Brexit and Travel Insurance - Will I Still Be Covered?

When (if) Brexit happens some EU or UK law changes might mean you unknowingly jeopardise your travel insurance coverage.


Photo © iStock/nicolamargaret

Here’s what you will need to do to make sure you stay covered by your World Nomads travel insurance.


In all the turmoil and uncertainty around Brexit there is one thing you can be sure of - your World Nomads insurance cover will not be interrupted, so you can take that off your Brexit “to do” list. Read more about the arrangements in this policyholder advice.


While you have a travel insurance policy whether you’re “covered” is subject to the usual terms and conditions of your policy which includes the requirement that you abide by all relevant laws while travelling.

Here are a few to check:


UK to EU

Brits are going to need a passport to enter Europe. Not having one means you won’t be allowed to enter Europe, and the costs of missed flights, cancelled tours and lost deposits ARE NOT covered by travel insurance. Make sure your passport has the required validity – 6 months beyond the date you intend to leave the EU otherwise you will be refused entry.

UK travellers entering the Schengen Zone need to comply with the visa rules for non-EU citizens. As a tourist you have visa-free entry for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 period. Stays in excess of that will require you to apply for a visa.

Once again if you’re refused entry the consequences are on you. Getting the right visa, and complying with visa rules are your responsibility (it says so in your policy wording).

From 2021, non-EU nationals who are eligible for visa-free entry into the Schengen area will need prior authorisation under the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). It's like the USA's ESTA system - you don't need a visa, but you need a visa-like clearance to say you don't need a visa.

EU to UK

EU citizens wishing to enter the UK will be subject to British visa and entry conditions (that’s the whole point of Brexit, right?)

Once again, failure to comply with visa requirements is on you, and costs incurred as a result of not having the right visa are not covered.

The “blue channel” for travellers arriving from the EU will cease to exist, with limits reimposed on goods that can be taken across borders without paying duty.


The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) covers pre-existing medical conditions as well as emergency care for citizens of EU countries. Individuals with chronic illnesses can travel and still receive treatment on the same terms as the citizens of the country they are visiting.

If there’s a hard Brexit, also known as a no-deal Brexit, the card will cease to exist for UK travellers in Europe or for European travellers in the UK.

Travel insurance does NOT cover pre-existing medical conditions, nor does it provide cover for ongoing treatments such as dialysis, regular check-ups, or some stages and types of pregnancy.


While the UK remains within the EU there is no requirement for motorists to have a Green Card for their vehicles.

A Green Card is a document printed on green paper which provides proof of the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the country you are visiting. If you’re taking your EU registered vehicle to the UK, or a UK registered vehicle to Europe after a hard Brexit, you may need one.

Failure to have the proper driving license might affect your travel insurance if you make a driving-related claim.

Motorists driving in the other jurisdiction will be required to have an International Driving Permit in addition to their home license. Different EU countries are signed up to different treaties, so for example a trip embracing Spain and France would require you to get two types of IDP.

Failure to comply with this may mean you are driving illegally – and if you are injured as a result of driving illegally your travel insurance claim may be denied.


Some travel companies are adding a “Brexit clause” to bookings which in essence say if something happens to your holiday because of Brexit (flights cancelled, providers go broke, services are curtailed etc.) it’s not their fault and they can’t be held financially responsible.

If Brexit sends your travel provider broke it may be hard to get any compensation.

The European legislation known as the Package Travel Regulations has been enshrined in British law, and it will remain after Brexit. If you book a package holiday (flights and accommodation together) and the worst happens you'll get a full refund, but no holiday.


All the above remains true if there’s a no-deal exit, but if there are last minute negotiations, changes are possible, so stay abreast of the news and check with your travel provider before you make any bookings.

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