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At Holiday Extras, we aim for a hassle-free approach to travel — we want your week to be spent sunning yourself on a Greek island, not to be held at ransom by politicians. Your time should be spent planning which restaurant serves the best mezze, not worrying about how Brexit could affect your travel!
The decision for the UK to leave Europe is scheduled to take effect on the 31st October 2019. At the moment what is being reported in the news can sound confusing and unpredictable. Along with providing affordable travel insurance policies so that you can enjoy your European holiday plans, at Holiday Extras we aim to make sure you're kept up-to-date with the latest news and provide you with a comprehensive guide to navigating this political minefield!
What does Brexit mean for UK travel?
At present parliament has voted in favour of another Brexit extension, this time to the end of January 2020. Our new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is working to force Brexit through on the 31st October regardless, but as it stands a bill has been passed requiring him to either present a new deal or request an extension. The chances of him getting the previous "withdrawal agreement" through parliament or negotiating a new deal in the time available are slim so Brexit may again be postponed.
The current Brexit extension provides certainty that all existing travel arrangements for UK travellers to the EU will continue as normal, and Brexit will not affect your travel until at least the 31st October 2019 or the end of January 2020 (depending on the further extension). Provided you have an up-to-date EHIC card, you can still access state medical care in any EU country until one of these extension dates, though this cover is very limited and we advise you take out travel insurance with sufficient medical cover and declare any pre-existing medical conditions.
A no-deal Brexit
A no-deal scenario means the UK would immediately leave the European Union with no agreement about the "divorce process" and without a 21-month withdrawal period. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is committed to leaving the EU on the 31st October 2019 and there is still a real possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal there will be changes to how UK travellers visit the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein. This will also include changes to how EU citizens visit the UK after Brexit. A no-deal Brexit will change the rules for the following:
Please be aware that there will be no immediate changes for UK travellers after Brexit if the UK agrees a deal with the EU. The same rules for travel would apply until at least the 31st December 2020. It could, in theory, take several years before the UK can permanently leave the EU depending on how the negotiations go between the UK and the European Union.
Holiday Extras Brexit Disruption Cover
We want to ensure that no matter where and when you're travelling, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, you can have enhanced protection. That's where Holiday Extras Brexit Disruption Cover comes in.
Brexit Disruption Cover is available as an add-on to your travel insurance policy. To book, simply complete your initial travel insurance booking and select Brexit Disruption Cover from the list of optional add-ons. Alternatively, if you'd prefer to speak to someone, call our Kent-based call centre on 0800 316 0104, and one of our agents can talk you through the process. For a complete rundown, visit our Brexit Disruption cover page.
What will happen to my EHIC?
At this stage your European Health Identity Card (EHIC) allows you the same medical care as EU nationals and, while it's difficult to say at this point, the general consensus is that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, your EHIC will no longer be valid. However, if a deal is reached, then British travellers may have up until the 31st December 2020 to use their EHICs. There are limitations to the EHIC card so if you're a holiday maker it's important to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers all pre-existing medical conditions you have and the fun activities you plan to do on your trip. For further information then check out our page on whether your EHIC card will be valid post-Brexit.
Travel Insurance with medical cover at Holiday Extras
At Holiday Extras, we have been voted best travel insurance provider for more than 10 years running at Globe Travel Awards. Our Gold and Platinum travel insurance have been 5 Star rated by Defaqto. This means our Gold and Platinum cover provide the highest quality offerings on the market, with up to £10 million in medical cover.
Our Platinum cover is our premium and most comprehensive level of cover. When you take out a Platinum policy, you can be assured of top cover levels for medical, baggage, repatriation, legal expenses and cancellation (unless in the case of a 'no-deal Brexit') - as well as numerous other added benefits which include:
- Gadget cover of up to £500,
- Natural Disaster cover of up to £2000,
- Wedding cover of up to £1500, and
- Pet care of up to £500 included as standard.
If you are working within a budget and would like a cheaper travel insurance alternative, you may like to take a look at our Bronze or Silver cover which provide you with appropriate levels of cover, including up to £5 million in medical cover with Bronze, or up to £10 million in medical cover with our Silver cover.
Check out our table below for an idea of what you can expect from each level of cover with Holiday Extras:
*Please note that you are not covered for cancellation/curtailment of flights, ferries, Eurostar or closure of the Channel Tunnel, or delays or disruption in the event of a 'no-deal Brexit'. Whatever happens after the 31st October 2019, check with your insurance provider that you have the right cover for you.
Remember, you can book a travel insurance policy online any time or via our UK call centre!
Driving in Europe after Brexit
If you're planning to drive around Europe after Brexit then, depending on the country you visit, you might have to update your International Driving Permit (IDP) to guarantee your motor insurance abroad is valid. If you have a UK licence you will not need an IDP to drive when visiting Ireland. If you're unsure what documents you need for driving abroad, we've devised a list of which IDP is required by each country:
Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic,
Estonia, Finland, France, (IDP mandatory),
Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,
Monaco (IDP mandatory), Netherlands, Norway,
Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden
Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland,
Belgium (up to 185 days)
Denmark (up to 90 days)
Ireland (up to 12 months)
Iceland (up to 1 month)
Luxembourg (up to 185 days)
For further information on driving abroad in the EU post-Brexit please check out the UK Government website.
Will you need a visa to visit Europe after Brexit?
Adding some reassurance to the balance, Victoria Bacon of the Association of British Travel Agents has confirmed in the Financial Times that flights will continue to operate between the UK and the EU, regardless of the outcome, and that "British citizens will not need a visa to visit EU destinations", but the government's proposals to end free movement could affect how tourists enter the UK, for a period of 3 months or more.
If the UK secures a deal, then there will be no changes to how you enter the EU or its Member States until at least the 31st December 2020. You need not worry about visas for short trips after Brexit either, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to European Commission proposals. You will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. There is a possibility that you will need a visa or permit to stay and work for longer than this period of time though. If you're an Irish citizen you'll still be able to enter to work or study in the UK, without a visa - even in the event of a no-deal.
According to the European Union justice minister, in the longer term, visas may be a requirement for EU citizens that want to visit the UK, or UK travellers who want to visit Europe but this will be dealt with in the post-withdrawal negotiations. Don't be too concerned though as many expect that the UK will negotiate a deal whereby travellers from the United Kingdom will only need their passports to travel to Europe.
At present what you need to show at a UK border will not change after Brexit - even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, according to the UK Government website. You will still need to show a valid passport or national identity card if you're a citizen of either:
- an EU country
- Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein
At some airports you can use your automatic biometric passport or ePassport (if your passport has a chip) and you're 12 years or over. These ePassport gates tend to be much faster. If you're not a citizen of an EU country, or one of the countries listed above, you'll need to show a valid passport. The good news is you can also still enter the UK using a passport which expires in less than 6 months.
For more helpful information on Brexit and visas check out our comprehensive guide on whether you will need a visa for travel to Europe. If you're also worried about how your passport will need to change after Brexit, then see our useful guide on Brexit and passports for advice if you are a UK traveller making exciting future travel plans.
Also if you are a UK business traveller concerned about your travel post-Brexit, then check out our useful guide to how Brexit will affect UK business travellers so you're prepared for any changes you may have to make when visiting Europe for work after we leave the EU.
Mobile phone roaming charges after Brexit
Currently, under EU rules, the cost of making calls, sending messages or using the internet on your phone in the EU is the same as the UK. If there is a no-deal Brexit then these rules will no longer apply. Don't be too worried though as some UK companies have actually said they may continue to offer this benefit to their customers which is great news. For even more helpful information on how Brexit will affect mobile data roaming please check out our official guide to roaming charges post-Brexit.
Further frequently asked questions on travel and Brexit:
Check out the following answers to FAQs to help you feel reassured that your Brexit travel will be more about fun and less about hassle!
If you still don't quite know where you stand with your travel arrangements, why not take a look at our Brexit flowchart designed to provide some clarity on the issue or, if you are a UK traveller and are concerned about your travel post-Brexit then check the UK Government website to see if you need to act now to ensure you can continue to travel as planned.
For more details on Brexit from our Holiday Extras team and frequent updates on how Brexit will affect your holiday in general, please take a look at our blog!
All information correct as of September 2019. Sources: the UK Government website and The Association of British Travel Agents website.
If you found this Brexit and travel page useful, then read through a few of our other top Brexit guides for further helpful information.
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Holiday Extras Cover Ltd and Holiday Extras Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Holiday Extras Cover Ltd 05058680 and Holiday Extras Ltd 01693250 are registered in England and Wales. Registered address: Ashford Road, Newingreen, Kent CT21 4JF.
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