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I work in a UK based company and am about to go on my first business trip overseas to Japan. I'll be going with my boss and the company will arrange everything. Flights and hotels have all been booked through a travel agent and I've been sent details of these bookings.

My question is: how should I go about asking about travel and health insurance for this trip? I could obviously just ask my boss straight up. But he could just say "it's fine the company covers it all". But I kinda want to be sure that there is definitely a policy in place for these sorts of things. Am I being too paranoid? How would be the best way to get definitive proof there is adequate travel and health insurance in place for my trip?

ADDED INFO: To respond to some of the comments about there being a written travel policy covering travel and health insurance, I've checked through all the documents I received when I joined the company and I've not encountered anything on this topic. We are a small company of around 50 employees of whom 30 or so work on a factory floor. Only around 5 of us in senior managing roles would typically travel overseas. There is only 1 person in the HR department. Just to give some context of how my company operates.

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    In my experience it's normally documented in the company's Travel & Expense Policy Documentation. – Laconic Droid Nov 29 '19 at 14:43
  • @LaconicDroid Ditto. – Sourav Ghosh Nov 29 '19 at 14:47
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    @LaconicDroid if they have any documentation. That in itself is a big assumption. – UKMonkey Nov 29 '19 at 14:52
  • @UKMonkey - If someone works for a company sending employees to Japan it's a reasonable bet they have a documented travel policy. Otherwise they will spend most days fixing expense reports full of ineligible claims. – Laconic Droid Nov 29 '19 at 15:00
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    @LaconicDroid that's just a load of rubbish - you're essentially assuming only large companies do international travel. – UKMonkey Nov 29 '19 at 15:04
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Don't be afraid to ask any questions about travel. It doesn't matter if the travel is international or not, some questions about the policies and procures of your company are valid.

Focusing on the international travel.

  • How much local currency should we get for a trip of this length?
  • If there is a corporate card can it be used internationally, or am I expected to use my personal card?
  • How much does the company cover for exchange rate fees, and the like?
  • Rental car issues. Some domestic insurance policies don't cover international and/or business rentals.
  • Do you need a Visa to travel to that country?
  • How are cell phones handled? Does the corporate phone work overseas, and what has to be done in advance?
  • Can we bring our work laptop?
  • Class of airline tickets?
  • Per Diem limits?
  • what about heath insurance, and coverage if you have to be medically evacuated from the country?

My company reimburses me for a extra policy to cover me medically in that country, but others might have a corporate policy to cover all travel for the year. For example my company uses a corporate policy for rental cars in the US, so we can always decline rental car insurance when traveling domestically, but they pay for the policy overseas.

For proof, they should give you a policy letter. This will make sure that you can access the insurance when you needed it. They should not hesitate sending you the letter, or pointing out the location on the company computer system. It will have all the policy numbers, limits, coverage, and emails/phone numbers needed. In the case of the auto insurance mentioned above, every year we get an updated letter in case we need it or the rental car company wants proof.

  • I'd like to add that any sane company - even if they don't have a policy explicitly covering Travel & Health Insurance - would make all health insurance that is a visa / admission requirement elegible for expense claims. They're sending you on a business trip, it should be covered to avoid liability – Juliana Karasawa Souza Nov 29 '19 at 19:21
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How would be the best way to get definitive proof there is adequate travel and health insurance in place for my trip?

Shoot an email to the travel department of your organization, with your HR and immediate superior in CC with the exact same question, and ask the details of the insurance policies.

They'll be able to provide the answer (for your insurance details), and/or point you to the relevant chapter in the organizational handbook covering the organizational policy related to travel and health insurance.


After the edit:

Since you've mentioned the company is small enough and you don't have clarity from the documents you have your hands on, after you send the email, you can reach out to the Admin/HR person (over phone / pay a visit to their office) to accelerate things up. You must ensure you know the insurance details before you make the travel, as you never know when you might need those info. Also, if your boss (or someone in the senior management you know) had previous experience with overseas travel you can ask them about it, too.

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    I would add (since you didn't say it explicitly) that asking for the copy of the details isn't unreasonable in said email. – UKMonkey Nov 29 '19 at 14:51
  • @UKMonkey If they have a portal / repository for process documents, I believe, nobody will forward a copy of the process document, as the attached copy might be outdated. If they don't have one then they have to attach a copy anyways. :) Other than that, the details about the insurance (policy number etc) should be added. – Sourav Ghosh Nov 29 '19 at 14:55
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    I wouldn't travel without confirmation that I was insured. This means knowing policy number and insurer (I don't know what details you thought I meant, but that's that; as well as what I'm actually covered for - at least for health). I wouldn't expect most of the details to be available to anyone other than HR and/or travel dep. As for having out of date information; I think after requesting the insurance details, if they were changed without informing me then I'd be on some pretty good grounds to get compensation on return if I had to claim but couldn't – UKMonkey Nov 29 '19 at 15:04
  • @UKMonkey OK, I think I was not clear enough (1) Insurance details pertaining to any individual must be sent (2) The organizational policy related to insurance might be available in a portal and a copy might not be sent. I hope I made it clear. I also edited the answer to reflect that. – Sourav Ghosh Nov 29 '19 at 15:06
  • Thanks for your comments. Added some more information to my question in case that helps clear up some understanding. – Sam Nov 29 '19 at 15:31
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Usually companies take good care of insurance due to legal requirements. So I think you should be fine but nothing wrong in confirming.

Am I being too paranoid?

A bit but I can understand if someone wants to be sure.

How would be the best way to get definitive proof there is adequate travel and health insurance in place for my trip?

Just tell the boss exactly what you feel. Ask him how to go about seeing insurance documents before your travel so that you can be prepared or buy additional insurance from your end if needed. His response should clarify if you have any insurance and if so, is it sufficient.

  • "due to legal requirements" citation needed. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 30 '19 at 7:49

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