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Moving to STJ

Georgiagirl
March 08, 2018 10:37AM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 2

My husband, 9 yr old daughter, & I are moving to STJ in May. We hope. We’re having trouble finding a long-term rental. Also, I’ve seen some references on here to healthcare. Will the individual policies that we currently have in GA cover us in STJ? We won’t have employer health coverage while we’re there. Also, what car insurance companies provide coverage there? One more: trying to decide if we should ship our car or buy one when we get there. My concern is storm damage. How likely are we to find a reliable vehicle on island or are we better off to ship the one we’ve got?

Amy help is super appreciated.

Re: Moving to STJ

fdr
March 08, 2018 12:26PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 1,175

Good day Georgiagirl,

Quote
Georgiagirl
We’re having trouble finding a long-term rental.

People who live on STJ already are having trouble as well. We had a housing shortage before Irma, and it's worse now. There might be more available by May. Have you tried contacting Scenic Properties?

Honestly, it is very tough to find a place on STJ these days, especially if you're not on island. In many cases, rentals you'll hear about from off-island have already been turned down by people locally due to either (a) being overpriced even for our high housing market or (b) having issues that you won't find out about until you move in (e.g., crazy landlord/neighbors, or "quirks" of the unit that range from annoying to unsafe). Also, there are places that are simply never advertised other than by word of mouth, so they never actually "hit the market".

If one of you can come down in person for at least a week to secure housing during the month before you move, that would be money well spent. Usually we see seasonal worker turnover in May-July, but this year nothing is usual, so who knows?

Quote

Also, I’ve seen some references on here to healthcare. Will the individual policies that we currently have in GA cover us in STJ? We won’t have employer health coverage while we’re there.


Check with your current insurer about what they will cover or not for care in the VI, as every plan is different.

You won't be able to renew your GA health insurance if the VI becomes your only legal residence.

If you don't have employer coverage, it's not possible to purchase health insurance privately here like in the states. You can check out Healthcare International and see if that will meet your needs, but it is not the same as real health insurance.

Also factor in the cost of a medical evacuation policy (MASA or SkyMed) if off-island care is needed. If anyone in your family has an accident or life-threatening illness, the expenses can mount quickly.

Quote

Also, what car insurance companies provide coverage there?

If you have a military connection, you can get coverage stateside through USAA that will transfer here. As far as I'm aware, they are still the only off-island insurer. I use Theodore Tunick (part of Marshall Sterling). There are a couple of other insurance brokers on island; you can search archives here or google for names.

Quote

One more: trying to decide if we should ship our car or buy one when we get there. My concern is storm damage. How likely are we to find a reliable vehicle on island or are we better off to ship the one we’ve got?

That depends on what your current vehicle is. If you have a paid-off 4WD vehicle in relatively good shape, bring it. The best vehicle for here according to our local mechanics is a Toyota RAV4.

Unless you buy new from a dealer, the supply of good vehicles on STJ and STT is hit or miss. You might luck into a good car being sold by someone trustworthy who is leaving island, although these sell quickly.

Good luck! It's a bit of a challenging time to move here; what brings you?

Re: Moving to STJ

Georgiagirl
March 16, 2018 11:54AM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 2

We’ve always wanted to live there. Recent unexpected career changes have given us an opportunity to think outside the box & try something completely new. We’ll be working with an international missions organization that sends folks to various disaster-affected areas to provide disaster relief. We’ll be living on STJ & working there to do whatever we can to help whoever needs it, & we’ll also be traveling to Puerto Rico, the other US islands & even some in the BVI if there’s a need. Hopefully, we’ll be a help - that’s our desire.

Re: Moving to STJ

Gator's Mom
March 16, 2018 01:36PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 796

Read your current medical plan to see that, if you use COBRA, you can live outside of GA and keep your policy even though it may only work for an emergency. ACA plans don't work if you become VI residents. COBRA is for max of 18 months and it will be costly.

If long-term health insurance is a true concern and volunteer hurricane relief work in the Caribbean is your path, you might look at relocating to Dominica, St. Martin, or even BVI since you would qualify for global ex-pat health plans because you would be living abroad. There may be individual and family plans available for you as island residents as well.

If you are affiliated with a relief organization, they should be able to advise on how this might work.

Dominica has serious need for assistance.

[reliefweb.int]

Re: Moving to STJ

vicanuck
March 16, 2018 04:44PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 2,262

Quote
Gator's Mom
If long-term health insurance is a true concern and volunteer hurricane relief work in the Caribbean is your path, you might look at relocating to Dominica, St. Martin, or even BVI since you would qualify for global ex-pat health plans because you would be living abroad. There may be individual and family plans available for you as island residents as well.

Actually, if you or your spouse have citizenship from another country(or are a dual citizen) , you can obtain ex-pat insurance in the USVI. There are several providers and the cost is quite reasonable compared the the outrageous insurance rates charged by "local" brokers like Elan.

Re: Moving to STJ

fdr
March 16, 2018 06:44PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 1,175

Quote
vicanuck
Actually, if you or your spouse have citizenship from another country(or are a dual citizen) , you can obtain ex-pat insurance in the USVI. There are several providers and the cost is quite reasonable compared the the outrageous insurance rates charged by "local" brokers like Elan.

Having looked into this extensively about a year ago, I will respectfully disagree on the availability of "reasonable" policies available for purchase today by expats. The Cigna Global plan that you were grandfathered into (they no longer sell expat coverage) sounds like a totally sweet deal.

Re: Moving to STJ

fdr
March 16, 2018 06:53PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 1,175

Quote
Georgiagirl
We’ve always wanted to live there. Recent unexpected career changes have given us an opportunity to think outside the box & try something completely new. We’ll be working with an international missions organization that sends folks to various disaster-affected areas to provide disaster relief. We’ll be living on STJ & working there to do whatever we can to help whoever needs it, & we’ll also be traveling to Puerto Rico, the other US islands & even some in the BVI if there’s a need. Hopefully, we’ll be a help - that’s our desire.

If you can't find housing on St John, maybe you could be based on St Thomas? The housing market here is just super-tight. For instance, someone just listed a one-bedroom apartment for $3,000 per month, no pets. On Craigslist there is the usual assortment of places that no one here will rent for the various reasons I already mentioned (plus a few outright fakes).

The need for disaster relief is much, much greater in the BVIs and Puerto Rico than STJ.

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