Whether you’re new to Singapore or have been here since the days when Dempsey was a jungle, one thing about about expat life remains the same: there’s no fairy godmother when it comes to financial protection and expats need to be proactive about ensuring that they’ve got themselves covered when it comes to Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Income Protection and Critical Illness Cover. We ask Andrew Talbot from Expat Financial Planning, a division of Global Eye, for the key points to consider. He’s one of the only Expat Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in Singapore and a member of the Financial Planning Association of Singapore, so kinda knows what he’s talking about.
What’s the first step towards getting your financial protection in order?
‘When you move to a new country you may lose some of the protection benefits that you had in your previous country, your new company may not offer the same employee benefits as your previous employer or your existing protection benefits will not cover you to the same extent,’ says Andrew. ‘It is critical to review your existing protection and to explore replacement options that would offer more appropriate cover.’
Before you compare financial protection options out there, Andrew recommends consulting with your new employer as you may already have an employee benefits package in place that could include health insurance and death in service benefits. While valuable, remember that you will lose these benefits should you leave your employment. As such, it’s important to ask questions such as whether you’d have to forfeit your death in service benefit if you were forced to leave your employment due to a critical illness, or if there are any exclusions on your policy (especially pertinent if you’ve had any serious health problems in the past).
So, what main areas of cover do you need as an expat and what is available?
Adequate health insurance that will pay out for hospital and medical bills is vital in Singapore. Your company may well provide a basic hospital and surgical plan with coverage up to a pre-defined limit, but you may need to look at increasing your existing coverage, as well as getting cover for areas such as maternity which isn’t offered by the majority of local company schemes.
Not everyone needs life cover but it’s vital if you have children, a partner or other relatives who depend on your income. There are two main types of life policies – one which runs for a set period of say 10, 15 or 20 years and will pay out should you die during the length of the policy, and the other which will run for the duration of your life and will pay out regardless of when you pass away.
If you are unable to work due to illness or injury, this cover will pay you a percentage of your income on a regular basis based on your occupation.
Critical illness Cover
This will provide a lump sum amount should you suffer a critical illness from a pre-defined list of around 30 illnesses (the most common being cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart complications and strokes). It’s a complex area and getting advice from an unbiased financial planner is essential.
Need help getting your personal financial affairs in place? Visit www.expatfinancialplanning.com for more information on the different types of cover available and what level you require, as well as useful financial planning guides including Will I have enough to retire?, How to get into the savings habit, Sending Money Overseas, and more.
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