Do I need travel insurance to the UK as an expat?

11:47AM 12/11/2012

Do I need travel insurance to the UK as an expat?

People who have moved abroad will often make a return to the UK to visit friends and family, but there is sometimes confusion as to whether they need travel insurance. Despite the fact that they are living away from the UK, expats are still entitled to treatment on the NHS when they are in the country, leading some to question whether they still need to invest in travel insurance.

However, while travel insurance policies do provide a safety net for medical emergencies, they cover so much more than health. So while the NHS may cover you if you fall ill while in the UK, if you should get your possessions lost or stolen, or have to cancel the holiday, for example, it is your travel insurance policy that will come to the rescue.

Graeme Trudgill, head of corporate affairs at the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA), explained that it is important for expats to invest in travel insurance.

He said: "If something goes wrong it is where you want to be repatriated to that you need to consider. You have got to be registered with a GP if you want to be claiming for NHS services so that is one of the key things to bear in mind.

"If you are registered with a GP or with a Spanish practice that is something to research in respect of where you buy your insurance from, and where you want to be repatriated to."

The expert added that baggage cover can be another necessity for expats.

"If you live in Spain full-time you would just get normal contents cover insurance and you would get travel insurance out there if you are popping back to the UK," he explained.

"But if you are a British person and you are planning to say spend the whole winter in Spain, which might be a nice thing to do compared to staying in the UK all winter, then you get a long-stay single trip policy which would cover those three/four months and it would cover baggage as well."

It is also important to think about cancellation cover, particularly if you live a long way from the UK and are paying a lot for flights and/or accommodation. Travel insurance will cover you if you have problems at the airport, or your holiday should be cancelled for personal reasons. This ensures that you are not left out of pocket on top of having to deal with the disappointment of your holiday being cancelled.

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