Emergency Abroad: How can the FCDO and your travel insurance help?

FCO Travel Aware

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office work hard to ensure that British Citizens are safe when they travel abroad. They provide continually updated travel advice on their website for every country in the world, so you can be properly prepared before you travel.

British Embassies are also there to help you if you run into trouble whilst you are abroad. You can call the Consular Assistance team on: 020 7008 5000 (+44 20 7008 5000 if calling from overseas). Take this phone number with you on your travels - you never know when you might need it.

Although the FCDO provides invaluable help and support if you run into trouble abroad, they don't cover the cost, that's often where your travel insurance comes in.

What if I lose my passport or it gets stolen?

The FCDO can issue you with a replacement passport if yours is lost or stolen, however they will charge for doing this.

You should be able to make a claim for this cost from your travel insurance, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy. NB. You will need to have obtained a police report.

My bag has been stolen and I don't have any money

The FCDO can't replace your money, but they can help you contact family and friends and provide information about how you can safely transfer money from the UK.

When you return home you should be able to make a claim under the Personal Property section of your travel insurance, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy. NB. You will need to have obtained a police report confirming the theft.

I didn't know I needed a visa and now I've been refused entry to a country. Can the FCDO tell them to let me in?

The FCDO can't help you enter a country as they cannot interfere in another country's immigration policy or procedures, but they do provide advice on entry requirements and passport validity for every country on their website. Check the latest travel advice every time travel.

I need to get medical treatment abroad

If you're sick or injured abroad, the FCDO cannot pay for your medical treatment or provide treatment themselves, which is why they strongly advise you to make sure you have travel insurance every time you travel abroad, regardless of whether your trip is for a couple of days or a couple of months. Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance.

Your travel insurance will cover the cost of unexpected emergency medical treatment whilst you are abroad. insurewithease.com can cover you.

Travel insurance is not Private Medical Insurance, in that it only covers unavoidable, unexpected emergency treatment. You are not covered for private medical treatment if the 24/7 assistance company have confirmed medically capable public facilities are available. If you are insured with insurewithease.com and you sustain a minor injury while on holiday, you must call our 24/7 assistance team so that they can help you find appropriate treatment locally. Tell them that you are insured by Insure With Ease Insurance and give them your policy number.

If you have any symptoms that might require emergency treatment, including difficulty breathing, chest pain, seizure (fit) activity, decreased level of consciousness, heavy bleeding, sudden swelling of the face and lips, signs of a stroke or any other life threatening condition, call the local emergency services immediately. 112 in Europe, 911 in the USA and Canada, or the local equivalent to 999.

In all cases, you must call the 24/7 assistance team to authorise cover. This will ensure your claim remains valid. Failure to call the assistance team could result in you having to pay for your own treatment.

While you are at the hospital request an English speaking doctor if there is one available.

Make sure all medicine you receive abroad is labelled. You might need to tell a doctor what you have been taking once you get home.

If you have insurance the 24/7 assistance team will deal with bills directly and you should not pay them yourself. You simply need to pass any correspondence about bills to the claims administrator to ensure you get full financial protection. (hang on to any receipts or prescriptions)

Take a phrasebook that contains basic medical terms or a medical Kwikpoint visual translator

I've been beaten up and robbed. Can the FCDO help me?

If you're a victim of crime, the FCDO can help you get medical attention if you need it, contact your family and friends to let them know what has happened, help you get money safely transferred and provide you with a list of local lawyers and interpreters.

If you do need medical treatment as a result of being mugged or robbed, contact the 24 hour emergency support line provided by your travel insurance company, they will be able to assist you in getting the medical treatment you need quickly.

If your money or possessions have been stolen, make sure that you get a police report. You will need it in order to make a claim under the personal property section of your travel insurance when you return home.

I've been arrested. Can the FCDO get me out of jail?

The FCDO can't get you out of prison but they can contact your friends and family. They can also provide a list of local lawyers, make sure any medical problems are bought to the attention of the prison and provide general information about the country, prison conditions and the local legal system.

Take the numbers every time you travel

When you are away it's important to keep the Consular Assistance telephone number and your travel insurance providers 24 hour emergency support number with you at all times - you never know when you might need to use them.

Consular Assistance team on: 020 7008 5000 (+44 20 7008 5000 if calling from overseas).

When you buy a travel insurance policy from Goodtogoinsurance.com, and you choose the postage option, you will receive a handy travel assistance card with our 24 hour emergency support number on it.