Freelancing as an Expat | Buying Insurance in Singapore

Freelancing as an Expat | Buying Insurance in Singapore

According to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) annual Labour Force Reports, the number of individuals choosing to freelance has been steadily increasing, with an upward trend from 2016. As technological revolution continues to support the growth of the gig economy, freelancing is not only a hot favourite among the younger generation but also a viable career model of choice for older employees. 

For good reason, freelancing or self-employment has a wide range of benefits. It grants individuals with autonomy over their working hours, power to make decisions and scaling at a rate of growth that’s comfortable for them. However, freelancing as an expat in Singapore becomes a tad trickier as you’d need employment to stay here. That said, self-employment as an option doesn’t become any less attractive. 

What would you need to know – insurance wise – if you are freelancing in Singapore as an expat? Understanding the ground rules around self-employment can be useful here.

For tailored expat insurance solutions in Singapore, contact our team of leading brokers for a chat.


What does being self-employed mean?

Before you can understand what needs to be done, it can be helpful to gather some information around the concept of self-employment here in Singapore. 

A self-employed person has their own business, works for themselves and in the position to realise a business profit or loss. Self-employed persons may be sole proprietors or partners in a business venture. Self-employed persons are hawkers, taxi drivers, sole business owners, digital nomads and real estate managers – among many others.

Individuals are only legally self-employed in Singapore if they are permanent residents or citizens. Following which, they will need to make income tax payments and contribute to their own Medisave accounts. Expats without either of the following – Work Permit, Employment Pass or S Pass – are not allowed to work here. 

Find out about the different passes expats need to work in Singapore here.

There’s two ways around it. Expats freelancing in Singapore can either apply for an Entrepass and incorporate a company here or set up a local business and name a Director – who has to be Singaporean. Though business licensing may not be required for freelancers, some industries may require it. 

Expats can look to this site for more important information relating to self-employment in Singapore

One of the most overlooked aspects of freelancing is having the necessary insurance plans in place to protect yourself and your business. If you are employed by a business in Singapore, it is highly likely that you’ll have employee benefits based on compensation packages set up by your employer. Otherwise, it might be prudent to consider the kind of insurance coverage you may need. 

Why should employers invest in employee medical benefits? Read more here


How does my personal expat health cover differ from an employee medical plan? 

Personal expat health cover plans don’t cover pre-existing medical conditions like employee medical plans do. 

However, with a personal medical plan, you are covered with more benefits than employee group health insurance policies. You’ll be able to scale and add on riders as you please. Plus worrying about coverage for specific illnesses or injuries is not something you need to do. A personal cover – like an outpatient medical insurance or gp insurance can protect you in urgent times. It’s hardly the case that you’ll be found without a source of income should an unforeseen circumstance occur. 

Read more about Income Protection Plans.


What other insurance policies are required for self-employed persons?

Aside from a personal health cover, it’s recommended that you purchase other insurance plans, specifically to protect your business in the event of any mishaps. 

An example would be business interruption insurance or professional indemnity insurance. A good business insurance should cover compensation claims and prevent you from losing the venture you put effort, money and time into building. 

When you have these plans in place, running your business no longer is a point of worry – you can handle with ease and be financially protected.


Find Your Solution with Expat Insurance Singapore

With years of experience, our expertise as leading brokers goes beyond the traditional and standard insurance planning. We offer tailored services and plans because we recognise that there is no one-size fits all solution for the diverse workforce and professionals today. 

Let us help you – we can recommend a solution that best matches your needs as a self-employed professional in Singapore. 

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