Overview of the insurance system in St Lucia
Citizens of St Lucia are eligible for public social benefits provided by the National Insurance Corporation, or NIC. This system has existed since 2000 and is funded by monthly contributions from employers, employees, and the volunteering self-employed. The government of St Lucia contributes as an employer.
NIC provides long-term and short-term benefits such as pay for sickness, maternity, employment injury, retirement, invalidity, survivor, death, and burial.
The system is directly supervised by the National Insurance Board and generally supervised by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Growth, Job Creation, External Affairs and the Public Service of St Lucia.
Health and travel insurance in St Lucia
There is no separate public healthcare system in St Lucia: the existent benefits are provided via the National Insurance Corporation.
The government has been developing the National Health Insurance scheme with the World Health Organisation’s support.
St Lucia has over thirty medical facilities, with three major government-run hospitals. The quality of treatment is often justifiably praised. Most medical staff members are St George's School of Medicine graduates. Students of this celebrated Grenada school complete rotations in US hospitals.
Tourists and other foreigners cannot get free medical treatment in St Lucia. Only citizens or officially employed workers who make NIC payments are eligible.
Public healthcare assistance covered by NIC in St Lucia includes the following services:
- a sickness benefit at 65% of the average insurable earnings;
- an employment injury, with up to ECD 20,000 of medical expenses;
- invalidity not resulting from an employment injury, at 40% of the average pensionable earnings;
- maternity benefit at 65% of the average insurable earnings, with an additional grant of $600.
Private healthcare in St Lucia has an ample infrastructure that has been increasingly upgraded. Most private medical facilities offer a wide array of outpatient and inpatient treatment, from physician consultations and laboratory tests to acute surgeries.
On the downside, treatment prices, while more affordable than in the US or Europe, are not on the lower side. The average cost of a general outpatient visit starts at $100.
St Lucia travel insurance is not mandatory. While foreign visitors, such as tourists or entrepreneurs, are not required to buy health insurance before visiting St Lucia, it is highly recommended. Permanent residents and citizens of the country benefit from paid-for plans as well.
St Lucia COVID restrictions have been abolished for both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, effective February 1st, 2023. Coronavirus cases are currently rare in the country, but they still may happen and can therefore be insured.
COVID-19 insurance with international coverage is usually a part of a comprehensive healthcare policy. When choosing an insurer providing coronavirus liability protection, ensure that their plan covers testing and treating all SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Reasons to get private health insurance as a foreigner or St Lucia resident
Cutting out-of-pocket spending. NIC does not cover more advanced medical services in St Lucia, and doctors will expect immediate payment.
Private insurance covers unexpected and pre-existing condition treatment. This includes consultation, dental and vision care, temporary or permanent disability, rehabilitation, pregnancy and childbirth, mental health disorders, prescription medication, transportation, and inpatient and outpatient care.
A broader choice of quality healthcare services. The insured patient does not have to wait in line for free or more affordable treatment. They can access better options in a private medical centre in St Lucia. Also, their plan may cover healthcare in other countries of the Caribbean or the world, which means more treatment possibilities.
Medical evacuation. In an emergency, a patient will be airlifted from St Lucia to the nearest island with a more extensive emergency care unit. The estimated cost of an air ambulance starts at $10,000, and an existing insurance policy will help with the coverage.
Life insurance in St Lucia
Emergency assistance for accidents or natural disasters will be provided to the victims, regardless if they are citizens, residence permit holders, or tourists. However, only citizens of St Lucia are eligible for subsequent monetary assistance. It will be provided via the National Insurance Corporation.
Survivor benefits are paid to widows, widowers, and dependent children of deceased St Lucia nationals. If the deceased had no family, their elderly parents or grandparents could claim the benefits.
Widows and widowers will receive the following:
- 75% of the deceased’s pension entitlement if they do not have dependent children;
- 50% of the deceased’s pension entitlement if they do have dependent children, with the children receiving another 50%.
Widows under 55 with no dependent children receive a pension for one year. If they have children, a pension is issued until they are either 16 or have graduated high school.
Widows over 55 are entitled to a pension for life as long as they remain unmarried and live independently.
The funeral grant is a lump sum of $2,500. It is paid to a person who handles the funeral of a deceased St Lucia national. The grant can be claimed as soon as a death certificate or a funeral expenses receipt is presented to the NIC.
Property insurance in St Lucia
Title insurance in St Lucia is not mandatory. Moreover, when purchasing a property, real estate experts will diligently examine any possible liens, defects, or encumbrances of a property.
Nevertheless, real estate owners in St Lucia are encouraged to take out voluntary insurance in case of any possible damage to the property. A policy should include events like hurricanes, storms, cyclones, tornadoes, flooding, fires, theft, and vandalism.
The main building structures and outbuildings should be covered, such as swimming pools, guest houses, patios, fences, terraces, garages, and satellite dishes. Property contents, including furniture, appliances, gadgets, and other valuables, should also be protected.
Insurance plans for holiday houses are usually different than those for full-time residencies. Owners need to make sure their policy coverage includes unoccupied periods.
Car insurance in St Lucia is compulsory. The minimum requirement for drivers is third-party liability coverage obtained through a private insurer. The approximate annual payment for a plan like that starts at $1,000. It will cover damages to another vehicle or some type of injury to another person caused by the insured but little else.
The more comprehensive motor vehicle insurance plans cover liabilities such as third-party fire, theft, and vandalism. They also either provide roadside assistance and towing or cover the costs.
Foreign drivers also need to have their vehicles insured: a global or overseas policy will do. Before arriving in St Lucia, car owners should inform their insurer about the trip and clarify the levels of coverage.
Rented cars in St Lucia must be insured as well. Rentals usually provide a Collision Damage Waiver, which is not full-fledged insurance. It will cover inexpensive damage to the car but not liability-related expenses. The waiver will be included in the daily booking fee, adding approximately $10—15 to it.
Upon renting a car in the country, drivers should obtain an insurance policy that covers any vehicle they may operate. Some rentals have upgraded offers such as a Super Collision Damage Waiver or full protection policies that cover serious accidents and personal injuries.
Expat insurance in St Lucia
Foreigners who plan to become temporary or permanent residents of St Lucia are not immediately eligible for any type of government insurance. To change that, they need to either be legally employed in the country or become naturalised citizens and start paying social security contributions.
St Lucia expats can purchase private insurance policies with Caribbean and overseas coverage. There are insurance providers aimed at multiple residency holders: they usually offer long-term plans specifically for expats. Such plans are commonly divided into:
- expat healthcare insurance;
- expat life insurance;
- expat personal insurance.
Some expat plans are more comprehensive; for instance, a single plan can unite healthcare and life insurance. Personal insurance can cover property damage or theft and other loss types.
Investors and other high-net-worth expats can obtain St Lucia passports and travel to the UK or EU without a visa to get healthcare there. Travel medical insurance is not mandatory for visa-free third-country nationals.
Moreover, St Lucia citizens are eligible for a 10-year B-1/B-2 visitor visa to the US. The visa allows receiving medical services there.
How to become a St Lucia citizen by investment
St Lucia government issues passports in exchange for a contribution to the economy. The citizenship by investment program allows getting a second passport in three months. Living in St Lucia is not mandatory.
Investors can choose one of the following options:
- Non-refundable contribution of at least $100,000 to the National Economic Fund of St Lucia.
- Investment of at least $200,000 in real estate.
- Investment of at least $300,000 in government bonds.
- Investment of at least $1,000,000 in a business.
The main applicant can add family members, including their spouse, dependent children under 30, dependent parents over 55, and siblings under 18.
St Lucia citizenship benefits include the following:
- 146 visa-free countries, including the Schengen Area, the UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong;
- enrolling in UK universities on preferential terms since St Lucia is a part of the Commonwealth;
- optimising finances, as St Lucia taxes on income, inheritance, capital за за gains, inheritance, and gifts are not levied;
- registering an international business;
- accessing the international banking system.
In conclusion: what to remember about St Lucia insurance
- St Lucia doesn’t have a separate public health insurance system. Instead, some health-related benefits are covered by the National Insurance Corporation, including sickness, maternity, and employment injury. Only citizens are eligible.
- St Lucia's National Insurance Corporation does not cover tourists and other visitors. They need to pay for medical services out-of-pocket and can save money by purchasing a health insurance policy.
- Private medical and life insurance is also recommended to citizens, including those who got St Lucia citizenship by investment. An international policy that covers services like medical evacuation is the best choice.
- Real estate and title insurance in St Lucia are optional yet recommended. Owners usually protect their property from theft, vandalism, and natural disasters.
- Vehicles in St Lucia must be insured, including rental cars. Third-party liability coverage is a required minimum.
- Private insurers often provide extensive plans for expats in St Lucia and the Caribbeans.
- Citizens of St Lucia can enter the EU and UK without a visa and seek medical treatment there. They can also get visitor visas and get treated in the US. Citizenship of the country can be obtained for investment. St Lucia passport requirements can be fulfilled remotely in this case: applicants submit documents via a licensed agent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, there is a public system, the National Insurance Corporation. It provides social benefits to citizens who make monthly security contributions. Benefits include sickness, maternity, employment injury, retirement, invalidity, survivor, death, and burial payments. This system does not cover foreigners.
While not required by law, it is highly recommended. St Lucia health insurance does not cover foreigners. International medical insurance may not only cover your possible expenses but get faster access to emergency treatment.
Yes, and it is constantly developing. St Lucia has over 30 medical facilities and a wide array of healthcare services. However, the country has no separate public healthcare system, and selective health-related social benefits are provided to citizens only. Expats are recommended to purchase private insurance policies.
Strong storms and rains in St Lucia usually occur between July and December. Hurricanes are very rare in this part of the Caribbean at the southeastern tip of the Hurricane Belt. Most landfalls occur in the northern part of the Belt and the US, not passing through St Lucia.
While the odds are slim, getting insurance for your health, life, and property from any possible hurricane damage is best.