Foreign travel has an impact on life insurance, and depending on the areas or regions you visit, can cause you to be postponed or denied life insurance. Each life insurance company will approach foreign travel differently in their applications.
A few years ago, as a part of a client’s financial planning we determined that she had a need for life insurance. She wanted to ensure her mortgage and student debt was covered, in case of pre-mature death. She was healthy and active and had no major family history of illness. It did not appear there would be any issues as it related to underwriting.
Unfortunately the stumbling block during underwriting turned out to be the client’s foreign travel history. She worked for a non-profit and her job required her to visit regions impacted by natural disasters and conflict. This led us to seek out life insurance options from providers where her travel history would not impact qualification and we were able to successfully place a policy.
With the summer travel season upon us, foreign travel can have a significant impact on a new life insurance policy application. Countries or regions, especially those marked as ‘Avoid’ on Canada’s foreign travel advisory list can cause applications to be postponed or outright denied.
Why is life insurance necessary for travel?
Although travel insurance is a product on its own and has its benefits for your own health during your travel, having life insurance will secure your loved ones in the case that something happens to you. Travel insurance is only able to help you recover from unexpected mishaps durings your travels, such as misplaced luggage enroute or last minute flight cancellations. Travel insurance only covers you – but what about your dependents back home? That’s why life insurance is necessary for travel: it provides protection for your family at home in the case that something happens to you.
What questions do insurers ask regarding foreign travel?
Foreign travel is often considered as a non-medical condition that affects your chances of being approved of life insurance. Depending on the insurer, questions regarding foreign travel can be limited to a period of time prior to application and/or future travel plans. It can require an extensive declaration of all areas already travelled or intended or a very basic and simple question with regards to travel. Questions may also include asking about your purpose of travel and length of stay.
In most cases, applicants that intend to travel outside Canada or the United States, or those that travel extensively are asked to complete a “Foreign Travel Questionnaire”. Depending on the regions or countries visited this can have no impact on the approval of the application, create an exclusion (ie. if insured dies in a specific country) or in rare cases deny or postpone the policy. Moreover, underwriting decisions from your answers can range from preferred or standard rates to a rated policy.
Aside from the travel locations, the purpose of the visit will also affect your life insurance. For example, people who work in high-risk occupations or sometimes those that do humanitarian work in foreign countries are less likely to get approved.
How long you plan on staying will also affect your life insurance: any stays longer than 6 months will have the insurance provider assess your application on a case-by-case basis. Insurers might underwrite you as a foreign national if you stay longer than 6 months, which will limit your benefits and coverage, and increase your premiums.
As such, it is prudent to work with an expert to determine the optimal solution for your particular circumstances. Below are some examples of Foreign travel questions that form part of life insurance applications from some of Canada’s best life insurance providers:
Keep in mind that life insurance companies can change wording in their applications at any time. A few years ago, for example, Foresters Financial asked: “Are you planning to travel, work or live outside of North America for more than 1 month? (If YES, give details on frequency, location and length of stay)” compared to the 3 questions they now ask as seen above.
Contact Protect Your Wealth For Experienced Advice
If you travel often or plan to work in a foreign country, your life insurance policy is dependent on these travel plans. Your past history of travelling, the length of stay, the purpose of visit, and any future travel plans are crucial in deciding whether your insurance cover will be valid abroad. Luckily, there are many options, such as Simplified Issue policies, many of which do not ask a travel-related question. Working with an expert can help you identify the best solution to fit your specific circumstances.
As your trusted and experienced life insurance broker and financial advisor, we would be happy to provide further analysis for you and your family’s specific circumstances. Contact Protect Your Wealth or at 1-877-654-6119 today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, such as Toronto, Barrie, Oshawa, and Guelph.