Useful Insurance Tips for Olim
By Danny Newman, Branch Manager – Beit Shemesh, Goldfus Insurance
Many insurance related questions come our way each summer after the influx of Olim Chadashim that arrive every year. Over the years, we noticed the same questions repeating themselves and that is why we have taken the liberty to address those questions by providing useful insurance tips for Olim. It is important to understand how insurance works in Israel as well as the products on offer so that you can make an informed decision rather than just buying what someone is selling you.
Tips related to Car Insurance:
When purchasing a new car with Aliyah benefits, there are certain limitations and restrictions as to who is allowed to drive the car. Those limitations extend to your car insurance policy too. If only the owner of the car and their spouse are eligible to drive the car, your insurance policy will only cover those two parties. It is pointless to cover all drivers and pay a higher premium if your insurance policy will not cover them in the event of a claim.
These limitation are not removed automatically, so be sure to contact the Customs Authority four years from the date of purchase to remove any restrictions on who is eligible to drive the car. Obviously, it is important to update the car insurance policy at that point too.
It is also important to stipulate in the policy that the car was bought with Aliyah benefits, since the insurance company pays out slightly more in the event of a total loss claim. By doing so, it allows you to get the equivalent value of the car you had (since the insurance company pays a little extra to cover the tax benefits received) with no negative impact on your premium.
An Oleh Chadash has three years to convert their foreign license to an Israeli one BUT can only drive on the foreign license for the first year from the date of making Aliyah. It is not relevant if you have left the country repeatedly during that first year period, the entitlement is calculated from the date of arrival. As a result, car insurance policies will only covers those with a valid driver’s license in Israel. Make sure to check the validity of your driver’s license at least once a year.
With a letter from the previous insurer overseas stating their claims history, an Oleh Chadash will not be considered a new driver, therefore ensuring a lower premium as a result. It is worth contacting your previous insurer in order to receive the claims report prior to requesting a quote for car insurance.
Tips related to Home & Contents Insurance:
In a situation where the tenant has contents insurance and the landlord has structure insurance, a clause can be written into the rental contract called Bitul Se’if Shibuv (cancellation of subrogation clause) at no extra cost to protect both parties and prevent any possibility of being sued for negligence. Before signing your rental contract, make sure to contact an insurance professional to ensure that your contract reflects this and to understand how it can protect you.
Insuring your shipment once it arrives in Israel
It is recommended to be in contact with your insurance agent prior to your Aliyah (or as soon as possible after arrival) to discuss contents insurance in advance of your shipment arriving, as maritime insurance provided by the shipping company is only be valid until delivery of your shipment.
Tips related to Life insurance
Are you covered in Israel?
Prior to making Aliyah, it is worth speaking to an insurance expert about the benefits of maintaining your life insurance policy from abroad. It is highly recommended that you receive written confirmation from the insurer overseas that the coverage will continue once you are a resident of Israel, should you decide to maintain it. It is also worthwhile checking that the policy from abroad covers passive & active war and terror.
Tips related to Health Insurance
Is it worth maintaining your policy abroad?
If you are making Aliyah on a trial basis, you may want to consider maintaining your private health policy abroad to avoid any complications should you return, in the unforeseen event that one develops a medical condition that would be excluded from a new policy. This would also help you when you first arrive, as it can take a few days to activate your Kupat Cholim (Health Service) membership.
Try and research the Kupot Cholim in your new town before you arrive, to get an idea of which offers the best services to members (these can vary city to city).
Consider extending your level of cover
Whilst the Kupot Cholim provide excellent cover, there are certain limitations. Insurance companies offer private health insurance policies to cover the gaps. In order to understand the limitations of the Kupot Cholim and where the private policies can help, it is worthwhile speaking to an insurance professional.
There are a number of good English speaking agents in Israel to ensure that lack of Hebrew should not become an obstacle in dealing with your financial and insurance portfolio. By educating oneself about the policies and options available, an Oleh Chadash can have the cover they need with the understanding they deserve.
To learn more about your insurance options contact us today!