Brits urged to check their travel insurance policy before heading out for their holidays

  • The new campaign outlines simple steps to avoid voiding your insurance coverage
  • Incorrect travel insurance can lead to significant costs.
  • Travelers are encouraged to check travel advisories for their destination

As the big summer break escalates with many schools breaking up, FCDO is urging Brits who go abroad to make sure they don’t invalidate their travel insurance and risk big bills. A new campaign will guide British travelers on the steps they need to take to ensure they are covered on their summer holidays by their policies.

Travelers without adequate and appropriate insurance coverage could face bills running into tens of thousands of pounds if things go wrong abroad. But a few simple checks can help save travelers unnecessary stress and costs.

The campaign will encourage the British to:

  • They declare all pre-existing medical conditions before their trip
  • Check that their insurance covers planned vacation activities such as water sports
  • Ensure that the length of their trip does not exceed any time limit on their insurance policy
  • Check that their travel insurance includes medical evacuation coverage
  • Take a printout of their insurance policy away with them and keep the insurance company’s 24/7 emergency contact number and their policy number on their phone
  • Share their travel insurance policy details with traveling companions and/or family in the UK

Medical bills can be very expensive, if someone gets injured or sick abroad without adequate insurance coverage. Surgery for a broken leg in the Canary Islands can run the price of more than £10,000, for example, and an accident in Greece requiring surgery and flights to the UK could result in a bill of £30,000. FCDO can provide support and assistance to British people who are hospitalized abroad but who cannot pay medical bills or medical evacuation.

Jennifer Anderson, FCDO Director of Consular Services said:

“Arranging the right travel insurance is an essential holiday for all Brits heading abroad this summer.

“By taking a few simple steps, travelers can avoid having their insurance invalidated and save thousands of pounds in medical bills if something goes wrong.

“Having travel insurance that meets your needs can make all the difference and allow you to relax and enjoy your vacation.”

Mark Tanzer, CEO of ABTA, said:

“If you’re going on holiday this summer, it’s really important to get travel insurance and make sure it provides the right cover for your trip – including what activities you’re planning, and any health conditions you may have.

“You can also insure cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances, but not all insurance covers this, so it is essential to check the exact terms of your policy.”

Louise Clarke, policy advisor to the Association of British Insurers, said:

Travel insurance can provide vital protection and peace of mind when vacationing abroad, especially against any costs associated with needing emergency medical treatment.

It is important to answer all questions completely and honestly when purchasing insurance to ensure you have the appropriate coverage, especially for any pre-existing medical conditions.

Policies will vary, so understand what will or won’t be covered and buy the cover that best suits your needs – not just based on price.

If you are unsure of your insurance coverage or have any questions, please contact your insurance company.

Travelers are reminded that the UK’s GHIC or valid British European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles them to state health care in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge. However, GHIC and EHIC do not replace travel insurance and do not cover costs such as returning the patient to the UK or additional accommodation costs within the country. Travelers should also remember that the level of free public healthcare can vary between countries, so British nationals may not have access to the same specialist treatment they might get at home.

In addition to checking their travel insurance cover, FCDO encourages travelers to prepare for their trip abroad. The FCDO’s Overseas Travel Checklist outlines practical steps Brits need to consider before they head out on holiday, from passport validity to prescriptions. Vacationers are also encouraged to get the latest information on their destination by checking travel advice on GOV.UK and signing up for email alerts. FCDO Travel Advice contains the latest information on entry requirements, local laws and customs, and health care provision in more than 200 countries and territories.

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