On average, around 180,000 Brits travel to Sri Lanka every year (as of 2019), and for a good reason. Also known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, Sri Lanka offers everything you can expect from a tropical getaway — sunny weather, pristine beaches, and delicious cuisines rich in flavourful spices. This small island country has long attracted tourists from all around the world looking for a tropical holiday destination.
Of course, there’s more to Sri Lanka than its sandy beaches and delightful cuisines. The country is also a popular destination for history buffs and nature enthusiasts. It’s a must-travel destination for people looking to see some of the rarest animals in the world — Asian elephants, Sloth Bear, Sambar deers, Blue Whales along with hundreds of bird species that are endemic to the island.
Sri Lanka is also home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world including the awe-inspiring “Temple of the Tooth”, Ruwanwelisaya and the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi — an ancient fig tree that is sacred to Buddhists around the world.
Of particular interest to most tourists visiting Sri Lanka is an area known as the “Cultural Triangle”. This refers to a small region strategically located between three historic cities — Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, and Kandy. In this area, you will find several heritage sites including the rock fortress of Sigiriya and the series of cave temples around Mihintale and Dambulla (said to be the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka).
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably excited to go and book your flight to Sri Lanka. Before anything else though, there is one matter that you to attend to, and that’s obtaining travel insurance to Sri Lanka. After all, while most Brits return to the UK without any problems, there is no guarantee that you’ll experience the same thing.
Travel insurance to Sri Lanka — Is it necessary?
While travel insurance Sri Lanka is not a requirement for entry, the UK government’s travel advice is to do so only with adequate travel insurance. Keep in mind that the Sri Lankan government does not offer free medical care to UK citizens.
If you get sick or injured during your trip and don’t have travel insurance for Sri Lanka, you will end up paying for private medical care and repatriation back to the UK. As you might imagine, that can turn out to be a huge dent in your finances. Travel insurance gives you personal liability coverage to offset medical evacuation costs, and repatriation should you need it.
Of course, no one goes holidaying in Sri Lanka expecting to get sick or hurt. It’s far more likely that you’ll return from your trip unscathed as long as you remain vigilant. Still, that’s no reason to be complacent. A travel cover from an insurance company regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority is always highly recommended.
Following the Easter Sunday Terrorist Attack, Sri Lanka has bolstered security in the region. Any object and manner of clothing that conceals the face or impede identification is currently banned in the country. Security checks are commonplace, and tourists must carry identification documents with them at all times (passport).
Healthcare for Brits in Sri Lanka
It’s a good idea for UK citizens to check with NaTHNaC (National Travel Health Network and Centre) at least 2 months before their trip to Sri Lanka.
They offer vaccine recommendations and the latest news on outbreaks and other health risks as well as factsheets that contain useful information for staying healthy during your travel.
Note that the Sri Lankan government does not offer free medical care for Brits in Sri Lanka. This means that you’ll have to pay for medicines, doctor and hospital fees out of pocket without travel insurance. The trouble with a medical emergency is that it’s almost always unexpected, so it’s always best to go prepared for any eventuality. A travel cover will bring you peace of mind knowing that you can always get help without worrying about the financial expense.
If you take prescription medication for an existing health condition, the NHS recommends that it’s also a good idea to get in touch with the Sri Lankan embassy for assurance that you can safely bring those medicines with you inside the country.
You’d also want to make sure that you bring a note from your doctor verifying that you need the medicine to manage an existing health condition.
You can check the NHS website for pertinent advice on pertinent vaccinations and health checks for more information.
What About Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?
As per the norm in the travel insurance business, you need to disclose any pre-existing health condition you have to your policy provider. While this means that you’ll likely have to pay more to obtain travel insurance for Sri Lanka, it’s better than falling ill during your travel (related to your pre-existing medical condition) and being denied cover.
Policy providers typically offer free screenings for thousands of medical conditions and provide ample coverage to cover repatriation and medical care costs.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll get injured or fall victim to a crime if you confine your activities to safer regions in the country, it’s best not to take any chances and obtain single or multi-trip travel insurance cover before your departure.
Make sure you disclose all pre-existing medical conditions when applying for travel insurance for Sri Lanka. Doing so would help ensure that you don’t run into any problems in the event of a claim.
The human body is an incredible work of evolution, and as such, there are plenty of things that can go wrong in both the short and long term.
For that reason, it can often be difficult to understand what constitutes a medical condition that you have to declare to your travel insurance provider.
Have/are you or anyone in your party:
• taken any prescribed medication, or received any medical treatment in the last 2 years;
• attended a medical practitioner’s surgery or hospital or clinic (out-patient or in-patient) in the last two years;
• awaiting medical treatment or investigation;
• been diagnosed by a medical practitioner as suffering from a terminal illness.
All medical conditions you have must be disclosed and any previous health conditions if they could have an impact on your current health.
That said, your policy provider will let you know if your pre-existing condition is not a factor for your trip cover.
For example, here at Emerald Life, we don’t require clients to disclose their HIV status for as long as they meet the following conditions:
- The patient has taken antiviral treatment for no less than 3 months.
- The patient has not been advised to switch to a different/new type of antiviral regimen.
- If your CDR count is below 350, then you’ll need a note from your GP stating that you are fit for your multi/single trip to Sri Lanka.
- Submit a recent test result showing that the patient has an undetectable viral load or less than 50mls.
Note that conditions of a travel cover can vary from one policy provider to another. It’s ultimately up to the insurance company to decide which pre-existing medical conditions are exempted from disclosure and set pertinent conditions for the exemption.
What to Look For When Shopping for Sri Lanka Travel Insurance
At this point, you probably already have an idea of just how important it is to obtain travel insurance before you travel to Sri Lanka (whether multiple or a single trip). This begs the question — what factors do you need to keep in mind before buying travel insurance?
Well, the answer doesn’t need to be all that complicated. After all, the purpose of travel insurance is to give you peace of mind while you enjoy the sights and wonders that Sri Lanka has to offer. For that, you can set your sights on a few factors that are essential to a travel cover policy.
Repatriation and Medical Cover
The most important part of any travel insurance policy is emergency medical expenses cover. Typically ranging from £5 million to £10 million – the higher in our case – this covers your costs if you become ill or injured abroad and require treatment.
Medical expenses often include repatriation cover. If your condition means you have to return to the UK urgently, then there is cover for transporting you along with any necessary medical equipment and staff. Unsurprisingly, these costs can be staggering without a travel cover.
Before you leave for Sri Lanka, it’s important to ensure that your travel insurance policy offers enough coverage to pay for emergency medical services and repatriation cover back to the UK.
Here at Emerald Life, we provide coverage of up to £10,000,000. In the event of a medical emergency, call us immediately to fast track your claims process.
Travel Insurance Sri Lanka Cancellation and Curtailment Cover
If you are ill or injured before you travel, then you may have to cancel your trip. Some policies will also cover you if a close relative is ill or injured, or your home is burgled, and you have to cancel as a result.
If you expect to make multiple trips to Sri Lanka in a given year, you can probably secure a better deal if you sign up for an annual multi-trip travel cover.
An annual policy will help you save time since you don’t have to reapply before every departure. More importantly, annual multi-trip insurance cost is bound to be cheaper than obtaining numerous single trip policies over a year.
You can contact us today here at Emerald Life to discuss your travel insurance options.
Sri Lanka Travel Insurance Luggage cover
Luggage can get lost during transit, and if that happens, it’ll be a major inconvenience in your travel plans. That’s why you need travel insurance that will reimburse you for the trouble should it happen.
For luggage delays, Emerald Life offers optional baggage cover which serves as compensation for the inconvenience.
If the luggage is lost (missing for 21 to 30 days), you’ll be paid the amount stipulated in the luggage cover.
Travel Insurance Sri Lanka Excesses
While it can be tempting when buying travel insurance based on the final price, it is important that you check any excesses you have to pay.
Some cheap policies will have very high excesses which means any claims could be costly despite having the insurance. Sometimes excesses are so high it might not even be worth claiming. Therefore, make sure you buy a policy that balances a good price with a reasonable excess.
Most travel insurance policies will also include different excesses for different types of claims, and you can find these in your policy documentation. Still, generally, the medical excess is the most significant.
Choosing the right travel insurance company
As you may have already realised, not just any insurance company will do for a good travel cover. In addition to the factors mentioned above, it would be prudent to choose an insurance company regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and a registered office that you can go to. Such an insurance firm is authorised and regulated so you’re unlikely to run into problems.
In any case, you should always check the fine print before sign off on a travel insurance policy. Know that while an insurance firm may be authorised and regulated, they have the rights reserved to make changes to their travel cover.
Do You Need Insurance to Travel to Sri Lanka?
It can be argued that the real question is — can you afford not to have travel insurance when you leave for Sri Lanka?
Again, tourists have no free access to healthcare services when visiting the country, and private medical care can be costly.
Travel insurance should cover the cost of treatment if you fall ill or become injured during your travel.
While no one expects to get sick or become injured while holidaying in Sri Lanka, accidents can happen. If things go south, it’s always helpful to know that you have travel insurance to fall back on.