17Oct

What Insurance Do I Need Abroad?

Living a nomadic life can be an exciting one. The culture of traveling and living in a country other than your own is now more than just a trend but a life choice for many individuals and whole families.

On top of the usual preparations of finding a place to live, knowing where and how to reach the expat community and learning the culture of the country, you also need to make the necessary arrangements to prepare for the unexpected; health emergencies, financial fallbacks and other similar concerns.

The key feature of a good insurance for expats is mobility. Your insurance needs to follow you wherever you are. The second feature of a good expat insurance is that the benefits cover you and your family regardless if you are in the same country or not. And while it is seen as an added expense, the benefits certainly outweigh the costs because being far away from your country and the usual advantages that are given to its citizens may not be the same for every place.

Must-Have Personal Insurance

HEALTH INSURANCE

As an expat in Hong Kong, the number one type of personal protection we recommend is proper health insurance. Public healthcare in Hong Kong is one of the best in the world, however, it may not guarantee immediate and full care if you’re also waiting in line with many others who are also subscribing to public hospitals.

We wrote about the medical charges to expect in Hong Kong and compared the costs and benefits between private and public hospitals. This can give you a general idea of why you need private health insurance in case of emergencies.Remember that  the costs of even minor or routine medical treatment can quickly mount up. A benefit you must make sure is included is transport to a specialist unit and repatriation. You can lower your premium by opting to pay for any excess.

Critical Illness Insurance is also something for expats to consider if they are prone to serious ailments like cancer, heart attacks and other related diseases. Benefits of this policy will pay for therapy, drugs and other maintaining treatments. Some insurance policies may even cover death which means your families are left with a lump sum to pay for medical bills left behind.

We can help you find the right expat health insurance.

INCOME PROTECTION

This type of insurance can either be offered as a benefit along with your employment or you may choose to get one for yourself. This insurance ensures you have a monthly source of income in case you get into an accident or become gravely ill that you aren’t able to work for a period of time. We’ve also created an infographic showing How Income Protection Insurance Works. More importantly, this insurance takes care of your family when you temporarily cannot do so. We strongly recommend this to expats with children. Get in touch with us if you’re interested to see what options are available in Hong Kong.

LIFE

There are a number of good, affordable international life insurance policies for expats. This is usually a combination of two or more benefits such as critical illness plus total and permanent disability. It’s best to buy life insurance while you’re young because premiums are a lot cheaper. You can pay as little as US$33 a month and be covered for 20 years. We can also help find an insurance that suits your lifestyle and budget.

Remember that you need an insurance policy that is able to change as your circumstances change. Cost of premiums is also a crucial factor to consider so take your time when shopping for a provider. Evaluate your needs and determine your plans on a yearly perspective to see any drastic changes.

7Oct

Setting Up Your Utilities in Hong Kong

When you’ve settled in nicely in your new apartment in Hong Kong, the next step is to set up your utilities! In Hong Kong, it’s the tenant who takes it upon himself to sign up for water, electricity, and gas. We’re here to make it easy for you by listing down some supplier names so you can get started on your new life in the Pearl of the Orient.

ELECTRICITY

Hong Kong Electric started way back in 1890 and is now one of the most trusted utility companies in the world. Their service is reliable and affordable as well. They also have a reputation of being environmentally responsible which is a plus for some people. You can apply for Hong Kong Electric by downloading their form and emailing it to customerservices@hkelectric.com or dropping it at their customer service center along with your Hong Kong ID or passport and a deposit equivalent to around 60 days of consumption. Bills are due monthly and you can register for e-bills payment for a more convenient and environment-friendly payment. For more information, you may call them at 2887 3411 from 9AM-6PM, Mondays-Sundays. Once you’re a customer, you can download their Low Carbon App which provides information on energy safety and efficiency while helping with electric consumption estimation and tips on how to save energy. The app is available on the App Store and Google Play.

WATER

Water Supplies Department provides clean and safe water to around 7 million people in Hong Kong. To sign up, you may download theirform WW01 along with a copy of your Hong Kong ID. Applications take about a week to process and bills are sent every four months. They also have a free downloadable app on the App Store and Google Play that provides information about your bill and notifies you in case of suspension. You can also click the Payment icon to access a QR code in order to pay your bills with cash at any 7-Eleven, Circle K, or VanGO convenience stores. For more information, call them at 2824 5000 and press 3 for English.

Make sure to also get home insurance in case of accidental fire from bad wiring and plumbing. We help expats in Hong Kong find cheap insurance for their apartments.

24Sep

Tips for Staying Fit While Pregnant

Exercise during pregnancy is different for every expectant mother. The most important tip to remember is to get clearance from your doctor before engaging with any type of fitness plan.

Women who regularly exercise and have been physically active prior to conceiving will more or less have zero issues with working in a fitness routine in their day. Walking is considered a safe and simple way to get one’s heart rate up.

CALORIE INTAKE

Although you are eating for more than one person, doctors advise that it is important to keep track of your pre-pregnancy weight to determine your required calorie intake to maintain your body’s and baby’s need for proper nutrition.

If your body mass index (BMI) is in a healthy range (between 18.5 and 24.9), you’ll need to eat about 340 more calories a day in the second trimester than before you were pregnant and about 450 more calories a day in the third trimester

PROPER WARDROBE

Stay comfortable by choosing looser fitting clothes that breath and regulates body temperature. Pregnant women tend to have higher body temperature and may overheat during a workout. In addition, make sure your maternity bra is supportive enough, and choose athletic shoes that fit properly. With your feet a little swollen than normal, choose footwear that is 1 to 2 sizes bigger.

EXERCISE AND STRETCHING HELPS WITH BACK & HIP PAIN

Common problems during pregnancy are increased lower back pain, pelvic instability, urinary issues, or reduced functional strength of the abdominal wall. Exercising during pregnancy helps reduce muscle tension. Prenatal pilates and yoga are popular fitness routines women can safely do to help with the usual discomforts of the condition.

STAYING SAFE WITH PROPER MATERNITY INSURANCE 

Maternity insurance covers costs for pre-natal and post-natal treatments. It also covers cost for natural or caesarean delivery where the latter can get very expensive without private insurance. Maternity insurance with extension also helps with costs incurred for fertility treatments and congenital birth defects.

Village Insurance provides help for expats in Hong Kong in finding the best maternity insurance for all of your needs. Get in touch with our agents for more information.

 

15Sep

Is Localization of Expat Salaries in Hong Kong A Positive Change?

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‘Expat’ has been a word synonymous with wealth and luxury. Being an expat meant living on a generous salary plus benefits and allowances from the company one works for. It meant living in classy locations in swank apartments, sending one’s kids to the best schools, eating in expensive restaurants, and travelling to the most beautiful countries.

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Not all expats enjoy the comforts associated with living in Hong Kong because of work. Research has shown that since 2004, most expats in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai have been given the localised compensation, in which companies give their employees pay that is comparable to those being offered to locals.
With localisation, the base salary is lower than those of regular expats and no longer includes benefits such as:
  • Allowances
  • Social security
  • Retirement
Obviously, fancy dinners, extravagant vacations, and prestigious schools are also no longer in the picture.
Still, expats don’t always see this as a loss on their part and similarly, companies don’t practice localising to reap the benefits. Localisation for expats can be seen as an opportunity to take charge of their own life someday. Because along with the generous salary and benefits of the old compensation came the reality of being tied to the company for an indefinite amount of time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but some prefer the freedom of being able to pick up and leave and move on to another job whenever they want or relocate to a whole new place. Deciding their own future is a big plus.

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This is also why localising isn’t a win-win deal for companies either. Despite the practice saving them money in the face of difficult economic conditions, they also no longer have a financial bind on their employees and thus risk the possibility of losing their talents.
This is why some companies offer a “local-plus” package to aid their employees in managing their finances and adjusting their spending habits over a period of two years. This package also includes benefits such as transportation, housing, and education for their dependents.
Companies also know who to localise versus those they know won’t stay unless given the full compensation and benefits package. The former is usually the younger employees who are grateful for any opportunity while the latter is the more senior employees who have been loyal to the company and therefore deserve such benefits.
While localisation may mean keeping a closer look on the household budget and saving up for the children’s college education, it also means a certain freedom career-wise that isn’t possible with the generous package. And it’s also a desirable strategy in the long run for companies; it helps them maximise the talent they have in their employment and saving themselves money in the future. So it looks like localisation in the expat world is here to stay.
Village Insurance Direct provides expat assistance in finding insurance to cover personal and business needs while in Hong Kong.Contact us or LiveChat with us for more information.
23Jul

Updating Your Health Insurance

As we go through different phases of our lives, so do our needs for health insurance cover. Does your current plan still cover your needs or are there parts of the policy that are not longer needed?

Health insurance covers must also adjust to the rest of your family member’s needs which is why it’s important to check with your provider every two years.

Here are questions you should ask when reviewing your policy:

  1. Is my policy limit enough to cover my needs and my supplementaries? There are policies that offer unlimited annual policy offers.
  2. Do you have plans of moving or traveling more frequently? This means you might need a health insurance policy that covers the places you will be traveling. There are international health insurance covers that follow you wherever you are and plans that excludes the US or UK.
  3. If you’re married and have a growing family, is your insurance plan able to adapt to maternity and child needs?
  4. Do you need to add a policy for pre-existing, mental, hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions?
  5. If you have a policy taken care by your current employer, you also need to evaluate if you’ll need a separate private medical insurance if there are plans of changing jobs. Check if the company health insurance covers for family members or for chronic diseases. If you have special medical needs and your company insurance does not cater to its treatment, an international health insurance cover should be able to take care of what’s lacking.

AS AN EXPAT, CONSIDER INTERNATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

This health insurance policy is generally comprehensive and can cover maternity and cancer treatment. It all depends on your needs as well as your family’s. Village Insurance Direct helps expat find the affordable and complete international health insurance from established providers in Hong Kong.

As an expat, you need to foresee if you will be moving in the next years and having an International health insurance that follows you wherever you will give you peace of mind in situations where local hospital may be unable to provide for your needs. The advantage of having this type of insurance is also having local service from your provider’s customer support so you know exactly what your policy can cover.

Ask your insurance provider about your current policy. It is also crucial that you do your own research especially if you’re paying a substantial amount for medical insurance you yourself and your family.

 

14Jun

Infographic: Global Cyber Attack Statistics

The threat to cyber security has increased over the past 10 years. Businesses have paid large sums to recover files and systems which all could have been avoided if we only treat cyberattacks as a big possibility. Here are the numbers on cyber attacks on global businesses.

Ask us how we can help your business with the proper insurance cover.

11May

Expat Guide: Expecting a Baby in Hong Kong

Hong Kong hospitals are one of the best in Asia and the world. Public health hospitals have a fantastic reputation for being clean and safe but not as comfortable at times with long queues.

Expats with valid HK ID cards can easily seek medical attention at a minimum cost from public heath care facilities. The bed fee and ultrasound which cost $100 per day and $300 per copy, respectively are the more common expenses you’ll pay for when in a public hospital. However, we cannot always anticipate other risks during pregnancy and this is why choosing a private hospital remains the best option to keep the mother and the baby safe.

The Consumer Council has shared that there are plenty of options for private maternity packages that compete on the size of the private suite and the range and grade of the facilities provided. These sets of medical procedures are generally priced equally for residents and non-residents but that may not always be the case.

One has to consider the doctor’s fee, obstetrician and anesthetist. These are generally separate from the maternity package. It’s crucial that you ask for an itemized rundown of the specific services that are included in your health insurance policy once you choose to be treated in a private hospital.

Private health care is understandably more expensive but given the right health insurance cover; expats can fully take advantage of the best facilities and doctors around.  Some health insurance policies can cover the entire cost of maternity care.

Cost of Maternity Procedures in Hong Kong

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The costs mentioned do not take account the months that lead up to the birth including gynecological visits, ultrasounds and other tests.

The complete cost of delivering at one of Hong Kong’s private hospitals could sum up to more or less o$100K but this amount provides luxuries that won’t be available in public facilities. Most private hospitals also require that you put down a deposit, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000.

One highly recommended private hospital with a relatively cheaper maternity package ranges between $17,000 for residents and $35,000 for non-residents. This fee is for natural delivery in a Standard Room with 3-6 beds.

Other special fees include paying for a pediatrician to be in attendance during delivery (not optional) and a 30% surcharge for each additional baby in cases of twins or more.

Emergency C-Section with 5 nights can cost up to $51,000 for a standard room with 4 beds and around $97,000 for a private room. More complications can cost up to $150,000

Choosing a Health Insurance Cover

Pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition and most insurance providers will not accept your application if you are already pregnant. Unless you are joining a group plan, some may waive or shorten the waiting period (ask when “waiting period” begins as it may vary per provider). Most insurers will not cover women after the age of 44 so that also plays into your application.

An annual fee of  $8,200 for health insurance with maternity cover can have a $20,000 limit on maternity cover. There are also policies with $10,200 annual fee with $10,000 maternity cover. Some insurance providers also provide newborn cover while some keep that policy separate.

This is where having a reliable insurance broker is important.  Details on uncommon risks like congenital diseases and newborn care need to adhere to what you specifically need and one might not immediately foresee these things without professional assistance.

Village Insurance finds the best cover for you depending on your condition and budget. Get a quote or send us a message for further inquiries. We’d like to help.

Feel free to connect with Mark Bromhead on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.

4Apr

Top Health Issues Among Women in Asia

This infographic provides a list of the top medical issues faced by women in Asia today. Village Insurance Direct provides help for expats in Hong Kong in finding the most affordable and comprehensive insurance covers. Inquire today!

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