We don’t like to think about things going wrong when we head out on a holiday. The same is true for business travel. Thoughts are occupied with presentations, sales figures, cultural etiquette and schedules – not with all of the little things that can go wrong on a trip.
So, does travel insurance cover business trips?
The answer is yes… or no. It entirely depends on whether or not your company, or the one you work for, has purchased travel insurance as part of a general insurance package. Most larger companies do have some travel-related products in their insurance deals, but not all do.
Depending on the size of the company you work for, your business trips may not be covered by travel insurance.
What does business travel insurance cover?
This is obviously highly dependent on the particular policy, but there are things that are commonly included.
Cover for loss or damage to business equipment and personal belongings is a common one, as is cover for loss or theft of ‘business money,’ usually for a substantial amount of cash that is carried for business purposes. Even personal items like golf clubs and other sports equipment may be covered, as these are often informal tools of doing business.
Many policies also cover extra expenses incurred from missed flights – this can be anything from meals and hotels to alternate travel arrangements. Some policies cover replacement colleagues, so if you can’t make a meeting or event, a colleague can attend in your place and insurance will cover the additional cost.
Medical care is another important part of travel insurance, and some degree of protection is included in most policies.
Some policies only cover travel in the country in which the business is based. A UK company, for example, may have travel insurance to cover business trips that take place in the UK, but not overseas.
…And what isn’t included in business travel insurance
General policies cover general things, so the more specific your needs, the more important it is to ensure that your policy covers what you want it to.
Does your travel insurance cover business trips abroad? If your company does business trips abroad, make sure your cover extends to other countries. Some countries are considered high risk zones, so make sure there aren’t any geographical exemptions on your policy. Likewise, make sure your specific business activity is covered.
If your industry has special requirements – like demonstration equipment, especially if it includes dangerous goods, restricted substances, or other special cases – make sure these are noted specifically in your policy.
Medical coverage may be included in your general policy, but make sure it is extensive enough. It is a good idea to make sure it covers repatriation as well – emergency transportation back to your home country in an emergency. Many countries provide emergency care on the government’s tab, but many don’t. Even in those that do, extended hospital stays are not usually included. You don’t want your company – or the traveller as an individual – on the hook for substantial medical bills.
It is worth noting, too, that in some countries – most notably the United States – very little medical care is free, even in emergency situations. Couple that with the fact that the American health care system is the most expensive one in the world, and you can find your company suddenly taking on a serious debt – if you aren’t prepared.
Make sure that the people doing the travelling qualify for the insurance. If you are using contractors, for example, who are not officially your employees, but are travelling with your equipment or cash, or are just as important as employees in a given situation, make sure they are covered under the policy.
You don’t want to find out, after a problem, that you were not as well protected as you thought you were.
If you don’t have any travel insurance products in your current company insurance, there is no need to panic. Travel insurance to cover business trips is available from travel agencies and travel management companies as well.
In fact, with their expertise and market volume (especially with regard to travel management companies), you’re probably better off purchasing your insurance through them. You’ll know you have appropriate coverage, and you’ll have an experienced person to help you if there is need to use it.
It’s easy to set up
You may not know what your specific needs are right now, but that’s not a problem. A travel insurance expert or travel management company will know the right questions to ask you to make sure you get the coverage that best suits your company. If you call a company and they don’t know what to ask, it’s a pretty good indicator that they are not the experts they claim to be.
If you already have a trusted agency, give them a call. If you don’t, call a couple of prospects and get quotes for similar insurance packages. Comparing costs, services, and support between companies will help you choose the best support partner for your business travel.
Travel insurance to cover business trips is essential if you or your employees do any travel for business purposes.