Accidents Abroad

Accidents Abroad Accident waiting to happen by Lützau

This article was written by Sophie Genge, Travel law team, Penningtons Solicitors LLP, published on 2nd January 2010 and has been read 7106 times.

The thing students dread most is having an accident on their year abroad. In the event that something does go wrong you will want to make sure that it will be dealt with causing you as little hassle as possible. Increasingly, it has been noticed that students taking gap years do not always have adequate insurance cover when they go abroad. Not only can this leave them out of pocket, it can also make it very difficult to bring a claim on their behalf.

1. Cost

Understandably, as a student, you will be travelling on a budget and therefore you might opt to take the cheapest travel insurance available or even to use your parents' policy. Unfortunately this might not cover you for all of the activities that you plan to do on your year abroad.

2. Losses

You should also check the level of legal expenses cover that a policy offers. If you are involved in an accident abroad then your insurance policy will probably not cover you for all losses that you may incur, such as loss of property in an accident or any loss of earnings when you return home. If you have legal expenses cover it might be that you would be able to bring a claim against those who caused the accident. As you will be dealing with an accident that occurred abroad, there are many issues which arise that can cause complications with such a claim. Therefore it is important to use a law firm that specialises in travel litigation and would have knowledge of the foreign jurisdiction.

3. Dos and don'ts for accidents on your year abroad


  • Get travel insurance from a specialist insurer.
  • Get cover for the most dangerous activity that you might undertake.
  • Stay in regular contact with people at home to ensure your safety.
  • If an accident does happen, make a note of the accident circumstances and details of any witnesses as soon as possible and contact your insurer.
  • Tell your insurer of any previous medical conditions. If you do not they may not cover you for any medical treatment in relation to these conditions. The insurer will not necessarily turn you down if you tell them, but there may be a premium to pay. But this would probably be well worth it if a medical emergency arises.


  • Rely on your parent's annual insurance policy without checking with the insurer that you will be covered for the whole time that you are away.
  • Take the cheapest insurance available without checking that you are happy with the level of cover that it will provide.

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