New Government campaign encourages British people travelling abroad to check their travel insurance cover.

  • New campaign sets out simple steps to avoid invalidating insurance cover
  • Invalid travel insurance could lead to significant costs.
  • Travellers encouraged to check Travel Advice for their destination

As the big summer getaway ramps up with many schools breaking up, the FCDO is urging Brits travelling abroad to make sure they do not void their travel insurance and risk a big bill. A new campaign will guide British travellers on the steps they need to take to make sure their policies cover them on their summer holidays.

Travellers without adequate and appropriate insurance cover could face bills running to tens of thousands of pounds if things go wrong abroad. But a few simple checks can help save travellers unnecessary stress and expense.

The campaign will encourage Brits to:

  • Declare all pre-existing medical conditions ahead of their trip
  • Check their insurance covers planned holiday activities such as water sports
  • Check that the length of their trip does not exceed any time limit in their insurance policy
  • Check their travel insurance includes medical evacuation cover
  • Take a printed copy of their insurance policy away with them and save the insurance company’s 24/7 emergency contact number and their policy number on their phone
  • Share their travel insurance policy details with travel companions and/or family in the UK

Medical bills can be eye-wateringly expensive, if someone is injured or falls ill abroad without adequate insurance cover. The price of surgery for a broken leg in the Canary Islands can be over £10,000, for example, and an accident in Greece requiring surgery and flights back to the UK could result in a bill of £30,000. The FCDO can provide support and assistance for British people who are hospitalised abroad but cannot pay medical bills or for medical evacuation.

Jennifer Anderson, FCDO Director of Consular Services said:

“Arranging appropriate travel insurance is a holiday essential for all Brits heading overseas this summer.

“By taking a few simple steps, travellers can avoid invalidating their insurance and save themselves thousands of pounds in medical bills should things go wrong.

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

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said,

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

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

Louise Clark, Association of British Insurers Policy Adviser, said:

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

It’s important to answer all questions fully and honestly when buying insurance to ensure you have the right cover in place, especially on any pre-existing medical conditions.

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

If you’re unsure about your cover or have any questions, please contact your insurer.”

Travellers are reminded that the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or valid UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gets them state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. However, the GHIC and EHIC do not replace travel insurance and does not cover costs such as bringing the patient back to the UK or additional accommodation costs in-country. Travellers 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 that they would at home.

In addition to checking their travel insurance cover, the FCDO is encouraging travellers to prepare for their trip abroad. The FCDO’s foreign travel checklist sets out the practical steps that Brits need to think about before they head off on holiday, from passport validity to health prescriptions. Holidaymakers are also encouraged to get all the latest info on their destination by checking travel advice on GOV.UK and signing up for e-mail alerts. FCDO travel advice has all the latest info on entry requirements, local laws and customs and health care provision in over 200 countries and territories.

Published 18 July 2023