Travel

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Tips for Travellers

The vast majority of all journeys are completed without incident but occasionally, regardless of how careful you are, things can go wrong. To help you make sure that you won’t need a claim form when you get home, here are a few tips to raise your awareness and help you manage if the unexpected does happen to you.

Before you Travel

You may find the following check list useful to help ensure you are fully prepared for your journey.

Check with your doctor to see if you need any vaccinations, anti-malarial treatment etc. If you have to take any medication for any ongoing medical condition ensure that you have an ample supply for the entire duration of your trip. This should be split up between your hand luggage and checked-in luggage in case one of your bags is lost. If you are travelling within the EU get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This will entitle you to free or low-cost treatment for medical problems. Details of how to apply for this can be found here: www.dh.gov.uk

Be aware of local issues – visit the Travel Security Online section of the UMAL web site for information about the country and area that you are intending to visit.

What if something goes wrong?

The most common problems encountered on journeys are accidents/illnesses and losses/thefts. You will find below some useful hints that may help to prevent you from becoming the victim of a theft or help you cope in the event of a medical problem.

Injury and Illness

  • For serious injuries/illnesses remember that UMAL’s chosen medical rescue provider Specialty Assist are there to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Medical costs can quickly rise beyond the ability of most travellers to meet, particularly in the USA and Canada. Specialty Assist can take care of this for you, providing guarantees of payment to hospitals, doctors etc.
  • Never attempt to arrange your own repatriation. Quite apart from the expense and difficulty of booking travel arrangements in a foreign country, there may be medical implications of which you are not aware. Certain conditions can be complicated seriously, even fatally, by air travel. Specialty Assist can ensure that you are returned home safely and quickly if you need repatriation, and at no expense to you.
  • For minor ailments remember that the local pharmacy will often be able to assist without the inconvenience of having to see a doctor. Of course, if the pharmacy cannot help, or the problem persists, then you should consult the local doctor immediately.
  • Always retain invoices/receipts for all expenditure incurred. You will need to produce these to support your claim.

Losses and Thefts

  • Never leave your possessions unattended, even for a moment. Opportunist thieves thrive on such situations and it only takes a second to steal your property. Typical examples of this include leaving your property on the beach when you go into the water for a quick dip or leaving something on a table in a club or restaurant when you go to the bar. Ladies handbags have been particular targets for ‘snatch’ type thefts.
  • Never pack money or valuables (cameras, watches, jewellery etc) in your checked-in suitcase when travelling. It is much safer to carry these items on your person or in hand luggage. Airlines do not accept any responsibility (and have no legal liability) for these items in your checked-in luggage. Remember that your luggage is in their control and out of your sight for the entire duration of your flight.
  • If your accommodation has a safe, safety deposit box or similar, always use it to protect your cash and valuables. A burglar is usually looking for money and small, valuable items. The average burglar will be unable or unwilling to take the time and effort needed to break into the safe.
  • If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a loss or theft always report it to the local police or other appropriate authority. Make sure you get a written report to confirm that you have done this, you will need to produce this to support your claim. If the police will not issue a report obtain the full postal address and telephone/fax number of the police station, the name of the officer and the crime reference number allocated to the incident.
  • In the event of the loss or theft of your passport, you must contact the local police and the appropriate embassy/consulate. They will be able to assist you in obtaining the necessary documentation to enable you to return home.

Personal Liability

If you are responsible for injury to a third party or damage to a third party’s property you must not admit any liability whatsoever without our prior written consent. If you do admit liability we may not be able to provide any cover for the expenses incurred.

If you are asked for payment by the third party, do not agree to any payment. This could constitute admission of liability and might mean that you end up paying much more. If you are under pressure to make a payment, contact us immediately.

Legal Expenses

If you are injured during the journey and it’s someone else’s fault, the legal expenses section of the cover will provide for the cost of pursuing a claim against the responsible party to a fixed amount of costs. Please note however that this cover does not apply in USA/Canada.

Serious Incidents

We are all aware that sometimes events occur that have a widespread effect, often reaching beyond those that are directly involved in the incident; The Indonesian tsunami, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Madrid and London bombings.

If you are directly involved in such an event, or if your trip is indirectly affected by it, you can access the Global Security Centre incident management support service. Based on a fully equipped Operations Centre at Control Risks’ Head Office in London, the Global Security Centre is manned 24 hours a day by a dedicated team of experienced security consultants who have access to UMAL’s specific operating procedures and who are supported by Control Risks’ comprehensive skills and global cover.

Access to the service is primarily by telephone, (a telephone line dedicated to UMAL) but may also be by email or fax. Details are shown on the travel cover summary. UMAL’s members personnel (whether staff member of student) may telephone the Global Security Centre for security advice (both non-urgent and urgent) at any time from anywhere in the world and be assured of an immediate response.

Reasons for calling include: asking for security advice reference proposed travel, being a victim of crime (muggings theft etc), involvement in an incident, being caught-up in a terrorist attack etc.

In conclusion

Whilst all of this may seem rather worrying, statistically, it is actually very unlikely that you will suffer any problems on your journey. If you do however, we hope the above information will help you to cope.

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