What is Repatriation?

Posted in General Travel Insurance Travel Insurance, Repatriation on 26 May 2022

Repatriation is something holidaymakers tend not to think about when travelling overseas as we would all like to believe that any trip we plan goes ahead without any hiccups. However, many unforeseen accidents and injuries can happen on holiday and in some cases, repatriation is needed in order to get you back to your home country.

This could be for a number of reasons but these include to get you access to medical treatment, following an incident or in the worst possible case scenario, to repatriate your body back home following death. Whilst it is something no one wants to think about or believe could happen to them, it's important to understand what this section of cover means and why it is so important to have when purchasing an extensive travel insurance policy.

As we get older and in some cases develop medical conditions, the potential need for medical treatment abroad can arise more frequently. That is why in this article, Able2Travel Travel Insurance explains what repatriation is, when it may be needed and why it is important to ensure you are covered for this on any upcoming trip.

What is Repatriation?

Repatriation is the act of returning someone to their country of origin (Merriam-Webster, 2022). In terms of travel insurance, this usually relates to requiring access to emergency medical treatment.

Why Would I Need Repatriation Cover?

The emergency medical assistance team of your travel insurance policy may decide that it is better for you to be repatriated back to your home country rather than stay and receive treatment in the country you are in. This could be for a number of reasons but it may be that the country you are visiting lacks the medical facilities to provide the care you need. Equally it may be decided that repatriation may be the better option, in terms of treating you via the NHS, rather than incurring expensive medical bills overseas.

Unfortunately, the cost of repatriation isn't cheap. Should you need to return back to the UK for emergency medical care or following emergency medical care, the cost of this can easily be in the tens of thousands of pounds, with you paying the bill if you don't have a travel insurance policy that provides cover for repatriation.

In 2017, the Association of British (ABI) Insurers reported that the average cost of an air ambulance from Spain is £25,000 and that figure is likely to have increased since then. 

Should you need to be transported home following a medical issue abroad, the reason the costs are so high for repatriation is because you may require a medical chaperone (for example a nurse or a doctor), a specialist air ambulance fitted with medical equipment and costs to cover your treatment and hospital stay. 

In some cases it might be medically unsafe for you to travel. This is usually judged by a doctor treating you in the country you’re visiting. The final decision is ultimately down to the emergency assistance provider as to whether or not it is medically necessary to be repatriated or if there is another solution available.

It is also worth considering that if you are traveling to a European country and have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), neither of these provide cover for repatriation and so should not be considered as an alternative to travel insurance. Furthermore, It is also important to consider that the British Embassy or High Commission will not pay for any medical expenses or repatriation costs.

The repatriation section of cover provides comfort, peace of mind and confidence with traveling that should the unexpected happen and even in the worst case scenario, death, you can safely be returned to your home country without receiving hefty medical bills.

Travel Insurance cover with Able2Travel Travel Insurance

When you do decide to travel, it’s important not to forget to buy your travel insurance. Able2Travel Travel Insurance policies include cover for the following:

  • Three levels of Travel Insurance Cover to meet your needs and budget.
  • Emergency Medical Expenses up to £10,000,000 (including repatriation)
  • Cancellation or Curtailment up to £5,000.
  • Missed Departure up to £1,000.
  • Personal Baggage up to £3,000.
  • And much more…

Specifically relating to Covid-19, Able2Travel can help offer cover against:

Cancellation / Curtailment – protection is in place should you receive a positive test result within 14 days of departure or if you are admitted to hospital due to testing positive to Coronavirus (Covid-19) after the purchase of your policy.

Emergency Medical Expenses – should you unexpectedly contract Covid-19 symptoms or receive a positive test result whilst on holiday, Able2Travel can help cover your emergency medical expenses so long as the FCDO has not advised against ‘all travel’ or ‘all but essential travel’ to your intended destination.

So, if you are planning on travelling overseas, it’s important to ensure you're protected with a suitable and extensive travel insurance policy from Able2Travel. You can get an Able2Travel Travel Insurance quote by clicking here or by calling our helpful team on 01483 806 826.

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