Just arrived in Singapore? Setting into a new environment can be overwhelming and the to-do list often seems endless. Here, the team at Expat Insurance shares three things you can do to get started, and the kinds of life insurance, home insurance and other coverage you’ll want to consider as an expat.
#1 Assemble your team of doctors and healthcare specialists
You’ll want to find a GP and other healthcare providers that you can feel comfortable with. Doing some research and asking around for recommendations is always wise, taking into account experience and skill set, and the convenience of the clinic location. Choosing a doctor who speaks your native language can also be very helpful as an expat!
But, first, you’ll need to make sure you’re covered for doctor visits and other medical expenses. As an expat, private medical insurance is an investment worth making, as government-subsidised healthcare isn’t available to foreigners. In Singapore, private medical care is among the most expensive in the world, so securing medical insurance is highly recommended.
International health insurance is particularly useful, as it’s more comprehensive, and comes with higher limits, a wider network and additional benefits such as health screenings, dental and maternity coverage. You’ll also have the flexibility to be treated in private, world-class medical facilities or, if you choose, to be treated in your home country.
Even if you’ve got employer-provided insurance, it’s likely not sufficient for your entire family’s needs. For this reason, many expats choose to buy private health insurance plans to supplement their work-provided plans. What’s more, buying top-up insurance can be purchased to provide additional coverage where your current policy is lacking.
By increasing your annual and benefit limits, top-up insurance plans offer an extra layer of protection. This can keep you free from financial burden. For instance, your employee insurance benefits plan may cover only some of your knee surgery bill. With a top-up plan, you won’t have to pay the remaining costs out of pocket because the extended coverage will kick in when the limit of your basic plan is met.
#2 Protect your valuables
Of course, once you’ve found a condo or landed house to live in, you’ll want to get it looking like your own in no time. Unpacking your boxes and finding just the right décor can be a job in itself. But, making sure everything you’ve got is protected should also be a priority.
Even though Singapore’s crime rate is super low, there’s still a chance that your belongings could go missing. Home, contents and valuables insurance is an ideal type of coverage for expats renting a home in Singapore. It offers protection for any unexplained loss or disappearance of valuables . That means everything from an engagement ring, watch and camera, to fine art, sports equipment and that beautiful Buddha statue you brought back from Bali.
Home insurance is particularly beneficial if you’re renting in Singapore because it offers protection for your home and its contents against potential risks like fires, or any damage incurred. Sometimes, a landlord’s insurance only covers the damage to the building structure itself. This means that the tenant must pay for any additional repairs or replacements out of pocket. Protecting yourself with home insurance can give you that peace of mind you need, knowing you won’t return from that weekend trip in Krabi only to find out you owe an arm and a leg for home damage.
As an extension of your home insurance policy, you can also insure your personal belongings outside of your home. This makes the cover attractive for those protecting valuable jewellery and other portable items.
Especially for art lovers
Many art collectors insure their valuables under a standard home and contents insurance plan without realising that such policies seldom cover the full value of the artworks. So, if damage or loss were to occur, the collector would receive less for the damaged item than what it was worth. That said, if you want to add to your current collection or even start an art collection now that you’re in Asia, it’s a good idea to check whether or not your home contents insurance policy already covers artwork. If not, you’ll need to purchase additional coverage.
You’ll likely want to choose an art insurance coverage policy that provides Agreed Value Cover for limited-edition and high-value pieces. In some cases, it even insures the loss in market value if damaged.
#3 Put a plan in place
Term life insurance is a must for any working adult with dependents while living in Singapore. It offers expats a financial safety net for their families and themselves in the event that an incident occurs. It’s an inexpensive but protective type of coverage that pays out upon death.
Most employee benefits packages provide some level of life insurance. However, it’s usually not enough for most families who will need to cover one or two decades of expenses if the breadwinner is no longer around. Employee benefits are also not transferable if you lose your job. However, buying a personal life insurance policy can ensure that the coverage stays with you wherever you may go.
You can purchase term life insurance with riders to provide additional levels of coverage. Critical illness cover, for instance, is a very popular add-on. There’s also Total Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance, which provides protection in the event that the insured suffers a loss of limb or sight that prevents them from working.
Insurance in Singapore: Other coverage to consider as an expat
Discovering new cultures and cuisines through travel will likely be a big part of life as an expat. Travel insurance gives you freedom to roam the globe knowing that you’ll be able to afford medical care should anything unexpected happen to you.
Most standard travel insurance plans, however, have very minimal coverage for personal possessions. So, if you travel a lot, you’ll want to consider getting comprehensive cover under your home insurance plan. This will ensure that your jewellery, golf clubs and any other portable valuables are covered when taken outside of Singapore.
In conjunction with your travel insurance, Expat Insurance can arrange comprehensive cover under your home insurance on a worldwide basis.
Maternity insurance in Singapore
Planning on having a family in Singapore? You’ll deftly want to consider maternity insurance, which covers expenses related to childbirth. For example, it covers a number of pregnancy complications and any stays at the neonatal intensive care unit (a stay at the NICU can cost more than $30,000!). Many maternity insurance policies even cover baby from day one, which takes a major financial burden off your back from the moment you become a parent.
Hospital and surgical insurance
Even if you’ve purchased a private health coverage policy, you’ll want to check for any exclusions or limits. If you find that your current policy doesn’t sufficiently cover surgery or hospital expenses, it’s a good idea to consider buying hospital and surgical insurance. Also known as inpatient cover, it’s designed to cover patients for any medical expenses incurred while warded in a hospital. For example, if you’re in a car accident and require surgery and hospitalisation, the cost can be covered with hospital and surgical insurance. Some plans even cover the necessary outpatient treatments and follow-up consultations after the patient has been discharged.
Critical illness cover
Some critical illnesses are covered under most health insurance policies in Singapore. However, this doesn’t account for the loss of income while you undergo treatment and recovery. Living overseas sometimes means you can’t call on your family for help; you therefore spend more money than you would if you were back in your home country. Having critical illness cover is beneficial because it usually takes care of one to two years’ worth of living expenses. This makes it much easier to take time off work for recovery.
Expat life usually entails the eventual repatriation to one’s home country, or heading off to another posting. And, getting a house full of boxes from point A to point B across continents always comes with potential risks. That’s why relocation insurance is recommended, especially for long distance moves.
Expat Insurance has a relocation insurance policy that provides protection for household items and valuables. It’s designed to offer maximum cover during one specific move. And, it can be purchased as a stand-alone addition that’s separate from home contents insurance.
Find out more
For more information, get in touch with Expat Insurance. Their brokers are experienced in working with expats to determine the best health and home coverage, and life insurance policies, to suit their needs.
Read more on living in Singapore!