The quickest way to determine whether your existing insurances – life, TPD, trauma and income protection – are valid while you are overseas, is to check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the insurance product you own.
It is impossible to generalise as some insurers are quite comfortable maintaining policies in force for expatriates and others are not.
After having checked the PDS, the next thing you should do is to call your insurance company to advise them you are going overseas. You should make a file note to indicate the date and time of the call and the response provided by the insurance company.
Once you have moved overseas, you should notify your insurance company of your overseas address – so that the insurance company is well aware that you are overseas.
Some insurance companies will require that you return to Australia in order to receive benefits under the policy. For example, an insurance company may require you to be physically within Australia in order to make a claim on an income protection policy. However, once again it comes down to the Product Disclosure Statement and the terms of the policy you have purchased.
In some cases, the cost of obtaining replacement insurance cover overseas can be much more expensive than retaining cover purchased in Australia, so there may be a financial benefit to you to retain the existing cover. However, there will be no financial benefit to you if the insurance company subsequently renege when it comes time to you making a claim.