How will Brexit affect travel insurance?

Posted by Peter Burnside on 10/10/2019
How will Brexit affect travel insurance? Photo: Shutterstock

Deal or no deal? The UK leaving the EU, with or without a deal, will change the way Brits travel to and from the UK. What does Brexit mean for our holidays? And how will it affect travel insurance? Find out more here.

The countdown to the unknown has started: the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 31 January 2020 and, if it does so with no deal, travel to and from the UK will be affected. Deal or no deal, the full impact remains unknown – potential delays at borders, changes to entry requirements, and the possibility of losing the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

But what does it all mean for your travel insurance? Well, if you do have to make a claim on your travel policy, the sections that may be relevant are:

  • Missed Departure
  • Delay
  • Travel Disruption
  • Medical Expenses

READ: How to deal with cancelled and delayed flights

Of course, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and will be on hand to help out if needed. To reassure you, we’ve collected our most frequently asked questions below. Read the FAQs to Brexit and travel insurance below. If you need further support, contact us on 0161 445 6111 or email: office@thebmc.co.uk

After we leave the EU, will my travel insurance still be valid in the EU?
No need to worry as your travel insurance will still be valid. Your cover will be the same and you will get exactly the same levels of service and care if you need emergency medical treatment while you are in an EU country.

Will I be ‘covered for Brexit’?
If Brexit causes disruption to travel arrangements, then it’s the airlines and travel companies that take primary responsibility for offering alternative transport or refunds. In the first instance, customers should always contact their travel providers first.

I don’t want to go to Europe now; can I cancel my trip and make a claim?
Unfortunately, cancellation cover is for specific reasons only. Not wanting to go on your already booked trip is not a reason you can claim for. 

What if long queues cause a problem?
Extra time for queueing should be incorporated into your schedule. Missed Departure cover only applies in certain circumstances leading to you arriving at an international or final departure point too late to board your booked transport.

The circumstances don’t include being delayed because of long queues. As longer queues are expected, you should make sure you take potential delays into account and leave enough time in your travel plans.

But what if my transport is delayed or cancelled?
The Delayed Departure section under the policy provides cover if your transport is delayed or cancelled for reasons which you or the tour operator (if utilised) can’t control. You will be entitled to £30.00 per 12 hours of the delay, after an initial 12 hour period up to £120 or if after 12 hours delay, the transport is cancelled and no suitable alternative is offered up to £5,000 as per the terms and conditions of the Policy under Trip Cancellation.

Note: if there’s a problem with your travel, then you should contact and follow the recommendations of your transport provider as a first port of call.

If I need medical treatment while overseas, can I still use my EHIC?
No. If the UK leaves the EU on 31 January 2020 without a deal, then it’s quite likely the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid. This is why it’s so important to have appropriate travel insurance in place. If the EHIC is no longer valid, you will have to pay an excess of £95.00 on each medical expense claim. The government has asked all 31 countries to keep EHICs in use until 31 December 2020, no matter what happens with Brexit. But currently [10/10/19] only three have agreed to cover UK tourists if there's no deal. The UK's largest travel insurance provider is warning that this would mean prices will go up, especially for people with health problems.

If the EHIC will no longer be valid, will we go back to the E111?
They’re the same thing. The E111 became the EHIC in 2006. If there’s a no-deal Brexit, there may be no equivalent or alternative to the EHIC. The only way for travellers to ensure that they are protected against costs for medical treatment is to take out travel insurance.

Can I still get compensation from the airline if flights are delayed or cancelled?
According to the CAA, the rights to compensation under the EU Flight Compensation Regulation will continue to apply to passengers departing from the United Kingdom to an airport situated in the territory of an EU member state, as long as the airline has an operating licence granted by an EU member state. Customers can find out more about their rights and how to make a claim on the CAA Website. And read the BMC article, how to deal with cancelled and delayed flights.

Will my passport still be valid, after we leave the EU? And will I need a Visa?
If you are travelling after 31 January 2020 (or when we leave, if later), then the government is recommending that UK travellers have at least six months left on their passports from the date of arrival in an EU country.

If a 10-year adult passport was renewed before it expired, extra months may have been added, which won’t count towards the required six months remaining.
You may want to renew your passports sooner rather than later, to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.

For Visas – The European Commission has confirmed that from 2021, UK citizens would have to pay €7 for a travel permit, as part of the European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS). Travellers will register their details and pay the fee in advance of travel (at least 72 hours before departure is advised), to obtain ETIAS authorisation.

If I get stranded abroad beyond a scheduled return date, will the policy still provide cover?
We will extend the period of insurance by up to 60 days, at no extra cost, if you have to stay overseas due to events over which you have no control.


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We've been insuring adventurers like you for over 30 years. That's why all of our policies come with:

  • 24-hour emergency assistance helpline
  • £10 million emergency medical cover
  • £100,000 search, rescue and recovery cover
  • £10,000 personal accident cover
  • £5,000 cancellation cover
  • £2,500 baggage cover

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Want to know more? READ: 5 reasons why you need BMC Travel Insurance


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Anonymous User
22/10/2019
The info above re validity of UK passports if Brexit occurs does not quite tally with the guidance on the UK Government website. On there it is possible to get a check about this by clicking on the relevant button in respect of the expiry date of a passport. On doing this, the information posted told me that my passport would NOT be valid, even though it currently has 12 months remaining until expiry -- no mention at all about ensuring six months are in hand. Thus I am being informed that I need to apply for a new passport (at the current rather exorbitant fee) while losing the remaining 12 montrhs validity for which I have already paid! None of this was ever mentioned at referendum time! Thanks (not!), David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson!

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