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Does my life insurance cover me if I move to another country?

We’re often not sure what life may bring, and opportunities to move abroad may come from an unexpected job offer, or the desire for a change of scene after retirement. But what if you’ve already committed to a life insurance policy in the UK? Will you still be covered if you move to another country?

In most cases, UK life insurance policies will still pay out if you die overseas, whether you’re permanently living abroad or on holiday. 

As with all other policyholders, your insurance policy will only pay out if you’ve been truthful in your application and kept up with all premium payments. Many insurers will insist you continue to pay those premiums from a UK bank account and others may also insist you retain a UK address. You’ll also need to have notified your provider that you’ve relocated overseas.

However, some insurers may reduce your cover when you notify them that you’re moving abroad or even cancel the policy, citing rules written into your contract. Whether you can retain your policy and your level of cover will depend on how long you’ll be abroad and where you’re going.

Typically, the shorter the period of time you’ll be away from the UK, the less likely your insurer will object. Few insurers will raise an issue if you’ll be gone for less than six months, but some may reduce your sum insured or inform you they’re cancelling your policy altogether if you’ll be gone for many years or indefinitely, or if you've severed all ties with the UK (for instance, sold all property).

Similarly, few insurers will mind if you move to an industrialised country like the UK. But some may adjust your coverage if you’re headed to a high-risk area - one with a likelihood of armed conflict, political instability, or public health issues such as diseases and little access to medical care.

The policies of insurers regarding customers residing abroad can vary widely. If there’s a chance you may move overseas in the future, whether for career or family reasons or to retire, you should seek out an insurer that won’t tweak or cancel your policy for doing so.

If you’re already living abroad and want to take out a new life insurance policy from a British provider, you need to demonstrate you still have an insurable interest in the UK. This could be a mortgage on a UK property, a business based here, or a family member residing here dependent on your income. You’ll also need to have a UK bank account and a correspondence address to obtain a policy. 

Some major UK insurers won’t accept applications for people who have relocated abroad or are planning to unless they’re a Crown employee (such as a civil servant, diplomat or a member of the UK armed forces) or employed in the Merchant Navy. So, you may have to seek out a specialist insurance provider catering to British expats. You may also run into complications if you’re required to attend a medical exam in the UK as part of the application process.

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