Brexit advice for travellers

Deal or no deal, post-Brexit, flights, cruises, ferries and trains will continue operating from the UK to the rest of the world.  Our advice to travellers and holidaymakers is to continue planning and preparing for your time abroad, whether for business or pleasure.

This week FCO has updated its travel advice to say that the European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC, may no longer be valid after Brexit. It recommends you make sure your travel insurance covers your healthcare needs.

While the Safer Tourism Foundation hopes Brexit will deliver a new approach to holiday healthcare, with clarity around how British travellers can access medical treatment and care abroad, we don’t have any detail of what that might be.

What we do know is that historically, far too many travellers have found themselves with huge medical bills because they assumed the European Health Insurance Card would provide the same level of medical treatment and care they would receive in the UK.  It doesn’t and it won’t once Brexit has happened.

In addition, many travellers mistakenly believed the EHIC would repatriate them if they were ill or injured, and ignored the need for travel insurance leading to a huge number of crowdfunding campaigns when things went wrong.

Our advice

Our advice is to choose the right travel insurance – rather than the cheapest – that covers your personal circumstances and includes:

  • At least £1m of medical cover that includes emergency medical treatment, repatriation, accommodation and travel expenses for a friend or family member to stay with you, and the cost of someone travelling to be with you.  Most policies offer medical cover in excess of £10m, but you need to check the policy to see what the headline number would pay for.
  • Sufficient lost and stolen luggage  protection, that suits your needs and it usually comes with a voluntary excess.  Make sure the policy covers your belongings while out of sight (for example, when in the care of your travel operator) and take a photograph of your suitcase contents as claims often require a list of what is missing as well as the cost of each item.
  • Cancelation cover.  It is important to book holiday insurance as soon as you start booking your holiday as you can never predict when you might need to cancel.  Some insurances exclude Brexit-related activity.
  • Be aware of your travel exclusions which might exclude drinking too much, extreme sports or not disclosing a pre-existing medical condition.

Published on 03/10/19

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