Travel insurer World Nomads has published a series of recommendations for international travellers in response to the recent European heatwave.
Jonathan Frankham, World Nomads’ General Manager for the UK and Europe noted that while temperatures across the continent are reaching levels which are potentially dangerous to the health of individuals, ‘travel insurance … typically requires specific circumstances to be triggered for coverage to apply’.
“In the case of cancelling a trip due to an extreme heatwave when no government advisory is in place, travel insurance may not provide coverage for trip cancellations,” he explained. “Since a heatwave is a weather-related event and not typically considered a covered reason for trip cancellation, travellers may not be eligible for reimbursement of their trip expenses if they choose to cancel solely due to extreme heat conditions, understandable as those concerns may be.”
Consequently, many holidaymakers planning to visit Europe may be compelled to go through with their trips, even if they may be concerned about the intense heat.
However, Frankham noted that ‘it is important to note that travel insurance policies can vary significantly, and some policies might offer optional add-ons or upgrades that could include more extensive coverage for specific weather-related events’. He recommended that travellers ‘carefully review their policy documents and reach out to their travel insurance provider or agent to understand the coverage available to them, and any optional enhancements they can consider’.
Travel insurance is ‘essential’
Frankham added that ‘regardless of … travellers’ decisions to cancel plans during a heatwave’, travel insurance is ‘essential … particularly for medical purposes’.
He continued: “Heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke may require immediate medical attention. In severe cases where local medical facilities may not be adequately equipped to handle a particular medical emergency, travel insurance can cover medical evacuation to a nearby or more suitable medical facility.”
“If a traveller’s health is adversely affected by the heatwave, and they are unable to continue with their planned itinerary, travel insurance with trip interruption coverage can help reimburse the costs of unused travel arrangements and additional expenses incurred due to the interruption,” Frankham added.
Frankham also noted that if a heatwave leads to ‘significant disruptions in travel plans, such as flight cancellations or delays’, then insurance may provide coverage for additional expenses incurred – but added that it was once again essential for travellers to understand the terms and conditions of their specific policy.
Stay hydrated, stay flexible
World Nomads also outlined a set of tips and advice for travellers visiting the heat-stricken continent at the present time. They advise:
- Staying hydrated – Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it up regularly, especially during outdoor activities or sightseeing tours
- Planning indoor activities – Exploring museums, historical sites, or shopping in air-conditioned areas to stay out of the sun
- Protect your skin – Pack and regularly apply sunscreen with a high SPF factor, wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, and carry a cloth around which can be soaked with water if necessary
- Know your insurance coverage – Before embarking, review your travel insurance policy
- Monitor Weather Updates – Keep an eye on local weather forecasts to anticipate any extreme weather conditions and plan your activities accordingly
- Stay informed about heat-related risks – Familiarise yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, such as dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, or confusion, and seek shade, drink water, and medical attention if identified in yourself or others
- Be flexible with your itinerary – The heatwave may lead to unexpected changes in plans. Stay flexible and consider adapting your itinerary to ensure your safety and comfort during the trip.
World Nomads also unveiled a new travel insurance package for travellers from northern Europe in November 2022.