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Repatriation insurance

What is repatriation insurance?

Jake Edmonds
Written by  Jake Edmonds
5 min read
Updated: 30 Jan 2024

If you have a medical emergency during your holiday, you might need to be brought back to the UK early. This can be very expensive, but repatriation insurance can offer a helping hand.

When the excitement of planning a holiday takes over, it's easy to overlook the potential pitfalls that could transform an adventure into a distressing ordeal. One such pitfall is the possibility of falling seriously ill while abroad. If this happens, you might find yourself in need of repatriation to the UK for medical treatment. Repatriation is the process of returning a person back to their home country for medical care.

Understanding the cost and complexity of repatriation

Repatriation is far from being a simple affair. In some cases, it may involve arranging a specialist air ambulance or coordinating transport from remote areas. The logistics can be incredibly complex and, without a doubt, expensive. Emergency repatriation can cost thousands, if not tens of thousands, of pounds, depending on the circumstances and location. This could include the need for expensive drugs and treatments or a rescue helicopter or air ambulance to bring you back to the UK.

Man with luggage walking through an airport

The role of travel insurance in repatriation

Thankfully, there's no need to purchase a separate 'repatriation insurance' policy. This coverage is typically included in standard travel insurance policies as part of the medical cover. However, it's worth noting that some insurers may list repatriation separately, so it's crucial to read the fine print.

What level of repatriation cover do you need?

When selecting a travel insurance policy, consider the level of medical and repatriation cover it provides. Coverage can range significantly, from £1 million to £10 million, to ensure that all medical treatments and repatriation costs are taken care of. Given the high cost of medical care abroad and emergency transport, choosing a policy with ample coverage is essential. It's a safeguard against the potentially crippling expenses of treatments or emergency transport like rescue helicopters or air ambulances.

Who decides if you need repatriation?

It's not up to you or your travel companions to decide if repatriation is necessary; this decision is typically made by the insurer. They collaborate with a medical assistance company, which, in turn, relies on input from local doctors. A specialist team from the medical assistance company will then determine if repatriation is the best course of action, considering the level of care available locally and whether the patient can be safely transported.

Selecting the right repatriation insurance

While repatriation cover is a standard feature in travel insurance policies, the level of protection varies. It might be worth spending a little more on premiums to ensure you have robust coverage, especially if you find yourself in a situation where repatriation is necessary. In some cases, it might be medically unsafe for you to travel, as judged by a doctor treating you in the country you're visiting.

Finding the right insurance for your needs

To find a travel insurance policy with the appropriate level of cover, using a price comparison site like MoneySuperMarket is highly recommended. Our price comparison tool is quick and easy to use – simply provide a few details about yourself and your trip, and we'll handle the rest. You'll be able to compare hundreds of policies from dozens of insurers – and quickly see how much medical cover you're getting.

The best way to find a travel insurance policy that meets your needs is to start with a clear understanding of what those needs might be. Consider the destinations you're visiting, the activities you're planning, and your own health conditions. Then, use MoneySuperMarket's comparison tool to sift through the options and find a policy that gives you peace of mind.

Repatriation is a safety net that no traveller hopes to use, but having it in place is a testament to prudent planning. As you embark on your next journey, take comfort in knowing that you've taken the steps to protect yourself against the unforeseen. With the right travel insurance, you can focus on making memories rather than worrying about potential medical mishaps. Safe travels!

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