Expat term insurance: Zurich International Term Insurance+Futura + Rl360 LifePlan + Friends Provident International Protector Reviews

  • It is expensive as you are getting the cost of the insurance and investment.
  • The actual investments inside the Futura can be very expensive.
  • If you encash in the early years of the plan, even the first 7–10 years, you might not get much back. Considering you are getting less insurance in this plan, compared to cheaper term insurance, this is a tough pill to shallow.
  • If the investment returns are lower than those you expect and have been ‘promised’, you may need to increase your premium to keep the same insurance benefits.
  • If you make withdrawals, your policy can lapse.
  • There are no index tracker options within the Futura, so many of the mirror funds used are expensive.
  • There is a loyalty bonus after 10 years, but there are many terms and conditions associated with this being paid.
  • The charges are very high. Just to give you one example, all single premiums are charged at more than15% a year!
  • The old school processes makes doing anything difficult, including withdrawals and change of address.
  • Terms of between 5 and 35 years.
  • You can maintain protection worldwide. So even if you move, you can still maintain coverage.
  • Like on the Futura, you can add optional benefits like permanent and total disability.
  • The costs are much lower than the Futura. Not the lowest in the market, but much better.
  • Zurich’s customer service isn’t always the best. You are merely a number to them. I have seen processes like withdrawals take months to complete due to something incredibly small — like your signature isn’t a 100% match with the original or you have moved address so need to complete a new form.
  • Zurich won’t pay claims if you haven’t been honest on the application form. That sounds reasonable. However, in addition to that, you can’t claim if you haven’t paid all the premiums due. There are also additional restrictions like terrorism.
  • Even if you wanted this plan, new policies aren’t sold in many countries anymore. You can only buy this policy in a few countries.
  • It is still more expensive than some of the other plans in the market.
  • $200 a month minimum premium. You can pay in 4 currencies.
  • You can get covered up to $7.5M.
  • You can add waivers like critical illness. This benefit is capped at $750,000 per year.
  • You can also add total disability and other waivers.
  • You can also add business coverage (like key man insurance which protects your business if a key person in your business dies) and family protection.
  • It does offer a good range of benefits, combining business, family and personal needs. This would be great if these benefits were good value, but this isn’t the case with this policy. It might seem convenient to pay for business, personal and family coverage in one policy, but most of the people who buy this plan are eventually unsatisified.
  • It is expensive. Almost as expensive as the Futura. Fund costs are usually 2%+ per year. There then are additional costs that can total another 2%-5% per year. Much cheaper options are available in the market.
  • You are dependent on the investment and insurance elements of the plan. This means you might have to pay more for the insurance, if your fees eat into investment performance.
  • It is too complex with too many restrictions.
  • Term life insurance.
  • Term life insurance + critical illness coverage.
  • Critical illness cover as a stand alone product.
  • Much cheaper than most products in the market.
  • Benefits can be tailored to your needs. For example, you can choice level or decreasing term insurance. You can also pay in numerous currencies.
  • With level life insurance, if you die during the term, your family gets the same benefit level. With decreasing life coverage, that benefit gradually falls over the years. Decreasing life insurance is often used in conjunction with paying off a specific debt — for example a mortgage.
  • It is probably the cheapest of the 4 insurers I have reviewed here.
  • No additional and hidden charges (in most cases). For example, no credit card charges.
  • You can’t buy this policy in most countries these days. It is only available in a few countries, unlike before 2014.
  • Certain restrictions do apply such as if you die playing extreme sports, terrorism and war.
  • Even though it is cheaper than the other plans reviewed here, for many people there are cheaper or better options, depending on your circumstances.
  • Just like all of the other providers, bigger insurance providers and banks, live off their brand names. A lot of boutique insurers are just as safe, and can’t rely on their brand names, so need to offer better benefits.
  1. Keep paying in until the end.
  2. Stop paying and withdraw the money from the policy (in the case of the whole of life insurance). With term insurance stopping payments means you have no surrender benefits.
  3. Stop paying in but maintaining the money in the investments. In other words, you leave the investment component alone.
  • How liquid your assets are. If you are dependent on illiquid assets that are hard to sell or take months/years to sell (houses and businesses), you should consider term insurance.
  • If you have kids, or plan to have them, or dependents, you should consider term insurance.
  • If your income is not protected, you should consider term insurance, especially if your family is dependent on your income.
  • They are all “old school”. Physically application forms are often needed. It can take a month, yes a month, to have cover in place. In comparison, some other options can have coverage in place within 24–72 hours. Some of these providers are investing in technology, and trying to improve speeds, but they are still not quick.
  • Even after the coverage is set up, you often need to send forms by DHL, for small changes to the policy.
  • They are all relying, to varying degrees, on brand name. Newer or lessor known firms need to lead on product benefits and ease of processes to a greater degree.
  • For income protection, there can be many restrictions about who can apply.
  • Inflation erodes your payouts.
  • Currency falls affect your payouts. For example, you have gotten your coverage out in GBP, but the Pound has fallen recently.
  • The coverage will stop as soon as you stop your payments.
  • The investment performs badly (this is only a risk with the whole of life coverage).
  • The insurance firm goes out of business. This is a relatively small risk, though, and checks and balances exist for investment-linked life insurance such as limited government guarantees.
  • The amount of insurance you need will increase with age, but you can’t increase the limit, for numerous reasons, such as your age or general health.
  • Premiums will rise as you age. Some of the providers, like Friends Provident, guarantee the premiums for 5 years, depending on the cover you pick.
  • You don’t get covered in the first place as a medical exam is expected or for another reason.
  • You live in a country which has good-quality insurance options and has the rule of law.
  • Usually if you are an expat in the USA, local coverage makes sense, for legal reasons.
  • If you live in developed country and your husband or wife comes from that person. For example, you are married to a Singaporean, Japanese or Australian person, and you are getting the coverage for them.
  • The last point is especially important if your partner doesn’t speak much English. This point can be negated with some of the more tech-savvy life insurance firms which makes claiming easy.
  • Assuming that brand names matter, especially brand names linked to our home country. In particular, assuming that big insurance firms are likely to pay out claims more quickly. In fact, they are usually overly bureaucratic and slow.
  • Due to the last point, many expats end up buying expensive policies.
  • Getting whole of life insurance, at least in most situations.
  • Not getting enough coverage, or too much. Not working out how much is needed in a mathematical way. The people who are most likely to assume they don’t need coverage are business owners. The kinds of business owners that have a lot of on-paper wealth, but it is often held in illiquid assets.
  • Knowing you need coverage, but delaying, and eventually paying more. Often times, you get better premiums when you are younger.
  • Thinking the life insurance firms needs to have an office where you live. It is best to focus on a firm that has online processes which allows you to claim no matter where you are in the world.
  • Thinking that it is a good idea to have life, health and income protection from the same insurer. This only makes sense if each product is good.

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