Business travel insurance

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What is business travel insurance? 

It’s cover for when you travel for business rather than a holiday. 

Policies for business travel include all you’d find in standard travel insurance – things like medical, cancellation and luggage cover. But they also offer specific cover for things such as expensive business equipment and samples of merchandise you take on a trip. 

They can even pay for the cost of sending out a replacement business colleague should you have to cut short or cancel your trip. 

You can get business cover as part of a single-trip, annual or long-stay policy, for an individual, couple, family or group.

business travel insurance

Do I need business travel insurance?

Check with your company. Some offer their staff business travel insurance as part of their employment packages, so your business trip might already be covered.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll definitely need to arrange your own business travel insurance unless it’s already covered as part of a packaged bank account or paid-for credit card.

Make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions you have, and check the policy includes travelling for business not just for leisure and is adequate for your exact needs.

What does business travel insurance cover?

The business element of your travel insurance could include cover for:

  1. Business money and equipment (sometimes including sports equipment)

    You’re covered for damage, loss or theft of business equipment such as laptops, business books and stationery, exhibition stands and office supplies. Plus, if your business equipment is misdirected or delayed in transit, some policies will cover you for the cost of replacement equipment hire that’s necessary for your meetings or presentations.
    Lost or stolen business money, cheques, prepaid electronic money cards and nonrefundable pre-booked events and entertainment tickets are also covered.

  2. Samples and merchandise

    Product samples and merchandise you’re taking to conferences, meetings or trade shows can be covered.

  3. Cancellation cover

    If business events get cancelled, flights and accommodation will be reimbursed so you can pay for a replacement trip when you reschedule.

  4. Bringing in a replacement colleague if you’re unable to continue

    Should you have to cut short or cancel your trip, some policies cover the cost of sending a colleague to attend an important meeting or conference in your place.

You’ll also be covered for the usual things travel insurance covers, like:

  1. Medical expenses and repatriation

    This covers you for hospital treatment should you fall ill during your trip. It will pay out to get you back home when that’s medically recommended.

  2. Money and travel documents

    Cover for the loss or theft of cash up to a certain amount stipulated in your policy. The cost of reimbursement for replacing lost or stolen travel documents such as your passport can be covered too.

  3. Trip cancellation and curtailment

    This covers you for prepaid expenses if you’re forced to cancel or cut short your trip.

  4. Legal fees

    If you are involved in an incident where you’re not to blame, your legal costs will be covered.

What type of business travel insurance do I need?

This will depend on where you’re going and who you’re travelling with. 

You should opt for European travel insurance or Worldwide travel insurance cover, depending on your destination. 

And if you’re travelling with colleagues, you can take out a group business travel policy which could work out cheaper than insuring everyone separately. 

Do I need single trip or annual business travel insurance?

This will depend on how often you intend on travelling. 

If you know you’ll only be taking one business trip in the next year, then a single trip policy will be cheaper. 

But if you take several trips, an annual multi-trip insurance policy will be more cost-effective.

There will usually be limits as to how long each trip can last - usually 31 days, though some policies cover 60- or 90-day trips. Others limit trips to just 10 days each. So check your policy wording carefully and compare quotes.

How much does business travel insurance cost?

Policy prices will depend on all sorts of factors, including your age, where you’re travelling to, the length of your trip,  plus if you’re adding-on extra cover for leisure activities such as skiing travel insurance and golf. 

Frequently asked questions

Most sports and leisure activities will be covered on a travel insurance policy. But you can add on cover for winter sports and higher risk sports and activities such as hang-gliding and mountain biking for an extra cost.

As with most travel policies, business travel policies usually exclude:

  • So-called ‘hazardous activities’ such as skydiving and sports such as skiing unless you’ve taken out a separate policy or paid the appropriate additional fee
  • Travelling against Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) recommendations
  • Undeclared pre-existing medical conditions
  • Claims resulting from the intake of alcohol or drugs
  • Theft, damage or loss of unattended items

As with any travel insurance, there will be details on your policy documents as to how to get in contact with your insurance company to claim, whether before, after or while on your business trip. Most companies have a 24-hour claim helpline.

In the event of the theft or damage of any of your personal belongings or business equipment or money, you should report the issue to the local police as soon as possible, and within 24 hours. Ask for a written police report to show to your insurer. 

Yes, but the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) entitle you to free, or reduced-cost state-provided healthcare only. 

Travel insurance policies offer more comprehensive health cover for both emergency in-patient and out-patient treatment including consultations, emergency dental treatment, prescription charges and - if necessary - the cost of repatriation (getting you home quickly) where it’s medically necessary.  

Some credit card companies and packaged bank accounts (where you pay a monthly fee) offer free travel insurance as a perk.

But these policies usually cover leisure – rather than business – travel.

Many business credit cards offer a free business travel insurance policy as part of their offering. It’s usually valid if you pay for the total cost of travel arrangements using that particular card.

As with any policy, though, it’s important you read carefully the terms and conditions before you rely on it, as the policy may not provide adequate cover for your business trip. 

ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s License) protect package holidays. 

But in some cases, the ATOL protection scheme also applies to some flight-only bookings. Flights booked directly with airlines are not protected by the ATOL scheme. And some ABTA members do protect their non-package sales - such as accommodation only. 

Check with your travel company what’s protected.  

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Other types of travel insurance

Golf travel insurance

This will cover your golf equipment including clubs, bags and shoes as well as paying towards the cost of green fees if you can’t play due to illness. Many policies also provide hole-in-one cover which covers part of the costs of paying for the traditional round of drinks anyone who hits a hole-in-one is usually obligated to buy!

Group travel insurance

If you’re travelling in a party of up to 10 people, a group policy covers everyone listed for cancellation, medical emergencies and lost or stolen money, possessions and baggage.

Read more about group holiday insurance

Annual multi-trip travel insurance

Offers cover for multiple foreign trips per year. Choose between European or Worldwide cover. There are limitations as to how long each separate trip can last; usually up to 31 days, but sometimes up to 60 days or 90 days.

Read more about group holiday insurance

Extreme sports trip cover

For the more adventurous, this type of insurance – also called ‘hazardous activity’ insurance – covers you for injury or public liability due to taking part in an extreme sport - whether sea kayaking or skydiving.

Winter sports

If you’re hitting the slopes and have a mishap, this will cover you for emergency medical expenses (including helicopter rescue and air ambulance) as well as personal liability and personal accident benefits. It can also cover loss, theft or damage to your ski equipment and reimburse you for ski packs and lift passes if you have to cancel.

Read more about winter sports cover

Here’s what else you may need to consider when you’re travelling for business:

EU travel

If you’re travelling to an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for a business meeting you won’t normally need to get a visa or work permit.

However you may need a visa, work permit or other documentation if you’re planning to stay for longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, or if you’ll be doing certain other types of work or providing services on a self-employed basis. You can check requirements for the country you’re visiting on the government website.

Pre existing medical conditions

Not all insurers will cover you to travel with certain pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer or serious heart and terminal conditions. But there are insurers who will. You must tell your insurer if you have a medical condition, to ensure that you’re adequately covered – or any claim you make might be refused.

Travelling with a pet

Rover coming along for the ride? To ensure your pet meets the health requirements of where you’re going overseas you’ll need to organise an Animal Health Certificate or Export Health Certificate, depending on where you’re travelling with your pet

Commonly, your dog, cat or ferret will need to be vaccinated against rabies, be microchipped and, in some cases, be treated against tapeworm.

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