The importance of business travel insurance, for your company and your people
Travel came to a standstill not too long ago, but the world has slowly been opening up these past several months.
With annual business travel costs estimated to rise by $1.7 billion [£1.37 billion] this year, global business travel is coming back with a bang. It’s expected to reach, and possibly exceed, a pre-pandemic level of spend of $1.4 trillion [£1.13 trillion] by the end of 2024.
And while many of us are excited to jump on that next flight, persistent COVID-related disruptions, supply chain strains, labour shortages, rising inflation, and increased costs are just a few of the challenges travel will face on the road to recovery.
But let’s face it, even before the pandemic we’ve all had some unpleasant travel experiences. Like missed flights, unexpected illnesses and lost baggage.
What is business travel insurance?
Business travel insurance differs from a standard travel insurance policy in that it covers people travelling for business purposes.
It will typically cover medical expenses, can pay for accommodation costs or alternate travel arrangements, and can even reimburse a traveller if they can’t make the trip. Some policies might also cover laptops, cameras and other expensive equipment. Plus, things like official documents and company money can’t be claimed on a standard policy either.
Of course, this can vary from provider to provider.
💡 Keep reading to check out our top choices for business travel insurance for companies of all shapes and sizes.
Why your company needs to protect its business trips
Most companies are already covered with insurance policies and regulations covering things like workplace theft or injuries, but all that changes when your people hit the road.
Getting business travel insurance for your employees ensures that they’re still covered despite being outside your other policies.
Not having adequate coverage in place for business travel can have many repercussions, but the two main areas it will definitely have an effect on are your finances and culture.
Its impact on company finances
Business travel is expensive.
In 2020, the average cost for a domestic business trip in the U.S. was just under $1,000 [£ 808.65] with an international trip coming in at $2,525 [£2041.84]. And in Europe, business travel costs reached more than $326 [£263.62] a day at the end of 2021 (and definitely more if you’re travelling to Geneva, Switzerland!).
Based on those numbers it’s easy to see how just one issue cropping up during a trip can lead to minor, potentially major, financial implications for a company. Having insurance can greatly reduce the costs related to incidents like medical evacuation or lost equipment. It also allows for greater flexibility as many business travel insurance policies provide cancel coverage. Giving your business the ability to reschedule trips is far more beneficial (both financially and psychologically) than watching the money go down the drain.
And yes, there’s a cost associated with having business travel insurance but these costs are paid upfront and at rates that are easy to budget for.
Its impact on company culture
Of course finances are top of mind when it comes to business travel, but what about the people putting in the time and effort to take these trips? While it’s nice to get a change of pace from working from home or in the office, travelling for work can be pretty stressful at times.
Work trips tend to come with a packed itinerary. From arriving at the train station on time to finding the correct restaurant for that lunch with a client to getting an Uber to take you to your hotel, there are many things that could potentially go wrong.
You sent your team member to make new connections, improve their skills and stay innovative – you don’t want your people left out-of-pocket and wondering what to do when something didn't go as planned.
Business travel insurance provides employees with peace of mind and ensures their health and safety. Big expo in America? Exciting! But what about their medical care while they’re there?
And no one wants to be waiting around for days, weeks or even months to be reimbursed for those emergency socks and toothbrush they had to purchase because of lost luggage. Or even worse, the purchase of a new flight after the original one was cancelled.
Travel insurance can’t fix every aspect of workplace culture, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
What to consider when selecting a business travel insurance
By now you may be thinking: what type of business travel insurance does my company need?
There are so many policies out there that it can be a bit daunting to start sifting through them all. To start wrapping your mind around things, there are two key areas to consider:
How often you travel
Do most of your employees travel only once or twice a year? Or is it much more frequent?
If a business trip is more of a one-off thing, you should take a look at single-trip policies.
But if your company is spread out across the globe with employees going back and forth all the time, you’re better suited for a year-long or annual multi-trip policy. The upfront costs for these plans are higher, but you’ll save money in the long run by not purchasing individual policies every time someone needs to travel.
And where you’re going
Buying a single destination ticket? Or will you be hopping around?
Are you staying within Europe? Or going worldwide?
Whether purchasing a single-trip or a multi-trip policy, you also need to consider the destinations of your business trips. All countries are different and the business travel insurance required to keep your people well and covered can also differ.
Things have been moving in the right direction recently but we’re not in the clear just yet, so it’s important to keep possible COVID-19 disruptions in mind.
Although the UK government has removed all international travel restrictions on March 18th, 2022, this isn’t the case for all countries. You should always check the current documentation requirements and regulations of your destination country.
And if you travel against the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice, you won't be covered by any travel insurance policy you buy.
Business travel insurance policies to get you started
Now that we’ve gone over the importance of business travel insurance and what a company needs to consider at the start of its decision-making process, it’s time to share our top picks in the UK so you don’t have to wing it completely.
Each company is different, so we looked for a good balance between cost and coverage so you can take a confident first step towards finding the right protection, at the right price for your business.
We’ll start with the best of the “expensive” options. Insure and Go’s Gold policy offers great coverage and high payouts for claims.
With excellent medical coverage (up to £15,000,000), lost baggage (£1,500), and travel abandonment (£7,500) that you get with the Gold policy, the business travel insurance add-on ensures any business equipment including samples and business cash are covered too. They even considered pre-existing medical conditions.
An annual multi-trip Gold cover with the business travel add-on adds up to £89.78.
Want even higher payouts? Then take things up a notch with the Black policy.
If you need a more cost-effective policy that’s there for you should the worst should occur and lost personal belongings aren’t a big concern then Coverwise’s Standard package is a smart choice.
Under the Standard policy, your business trips and travellers are insured if emergency medical treatment is needed, and coverage is also provided for additional accommodation and transportation costs if they are unable able to return home after suffering an injury or illness on the trip.
Single-trip travel insurance prices start from just £5.15, great for quick business meetings out of town.
At a middle-tier price, the Economycover.com Premier Plus package gives you everything you need. Medical care, lost baggage, medical evacuation (as part of the medical cover), travel cancellation, and an extra business cover.
A 15-day single-trip on the Premier Plus policy is quoted at £28.48. Think you’ll need a multi-trip instead? Get the exact same coverage by adding just £9.50.
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