When on holiday or travelling it is vital you’re covered by travel insurance so that if anything happens to you while you are away, you will not have to pay for medical treatment. If you don’t have insurance and have an accident, then depending upon which country you are in, your hospital treatment could cost you anything from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands

  • Make sure you apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to ensure you are covered for any accident or illness if travelling within the European Union. You can either apply at your local post office or online
  • It’s very easy to get travel insurance, either on the internet, the Post Office or at many high-street shops and banks. It often doesn’t cost very much and can be bought for as little as £5 for a single journey
  • Check the small print in your insurance document to make sure the company has all the information they need about you and to check exactly what you are covered for. For instance you must make sure you tell your insurer of any previous medical conditions or illnesses that may affect any treatment you are given
  • Always keep the phone number of your insurance company to hand so that you can quickly contact it in case of an emergency

A basic policy should cover you for the following:

  • Cancellation – in case you have to cancel or cut short your holiday
  • Delays – you should receive compensation if your flight is delayed for more than 12 hours
  • Baggage and belongings – you should have cover of up to £1500 in case your bag is lost, stolen or damaged
  • Personal liability (if say for example you injure someone, you should have cover for a minimum of £1 million if you are visiting Europe, and £2 million worldwide)
  • Emergency assistance – many insurance companies offer 24 hour emergency help-lines
  • Medical cover

Make sure your insurance covers you for the entire duration of your trip and for any activities you will be doing. Some activities like jet skiing are not covered in general policies.

Health And Safety

You may find it difficult or expensive to get health treatment in some countries, so it is extremely important to protect yourself against health risks in the country you are going to.

  • Before you leave, make sure you take out reliable travel insurance to cover yourself against injury, this can be something you take out with a travel agent or a separate company. See our Travel Insurance section (link)
  • Check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s directory about the country you are travelling to:uk
  • If you are taking any medication, make sure you have enough supplies to take with you and find out if you can get hold of the medication abroad
  • Apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to ensure you are covered for any accident or illness is covered while you are away.
  • You may need to have vaccinations to protect you against diseases in other countries. Contact your doctor for advice on the injections you will need

Your Safety

  • It is important to consider your safety when in a foreign country. Take advice and be sensible while you are away. Use your common sense and don’t take risks if it involves putting yourself in danger
  • Do as much research as you can before you go. Get a good guidebook to the country, research its laws and customs and speak to others who have stayed in that country
  • Road accidents are one of the greatest health hazards to travellers. The Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) produces comprehensive Road Travel Reports on over 130 countries:Asirt. It might be worth checking the site if you plan on hiring a car or driving during your trip.
  • Be careful with what you eat and drink, particularly in hot countries. If you are in a country where the tap water is unsuitable for drinking, you should always buy bottled water
  • See the Health and Safety section in Living Abroad [link to 3d1 Health and Safety] for more information