It’s no secret that getting your business known across the national and international market can broaden your horizon. However, despite a steep increase in the amount of business travel undertaken by SME firms over the past year, new research has found that nearly one in five SMEs that travel for business have no specialist insurance policy in place.
Results of a survey, carried out by Ageas UK, suggest that UK SMEs are becoming increasingly geographically mobile. Out of more than one thousand firms who took part in the poll 57 per cent claimed to be travelling more often for business than they were a year ago. This includes 22 per cent travelling more in the UK and 20 per cent taking more trips abroad. The remainder cited a combination of both.
With business travel booming and the Government pushing towards its target to increase UK exports, experts insist that getting the right insurance package is essential to get SME employees on the move quickly and safely if a travel set back does occur.
So why aren’t more SMEs getting cover? With 18 percent of the firms questioned admitting outright that they didn’t have specific business travel insurance this is a key question. The assumption that standard individual travel insurance may cover business travellers is being highlighted as a probable factor.
In reality, there is a possibility that business travel could be excluded from these policies thus leaving SME employers in a vulnerable position if anything goes wrong. Misconceptions about business travel insurance also include the belief that the cover is only relevant for trips abroad and not for travel within the UK.
To combat these assumptions, SME employers are being reminded that insurance is needed whether they have workers travelling by road, rail or air.
So how can SMEs benefit from getting business travel insurance cover?
From lost luggage to cancelled flights, business travel insurance provides cover for a range of potential pitfalls that can cost SMEs time and money and can cause a headache along the way! Missed meetings and lost equipment such as laptops and mobile phones are just two of the common problems that can blight a trip and end up costing small businesses a small fortune.
With business travel insurance already taxed at a high 20pc rate, getting a good deal has never been more important for SMEs.
What could a business travel insurance package include?
- Reimbursement for costs incurred if a flight gets cancelled or if the airline goes bust
- Compensation for personal belongings, business and, in some cases, sports equipment
- Extra travel expenses which may result from missed connections
Each package is different which is why it’s essential to shop around for the best deal to suit your business needs. As an extra standard, travel insurance benefits may also apply including:
- Accident, liability and legal cover
- Medical treatment
- Cancellation cover
- Cash back to cover lost or stolen money and travel documents
Philip Brennan head of businesscomparison.com says it’s crucial that SME employers have peace of mind when it comes to travel.
“It is scary how many people are working unconsciously that they are travelling uninsured which could have severe repercussions to their loved ones should the worst happen. From not highlighting that your car will be used for business; to working in foreign countries without any protection from potential risks. There are lots of areas that need to be covered and it best to seek advice. In the future there will be more pressure on employers to be more transparent. In the mean time employees need to be more demanding of businesses to have insurance cover, which should be standard.”
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No one said business travel, however, was easy! Here are a few niggles that certainly won’t be included in your insurance package:
- Endless tailbacks on the M6
- Forgetting to set your alarm and missing your flight
- Enduring whole telephone conversations about what’s for dinner on a train
- Broken Sat Nav
- People who fall asleep next to you and snore loudly
- Persistent toilet-goers
- Armrest hoggers
- Passengers who don’t realise that fish is an unacceptable travel snack!