Does my travel insurance cover medical repatriation?

Repatriation is the safe return home of someone who’s fallen ill while abroad. All standard travel insurance policies cover repatriation, so you don’t need specific repatriation insurance.

However, your payout will depend on your level and type of travel insurance; basic travel insurance won’t pay out as much as premium travel insurance. Your payout may also be limited by a pre-existing condition, or if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when you became ill or injured.

So, what do you do?

Travel insurance

Get in touch with your insurance company

If you are considering repatriation, it’s best to get in touch with the Emergency Assistance services at your insurance company to discuss your options. Your situation will be assessed in detail by a specialist team at the travel insurers, and they may agree to cover some or all of the repatriation costs.

What if I don’t have enough insurance to cover repatriation?

After assessing your situation, your insurance company may initially say that they won’t cover you for repatriation, perhaps because they think that your medical condition isn’t critical, or that local medical care in adequate. Sometimes they feel that travelling can wait until the patient is a bit better. However, you may prefer an immediate return to your home country where medical treatment may be superior, and you’re in a familiar environment and closer to loved ones. In this situation, contacting us at EMS is a good idea. As fully qualified medical practitioners, we can assess both your situation and the quality of the healthcare that you’re receiving, and whether you could be better treated in your home country. If it is safe to bring you home, we can act immediately – often the same day.

Your insurance company may still pay part or all of the repatriation cost after being presented with an invoice, depending on your insurance and situation.

Can EMS help me?

I don’t have any travel insurance

Yes, EMS can help you if you don’t have any travel insurance. We act independently to travel insurers, and as long as it is medically safe, we can bring you home, wherever you are in the world. 

If you contact us, our team of highly qualified medical practitioners will assess you in person and make a decision about whether you can to be brought home, and what the best means of transportation might be. We can act immediately to reunite you with your loved ones at home.

Does my European Health Insurance Card cover repatriation?

EU residents have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which gives them the right to state-provided healthcare during a stay within the European Economic Area or Switzerland. The EHIC covers medically necessary treatment on the same basis as residents of that country. 

However, the EHIC does not cover repatriation or private healthcare costs, and it’s not valid on cruises. This means that EU residents also need to have travel insurance to be covered for repatriation services.

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