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What are the types of insurances for expats in Singapore?

11 min read|Last Updated: November 23, 2022|
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We know living in a new country like Singapore can be daunting. From ensuring you are well-protected to adapting to Singapore’s culture and its people, there’s a lot to take note. Leave your worries aside as we share more about the types of expat insurance that are important to consider when living and working in the little red dot!

Types of Expat Insurance to Consider in Singapore

You may be familiar with insurance such as health and life, but did you know that there are plenty of other insurances that you should carefully consider based on your requirements?

  • Health Insurance

    Starting from the most common insurance type, the health insurance covers the high healthcare costs in Singapore, especially for expats and foreigners. There is a wide array of health insurance policies that you can consider:

    • Medical Expense Insurance: covers the hospital and surgical expenses
    • Critical Illness Insurance: applies to those who have been diagnosed with a significant illness
    • Long-term Care Insurance: covers the total cost of the care required by one who is unable to be self-reliant
    • Prenatal Insurance: covers possible health illnesses during pregnancy (some insurances cover beyond birth too)


    Speaking of healthcare, here are some nuggets of information on the types of healthcare options in Singapore.

    1. Public Healthcare

    Healthcare accessible to residents living in the surrounding neighbourhoods

    2. Private Healthcare

    Includes private hospitals and clinics, however, they are more costly as they have more experienced doctors

     3. Emergency Services

    Contact 995 for Fire and Ambulance services, who will transport the patient directly to the nearest government hospital

    4. Prescription-based Services

    Refill your medications after attaining a prescription from a locally registered doctor

    If you are a foreign student studying in Singapore, schools will expect you to have a health insurance plan prior to admission. The best part is that foreign students with health insurance have more benefits, such as sponsor protection, emergency medical evacuation, study interruptions, and more!

  • Life Insurance

    As implied by its name, life insurance for expats and foreigners provides full coverage for life. There are two types of life insurances in Singapore:

    • Term Life: Insured for a certain period
    • Whole Life: Insured for entire lifetime
  • Disability Insurance

    The disability insurance is a form of insurance which serves as a partial replacement for one’s income when one is rendered unable to work, ensuring an avenue of income for themselves and protects them from heavy financial costs. There are 2 types of plans namely:

    • Short-term disability plans
    • Long-term disability plans
  • Vehicle Insurance

    Did you know that a vehicle insurance is mandatory in Singapore? It is important to ensure that vehicles are properly insured against all possible damage.

Wan Yi

Cars and motorcycles have slightly different coverages based on the types of insurance:

  • Comprehensive Car/ Motorcycle Insurance
  • Third-Party, Fire, and Theft Car/ Motorcycle Insurance
  • Third-Party Only Car/ Motorcycle Insurance

If you are looking to get a car or motorcycle in Singapore, be sure to check out how you can convert your foreign driving license in Singapore!

  • Home Insurance

    Homes are arguably one of our most prized possessions. While there is no legal requirement for home insurance, it is encouraged that we should get it to protect against potential losses from unfortunate events.

    Here are some reasons why you should get a home insurance:

    • Protect your personal property from vandalism, fires, and other dangers
    • Protect homeowners against liabilities – e.g. lawsuit due to injury within one’s property

    If you have plenty of high-value items, you can also insure them! Some of the most frequently insured items in Singapore:

    • Air conditioners
    • Audio-visual equipment
    • Wardrobes
    • Cameras
    • Clothing
    • Domestic appliances
    • Jewellery
    • Computers/ Laptops
  • General Insurance

    General insurance protects the assets of foreigners who live in Singapore, while also covering employees’ benefits. This includes:

    • Travel insurance
    • Pet insurance Car insurance
    • Maid insurance
    • Personal accident insurance
    • Home insurance
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Why should expats purchase insurance in Singapore?

After understanding the different insurance types, you may be thinking why should you get these insurances? Well, first and foremost, protection is better than cure – we can never predict when an unfortunate incident may occur.

What if you already have an existing insurance in your home country?

  • Ensure the extent of coverage includes when living in Singapore
  • Check with your insurer on various insurance plans available in Singapore

What Are the Differences Between International & Local Insurances?

There are various types of expats or foreign insurances in Singapore, and they usually fall into two categories:

  • Local Insurance Plans – eligible for foreigners living in Singapore who have a visa

  • International Insurance Plans – preferred choice for foreigners

When considering between international or local insurances in Singapore, there are several pointers to take note of.

  • Extent of Coverage

    • Local Insurance (use the same icon as above): provides additional coverage within Singapore borders
    • International Insurance: provides coverage in multiple parts of the world, some even provide global coverage

    Although some local insurance plans include insurance coverage abroad, the coverage is limited to what is deemed acceptable according to the healthcare costs of Singapore and may only bused during emergencies.

  • Maternity Coverage

    • Local Insurance: Does not cover maternity and childbirth costs
    • International Insurance: Comes with add-ons for maternity charges and costs of childbirth

    If you’re intending to have children while living in Singapore, go for the international insurance plan!

  • Validity

    • Local Insurance: Remains valid unless its purchaser has failed to make necessary payments
    • International Insurance: Most plans continue to be valid even after one leaves Singapore
  • Premiums & Deductibles

    • Local Insurance: Accompanied by a deductible unless one purchases an add-on which covers the cost of the deductible
    • International Insurance: Allows you to select any desired deductibles and some may prefer to pay a higher premium than usual to avoid paying deductible.
  • Co-Payment Amounts

    • Local Insurance: Includes a co-payment portion with a minimum rate of 5%, however, able to opt to buy an add-on to limit maximum value of annual co-payment amounts
    • International Insurance: Option to select one of multiple co-payment amounts and choose to pay a premium at a higher rate to avoid paying for co-insurance

Insurance Payments and Premiums in Singapore

Going deeper into payments and premiums, both types of insurances have quite vast differences when it comes to how much one needs to pay for the insurance and payment methods such as:

  • International insurances are typically more expensive than local insurances

  • International insurances require more specific premiums to be paid

  • International insurances generally are seen as value for money because of its added benefits

  • Dependable on your age – the older you are, the higher the value of the premiums

Bringing it all together, local insurance premiums are generally cheaper than international insurance premiums as the areas of protection are only applicable within Singapore, while international insurance premiums are more costly due to its extensive coverage and added benefits.

How Foreigners May Purchase International Insurance in Singapore

If you are a foreigner or expat and are interested in purchasing an international insurance in Singapore, you may do so from either a local insurance provider or an insurer based out of Singapore. You may also purchase your international insurance plan online for those insurers are not physically in Singapore.

International vs Local Insurance: The Choice is Yours

Both international and local insurance have their own benefits and reasons to why they should be purchased. Whether if you choose international or local insurance, all foreigners and expats living in Singapore are encouraged to be covered by at least some sort of insurance.

If you are yet to make your move to Singapore or planning to move to Singapore whether for work or permanently, we are excited to welcome you! Let us make your transition to Singapore a seamless one as we assist you in end-to-end management of securing your Employment Pass (EP).

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FAQs

What factors should be considered by people who intend to purchase health insurance for their children in Singapore?2021-08-19T17:50:49+08:00

Every child’s specific life situation and health condition is different. Therefore, all parents need to consider different factors when selecting a suitable health insurance policy for their children.  

Nevertheless, there are also certain factors which the vast majority of parents who purchase health insurance for their children must take into consideration. These factors include inpatient and outpatient treatment, parental accommodation for instances in which the child must be hospitalised.  

If the parents plan to have another child, health insurance plans can and should be tailored to fit the additional child as well. 

What advantages does Singapore insurance have over insurance in other countries?2021-08-19T17:49:53+08:00

Singapore insurance plans provide coverage for their buyers regardless of whether they are currently in Singapore or abroad. Thus, those who have purchased Singapore insurance will receive coverage even after leaving Singapore. Furthermore, foreigners in Singapore have multiple insurance options. They may opt to use either local or international insurance plans. The primary advantage of an international insurance plan lies in the fact that the person who purchased the international insurance plan will benefit from global coverage. Local insurance plans, on the other hand, only provide coverage abroad during emergencies. International insurance also provides one with the privilege of directly paying a healthcare provider instead of first paying an insurer. 

Foreigners who have Singapore insurance also receive inpatient benefits. Such benefits cover the surgical and hospitalisation costs incurred by foreigners. This insurance provides foreigners with complete reimbursement during their time in hospital. This reimbursement includes surgery, medicine, and diagnostic tests. Foreigners also receive outpatient benefits if they do not have to remain in a hospital overnight. This benefit is provided to foreigners who are required to see a specialist or therapist. 

Travel insurance and emergency insurance also help an insured person who is on vacation. Thus, such a person will be properly insured if any medical emergencies are experienced while away. 

Can a foreigner be insured by insurance plans in Singapore and another country at the same time?2021-08-19T17:48:42+08:00

A person can be insured in Singapore and another foreign country at the same time. However, certain problems may arise for those who are using local insurance from Singapore which does not cover them globally. Thus, if such a person faces any health-related problems in another country, the person must pay for any necessary expenses.

However, those who use international insurance from Singapore can take advantage of the insurance benefits regardless of their location at any given time. Local insurance covers foreigners who return to Singapore for treatment. Foreigners who have international insurance but choose not to return to Singapore can opt out of the insurance policies which are to be used in the country. Those who do so are released from the burden of paying a premium.

Are foreigners of any nationality eligible to receive insurance in Singapore?2021-08-19T17:47:38+08:00

Foreigners in Singapore of any nationality may use insurance policies in Singapore. They may take advantage of benefits provided which are related to health, travel, medical, car, home, or life insurance.

Many foreigners who live and work in Singapore are also insured by their employers; however, such insurance might not necessarily provide all the coverage which may be needed. Those who find that the insurance provided by their employers is deficient in some regards are therefore encouraged to purchase their own insurance to receive more personalised and suitable coverage. 

Is there any insurance related to the organising of events in Singapore?2021-08-19T16:52:17+08:00

Those who organise an event in Singapore are advised to purchase insurance before doing so. Event organisers who work for a client will also occasionally require insurance for event liabilities as per the client’s demands before the job may be accepted. This insurance ought to provide for property damages or losses as well as comprehensive general public liability of a sum which does not exceed S$1 million per claim.

What forms of insurance may be obtained by students in Singapore?2021-08-19T16:47:46+08:00

Many higher education institutions in Singapore offer their students certain forms of insurance. Such forms of insurance usually include travel insurance, insurance for personal accidents, and insurance for hospitalisation, among others. 

However, it should also be noted that insurance provided by educational institutions grants a bare minimum of protection. Students who desire additional forms of protection through insurance are advised to own a form of personal insurance which provides many other forms of coverage which are not addressed by that provided by a school or university.

Are foreigners of any nationality eligible to receive insurance in Singapore?2021-08-19T16:45:50+08:00

Foreigners in Singapore of any nationality may use insurance policies in Singapore. They may take advantage of benefits provided which are related to health, travel, medical, car, home, or life insurance.

Many foreigners who live and work in Singapore are also insured by their employers; however, such insurance might not necessarily provide all the coverage which may be needed. Those who find that the insurance provided by their employers is deficient in some regards are therefore encouraged to purchase their own insurance to receive more personalised and suitable coverage. 

Can a foreigner be insured by insurance plans in Singapore and another country at the same time?2021-08-19T16:43:04+08:00

A person can be insured in Singapore and another foreign country at the same time. However, certain problems may arise for those who are using local insurance from Singapore which does not cover them globally. Thus, if such a person faces any health-related problems in another country, the person must pay for any necessary expenses.

However, those who use international insurance from Singapore can take advantage of the insurance benefits regardless of their location at any given time. Local insurance covers foreigners who return to Singapore for treatment. Foreigners who have international insurance but choose not to return to Singapore can opt out of the insurance policies which are to be used in the country. Those who do so are released from the burden of paying a premium. 

Is there any insurance related to the organizing of events in Singapore?2020-07-03T15:12:04+08:00

Those who organize an event in Singapore are advised to purchase insurance before doing so. Event organizers who work for a client will also occasionally require insurance for event liabilities as per the client’s demands before the job may be accepted. This insurance ought to provide for property damages or losses as well as comprehensive general public liability of a sum which does not exceed S$1 million per claim.

What forms of insurance may be obtained by students in Singapore?2020-07-03T15:11:17+08:00

Many institutions of higher education in Singapore offer their students certain forms of insurance. Such forms of insurance usually include travel insurance, insurance for personal accidents, and insurance for hospitalization, among others.
However, it should also be noted that insurance provided by educational institutions grants a bare minimum of protection. Students who desire additional forms of protection through insurance are advised to own a form of personal insurance which provides many other forms of coverage which are not addressed by that provided by a school or university.

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