Yes, travel insurance includes repatriation as described within the medical evacuation coverage of your travel insurance plan.
Repatriation is the return of an insured traveler’s body home if they die while traveling. See our full review of repatriation coverage for more details.
The simple fact is that repatriating a person’s body is a complicated and expensive process. Local laws and regulations control how the body is to be handled and transported and there are often fees, expenses for embalming, costs for containers, and shipping costs not to mention the bureaucracy involved in transporting human remains.
Regardless of the situation, the family of the traveler is very much helped by a travel insurance company who can manage, negotiate, and pay for the repatriation.
Many types of travel insurance plans (both package plans and travel medical plans) include this coverage, but it’s important to note that repatriation is nearly always bundled with the travel insurance plan’s medical evacuation coverage.
The travel insurance provider will coordinate, manage, and pay for the repatriation – not the traveler’s family. The travel insurance company will, however, communicate their plan and the progress to the family of the traveler.
A travel insurance plan with repatriation coverage does not include funeral, burial, or cremation expenses. Nor does it include related containers such as urns or coffins. The travel insurance coverage focuses on the legal transportation of the body in an approved container to a funeral home near the traveler’s residence.
In essence, the traveler cannot be buried where they died using their travel insurance coverage – their body must be transported home instead.
See our full review of repatriation coverage for a list of plans and associated limits to understand how much coverage each company and plan provides.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.