British Insurance Brokers' Association
01 April 2009
Travel insurance required for visits to the Channel Islands from 1 April

As of the 1st April there will no longer be NHS medical cover for UK travelers (estimated 550,000 in 2008) to the Channel Islands (see Department of Health release and comment below). Therefore it is very important that travelers are aware of this change and take appropriate insurance protection. 

BIBA has agreed with its holiday travel insurance provider (Tokio Marine Europe Insurance Limited) that all existing BIBA Protect Travel policies will be automatically extended at no charge to the consumers to cover their medical expenses whilst travelling in the Channel Islands. To find a BIBA Protect Broker, click here

 In Addition, the EHIC does not extend to the Channel Islands, and a large number of these are due to expire at the end of this month - BIBA is recommending that holders of these cards check their expiry dates if travelling elsewhere.

Advice from Department of Health on Travel insurance required for visits to the Channel Islands from 1 April

Business travellers to the Channel Islands must ensure they have adequate travel insurance from 1 April. The recommendation comes from the Department of Health as the healthcare arrangements for UK visitors to the Islands are due to change.

The current agreement, which allowed UK travellers to get a limited number of medical treatments in the Channel Islands free of charge, will end on March 31. Anyone travelling to the Islands, which include Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark and Herm, will be required to pay for medical treatment should they become ill or injured there after this date. Visitors should therefore take out adequate insurance before they travel.

Visitors from the Channel Islands to the UK will also now be liable for charges for medical treatment when visiting the UK, so they should also have health insurance cover.

In 2007, there were 104,010 business visitors to Jersey from the UK and 27,000 to Guernsey.  Over one third of all visitors from the UK travelling to the Channel Islands, are travelling there on business trips.*

If you have any questions relating to the end of the reciprocal health agreement with the Channel Islands, information on charges can be found by telephoning the Department of Health Customer Service Centre on 0207 210 4850 or e-mailing dhmail@dh.gsi.gov.uk

Ends

For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health newsdesk on 020 7210 5221.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Department of Health has always recommended that UK residents travelling to the Channel Islands take out travel insurance as even with the agreement in place, UK tourists have always been charged for a number of healthcare services including prescribed medicines, A&E hospital treatment, emergency dental treatment, GP and other medical care, ambulance travel (in Guernsey/ Alderney) and for GP treatment, dental care and prescribed medicines (in Jersey) and all medical treatment in Sark.
  2. The agreement between the UK and the Channel Islands has been in place since 1 May 1976.
  3. The Channel Islands were given formal notice of the end of the agreement in December 2008.  The Department of Health initially advised them in May 2008.
  4. The Channel Islands are Crown Dependencies which are internally self-governing and which have their own health services separate from the NHS.
  5. The Ministry of Justice manage the relationship between the UK and the UK Crown Dependencies.
  6. Examples of what end of bilateral healthcare agreement with the Channel Islands means for UK travellers:
    Guernsey/Alderney
    Stan became ill on holiday in Guernsey before 31 March 2009.  He had to pay to see a GP and to get Accident and Emergency hospital treatment. He would have got free in-patient hospital treatment. After 31 March, the only difference is that his insurance would have to cover all the costs.
    Jersey
    Stan became ill on holiday in Jersey before 31 March 2009. He had to pay to see a GP or to get prescribed medicine. He would have got free in-patient and outpatient treatment and free ambulance travel.  After 31 March, the only difference is that his insurance would have had to cover all the costs.

 *Source: www.guernseytrademedia.com and www.jersey.com