British Foreign and Commonwealth Office figures show that there are currently around 4,000 deaths per annum amongst the 13 million Brits living throughout the world. And this is just the British headcount.
More startling yet is the price of repatriation of mortal remains. According to a leading international funeral director, you can expect to pay up to £17,000 to arrange for a body to be returned from the Philippines back to the UK. The Philippines is actually the country where proportionally the highest number of British expats pass away, primarily due to the fact it is home to a large community of British pensioners. To put this amount into perspective, the country with second highest cost for repatriation is Spain, where it can cost up to £7,000, followed by Thailand at around £3,000.
Even if you were to go down the cheaper route of cremating or burying a body in the Philippines, you will need to jump through a number of bureaucratic hoops, as well as have some understanding of the cultural and legal requirements. All this all this adds unwelcome stress at a time where emotions are overwrought and attention to paperwork is the last thing on your mind.
Family must come first
We all know that the expat experience can be thrilling, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. It can present a unique set of issues. One such issue is making provisions for spouses and dependents who will need to be looked after financially in the event of a death.
The good news is that there are expat life insurance specialists, such as Regency for Expats, who have made it their business to understand the expat experience. Through them, expats have access to life insurance policies that realistically reflect their needs; placing equal importance on death benefits (including instant upfront emergency payments) and also vital, practical 24-hour assistance.
We spoke to Kayla Hall, the Business Development Manager for Regency for Expats about what their clients can expect after a death of a loved one. She says, “As expat insurance experts, Regency’s globally mobile clientele can expect to receive financial and practical assistance, no matter where the death occurs. Geographic extension is included under Regency’s life insurance policy as standard, otherwise we would be unable to fulfil our duty of care to our clients, leaving them open to substantial repatriation costs.”
Hall explains, “One of the most contentious issues for globally mobile individuals is whether a policy will be valid if they die in a different country to where the policy was registered. Thankfully, by including geographic extension Regency has addressed this issue, thereby providing additional peace of mind to policyholders.”
Remarkably, the inclusion of this within insurance policies is the exception rather than the rule amongst life insurers.
What to do if your loved one dies overseas
1. The first thing you need to establish is whether your loved one has an insurance policy in place.
2. A life insurance policy is in place? Contact the company and they will take you through the steps.
3. No policy? You will need to contact the Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in the country where the death occurred. It is vital you do this immediately as the death has to be registered.
4. Funeral arrangements. If you chose to repatriate, you need to use international undertakers who can advise you on the arrangements. You´ll need a death certificate and authorisation before bringing your loved one home.
5. Funeral costs. Ensure that the costs are covered by the insurance policy – your provider is the best port of call to help you manage this.