What Happens To Your Domestic Life Insurance If You Move To Japan

what happens to your life insurance if you move to another country

Life insurance serves as a vital tool in safeguarding your family’s financial future, providing peace of mind and stability in times of uncertainty. However, relying solely on domestic life insurance policies may pose significant risks if you travel frequently or move to a different country. This situation could render a domestic policy invalid – leaving the family with nothing if the breadwinner unexpectedly passes away.

Domestic Life Insurance: The Good, The Bad, and The Uncertain

Domestic life insurance refers to insurance policies that are obtained within the policyholder’s home country. These policies are designed to provide financial protection and support to one’s dependents in the event of the breadwinner’s death. Most life insurance policy contracts are defined in the following terms:

What Happens to Your Life Insurance if You Move Abroad
  • -Policyholder: The policyholder is the person who owns the life insurance policy. This individual is responsible for making payments, known as premiums, to keep the policy in effect.
  • -Life Assured: The life assured is the person whose life is covered under the insurance policy. If the life assured dies during the term of the policy, the death benefit is paid out to the beneficiaries.   
  • -Beneficiaries: The beneficiaries are the individuals, trusts, or entities that the policyholder designates to receive the policy’s death benefit upon the death of the life assured.
  • -Premiums: Premiums are the payments made by the policyholder to the insurance company. They are agreed upon at the inception of the policy and are typically made on a regular basis such as monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Domestic life insurance is governed by the regulations and laws of the home country. Coverage amounts and terms vary based on the insurance provider and chosen options. It serves as a financial safety net for loved ones in challenging circumstances, but despite its benefits, domestic life insurance has limitations that many people overlook or fail to understand.

The Limitations of Domestic Life Insurance For International Families

The primary limitation of domestic life insurance for those who move abroad lies in the fact that domestic policies are created based on statistical averages within the nation in which they are established. As a result, they do not account for the additional risks associated with policyholders residing or spending significant time in foreign countries.

Living or frequently traveling overseas significantly raises one’s overall mortality risk as calculated by domestic insurance companies. Due to the increased likelihood of death, these companies face a higher probability of having to pay the death benefit. For most domestic insurance companies, the incrementally higher probability of death has not been taken into consideration and the pricing models used to calculate their premiums no longer accurately reflect the elevated risk.

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To protect their interests and mitigate their potential liabilities in such cases, many domestic policies incorporate exclusions or restrictions on death benefit payments for international travel or emigration. This means that if policyholders pass away outside of their home country, their beneficiaries may not receive the death benefit payout. This is why those planning to move to another country must thoroughly assess their existing life insurance policy, ensuring that they are not paying for a benefit that their family will never receive.

In light of these limitations, individuals living or frequently traveling abroad should consider exploring alternative options for life insurance. Your financial adviser can thoroughly review your existing life insurance policy to identify any limitations or restrictions that may affect coverage while living or traveling abroad. In the event that your current policy cannot support your family overseas, your adviser can also help you find an alternative solution, such as international life insurance.

Why International Life Insurance Might Be a Better Option for Your Family If You Live In Japan

If you have not yet considered international life insurance, it may be time to do so. International life insurance policies are designed for those who live, or frequently travel abroad. As such, these policies tend to have fewer limitations and restrictions for international policyholders. Some of the benefits of international insurance that are ordinarily not found in single-country, domestic policies include: 

Why International Life Insurance Might Be a Better Option for Your Heirs

  • -Portability & Global Reach: International life insurance policies are designed to be portable, allowing policyholders to maintain coverage and continuity during relocations or travels. This flexibility ensures that policyholders and their loved ones remain protected regardless of changes in residency throughout their lives and provides peace of mind to policyholders who may have diverse geographical interests or business ventures across the globe.
  • -Tailored Solutions: International life insurance policies can be customized to meet the unique needs and preferences of individuals with international lifestyles. Policyholders can select coverage amounts, premium structures, and additional features that align with their specific circumstances, providing a personalized and comprehensive solution.
  • -Mitigation of Legal Challenges: International life insurance policies are designed to navigate potential legal complexities that can arise when assets and beneficiaries are spread across different countries. By having an international life insurance policy in place, you can help streamline the claims process and reduce potential legal hurdles for your heirs. This might include reducing tax complications, or simply ensuring the ability to interact with the insurance company in a language that you and your family understand.

By opting for international life insurance, you ensure that your beneficiaries will receive the designated death benefits regardless of your location at the time of your passing. This guarantees that your loved ones are financially protected and provided for, irrespective of any international complexities.

Making the Transition: How To Switch From Domestic to International Life Insurance

Transitioning from domestic to international life insurance requires a thorough examination of your current policy as well as the alternatives that you’re considering. To make sure you’re covering all of your requirements, consult an adviser who can help you move through the complexities of switching policies. A professional who specializes in international insurance can provide valuable insights as you take the following steps:

  • Making the Transition: How To Switch From Domestic to International Life Insurance
  • Step 1: Assessing Your Current Coverage: Begin by evaluating the existing domestic life insurance policy, including coverage amounts, terms, and beneficiaries. This assessment will help determine if the current policy meets the desired needs or if an international policy would be more suitable.
  • Step 2: Researching International Insurance Providers: Conduct thorough research to identify reputable international insurance providers that offer comprehensive coverage and align with personal requirements. Consider factors such as financial stability, policy options, and customer reviews to make an informed decision.
  • Step 3: Obtaining Quotes and Comparing Policies: Carefully review the terms, conditions, and coverage options of the available international life insurance policies. Look for customizable policies that align with your specific needs and are rich with optional features.
  • Step 4: Beginning the Application Process: Once you have selected a policy, complete the application process and provide the necessary documentation. This may include personal information, medical history, lifestyle details, and travel plans. Be prepared for the underwriting process, which may involve medical examinations, medical records requests, or other assessments based on the insurer’s requirements.

Transitioning from domestic to international life insurance requires careful consideration and professional guidance. By following these steps, you can navigate the process effectively and secure the appropriate coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones while living or traveling abroad.

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