Here’s a short guide to Russian insurance, including tips on car insurance in Russia, travel insurance for a Russian visa, and life insurance in Russia.
Working out what types of Russian insurance you need can be a confusing business, with car and health insurance in Russia the biggest culprits. Here is a guide to help you understand what is needed and what is available. Sections include:
- Overview of insurance in Russia
- Which insurance in Russia is legally required?
- Optional forms of insurance in Russia
- Commercial insurance in Russia
- Tools for comparing insurance in Russia
Overview of insurance in Russia
Insurance is a growing market in Russia. The total assets of insurance companies grew by around 20% in 2018. There were a total of 562 insurance organizations operating in Russia in 2015, including 399 insurance companies, 151 brokers and 13 mutual societies.
The Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) regulates the Russian financial sectors, including insurance. This is according to laws set out in the Russian Civil Code 1996.
There are many different types of insurance available in Russia. However, very few are obligatory and much of the population has little or no insurance.
You can find out more information on insurance companies in Russia in the Expatica business directory.
Which types of Russian insurance are legally necessary?
Compulsory car insurance in Russia has been around since 2003, but it is still unpopular in some quarters. Many elderly drivers claim they are priced out by high premiums, which rose sharply in 2015.
As a minimum, you must insure all vehicles in Russia with at least third-party liability insurance, which covers you if somebody makes a claim for vehicle damage, personal injuries or legal costs against you.
Comprehensive insurance, meanwhile, also protects you against any damage caused to your own car in an accident, or in instances of fire or theft. Because basic third-party insurance coverage is very limited in scope, many expats choose the fully comprehensive protection.
Costs of car insurance in Russia will depend on your policy, level of coverage and driver profile. Basic government-mandated coverage works out at between $65-75 a year.
Social security payments are obligatory for employees and self-employed workers in Russia. However, if you’re working the burden rests on the employer to sort this out. Consequently, unless you are self-employed in Russia, you won’t need to worry about making arrangements.
Social insurance payments in Russia go towards:
- unemployment benefit;
- maternity benefit;
- old-age Russian pensions;
- state healthcare
See more information in our handy guide to social security in Russia.
Optional forms of insurance in Russia
Citizens can use public healthcare in Russia, but it’s vastly oversubscribed and underfunded. There are long waiting times, a lack of comfort and poor quality facilities. In addition to this, very few doctors speak English.
Because of this, many expats take out private healthcare when they move to Russia. You can either take out a private healthcare plan from a provider in Russia (costs vary significantly), or instead take out a specialist expat healthcare plan in your country of origin.
While this can be expensive, it can also provide greater peace of mind. Costs will depend on your health profile and level of coverage required.
International health insurance companies which provide healthcare plans for expats in Russia include:
See more information in our guide to health insurance in Russia.
Although dental care in Russia is free for people under the age of 18, it can be an expensive business for adults.
More than 60% of families in Russia either have a private healthcare plan that includes dental care for their children or have a specialist dental plan with a private provider.
Even if you have private healthcare insurance paid for by your employer, there’s a good chance that it will at best include minimal dental care coverage (for emergency situations). Because of this, it’s worth either taking this cost on separately or seeing if you can expand your healthcare coverage.
Dental insurance premiums in Russia generally fit two categories:
- routine dental treatment, which includes examinations, fillings, root canals and emergency treatment;
- major dental treatment, which covers crowns, dentures and more complicated surgical procedures.
You can read more information in Expatica’s guide to dental care in Russia.
Unlike in some countries, you don’t legally have to get buildings insurance when buying a home in Russia. Consequently, only around 20% of Russians have taken out home insurance.
However, as in other places, your home is likely to be the most expensive thing you ever buy. Consequently, getting a minimum level of home building insurance can be a good idea to have its rebuild costs protected.
Many insurance companies in Russia offer property insurance that covers accidental damage through fire, theft and natural disasters. Costs will depend on property value and level of coverage you require.
Again, you’re not legally obligated to take out contents insurance on your belongings, but there are several reasons why you might want to do so. If you have high-value belongings, are likely to spend a significant time away from your property, or are renting out rooms in your home, a contents insurance scheme could be a wise investment.
Contents insurance can be added onto a property insurance policy, or alternatively it can be taken out as a standalone policy. Similar to building insurance, costs will depend on value of contents as well as risk.
Unemployment and accident insurance
Unemployment and accident insurance are all worth considering for expats moving to Russia. This is because of the paucity of state options on offer.
State unemployment benefits are available to Russian citizens and expats working in the country, but they rarely offer enough to even cover the most basic of living expenses.
You can take out a private policy where, for a small monthly or annual fee, you can make sure that you receive adequate financial support in the event of unemployment or injury.
Life insurance is the most popular non-compulsory form of insurance in Russia, accounting for around 25% of overall premiums. Many firms compete with each other to attract customers, so it pays to shop around if looking for coverage.
Life insurance schemes will usually pay out a lump sum if you die. They are available either within Russia or as packages from international providers in your country of origin. In some cases, your place of work might also offer coverage.
Some private health insurance schemes in Russia cover basic travel insurance, but in the majority of cases you’ll need to take out specialist insurance yourself.
As with elsewhere in Europe, it’s possible to take out single, multi-trip or annual packages, and the standard of coverage. The cost of cover varies significantly based on your personal circumstances and the activities you’re likely to undertake when abroad.
Commercial insurance in Russia
You can get various different types of business insurance in Russia. You can tailor these towards different business sizes, types and sectors. If you are starting a business in Russia, you might want to consider:
- Liability insurance – most businesses will need general liability insurance to protect against claims from third parties. In addition to this, there are other forms available. For example, employers liability and professional liability insurance.
- Property insurance – not compulsory but recommended to protect your business assets. This can cover commercial premises, business equipment and even goods in transit.
- Cyber insurance – this can cover you against cyber fraud, data loss and the consequences of misusing data. Recommended for IT and financial businesses as well as those dealing with large quantities of data.