Travel insurance with repatriation

Compare travel insurance companies that cover repatriation costs if you are unable to get home as planned.

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Last updated: 10 February 2021

How to find the best repatriation insurance

All travel insurance policies should include repatriation insurance as standard. So you shouldn’t need to search for specific travel insurance with repatriation.

Instead, your focus should be on what else you need when looking for the best policy. For example:

But you should also look at what medical cover you get with each policy, as that's where repatriation insurance comes in.

Here’s everything travel insurance should cover.

What is travel insurance with repatriation?

Repatriation is when someone is returned to their own country.

Travel insurance repatriation is when the cost of being returned to the UK from wherever you are in the world is covered by your insurance policy. This could be extremely helpful if you fall ill or are badly injured while you’re abroad.

In most cases, if you are ill or injured while abroad, you’ll get treatment and carry on with your holiday. But, if it’s something more serious, you may have to stay in hospital and miss your flight home.

You can use repatriation cover if you miss your departure flight due to illness or injury and have to return on a different flight. You can also use it if you’re taken back to the UK by air ambulance or a private plane following a serious accident.

One member of your party will usually be able to stay with you and travel home with you. Your insurance will usually also cover boarding and expenses for this person.

Knowing you have repatriation travel insurance to rely on in a medical emergency can give you peace of mind and confidence to travel. It prevents you from receiving hefty medical bills.

Where can I see what level of repatriation insurance I’m getting?

Repatriation insurance is usually covered under medical expenses. Check the details on your policy to be sure of what you’re getting.

All too often, people don’t realise just how important repatriation insurance is. They usually come to realise when they find themselves in an unfortunate and worrying situation abroad.

How much travel insurance repatriation cover do I need?

Because repatriation can be expensive, you should look for a minimum of £1 million of repatriation insurance cover. To give you complete peace of mind, you might choose to go for a better policy which offers around £10 million of cover or more.

Repatriation isn’t always as simple as hopping on a different flight. If you come home by air ambulance or a private plane, or have to be brought back from a remote destination, the costs can quickly mount. You’ll need a medical escort too, which adds to the cost.

The cost of specialist transport can be higher than you might think. A rescue helicopter, for example, can cost a small fortune. Plus, medical treatment and drugs abroad can be eye-wateringly expensive.

Because we are so protected buy the NHS system in the UK, we’re often unaware of just how much medical treatment costs.

The more cover you have, the less you’ll have to pay to foot the bill if you have a medical emergency while abroad.

How can I find the best repatriation travel insurance?

You don’t need to find special repatriation travel insurance because it’s included in all travel policies. But be aware that the level of cover varies a lot between policies.

The focus shouldn’t be on finding a cheap policy, but on finding the right policy at the best price. It’s usually worth spending a little extra to get the cover you’d need if the worst happened while you were away.

Compare travel insurance policies quickly and easily by sharing a few details about yourself and your plans. You’ll receive quotes which detail both the price and how much medical cover you’re getting. Then you can feel safe knowing you’d have enough insurance if the need for repatriation arose.

Who makes the decision to repatriate a patient?

If you fall ill or get badly injured while you’re away, you’ll have to get in touch with your insurer to discuss repatriation. Your insurer will offer a 24/7 emergency helpline and repatriation service, so you can get help whenever you need it, wherever you are.

They’ll also appoint an English-speaking medical assistance company to liaise with you and your doctors. This company will have a specialist team which decides whether it’s better to leave you where you are or repatriate you.

The medical assistance company will look at what kind of care is available to you where you are, and what the facilities are like. They’ll also talk to your doctors about how safe it is for you to travel while ill or injured. They’ll use all this information to decide on the best course of action and make a call as to whether to repatriate you and when.

In some cases, you’ll be repatriated immediately after you fall ill or become injured. It all depends on the circumstances and what level of repatriation insurance is included within your policy.

Don’t forget to take details of your travel insurance policy with you when you travel abroad.

Does my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) cover repatriation?

No, it doesn’t. While your EHIC is still valid until 31 December 2020, it does not cover you for the cost of repatriation. It should not be seen as a replacement for travel insurance – you will definitely need both.

Will repatriation insurance stand if I catch Covid-19 while I’m abroad?

It depends where you’re travelling to. Check the current Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice for your destination. If the FCDO is not recommending non-essential travel at the time of your departure, your insurer will likely not pay out if you make a claim.

If you have a pre-existing condition, you can still get a quote through Money.co.uk. These conditions could include cancer, stroke, serious heart, respiratory and terminal conditions.

Some insurers might not cover you if you already have a serious medical condition, or if you have a number of conditions. Others might only offer insurance at a much higher price. If you're unable to find suitable cover, the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has also set up a directory of insurers willing to cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions.

You can contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) or you can telephone 0800 138 7777.

Travel insurance with repatriation FAQs

It can cover the cost of an emergency journey back to the UK if you are seriously ill or injured while on holiday.

Yes, but not all insurers will cover you and those that do may charge you more. Here is how to find cover with pre-existing conditions.

No, because it is designed to get you back to the UK from overseas. It can still be worth getting travel insurance for a UK holiday, find out more here.

No, but without it medical treatment abroad can cost you tens of thousands of pounds or more.

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