Travel insurance and repatriation

What happens if you suffer a serious illness or injury while you’re abroad and you need to come home? If you have travel insurance, the costs may be covered by your policy. Let’s take a look.

What happens if you suffer a serious illness or injury while you’re abroad and you need to come home? If you have travel insurance, the costs may be covered by your policy. Let’s take a look.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
2
minute read
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Posted 01 FEBRUARY 2021

What is repatriation cover?

Repatriation cover can offer protection against the high cost of bringing you (or a family member) home after illness, injury or death suffered while abroad. It may be necessary to transport you home because you can’t get the appropriate treatment where you are, or because it will work out cheaper (for the insurance provider) to bring you home and complete your treatment in the UK.

Travel insurance policies typically provide up to £10 million of cover for repatriation. This reflects the high costs of bringing you home on a private plane, for example, and for the extra costs of any specialist equipment and medical treatment.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.

If a country is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

Does travel insurance cover repatriation?

Repatriation insurance is included as standard in most travel insurance policies. There will typically be a section, sometimes called the ‘Key Features’, where you can see the list of circumstances where a travel insurance provider will offer repatriation.

The high levels of cover represent the realistic costs of repatriation, especially from remote locations and places where costs are relatively high. If, for any reason, you want more cover than is provided as standard, you can shop around for a policy with higher limits.

What else should I think about when it comes to repatriation?

Once you’ve found the right policy, make sure you keep your provider’s details with you in case you need to get in touch with them during your trip.

The UK government has advice on coping with a death abroad if the worst happens to a loved one while you’re away.

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