Business travel insurance

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Business travel insurance is a group policy arranged by the employer to cover anybody going overseas on business. If you or one of your employees falls ill on a trip abroad, insurance pays for medical treatment needed, and helps people to get back home.

Who do I cover?

Some insurers will allow you to arrange cover just on numbers, others may want to specify names.

Are people fit to travel? 

Travel insurance assumes that people are fit to travel, and may not pay claims if they are not.

Where are people covered? 

Many policies are worldwide, with a few exceptions of countries where it is not safe to travel to. Others limit travel to Europe or even to selected countries.

When travelling abroad on business

If anybody goes abroad without travel insurance, they risk having to pay medical costs if they become ill, which could be thousands of pounds. The simple package offered by your tour operator or travel agent does not suit everyone and may not even be available for business travel. If an employee is travelling on business and becomes ill or injured, it is reasonable for them to expect their employer to pay them back for any expenses they incur.  Going anywhere is a risk. While loss of baggage or business items, or a delayed flight, may be an expensive annoyance, the real risk is the very high medical costs if somebody is hurt or becomes ill, particularly if they have to be flown home by air ambulance.

Why not use normal travel insurance? 

The cover offered by a business travel policy and that offered by a holiday travel policy is very similar. But on the latter, there may be hidden exclusions on business travel, or other problems. You may not be able to arrange holiday travel cover in a business name, and insurers may insist on paying claims to each individual rather than to you. Business travel policies are geared to businesses, but normal travel policies are geared to the individual. It may be something simple, such as trying to get a remote claims operator to talk to you rather than your employee, as they may claim privacy laws stop them talking to any third party. 

Benefits for the business:

  • Helps fulfill your duty of care to employees.
  • Helps protect your employees or on business.

Benefits for employees:

  • Makes them feel safer and perhaps more willing to go overseas on business trips.  
  • Reliable information online and on the phone.

Partners and children

Some insurers automatically include partners and children, while others offer it as an extra, while some only offer business cover to those working in the business.

What business travel insurance covers 

Policies vary in detail but most usually cover:

  • Medical expenses– the cost of emergency treatment while abroad,  including ambulances and getting people back home (with a medical escort, if necessary). 
  • Missed or delayed flights and cancellations.
  • Baggage– lost, delayed or stolen belongings including laptops and samples.
  • Loss of money and travel documents

 Other cover may include:

  • Liability. 
  • Hospital daily cash.
  • Winter sports. 
  • Accidental death or injury.

Help and assistance

Most insurers offer 24/7 online and/or telephone information. Other services may include:

  • Legal help.
  • Discounts on holidays and airport parking.
  • Emergency passport replacement.

Single trip or annual cover 

You can take out a new single trip policy for each trip, or an annual policy to cover all the trips you make during a year. While some trips may be planned in advance, others may be urgent to solve problems or take advantage of a business opportunity, in which case an annual policy would be the best solution. 

Pre-existing conditions

Many insurers will not automatically cover any pre-existing condition, but may agree to do so. Some business travel policies do not have this exclusion. A pre-existing condition is any disease, illness or injury for which a person has received or is receiving medication, advice or treatment; or has experienced symptoms.

Treatment overseas

Probably the most important part of a travel policy is cover for accidents, illnesses and emergencies while abroad. Most policies include emergency medical repatriation back to the UK, but some only offer it as an option or exclude it, and the cost of a medical evacuation is thousands of pounds. They do not cover planned treatment abroad.

Differences in cover 

Insurers vary greatly as to what they cover or offer. No two policies are the same.

Medical information

Unlike on individual travel cover, most insurers do not ask for medical history of those they cover on business travel.

What travel insurance does not cover

Every insurer is different on what they include and exclude on each section of the policy. Most exclusions relate to which activities are or are not allowed.

Saving money

Your choice of cover will affect what you pay. You may have the option of including or excluding specific cover. The cost can depend on the number of people covered, how much cover is chosen, the number of trips and destination countries. It is always best to get two or three quotes from different sources, and ask each of them about anything that is unclear.


Insurers may include free cover for children under 18. Some insurers will include children in further education up to 25.


Insurers vary as to whether they will cover people up to any age or whether they have restrictions on acceptance age, or even age at which cover ends; common ages are 60, 65 or 70. Some insurers charge more to older people, others do not, and some have very strict limitations on the age groups they will cover.

Helping you choose

There are hundreds of travel policies, and often providers have a range of products or options, and this can be confusing. You can go direct, or go via a specialist insurance intermediary. Some intermediaries charge fees as well as taking commission. 

Thinking about getting PMI for businesses?

Download our free PDF guide



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