Where business is concerned, it is not only the personal safety of the employee that has to be considered when travelling abroad, but also the other essentials such as equipment and money.
Your employer may provide insurance as standard but it might not cover such things as personal property loss or injury if caused by something non-work related. Also, for those who are self-employed there is no option to even have this.
It is important that you have your own comprehensive cover before taking any kind of trip abroad, including on business.
There are now many insurance providers who cater for this type of policy, all of whom offer varying degrees of cover and support to take the stress out of travelling abroad for work.
Business travel insurance, or corporate insurance as it is sometimes known as, comes in different forms.
Some providers will offer it as an entirely separate type of policy, often presenting it as an option alongside other specialist policies, such as winter sports cover, golf cover and wedding cover.
Other companies will simply offer it as an added extra when you are purchasing a single trip or multiple trip policy, and the premium will be raised accordingly.
Note, however, that even when it is offered as a separate type of cover, it is usually just made up of the standard policy with the added extras on top.
Business insurance can vary considerably from company to company. Whereas some will offer no end of additional cover options, some will simply offer a very basic policy that will cover for no more than business equipment. Always check exactly what is covered, as simply adding on business cover may not actually guarantee you many added benefits.
The levels of cover may also vary considerably. This is important to consider when taking expensive company equipment, as some providers may not cover you to the level that you require.
Cover for work equipment is standard on most policies. However, it is worth noting that all insurance companies will state a maximum limit per item. This means that if you are taking an expensive laptop, then it may only be covered up to £500 rather than its actual worth. Anything is better than nothing, but make sure that you are aware of exactly what you are entitled to claim back.
If taking any money on the trip, then it is one of the things most likely to get stolen or misplaced. Business cover will include an extra cover for work money on top of the personal money usually included in the standard policy, to cover you for the extra that you will be taking.
This is one of the most unique features of business cover. If travelling abroad to attend an important presentation or meeting, then becoming ill or having an accident that prevents you from attending could be a catastrophe.
This cover means that you will be covered for the cost of a business colleague to be flown out to attend the specific event.
However, it is a cover that comes with many restrictions. For example, it will not provide assistance if the original employee is simply feeling a bit ill. It will usually state in the policy wording exactly what is expected, such as serious illness or hospitalisation to either the traveller or a close relative or business associate.
The amount of cover also varies considerably. Whereas some companies will only offer a small amount, others will provide ‘all reasonable costs’ for the flight and accommodation.
The amount of cover does not usually differ between European travel and Worldwide travel, so if going far away to an expensive country, check whether the cover level will indeed be enough.
Although the previous three events are the main ones to be covered under business insurance, other types of cover may be offered on top of these.
Equipment hire (Delayed business equipment)
This covers the hire of equipment in the country you are visiting if your own equipment is lost or stolen. It is usually only for replacement equipment, and does not cover you if you decide that you need something that you forgot. It also covers equipment that has been lost or delayed in transit.
Emergency courier of equipment (Delayed business samples)
Again focusing on business equipment and samples, this will cover the costs of sending out equipment or samples by courier from the country of residence to the location you are travelling to. It is useful for specific documents that cannot be hired, as in the previous option. It generally covers loss, theft or damage.
Personal accident cover
Some insurance providers will offer you double the personal accident cover as the normal policy if taking out business cover. So if the single trip policy offers £20,000 cover, then you will be covered for £40,000. However, it is not standard practice on all policies, so it is worth checking first.
Slightly different from business cover is insurance to cover you for working abroad. Many travellers will combine travelling with work as a means of supporting themselves, especially when on a gap year or backpacking around the world. Cover is offered by a few providers, but there are often restrictions that apply, which will mean that you may not be covered for the things you would expect. It is vital that you check with your provider what your policy limitations are before working abroad.
Common restrictions include the fact that you will not usually be covered for manual labour. Some providers will cover you for light manual labour or voluntary work, but they will restrict you to only working with hand held tools and at ground level. This should include things like the popular fruit picking which is often done by travellers, however you will need to check with your provider to be sure. If you are planning on working above ground level, or wanting to work with light machinery then check out Insure with Ease, who may be able to provide cover for this type of manual work.
It will be of greater importance if you are taking part in any work in particularly dangerous or remote settings, so be sure to check exactly what is on offer.