What is repatriation insurance?

Repatriation cover is built into other types of insurance, such as travel, health or funeral and covers repatriation for a variety of reasons, including sickness, accidents, emergencies at home and death. Having repatriation cover in your insurance is very important if you are travelling abroad or in some cases, if you live abroad but would want to be repatriated to your country of origin in the event of death. Depending on the type of repatriation cover you need, you will need to decide which insurance policy suits you best. Below, I will break down each type of policy you will find repatriation cover included and what its purpose is.

Repatriation cover with travel insurance

The most common type of repatriation cover is that found in a normal travel insurance policy. It is built into this type of policy to ensure that when travelling abroad, you are covered for most eventualities. Aside from travel insurance covering your personal belongings, such as, suite case and passport in the event of loss or theft, it usually also covers you for medical emergencies at your destination, which can vary in amount covered and also the nature of the emergency. There are various reasons this is an integral part of travel insurance and why it is important to ensure it is part of your policy before you travel.

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  • Your EHIC card will NOT cover you for repatriation to your country of residence. It will cover most medical emergencies at your destination but if you needed to return home, you would have to pay that yourself. Paying for medical repatriation out of your own pocket can cost thousands of Euros.
  • In some cases, it may be necessary to repatriate you back to your country of residence for medical treatment in an appropriate environment. Repatriation insurance will cover the costs of the repatriation process (Air ambulance, medical escort and equipment during the journey, etc).
  • Repatriation insurance normally covers the cost of a companion to travel back to your country of residence, as well as, any expenses incurred, such as hotels or ticket.

Repatriation cover with private health insurance

Most comprehensive private health insurance policies in Spain include some level of travel assistance and medical coverage abroad. These can vary, depending on the insurance company, but most have repatriation in case of medical illness, accident or death included. They may also include travel expenses for a companion. If you have private health insurance in Spain, check your policy to see what level of coverage you have whilst holidaying abroad, so in the unfortunate event of an emergency, you are well informed.

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No such thing as waiting lists

One of the most important aspects of private medical care is by far the waiting lists. It is something that we are all familiar with when using the public system, whether that is in Spain or in the UK for example and are aware of how important early diagnosis is for most medical issues. Private health facilities boast the shortest waiting lists, as to put it frankly, they don’t exist. If your closest medical facility can’t fit you in that day or within the same week, you have the option of going to any of the others covered by the health insurance policy you have. This means that as a patient, you don’t have to wait on a list for what could be months or even years for medical attention, but have to option to choose where you would like to be seen and when!

Repatriation of remains

This type of insurance refers to that found in a family assistance policy or funeral plan. This does not cover medical emergencies, but in the event of death only. While family assistance policies and funeral plans have their own benefits, such as covering funeral costs and legal fees, they will only cover the costs of repatriation if the insured is deceased. The cost of bringing the deceased’s body or ashes back to their country of residence or country stated on a policy is normally covered completely by family assistance insurance or funeral plan, as well as all the documentation necessary for travel.

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Each different insurance listed above has different levels of coverage for repatriation and also have their own benefits. Travel insurance is always recommended when leaving your country of origin and health insurance or family assistance insurance is handy to have as they are more amplified and cover you for things in your country of origin. We recommend always having these types of insurance in place to cover any eventuality at home or abroad and depending on the level of coverage, it can be inexpensive and will ultimately save you money in the event of necessary repatriation.