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Compare travel insurance for Russia

Compare travel insurance for Russia

Exploring historic cities and artistic monuments are just a few reasons why you might visit the largest country in the world. Read our guide on what you need to know about travel insurance for Russia to find the right deal that will cover you for your trip.

Patrick Ikhena
From the Travel team
4
minute read
posted 2 APRIL 2020

Why do I need travel insurance for Russia?

Travel insurance for Russia can provide financial cover for unexpected costs while you’re away, such as emergency medical assistance.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)^^ isn’t valid in Russia and therefore you’ll be expected to pay for treatment in advance, which you can typically claim back under your travel insurance policy.

It’s important to take out travel insurance when you book your holiday, so that you’re covered if you need to cut your trip short or cancel it altogether due to an emergency, such as a bereavement.

^^UK residents can use their EHIC after the 31 January during the transition phase of the UK leaving the EU. This means that the EHIC can continued to be used in the same way until the 31 December 2020. What happens to the status of the EHIC after the transition phase will be decided as part of the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

On 6 August 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated the list of countries that are exempt from its ongoing advice against all non-essential international travel.

If you choose to travel overseas to a destination where the FCO is advising against non-essential travel at the time of your departure, then your insurance policy will be invalid, and any claim likely to be rejected.

For domestic travel, please check the local public health rules for the destination you wish to travel to within the United Kingdom.

For more information, please see our coronavirus and travel insurance page.

What should my travel insurance to Russia include?

While your trip to Russia should be all about fun and exploration, you should consider getting cover that will protect you against at least some of the below:

  • Medical cover – the cost of medical treatment while abroad can quickly spiral. Getting medical treatment in Russia can run into the tens of thousands of pounds, or even hundreds of thousands, if you require emergency treatment.
  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage and passports – petty crime is as prevalent in Russia as it is in most other countries. Be careful with your possessions to avoid falling victim to pickpockets who operate in main tourist areas like Moscow and St. Petersburg.
  • Cancellations and delays – if your holiday is cancelled, delayed or shortened, you may be able to recover costs. It’s important to check whether your trip is covered by the ATOL scheme. ATOL protection is usually included as standard when purchasing package holidays, however, package trips to Russia are not common. If your trip isn’t covered already, you should consider arranging travel insurance separately.
  • Repatriation – if there’s trouble with the airline, or you need special travel arrangements due to a medical requirement, these costs can be covered in your travel insurance policy.

Russia Travel Insurance Exclusions

While your insurance can provide cover for many of the unexpected costs you might face while travelling in Russia, there may be some exceptions. Here are some of the things to check carefully for in your policy:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions – if you live with a medical condition, you should declare this when purchasing your policy, to avoid risking a potential claim. However, adding pre-existing medical conditions will likely cause your premiums to rise
  • Injuries or accidents resulting from high-risk activities – Russia is popular for several winter adventure sports, including skiing and snowboarding, as well as expeditions to the Arctic Circle. If you’re travelling to Russia on an adventure holiday, check your policy carefully and arrange extra cover if necessary.
  • Incidents related to alcohol abuse – while it’s nice to have a few drinks on holiday, Russia has had a historical association with a strong drinking culture. You should always drink responsibly to avoid injuring yourself or losing something, because, if you’re overly intoxicated, your claim will likely be rejected. You should also be careful to avoid falling victim to having your drink spiked, as there have been recorded incidents of this in Russia. If you do have your drink spiked, this may make claiming on your insurance more complicated.
  • Travel to regions which Foreign and Commonwealth Office have advised to avoid – this may be because of disease epidemics or terrorism threats. The FCO currently advises avoiding travel to Russia in selected areas that are close to the borders of Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan. It’s best to check the latest information available, ahead of travel. FCO advises that the threat of terrorism is likely.
  • Act of God – this includes natural disasters. These are uncommon in Russia, and tend to happen in regions which are less popular with tourists. Russia has been victim to natural disasters including earthquakes, forest fires and flooding.

What else do I need to know when travelling to Russia?

Visa: British passport holders must have a valid visa before travelling to Russia. To apply, your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the date you’re due to enter Russia and contain at least two blank pages.

You’ll also be expected to pay a processing fee and wait up to seven working days for your visa application to be processed.

Passport checks: you should keep your passport with you always, as Russian police do carry out random checks. If you fail to show your passport on request, you may be fined.

Currency: the local currency is the Ruble

Culture: the social norms in Russia can vary from those seen in the UK. Although Russians are friendly and open among friends, it can be deemed as strange to smile at strangers.

Tipping: while tipping is quite common in Russia, it’s only really done as a sign of appreciation, rather than an expectation. At a restaurant, a reasonable tip would be 10% of your bill.

Photography: you should be careful when taking pictures in Russia. Sites of ‘strategic importance’ (which includes airports) prohibit photography. Signs are not always present in these areas, so great care should be taken, as being caught taking pictures can lead to police questioning and even arrest.

LGBTQ: public perceptions of the LGBTQ community in Russia are mixed. While homosexuality isn’t illegal in Russia, there have been incidents of harassment and even acts of violence towards those in the LGBTQ community. Consider your safety when engaging in public displays of affection, as this may attract negative attention.

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