Dealing with an Emergency Abroad: The FCDO and travel insurance

FCO Travel Aware

If you experience an emergency abroad, your travel insurance and/or the Foreign and Commonwealth & Development
Office (FCDO) are there to help.

We've put together some common scenarios and detailed where you may be able to find help and assistance.

Here's the important thing to remember; the FCDO can provide valuable help and support if you run into trouble abroad, but they don't foot the bill - this is where travel insurance comes in.

What if I lose my passport or it gets stolen?

The FCDO can issue you with emergency travel documents if your passport is lost or stolen, however they will charge for doing this. You will need to attend the nearest consular office.

You may be able to make a claim for reimbursement of 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 and keep receipts for all costs. includes cover for lost and stolen passports on our Silver, Gold, and Platinum policies; please see your policy wording for full terms and conditions.

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 may be able to make a claim under the Personal Property section of your travel insurance, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.

Please note: In order to make a successful claim on your travel insurance you will need to have obtained a police report confirming the theft. provides cover for Personal Money on our Silver, Gold, and Platinum policies; please see your policy wording for full terms and conditions.

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, this 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. 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 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). provides cover for Medical and Repatriation expenses up to £10 million on our Silver, Gold and Platinum policies. Our medical emergency assistance team are available by phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from anywhere in the world.

I've been beaten up and robbed. Who can 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.

Take these 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 you will find our emergency medical contact number on your documentation, our team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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