Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

Travelling is an adventure that no one wants to see interrupted by sickness or an accident. Yet, surprisingly, many individuals from the UK set off on international trips without the safety net of comprehensive travel insurance, often underestimating the risks involved.

Imagine this: You're basking in the delights of your holiday when, out of nowhere, an illness or injury abruptly halts your journey. Suddenly, you're faced with the stress and cost of an emergency trip back to the UK.

However, there's a bright side. Most well-rounded travel insurance policies come with medical expense cover and repatriation. In such unfortunate situations, you won't be left stranded. You'll have the support and medical care you need, even miles away from home.

Choosing travel insurance that covers medical expenses and repatriation isn't just wise; it's a sign of responsible planning. It offers you tranquillity, knowing that you're prepared for the unexpected. So, before you dive into your next adventure, make sure you're protected with the right travel insurance to safeguard against any unforeseen difficulties.

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What is Repatriation Cover?

Repatriation cover is a crucial element of your travel insurance, essential for your safety and well-being if a severe illness or injury requires you to return to the UK. It ensures not only a protected journey home but also offers comprehensive support, covering the expenses of a family member who may need to join you overseas for your treatment and recovery.

Moreover, repatriation cover takes on additional significance in the unfortunate circumstance of a loss, providing essential financial protection against the hefty expenses incurred in transporting a body back to the home country. The organisation and costs associated with such a process can be overwhelming, and having repatriation cover in place relieves the bereaved family from the financial burden and complexities of arranging international repatriation.

As an integral part of your medical cover within your travel insurance, repatriation cover is supported by a dedicated team of medical professionals, who are specialists in their field. These experts are tasked with assessing your health condition in the event of an emergency to determine the most suitable course of action. They meticulously evaluate whether it is in your best interest to be repatriated to the UK for treatment or if continuing medical care abroad is advisable. Their decision is based on a myriad of factors, including the nature of the illness or injury, the standard of healthcare available in the country, and the potential benefits of receiving medical care in familiar surroundings.

For instance, repatriation to the UK might be necessary if:

  1. The essential treatment or care level is unavailable in your current location.
  2. A prolonged recovery period is anticipated, which would be better managed back home.
  3. The cost of receiving treatment locally is prohibitively expensive.

The inclusion of repatriation cover in your travel insurance policy underscores a commitment to comprehensive protection, ensuring that you and your loved ones have peace of mind when you are away from home. It highlights the importance of being prepared for any eventuality, offering a safety net that covers not just medical expenses but also the complex logistical and financial aspects of international repatriation.

Do I Need Repatriation Cover?

The concept of the unexpected is inherently linked to its unpredictable nature, and while the event of needing medical repatriation is an exceedingly rare occurrence, the decision to ensure you have adequate protection is not just smart, it's crucial. The real significance of such preparation isn't just a matter of procedural readiness; it's fundamentally about safeguarding against the potential financial burdens that the process of repatriation can impose on individuals and their families.

This concern often extends far beyond the simple need to secure an early flight back home. In more severe and complex scenarios, it may necessitate an intricate process involving medical evacuation via air ambulance or a specially equipped private plane from a remote or inaccessible area. Imagine, for instance, the daunting challenge of experiencing a serious medical emergency while aboard a cruise ship in the middle of the vast and endless ocean. Under these extraordinary circumstances, the task of coordinating medical repatriation becomes not only exceedingly difficult but also incredibly expensive.

Securing comprehensive insurance that specifically includes medical repatriation provides invaluable peace of mind, ensuring that, regardless of the situation, you will receive the essential care and support necessary during a time of crisis. It's about being fully prepared for the unforeseeable, with robust financial safeguards in place for any emergency medical situations that might arise. This kind of preparation goes beyond mere caution; it's a critical aspect of responsible travel and personal safety. In an unpredictable world, having such measures in place ensures that you and your loved ones can travel with confidence, knowing that you're protected against a wide array of potential emergencies.

Does Travel Insurance Include Repatriation as Standard?

Fortunately, most standard travel insurance policies include cover for a wide range of incidents, making them invaluable for travellers. However, it's always a prudent step to double-check and ensure that your specific needs are covered. Typically, this type of protection is meticulously outlined alongside medical cover within your policy documents, though it's common for some insurance providers to list it as a separate item for clarity and ease of understanding.

Moreover, for individuals with specific needs, such as those travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, opting for specialised travel insurance designed to cover these conditions is highly recommended. These specialised policies often provide much broader medical-related protection. This not only includes covering medical expenses that may arise due to the pre-existing condition but also encompasses repatriation costs, should the need arise. Securing this enhanced level of cover ensures that travellers can enjoy their journeys with a significantly greater degree of peace of mind, knowing that they are comprehensively protected against a wide array of potential medical and travel-related contingencies.

While the primary goal of travel insurance is to safeguard against unforeseen events and circumstances, the added layer of protection offered by policies that cover pre-existing medical conditions can be particularly reassuring. Whether you're exploring new destinations or revisiting your favourite spots, having the right insurance policy can make all the difference in how you experience your travels.

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What is Usually Included within Repatriation Cover?

Remember, not every insurance policy covers the same things. Specifically, repatriation cover is something you don't want to overlook because it comes packed with benefits that can make a world of difference:

  • It takes care of getting you back home safely and without a financial headache once you're medically okay to travel. There is no need to stress over arranging costly transport back.

  • It often covers the stay and travel costs for someone to be there with you. Having a friend or family member by your side during recovery? Priceless.

  • Some insurers even manage all the travel arrangements for you. Imagine not having to worry about booking flights or accommodations when you're not at your best. Talk about a load off your mind!

  • Another benefit is the 24/7 emergency helpline. Help is just a call away, anytime, anywhere, which is reassuring when you're in a bind.

  • In the sad event of a death, this cover also manages the costs of bringing the deceased back home, which is one less thing for the family to worry about during such a tough time.

However, be mindful of the exclusions, like pre-existing medical conditions, which many standard policies might not cover. To make sure you're fully covered, especially if you have specific medical needs, a bespoke policy might be the way to go. Without the right cover, you could find yourself without the protection you need, exactly when you need it most.

Taking the time to really dig into your policy's fine print can save you from headaches later. Whether it’s a quick trip or a long haul, the right repatriation cover gives you peace of mind and lets you focus on the good stuff, like enjoying your travels and getting better if you're sick.

How Much Repatriation Cover Do I Need?

Navigating the world of medical repatriation can be daunting, especially when you're faced with the possibility of returning home for medical care from abroad. It's a process that, without a doubt, can come with a hefty price tag. That's why diving into the specifics of your insurance policy is more than a wise move—it's crucial. You'll want to make sure that, in the event of an emergency, you're covered adequately.

Thankfully, the world of travel insurance is one step ahead. Recognising the paramount importance of medical repatriation - many policies now offer a starting point of £1 million in cover. This amount is designed to cushion you against a wide array of costs, from your medical bills overseas to the repatriation process itself. And for those looking for even greater peace of mind, there are options out there offering upwards of £10 million in cover.

The thought of needing protection that stretches into the millions might seem a bit much. But consider this: emergency medical care and repatriation services, especially from foreign lands, can be prohibitively expensive. Opting for high levels of cover, means not just addressing the medical bills but also covering the logistical aspects of repatriation. This includes everything from specialised medical flights to coordinating with medical facilities at home and abroad.

Choosing a travel insurance policy with robust medical repatriation isn't about safeguarding your finances. It's about granting yourself the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're well-protected against unforeseen medical emergencies while abroad.

Who Decides if I Need to be Repatriated?

Having the right insurance provider is key when it comes to making decisions about potential repatriation. They team up with a medical assistance company, creating a bridge for direct talks with the medical pros looking after you. This teamwork is crucial. It ensures a full check-up of your health, diving into details about your illness and the treatments you need, paving the way for a well-thought-out decision.

Also, whether you'll be flown back home largely depends on the medical setup and resources of the country you're in. If the local medical facilities aren't up to par, that might mean you need to be moved elsewhere for treatment.

Keep in mind, that there are times when, regardless of what you or your loved ones prefer, you might not be fit to travel. This call is made after a careful look at your health and considering the risks of moving you. This step is crucial, ensuring that your well-being and safety are always top priorities in the decision-making process.

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Can You Get Repatriation Cover with a Pre-Existing Medical Condition?

Yes, just like any standard travel insurance policy, a specialist policy designed to cover pre-existing conditions should certainly include cover for repatriation. This is a critical feature that ensures if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to be safely transported back to your home country due to any pre-existing conditions, you can rest assured knowing that your insurance policy will take care of the costs associated with repatriation.

It's crucial to emphasise the importance of declaring any pre-existing conditions when purchasing travel insurance. This act of transparency is not just a mere formality; it's a vital step in ensuring that you are fully protected. Failure to disclose these conditions to your insurance provider can lead to serious consequences. For instance, if you require repatriation because of an undeclared pre-existing condition, the likelihood is that you won’t be covered for any of the associated costs, leaving you in a potentially difficult and expensive situation.

READ MORE: Which Medical Conditions Do I Need to Declare?

Moreover, it's worth noting that repatriation in the context of pre-existing conditions not only covers the costs of transportation but also ensures the provision of appropriate medical care during the journey back home, if necessary. This aspect is especially important for travellers with specific health needs, as it guarantees that they receive the right support and care in the event of an emergency.

To ensure peace of mind, it's recommended that you be transparent and upfront about any pre-existing conditions from the very beginning. Doing so can avoid any unpleasant surprises and ensure that your travel insurance meets all your health and safety needs. This level of preparedness allows you to enjoy your travels to the fullest, with the confidence that you are fully supported by your insurance policy, no matter where you are in the world.

What Should You Expect if You Need Repatriation?

If you or someone close to you needs to be brought back home due to illness or injury while away on holiday, it's key to know that the medical assistance team has the final say. They work closely with your travel insurance to make sure you're safe.

The process begins with a discussion between the medical team and your overseas doctor to comprehensively understand your health condition. This crucial step ensures they grasp your needs following an illness or injury while abroad.

Following this, they meticulously plan the most effective method for your return. They consider various factors – your medical status, the urgency of your return, and the distance involved. In some cases, you might be arranged to travel on a commercial flight equipped with necessary medical support, if required.

But if it's a bit more complicated, like the commercial flight won't cut it because of your condition, they might go for something more specialised. Think air ambulance with all the medical gear needed for your care during the trip, or a private plane set up to make sure you're comfortable and safe.

The bottom line is, they're making these decisions with your best interest in mind. The medical team, along with your travel insurance, are all about making sure you get back home safely and soundly. They've got your health and well-being as their top priority and will do what it takes to make sure you're taken care of.

Where Can I Get the Best Deal on Repatriation?

When it comes to travel insurance policies, it's crucial to keep in mind that not all of them offer the same levels of cover for medical repatriation. This is an important consideration when comparing different insurance options.

To have peace of mind during your travels, you may find it worthwhile to pay a slightly higher premium to ensure you receive the best possible protection. Your well-being and safety should always be a top priority.

At Medical Travel Compared, we make it easy to compare quotes from a wide range of travel insurance providers who offer medical repatriation cover. We understand the importance of finding the right policy that suits your specific needs so that you can travel with confidence and reassurance.


Understanding the nuances of medical repatriation and ensuring you have the right cover in place before setting off on your travels is paramount. It's not just about having travel insurance; it's about having the right kind of travel insurance that acknowledges and covers your unique health needs, especially when pre-existing conditions are involved.

By being transparent with your insurance provider and choosing a policy that includes comprehensive medical repatriation, you're not only protecting yourself financially but also ensuring that in the event of an emergency, your health and safety are prioritised. Medical Travel Compared is here to help you compare and find the best deal on travel insurance with medical repatriation cover, offering peace of mind so you can focus on enjoying your travels, knowing you're fully prepared for any situation that might arise.

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Single Trip insurance is for one-off, individual trips and will cover your specified travel dates. This is usually up to 45 days; however, some insurance providers can cover up to 94 days. If you’re not a frequent traveller, single trip cover is a great option and will likely be cheaper than an annual multi-trip cover.

If you travel 2 or more times a year, annual trip cover may very well save you money. The maximum duration of any trip will always be specified and will vary by provider. But don't worry, when you get a quote, we'll ask you what your maximum trip length is and only show you quotes that match!

If you don't travel much then a single trip cover is perfect as you can cover specific dates suited to your trip. If you have cancellation cover, you'll also benefit from this as soon as you buy your policy.

If you travel 2 or more times a year, it may be cheaper for you to go for an annual multi-trip cover. It's best to start your annual trip cover as soon as possible, as if you have cancellation cover, you'll only benefit from this from your policy start date.

A pre-existing is any medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received before applying for a travel insurance policy. For some conditions, we'll need to know if they have ever been present, whilst for others if they occurred within a certain period.

A pre-existing condition is a diagnosed medical condition that existed before taking out a policy. We'll ask a series of questions about the medical history for you and any travellers on your quote. If you answer yes to any of these, you will need to tell us about the traveller's conditions. This could be a condition that a traveller has now or has had in the past. If you are not sure what conditions you need to declare, we have online support available to help you 24/7!

It is simple and quick to do! After you've told us about your trip details and answered some medical history questions you can add your pre-existing conditions, one by one, for each traveller. You'll only need to enter your details once, it's all online and there's no need to call, or provide details of your conditions in writing.

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