Coronavirus Update: More Of Our Policies Now Include Additional Cover for Coronavirus



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What to do in a Medical Emergency Abroad

What to do in case of a Medical Emergency Abroad

Firstly, if you are in an emergency then you will need to call the local equivalent of 999, which for the USA is 911 and in the EU is 112 for a local ambulance service.

Do not ask your hotel or rep to arrange for you to attend a hospital, they will not always make arrangements based on your best interests or clinical needs.

You can contact our Assistance Team in an emergency by calling +44 (0) 333 003 7388. You can also email them at

When you call our assistance service, you will speak to a member of our team who will help guide you through what you need to do and advise how they can support you.

You will need to have some basic information for them to hand:

  • Your telephone number (and email)
  • The name and age of the patient and as much information about the medical situation as possible.
  • The name of the hospital, the ward, the treating doctor and the telephone numbers if you have them.
  • Tell them that you have a Holidaysafe policy, policy number, the date you bought it and your booked travel dates.
  • The patient’s UK GP details, name, address and phone number (in case more information on current medical conditions and treatment is needed).

More information can be found in your policy wording or in the tabs below.

What can the assistance team do for you?

Our first priority is to ensure you have access to optimal care and doctors who will work with your best clinical outcome as priority.  To make sure we meet your expectations it is important that you know what the assistance team and your policy can do for you;

Important things to remember and what to expect…

  • Your policy is not private healthcare and so will not cover medical expenses in a private clinic unless agreed by our team in advance and only where there are no clinically capable state facilities available. If you choose to have treatment or remain in a private facility without our approval then you are unlikely to receive reimbursement for treatment or costs incurred
  • It is our experience that in most areas of the world, optimal care is found in the public sector. So, if you are admitted to a private facility, when it is safe to do so, we may make arrangements to move you to an alternative facility.
  • The policy covers emergency and necessary treatment only, so if treatment can reasonably wait until you get home then this will not be covered by the policy.
  • We will work with your best medical interest at the centre of every decision we make.
  • We will manage your expectations, however please bear in mind that medical situations can change very quickly and so sometimes things change that are outside of our control.
  • Because we are a 24/7 operation we cannot guarantee that the same person will handle your case throughout, but where possible we try to so that you have a familiar voice to speak to.
  • We will need to confirm that both your policy is valid and ensure that the circumstances of your injury or illness are covered, we will do this as quickly as we can.

Coming home…

  • Although the local doctor might discharge you from hospital and suggest that you can return home, some may even issue a ‘Fit to Fly’ there are regulations imposed by airlines regarding when you can, and cannot fly following a serious accident or an operation. Our team have experience of transporting thousands of unwell and injured passengers across the globe. They are therefore, best placed to make the decision as to when it is safe for you to fly, rather than a treating doctor who may not have any specific repatriation experience.
  • We will only consider repatriating you before treatment, or stabilisation of a condition when the risk of you staying where you are is greater than the risk associated with moving you.
  • We know that you want to get home at the earliest opportunity, however we want to get you home safely and that doesn’t always mean it’ll be right away. Therefore, our medical team may recommend an extended stay in the hospital (or a local hotel) until your condition has stabilized sufficiently to allow your safe return home.
  • Transfer by Air Ambulance; aviation at any level comes with significant risk when someone is unwell. We consider the use of Air Ambulance transfer very carefully and generally they are only used in exceptional circumstances and based on what our medical team consider to be clinically appropriate

Anything else?

We have created a page where you can review information relating to our ethos and philosophies in relation to assistance, repatriation and medical care across the globe.

For more information please visit our dedicated Philosophies page.

Things to do Before you Leave Home

Below is a checklist of things you should know and do before you leave home:

  • Put the assistance team’s phone number into your phone before you start your holiday – this should ensure you can contact them at any time, even if you don’t have your travel insurance paper work handy. We would also suggest that you store your policy number in your phone too.
  • Make sure that your phone has plenty of credit and charge throughout your holiday.
  • Many people don’t realize that their phones aren’t set up to accept incoming calls or texts abroad – check with your phone provider that your phone will work abroad, otherwise you will have no means of contact.
  • From 1st January 2021 rules around travel to Europe have changed, visit the Government website for up to date information on passports, EHIC, healthcare and more. We’ll update this page with more information as and when the Government release it.
  • Make sure you have declared any medical conditions to us, to make sure you’re fully covered – if your health or medication have changed since you purchased the policy, please contact us.
  • We would also suggest you read our Philosophies, which outline how we work and why when someone falls ill abroad.

FAQ - Assistance

What happens if I miss my booked flight home due to illness?

Don’t worry, provided you have contacted our medical assistance service your policy will be automatically extended to cover you until it is agreed that you are fit to travel, they will make appropriate alternative arrangements.

What if you want to come home early?

This policy covers you to come home early because you are ill only if medical treatment is not available locally. If you are thinking of cutting short your trip because you are not well then you must contact our medical assistance service for advice first.

If you need to come home for any other reason, such as the illness of a close relative in the UK then you should make your own arrangements, bearing in mind your duty to act at all times as if uninsured. If you are not sure whether your particular circumstances are included in the cover then call the claims team between 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturdays (UK time) for advice.

If you have any further questions regarding our emergency assistance team please feel free to contact our customer service department.

What is the ‘tourist trap’?

*The ‘tourist trap’ refers to certain privately owned medical clinics around the world who seek to ‘trap’ tourists by inflating medical bills in the hope of getting paid by the tourist or their travel insurance. These clinics usually pay taxi drivers, hotels and hostels to send any injured tourists to their clinics, they then charge extortionate rates without providing appropriate care for their patients. To protect yourself against falling into the trap, always make sure you visit a state facility, and under no circumstances should you ever give your credit card details or surrender your passport to anyone.

I’m travelling to Europe, why do I need insurance if I have an EHIC?

From 1st January 2021, the EHIC will no longer be valid and  rules around travel to Europe have changed, visit the Government website for up to date information on passports, EHIC, healthcare and more. We’ll update this page with more information as and when the Government release it.

Please note, Holidaysafe’s online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.

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