People all over the world have been seeking life insurance coverage from U.S. based life insurance companies due to the strong reputation these companies possess – along with very competitive prices.
So is it possible for you to get covered even though you’re a foreign national or a non-U.S. resident? The answer is yes, but the process generally takes longer to complete.
Before discussing how a non-U.S. resident can get life insurance, it is important to know what exactly is a non-U.S. resident.
Per Prudential’s “Non-U.S. Resident Highlighter”, a Non-U.S. resident is defined as: Individuals who do not have a full-time permanent U.S. residence or reside outside of the U.S. for 3 months or more annually.
For underwriting purposes, a non-U.S. Resident is defined as an individual who:
· is outside of the U.S. more than three months a year
· visits the U.S. for business or pleasure but whose permanent residence is not in the U.S.
· expects to reside in the U.S. only temporarily (i.e., contract employee or exchange student) and plans on returning home after designated period of time
· resides in the U.S. only part time
Citizenship is not a determining factor. Therefore, you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for life insurance in the United States. It really helps if you have some sort of minimum contacts within the United States such as family, a vacation home, business interest or a bank account. These aren’t requirements but they are helpful.
Another important factor is the assets the application has both in the U.S. and in their country of origin, specifically property and immediate family members.
It is also very important to note that there is a list of countries, that under no circumstance, qualify for this due to certain restrictions. There are in fact two types of restrictions – country of origin restrictions and insurance industry restrictions.
Current U.S. government restrictions prevent life insurance being sold to residents of current countries due to a series of risk factors – including increased mortality risks, economic stability and, whether or not, the country is listed on the U.S. State Department travel warning list. Below is an abbreviation list of these countries:
· North Korea
Regardless of a country’s stability and life expectancy, the insurance regulations of some countries prevent their residents from purchasing life insurance outside their country of residence. Below is an up-to-date list compiled by Prudential:
· Costa Rica
· Northern Marianas Islands
· Puerto Rico
· South Africa
· U.S. Virgin Islands
· United Arab Emirates
However, if you are not a permanent, full-time resident of one of above countries certain life insurance companies will take this information into consideration when determining residency status.
Life insurance underwriters are especially concerned about the life expectancy of the country you reside you in. If you reside in a country that has a good life expectancy, then chances are you will be eligible for life insurance as a non-U.S. citizen. The opposite could be said about a country with a less than favorable life expectancy and is considered unstable. Depending on the severity, an applicant may be declined for life insurance as the risk of insuring them is too high.
The factors affecting life expectancy and stability include but are not limited to: poor economic conditions, widespread disease, lower standards of public health and sanitation, lack of proper medical facilities, and different cultural attitudes towards personal health and safety.
When applying for life insurance in the United States, it is required that all aspects of the transactions for non-U.S. residents be completed in the U.S. This includes the following – solicitation, application, paramedical exam, inspection and contract delivery. The average timeline for life insurance approvals is around six to eight weeks, which makes planning especially important. Make sure to allow adequate time to complete the underwriting process and handle policy delivery in the U.S.
Medical records are required for most life insurance applications. Ordering records can take a great deal of time, especially for individuals who have attending physician statements from a physician in another country. Thankfully technology has helped expedite this process, but applicants should still take this into consideration. It is best to plan on the process of obtaining life insurance for non-U.S. residents taking at least eight weeks.
So if you are interested in obtaining a policy in the U.S., then you should know what type of policies are available to you.
Essentially, you can buy a broad range of policies, varying from term, whole or universal life. There is also a minimum amount of coverage that one must buy which is $250,000 with a maximum of $20,000,000 with all premium payments being paid in U.S. currency. If you seek more coverage than an exception may be made for business cases.
Unfortunately, if you are currently active in foreign military, police, government or judicial services, you are not eligible for life insurance at the moment.