Expat Resources

Expat Insurance Guide

Each year, Clements Worldwide visits local organizations and government agencies to educate expatriates on the importance of understanding and securing appropriate insurance coverage. This handbook was developed as a presentation tool to help simplify the process of purchasing and understanding international insurance.

While it is important to understand the unique risks you may face at a specific destination, the most important aspects of international insurance are similar and can be generalized. The following information is vital in selecting the appropriate insurance program.

Schedule a Presentation

For more information on our presentations or if you have a group of expatriates interested in scheduling a presentation, please contact us at marketing@clements.com

International Car Insurance

Physical Damage Coverage
This includes Collision and Comprehensive coverage. Collision insurance covers your vehicle while it’s being operated. Comprehensive insurance covers the vehicle while it is parked, including theft, vandalism, etc. Each coverage is provided under one policy. It is recommended that this coverage be purchased from a U.S. insurance company. Purchasing this coverage abroad can be very risky. Many local companies are poorly regulated and therefore, provide inconsistent claims settlements. Also, many overseas insurance companies simply do not provide for standard areas of coverage that are normally expected. In many cases, there is no regulatory body which can assist you if you are dissatisfied with your claims settlement.

Liability Coverage
Automobile Primary Liability Insurance must be purchased in the country in which you are located. Local governments require this in order to register your vehicle. Be aware that limits of coverage can be very low in many countries. If you are uncomfortable with the level of coverage available in your country, you can obtain Excess Liability Insurance. This coverage simply increases your locally purchased Primary Liability to an appropriate level of protection.

Excess Liability coverage should be purchased from stateside insurance companies. Also, when shopping for Primary Liability insurance, you should know that rates may vary drastically. Do not assume that the premium quote you receive is standard within that country. Shopping for competitive rates is as essential abroad as it is in the United States.

International Property Insurance

Insurance for an overseas move is very different from your typical domestic homeowners or renters policy. Invest in package policies specifically designed to cover the unique aspects of international assignments. Consider the following areas of coverage:

  • Coverage for items left in commercial storage
  • Transportation coverage on items shipped by sea, air and truck, etc.
  • Coverage at your residence abroad for fire, theft, acts of nature, etc.
  • Protection for effects while traveling temporarily within the United States or other countries
  • It is advisable to seek "All-Risks" coverage, which provides broader protection, as well as "Replacement Cost" coverage, assuring a non-depreciated claims settlement

It is not recommended to rely on the insurance policy provided by shippers and packers. These policies may be inadequate, expensive or simply unavailable. Also, in the event of a loss, it may be difficult to determine which party is fully responsible, resulting in potential denial of your claim.

It is also advisable to complete a full inventory of effects, both transported abroad and left in U.S. commercial storage. This allows you to comprehensively file claims with an insurance company in the event of a loss.

Personal Liability Insurance

Foreign Comprehensive Personal Liability coverage is available as an endorsement to Personal Property policies. This coverage provides protection against the payment of sums you may be held responsible for in the event of a lawsuit. It protects you from losses that could occur on premises while living abroad. It is recommended expatriates purchase Personal Liability Insurance, especially since rates are usually inexpensive.

International Medical Insurance

If you are not covered under a Group Medical Insurance program, you can purchase an individual policy. This coverage provides worldwide medical protection and can include evacuation services. Costs are reasonable and in many cases, less expensive than stateside coverage.

In addition, those traveling abroad for shorter periods of time may purchase a Travel Medical policy, which assists during emergency medical situations abroad. These policies are less expensive since routine medical procedures are not covered.

U.S. Domestic Policies

When moving abroad, it is important to understand that stateside policies may need to be converted to appropriate forms of insurance coverage. For example, when renting your home to others while residing abroad, your current homeowners policy must be canceled and written under an appropriate Fire Dwelling Policy, which should also include Owners', Landlords' and Tenants' Liability coverage. It is important to make your domestic insurance agent aware of your move and determine if he or she is familiar with the international coverage you need when residing abroad.