Insurance might not be the most fun thing about going abroad, but it’s certainly one of the most important! It’s vital that you’re covered for any eventuality when travelling, especially if you’re away on work. Just as the purpose of your business travel differs than for personal travel, so too must your preparations.

With a duty of care to consider, employers have to do everything reasonably possible to keep their employees safe, or risk work accident claims against them. This is regardless of whether employees are conducting their work in the office or halfway around the world — a duty of care still stands.

Doesn’t employer’s liability insurance cover my travelling employees?

Employer’s liability insurance does cover your employees for injury or illness on or off-site. But, as Bluefin Professions notes, this isn’t enough to cover everything that could happen when abroad.

Consider, for instance, that employer’s liability insurance doesn’t cover the cost of a cancelled flight. It doesn’t cover all medical costs, nor does it provide any support with repatriation costs. If nothing else, flights and travel bookings get delayed or cancelled quite frequently – it’s worth getting business travel insurance just for that!

My employee is heading to Europe. Will an EHC be enough cover?

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is definitely advised if you’re heading to Europe. But it isn’t enough on its own. This is because an EHIC has certain limitations. As stated on the NHS website, an EHIC will cover:

  • The right to access state-provided healthcare during the visit. This is often free, or at least at a reduced cost.
  • Treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition should it be needed during the visit.
  • The provision of oxygen and kidney dialysis, but these must be pre-booked before the trip. If a private provider is booked, however, this isn’t covered.
  • Routine medical care for people with pre-existing conditions that need monitoring.

Keep in mind that an EHIC won’t cover you for:

  • Private medical healthcare.
  • Private medical costs such as mountain rescue at ski resorts.
  • Being flown back to the UK.
  • Treatment on cruises.
  • Lost or stolen property.
  • Medical expenses if travelling abroad specifically for treatment.
  • Some parts of the EEA (European Economic Area).

And again, it still doesn’t cover any non-medical work trip problems, such as cancelled flights or theft.

I can just claim back through my company credit card, right?

Your company’s credit card insurance can indeed cover for some expenses, but again, it’s not enough on its own. Corporate Traveller points out that credit card insurance is often quite basic, with limits surrounding the claim amounts and how long the trip is.

MoneySupermarket also points out that, while Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act required credit cards to offer protection on purchases above £100 and below £30,000, this is only valid on purchases where there is a direct transaction from you, the credit card supplier, and the supplier. If this chain is broken at any point, such as by a third party, then the purchase may not be covered. Such third parties include travel agents or a third-party payment processor.

My employee has their own personal travel insurance. Do I still need to take out business travel insurance?

It’s a good idea for your employee to have their own insurance, but it still won’t cover the full scope of business travel specific needs. For example, business travel insurance can come with the following:

  • Cover for business equipment, such as laptops.
  • If an employee is not able to attend a meeting or conference, the business travel insurance can cover for another colleague to be flown out as a replacement attendee.
  • Cover for business money. If large amounts of the company’s money needs to be taken on the trip, business insurance cover can cover for it being lost or stolen.

As you can see, business travel insurance covers some critical aspects, such as equipment and money. Be sure to check the different policy details between different insurance provider.

If you have employees who travel frequently on behalf of the company, business travel insurance is absolutely necessary.