Business travel insurance: why it is needed

Sometimes, employees are required to travel abroad to represent their workplace, be it at an exhibition or to meet a client. In such a scenario, employees need to have the right cover from their employers — it’s an employer’s duty after all, to attend to the safety of their employees for risk of any potential work accident.

It’s important then to understand why business travel insurance is necessary, and what it covers that other insurance policies don’t.

How far does employer’s liability insurance go?

It might seem like employer’s liability insurance covers everything, as it does indeed cover employees for illness and injury on or off-site. But, as Bluefin Professions notes, this isn’t enough to cover everything that could happen when abroad. For starters, employer’s liability insurance doesn’t cover cancelled flights. 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!

Using an EHIC

In terms of replacing the cover provided by business travel insurance, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) isn’t enough. 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.

But an EHIC doesn’t provide cover for other key areas, such as:

  • 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).

The same as with employer’s liability insurance, an EHIC won’t cover for other travel-related issues such as stolen goods or delayed flights.

Coverage from the company’s credit card insurance

Some expenses can indeed be covered through the company’s credit card insurance. Corporate Traveller points out that credit card insurance is often quite basic, with limits surrounding the claim amounts and how long the trip is. Also, as MoneySupermarket points out, while Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act required credit cards to provide protection on purchases above £100 and below £30,000, this is only applicable 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.

Having personal travel insurance

It’s recommended that anyone who is going abroad has personal travel insurance, but in terms of a business trip, it won’t provide cover for everything on its own. 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.

In order to cover various business-specific elements before travelling, taking out business travel insurance is irreplaceable. Be sure to check the different policy details between different insurance provider.

It’s clear then that no other policy, or combination thereof, will provide the same level of protection for travelling employees as business travel insurance does.