Unfortunately, your health can be affected by accidents or unforeseen illnesses on a weekend break, a three-week holiday or a gap year away. It is important that, should something happen, you have adequate cover in place to protect your health. Direct Line's range of Travel Insurance can come to your rescue in a health emergency and give you peace of mind to help you travel trouble-free.

Treatment for illness and injury in Britain is automatically free for UK residents, thanks to the NHS. But what happens when you are away? Health systems in other countries are paid for in a variety of ways by their residents. In some cases UK residents are covered under the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), formally known as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). But if you don't have adequate travel health insurance when you're away, the costs - even for a small course of medication or minor operation - can be huge.

Direct Line Travel Insurance policies contain a section on 'medical and emergency expenses abroad'. As long as you have paid the relevant premium, you will receive essential emergency treatment if you fall ill or are injured in an accident abroad. You can then either continue with your journey or be transported back to the UK for further treatment or to convalesce. For all three policies, travel health insurance cover is given up to £10 million per person. It is especially important that you are covered as health insurance costs can really add up - especially if you need a big operation, extensive intensive care (Direct Line covers for continuous medical treatment and travel expenses up to 12 months after illness or injury occurs) or have to be airlifted back home.

If you need outpatient treatment, including emergency dental treatment, the procedure is quite straightforward. You may have to pay for medication or assistance and then claim the costs back. However, if you need more extensive medical help, you should contact Direct Line's Emergency Helpline first. As one of our Travel Insurance customers, we will help you immediately, as soon as you contact us, so there are no concerns about when treatment can begin.

Having any kind of health crisis while away from home can cause trauma and stress. That's why Direct Line can, where medically necessary, pay for a friend or partner to travel and stay with you while you undergo treatment - up to £2,500, including a daily allowance of £25 for phone calls, food and transport.

To ensure you are fully covered under our travel insurance, you need to let us know of any health issues before you travel and if you are diagnosed with any new medical conditions after you have bought the cover but before you depart on the trip. Other exclusions also apply. All necessary details are requested when you call up for a quote. If you have any queries about the travel health insurance we can provide, check out our frequently asked questions section or you can give us a call and our operators will do our very best to answer your query.

Under the cancellation and curtailment sections of our Travel Insurance policies, you are also covered if your trip needs to be cut short because of someone else's illness - a travelling companion, member of your immediate family or someone you were supposed to be staying with.

You can find out more online about travel insurance cover under your Direct Line Travel Insurance policy, or apply for a quote and book your cover today.

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