Growing an international client base is easier than ever, and travelling to visit far-reaching clients is common. If your employees travel for business, there’s more to think about than what hotel they should stay in. Medical treatment overseas can be expensive, so obtaining the right business health insurance policy for travel is crucial.
Know your destination
Different countries present their own unique risks, such as common contagions and inadequate health care systems. It’s important to learn more about your destinations in advance of employee travel, and create best practice guidelines for your business.
A straightforward and beneficial task is to spend some time identifying health care facilities at the destination country, and to ensure that employees have access to this information before their trip. If your employee is travelling to a country where they don’t speak the language, it can also be useful to research simple words such as ‘hospital’ and ‘doctor’, in case of emergency.
If your employee is travelling for business to an area which requires vaccinations, ensure they receive an appointment with a medical professional at least six weeks before departure. Note that although some vaccinations are free, others require payment, even if they are recommended for travel to the destination.
UK citizens travelling within the European Economic Area (EEA) should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travel. The EHIC is valid in all EEA countries, including Switzerland, and allows you access to state health care at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free.
The UK has reciprocal healthcare agreements with many non-EEA countries and territories, providing reduced cost health care. However, numerous international destinations have no reciprocal health care agreement with the UK, and health care offered can be basic, meaning that travel health insurance is needed.
Get basic coverage
Travel insurance is not only recommended for peace of mind, it’s vital to gain access to some countries. Insurance firms offer multiple foreign travel insurance policies to cover a range of risks and situations, providing different benefits for travellers.
Single trip insurance will cover a limited number of days for one off visits to foreign countries. Annual multi-trip insurance policies could be a better option for businesses if employees are regularly required to travel abroad for work, as purchasing one policy up front instead of several small policies will save money and staff resource.
Spend time planning what your business travel insurance needs are before shopping to find the right product. Don’t just buy the cheapest option – you may find your employees are not covered for everything they need to be. Ensure you’ve researched your destinations and that your employee will be properly protected if something goes wrong on their trip.
Whatever business travel insurance policy you take, you should ensure it includes a range of benefits such as medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad, personal liability, legal expenses, lost and stolen possessions, cancellation and curtailment, and emergency service and assistance.
Invest in employee wellbeing
Sometimes a standard travel insurance policy may not provide enough cover for employee healthcare when they’re abroad for business.
If your employees regularly travel internationally for work, a special business health insurance plan could be the best option. As well as providing reassurance to employees that they will be well cared for should they need medical help, business health insurance can be seen as a company benefit and provide a morale boost. It could cover the cost of vaccinations, psychiatric treatment, prescription drugs, maternity help and more, providing a significant advantage over standard travel insurance.
What recommendations would you give to employers whose staff regularly travel for business?