The Financial Cost of Repatriation

The Financial Cost of Repatriation main image

If you are planning a foreign holiday or a business trip abroad one of the most important matters to organise is your insurance cover against the many different risks that are associated with international travel. These risks include the loss or theft of items of property, trip cancellation, accidents and ill health. In the event that an accident or illness proves to be fatal, one of the most significant costs is the repatriation of the deceased’s body back to the UK and this is why it is so important to ensure that a travel insurance policy covers repatriation costs and that the amount of the cover is sufficient.   

Repatriation of a body can be a complicated process, involving notification of the local police and the appointment of a funeral director. Depending on the circumstances, the coroner may need to be informed and an investigation undertaken before the body is released to the funeral home. A death certificate will need to be obtained, together with a transportation certificate, a coffin sealing certificate and a customs declaration authorising the body to be removed from the country. Bills will be payable to the funeral director, the coroner and for transportation to the airport and, of course, for the flight back to the UK. All this adds up to a substantial financial liability. This is why it is vital that your travel insurance policy provides adequate repatriation cost cover.   
When you compare travel insurance policies do locate a policy that meets your needs and covers repatriation costs there are certain key factors that you need to keep in mind.   
Travel insurers will refuse to pay for repatriation costs if there is a failure to disclose a pre-existing health condition or such a condition is disclosed but excluded from the cover. It is essential, therefore, that all pre-existing health conditions are disclosed and that these are covered by the travel insurance policy. If in any doubt about whether a condition should be disclosed you should always do so. It is far better to pay a slightly higher premium than for the insurance company to avoid paying a claim. 
Most insurance policies exclude cover for claims arising from participation in risky activities. You should ensure that, if your travel insurance policy contains such exclusions, you do not engage in any activity that is specifically excluded from your travel insurance cover. 
Some travel insurers offer no cover for repatriation costs, whilst others will only provide a limited amount of cover. When you compare travel insurance policies, you should ensure that the amount of cover offered for repatriation costs is sufficient for the country or countries that you will be visiting. Obviously, the further afield you travel, the greater the repatriation costs will be.  
You should always check the small print to make sure that potential repatriation costs are adequately covered by the policy that you intend to take out.   


Dealing with the formalities associated with the death and repatriation of the body of a family member or travelling companion whilst in a foreign country can be complicated and difficult. The distress of having to do so will only increase if the deceased does not have adequate travel insurance cover to meet the costs of repatriation.   

Too many people often choose the cheapest travel insurance which could offer limited cover and not cover you for all eventualities, after all insurance is there to cover the unexpected. 

repatriation costs

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