There are a range of insurance products designed to protect you whilst abroad and anyone planning overseas travel should carefully consider the insurance cover they might need. In many cases your existing insurance policies will suffice, but it is important to check the small print carefully, as you may think you have adequate cover until the worst happens and you find it is actually quite limited. Check with us at Accident Advice Helpline on your return if you have any doubts about a possible claim whilst you are abroad.
As the UK has a National Health Service you might assume you would be covered for any medical care you need while abroad, but this is not necessarily the case. Travel insurance will often cover medical bills, including repatriation to the UK if needed, but check the small print.
An increasing numbers of insurance providers are excluding more types of accidents; especially those that involve drinking, which means you may not be covered for an accident, even after only a small drink. It is important that you are able to get home, but air ambulances are very expensive and should be included in your insurance, otherwise you may have to remain in a foreign hospital racking up huge medical bills.
If you do have an accident whilst you are abroad, collect evidence of any possible negligence such as photos and keep any receipts for expenses so that you can contact us for advice about a claim for compensation when you get home.
Your home insurance may cover your belongings whilst you are on holiday, so check this before paying for unnecessary additional cover. Make sure your policy covers the full value of your belongings and includes lost luggage. If travelling by plane you should be aware that the airline will rarely pay out for the full value of the contents of your suitcase.Open Claim Calculator
You must take good care of your belongings, as the insurance policy will become invalid if you can be shown to have been careless or negligent, which means you will not be compensated for your losses.
You may also want to include liability insurance in case you are sued for damages and legal expenses to cover the cost of pursuing a legal case abroad. If you do get involved in a claim, make sure you get copies of all the receipts and any documents so that you have evidence which will make it easier for us to help with a compensation claim on your return.
In many instances your existing car insurance will cover you to drive on the continent, but make sure that the cover is actually the same. Around half of the major insurance companies only provide third party cover, the minimum required by the country you are visiting, even if you have fully comprehensive cover in the UK.
In some European countries you still need to carry a ‘green card’ to prove that you have UK insurance. In those where this is not a requirement, a copy of your insurance policy will suffice. You may still decide to obtain a green card, which is available free of charge from your insurer, just in case.
Why insurance cover abroad is so important
Having adequate insurance when you travel is vital; being stranded in a foreign country or having no way to pay medical bills is a terrible situation to be in. It is therefore essential to check your insurance policies carefully before travelling and if you are in any doubt call your insurance company to ascertain exactly what cover you have.
Make sure you are covered for any activities that you intend to become involved in, whether it be driving, jet skiing or parachuting and you will have the peace of mind of knowing that if the worst does happen you will be able to cope.