risk.

Many life insurance companies separate countries into safe and dangerous. Dangerous countries have some issues in common that can increase risk, including:

  • Public health
  • Kidnappings
  • Terrorism
  • Military actions

Most companies will provide life insurance when living abroad if it’s in a safe country, but dangerous countries are different.

You’ll also find that there are some life insurance companies that don’t cover expats, regardless of where they live.

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What happens to your life insurance coverage if you move abroad?

The best way to find affordable life insurance companies that cover expats is to apply from within the United States. If you get coverage before moving away, your coverage won’t change.

Some life insurance companies have international exclusions. However, that’s not the case with most term life and whole life policies..

Ask about exclusions when comparing quotes from life insurance companies that cover expats to avoid surprises.

You might have trouble finding coverage if you attempt to buy from abroad. While some companies are comfortable with people who have homes in more than one country, most providers want customers to apply, complete a medical exam, and sign the policy within the U.S.

If you attempt to fill out an application online, the company may track your IP address. Trying to apply from abroad could result in immediate denial.

In addition to international exclusions, other standard exclusions apply to international life insurance. Some of the most common exclusions include:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Fatal accidents due to gross negligence
  • Congenital disorders
  • Claims regarding alcoholism or drug abuse
  • Suicide
  • Illness, injury, or death due to travel against advice or warning
  • Hazardous activity
  • Directly or indirectly taking part in civil unrest, conflicts, or acts of terrorism

Each company has its own set of exclusions so ask for a list before applying.

What if you’re traveling?

Moving abroad can significantly impact your coverage, but what about life insurance for international travelers? Companies might ask some extra questions of international travelers before accepting an application.

If you’re traveling to a safe country for less than three months, you can find coverage from any carrier without it impacting your eligibility or rates.

However, the company might ask about the length of your travels and the countries you’re visiting.

When traveling to a country for more than three months, coverage will depend on where you’re visiting. If it’s deemed safe, you won’t have a problem with coverage. However, companies judge dangerous countries on an individual basis.

Do life insurance companies that cover expats pay if you die abroad?

What happens if you die abroad? Will your life insurance pay out and how long does it take to receive life insurance benefits?

As previously mentioned, purchasing a policy from within the United States won’t change your coverage.

However, rates from life insurance companies that cover expats might be higher if you purchase from abroad or visit a dangerous country.

Whether or not the beneficiary will receive a payout depends on the specific policy. Plans without international exclusions will almost always result in a payout.

Of course, it will also depend on any other exclusions or rules of your policy.

How do beneficiaries collect their payout?

When a life insurance policyholder dies, certain information is required for the beneficiary to receive a payout. This documentation includes:

  • Death certificate
  • Policy document
  • Claims form

These three documents are necessary regardless of the policy or where the policyholder dies. International deaths might require some additional information, such as tax information. 

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Life Insurance Companies That Cover Expats: The Bottom Line

Expats can obtain life insurance. However, coverage depends on where you live and what policy you get.

Buying life insurance before you leave will allow you to travel without policy changes. In addition, you’ll be able to get coverage if you live in or travel to a safe country. Remember that your policy may not cover you if you travel long term. Regardless of your time abroad, international exclusions will leave you uncovered.

Before you apply, make sure you know the life insurance company’s rules and exclusions.

Now that you know about life insurance companies that cover expats enter your ZIP code to find free life insurance rates in your area.