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Grooms and riders warned travel insurance may not cover them in Europe

Grooms planning to travel to Europe for work after 1 January have been urged to be aware of key changes that will apply after Brexit — as well as implications of the coronavirus.

With no trade deal as yet to apply after Britain’s departure from the EU, and the 31 December leaving date approaching, it looks likely that the European health insurance card (EHIC) will no longer be valid.

This means that from 1 January, Brits will not be eligible for free or very cheap healthcare, as is currently the case for EHIC holders.

The British Grooms Association (BGA) has warned grooms that travel insurance is a must if they are working abroad.

“Even if there is a deal and the EHIC remains, an EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance,” a BGA spokesman said. “Take out travel insurance before your trip.”

The BGA added that grooms must buy travel insurance that specifically covers them for working abroad, as many policies do not.

There are also insurance implications of Government advice regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to most of Europe, including Spain and Portugal.

Nicky Blakely, of PJ Hayman adventures travel insurance, said: “Unfortunately the insurers’ definition of work does not include sporting activities as they do not provide essential services to the general public or businesses.

“Whilst we appreciate people wanting to travel, there is nothing that would persuade insurers to accept competition riding/showjumping or grooms as essential work.

“Anyone who has travelled against [Foreign Office] advice will not be covered by their policy.”

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The BGA spokesman said: “So right now, even if you have travel insurance, it would be invalid.

“That means any groom (or rider) who is planning to travel to the Sunshine Tour, or is already in Spain or Portugal, will be there with absolutely no health care protection. Who is going to pay for medical costs?

“The BGA is very concerned about the wellbeing of grooms who will be travelling abroad, maybe without little choice to do so, and feels that this issue must be raised. It is also important to note that this issue is not just applicable to grooms, but also riders.”

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