Emergency Abroad: How can the FCO and your travel insurance help?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office work hard to ensure that British Citizens are safe when they travel abroad. They provide continually updated travel advice on their website for every country in the world, so you can be properly prepared before you travel.
British Embassies are also there to help you if you run into trouble whilst you are abroad. You can call the Consular Assistance team on: 020 7008 1500 (+44 20 7008 1500 if calling from overseas). Take this phone number with you on your travels - you never know when you might need it.
Although the FCO provides invaluable help and support if you run into trouble abroad, they don't cover the cost, that's often where your travel insurance comes in.
What if I lose my passport or it gets stolen?
The FCO can issue you with a replacement passport if yours is lost or stolen, however they will charge for doing this.
You should be able to make a claim for 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.
My bag has been stolen and I don't have any money
The FCO 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 should be able to make a claim under the Personal Property section of your travel insurance, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy. NB. You will need to have obtained a police report confirming the theft.
I didn't know I needed a visa and now I've been refused entry to a country. Can the FCO tell them to let me in?
The FCO can't help you enter a country as they cannot interfere in another country's immigration policy or procedures, but they do provide advice on entry requirements and passport validity for every country on their website. Check the latest travel advice every time travel.
I was admitted to hospital: Who pays the bill?
If you're sick or injured abroad, the FCO cannot pay for your medical treatment or provide treatment themselves, which is why they strongly advise you to make sure you have travel insurance before you travel.
The most important reason to have travel insurance every time you travel is to cover the cost of unexpected emergency medical treatment whilst you are away, which can easily amount to £1000's of pounds.
If you become ill or have an accident abroad you should 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 you are hospitalised abroad, the FCO will contact your friends and family, and can liaise with travel insurance company on your behalf.
I've been beaten up and robbed. Can the FCO help me?
If you're a victim of crime, the FCO 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.
I've been arrested. Can the FCO get me out of jail?
The FCO can't get you out of prison but they can contact your friends and family. They can also provide a list of local lawyers, make sure any medical problems are bought to the attention of the prison and provide general information about the country, prison conditions and the local legal system.
Take the 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 1500 (+44 20 7008 1500 if calling from overseas).
When you buy a travel insurance policy from Goodtogoinsurance.com you will receive a handy travel assistance card with our 24 hour emergency support number on it.