For expats accustomed to the extensive insurance coverage they had back in their countries of origin, finding the right insurance for themselves, their family and their property in Indonesia can be a big challenge. Here are the basics on insurance in Indonesia that expats need to be aware of.
First things first. If an expat is here for work, they must have three different types of insurance: BPJS Employment, BPJS Health and a social security programme in employment outside working hours (before this was Jamsostek or a foreign comparable plan). Until last year, the government didn’t really enforce this rule well. But starting now, officials say, if an expat wants to get an extended license to work (IMTA), they need to tick these three boxes. Usually, your employer should be able to handle these items via a third party agency. However, if you’re here for the long haul, you may want to consider other types of insurance as well.
The disparity between the quality of insurance in Indonesia and that which many expats are used to is vast. This means what may have been an obvious provision from one’s home country may not always be readily provided in Indonesia.
Additionally, trust remains a key element that foreigners need to consider when choosing an insurance company in Indonesia. If you can, always find a trusted company from your home country that provides similar policy structures and claims proceedings to transact with on your insurance needs in Indonesia. In most business dealings, it’s an important rule of thumb to deal only with companies (and people) that make you feel comfortable – and the same holds true for insurance shopping in Indonesia.
Insurance policies in Indonesia are often worded in both Bahasa Indonesia and English.
Joint Venture General Insurance
Expats should find several ‘joint venture general insurance’ companies in Indonesia that are affiliated with reputable American, European and Japanese insurance providers. Experts recommend foreigners to go with a well-known insurance company from their home country, as they will most likely provide the same coverage, premiums and claims procedures.
Most of the joint venture general insurance companies also provide medical insurance, while all of them offer insurance for personal liability, life, travelling, motor vehicles, household and homeowner. They also provide easy-to-understand terms.
Home Country Insurance
Foreigners need to be well informed about what coverage their home country insurance provides during their stay outside the country, on business trips and during their travels to and from other assigned country posts.
They should ask whether their homeowner’s policy will have them covered (or not) regardless of their country of their place of residence. Find out about the claims procedures to prevent suffering from unnecessary worries related to complications that may arise from working with overseas-based companies that don’t always have representatives who will investigate locally.
Insurance specialists recommend expats to locally obtain insurance protection for their properties, their cars, their household, their household staff and their personal liability. More often than not, medical insurance policies from the home country of the expat are able to provide sufficient coverage.
Multinational companies in Indonesia almost always have insurance policies for their employees, which are normally group life, health and personal accidents policies. Large companies normally use these kinds of attractive insurance coverage packages as selling points so that competent local talents will seek employment with these firms.
If you would like to have an internal insurance scheme, you may also seek the services of a trusted joint venture general insurance firm. Some government insurance providers cover healthcare, old age, accident and death. Premium payments are normally shared between the company and the employee. This insurance setup has been mandated as obligatory for businesses employing more than ten workers and serving a payroll of over Rp.10 million (US$750) every month.
Insuring Household Staff
Household staff can easily be insured by the presence of the national health insurance plan in the country known as BPJS.
While not mandatory, expats and Indonesians alike normally cover the basic medical expenses of their household staff, which includes your cook, driver and maids. By custom, they expect to get reimbursed for all medical expenses, hospital and out-patient costs and financial help for maternity care expenses.
Expats sometimes choose not to get insurance for their household staff but instead set a capped amount for these medical expenses that they will offer to cover them in the span of a year’s employment. This will normally be the equivalent of one month’s salary.
In an article titled “Insurance in Indonesia,” Expat Web Site Association Jakarta suggests having household staff members submit a medical exam report that clears them of TB and other communicable diseases prior to their employment. This will help ensure they are not burdened with high medical bills for sickly household employees. Since this is a pre-employment requirement, they expect the employer expat to pay for these medical examinations.
In addition, expats are expected, while not required, to extend their generosity to the immediate family members of their household staff. They may seek financial assistance in the form of loans for their medical needs. It is recommended to deal with these instances on a case-by-case basis.
Crimes against Expatriates
Clearly, being an expat does not exempt you from any of the country’s political turmoil, violence or crime.
Although foreigners are not looked at as prime targets more so than anyone else, they are generally thought of as being rich. This is evident by the fact that household robbery is the most common crime against expats, normally perpetrated by some ex-household staff member.
Companies should acquire adequate coverage to safeguard foreign properties that have been the target of increasing cases of vandalism and destruction over the past few years. These cases have been attributed to many years of perceived inequality between expat professionals and business owners and their local counterparts.
Foreigners living in Indonesia must purchase coverage for their personal liability. With the Indonesian judicial system being a monstrous nightmare for expatriates, insurance specialists advise every foreigner to buy a personal liability policy in Indonesia with a joint venture insurance company despite their worldwide coverage from their policy in their home country. Make sure to have this job relegated to a reputable insurance company that will guarantee that your claim is promptly paid or disputed on your behalf.
As an expat working in Indonesia, you can have your income invested in an insurance plan that can help you save money, whether it is for an emergency fund, your retirement or your kids’ education. Protecting yourself, your family and your properties in your home country is just as important as protecting your household staff, your assets and your achievements in your new life in Indonesia.