Life Insurance While Travelling

You (or your ex) is a U.S. citizen who plans to travel abroad, and you have a life insurance
policy protecting your family’s income stream. Here is what you need to know about life
insurance coverage while you are traveling to avoid denial of your beneficiaries’ death benefit claims should the worst happen while you are away.
If you or your ex (depending upon who is insured) must travel someplace that may be
considered dangerous, or to an under-developed nation, you should consult your insurance
policy. There will be provisions setting limitations on both destination and time spent abroad.

Does Life Insurance Cover Me While Visiting High-Risk Destinations?

Maybe, maybe not. All insurance companies categorize foreign destinations as follows:
● Acceptable for travel;
● Acceptable for travel with limited coverage depending upon a time there; and
● Unacceptable for travel.
Insurance providers consider the following factors when assessing the acceptability of a
destination as a travel destination:
● Travel services
● Public health and sanitation standards
● Stability of the government
● Sufficiency of the medical infrastructure
● Whether the area suffers from war or natural disasters, such as flood or famine

Insurance providers will vary in their assessments of risk regarding travel to foreign destinations.

Generally, those countries with a stable economy and government are considered low risk; you may travel there and expect to be covered by your life insurance policy. But your insurance provider will consider travel to countries suffering from war or natural disaster unacceptable, and you may not be covered if something happens to you while there.

The wisest course of action when you know you must travel abroad is to contact your insurance agent and inquire about coverage. It may be that you simply have to limit time spent in certain destinations, or, you should avoid certain destinations.

How Long Will You Be Abroad?
In general, brief trips of days or even weeks will probably not affect your life insurance
coverage. But if you plan to be out of the country for six months or more, your insurance

company may classify you as a “non-resident” and put a hold on your life insurance coverage.

This means you are not covered under your policy at that point.

Of course, your life insurance provider cannot prevent you from living half the year in a foreign country. However, your provider does have the power to increase your premiums, put your policy on hold, or cancel your policy altogether. Consult with your life insurance agent to discuss your options.

2. Life Insurance “exclusions” limit coverage if you engage in undisclosed high-risk activities.

If you have hobbies or practice sports that your insurance providers consider high-risk, you
absolutely must disclose that on your initial application, or if taking up such activities, later on, contact your insurance agent.

If you inform your life insurance provider of your plans, the provider then has the option of
increasing your premiums accordingly or letting you know the activity is “excluded” and you
won’t be covered if you die while engaging in it.

3. If you die while traveling abroad, your provider can and will
deny your beneficiaries’ foreign death claim.

There are two common reasons for denial of death benefit claims made when the insured dies abroad:
1. The Insured Dies within the Contestability Period
The two years following taking out a life insurance policy is called the “contestability period.”During this 2-year period, the insurance provider can investigate the cause of the death of the insured AND investigate the accuracy and thoroughness of the disclosures made on the initial application for life insurance. Claims may be denied due to any mistake or unintentional omission on the part of the insured, even if that mistake or omission had nothing to do with the cause of death.

Prior to traveling abroad, you (or your ex) should check with your insurance agent to make sure that the information the insurance company has on you is correct and complete.

2. The Insurance Provider Rejects Foreign Proof of Death of the Insured

Insurance providers require proof of death in order to pay the beneficiaries’ death benefit claim.

This is frequently difficult to obtain in a form that is satisfactory to the provider when an insured dies abroad.

If this happens, obviously you cannot help your beneficiaries. Prior to traveling advise your
beneficiaries that if something happens and they need to make a claim, they need to consult
with an experienced life insurance attorney.

In conclusion, review your policy provisions and talk to your agent about where you plan to go and what you plan to do there prior to leaving. Your beneficiaries will be glad you did.

About the Author
Veronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant living and working in the great city of
Philadelphia. She frequently works with busy life insurance lawyer Chad G. Boonswang, Esq.

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