I’m an EU national living in UK since 2017. However, I do not work - I am a student. I have a National Insurance Number and have been registered with a GP since 2017.

I am going to the US soon and wanted to purchase a travel insurance. All British companies that offer them require me to be a “permanent resident” of the UK and then they list the following four conditions

  • being a resident of UK for at least 12 months,

  • being registered with a UK doctor for at least 6 months,

  • having a National Insurance Number,

  • travelling from and returning to the UK.

I satisfy all the above conditions, but I do NOT have a UK permanent residence document, described here: https://www.gov.uk/permanent-residence-document-eu-eea

My question is: why the companies use the term “permanent resident” if in fact what they mean differs from a what is legally known as a permanent residency?

Is it possible that my (potential) claim would be rejected, because I am not a permanent resident of the UK in the immigration status sense?

I asked two companies about this issue, but their answers were very vague.

Is it possible that they deliberately don’t clarify this ambiguity regarding the definition of permanent residence, so that they can take my money, but then have grounds to reject my claim if anything happens to me?

I am also aware about this thread Travel insurance for person living in UK but not technically resident but my question is a bit different – I satisfy the conditions required by the insurer, but I am confused/worried about the usage of a notion of “permanent residency”, when it seems that they don’t really require permanent residency.

  • Think those are the conditions they use to class permanent residents, my partner is American but not permanent yet, I do get her travel insurance when we go abroad, not had to use it though so not 100%! She has some cover with her life insurance if her travel insurance got rejected too.
    – BritishSam
    Jun 18, 2019 at 12:59
  • Have you checked the company’s full T&C or contacted them for clarification? Some companies seem to differentiate between permanent residents and temporary permanent residents eg coverwise.co.uk/travel-insurance/FAQS/… I am not a lawyer but I’d interpret ‘permanent’ in its literal and immigration meaning.
    – Traveller
    Jun 18, 2019 at 14:58
  • 2
    Why are you questioning the meaning of "permanent resident" when they give you the meaning? Don't look elsewhere for a definition, but just conditions as stated.
    – CGCampbell
    Jun 18, 2019 at 17:00
  • The conditions you cite make it clear that they do not intend to denote permanent residence under EU law, because that requires residence for five or more years, not twelve months. It would also mean that their coverage is not available to residents of the UK who are citizens of countries outside the EU and the Schengen area.
    – phoog
    Jun 18, 2019 at 19:58
  • We are not the insurance company. We can't answer your question about why they use particular words. Jun 18, 2019 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


I don't want to stray too close to providing legal advice on interpreting a contract, given that I'm not a lawyer and especially as I haven't seen the contract. But I'm about as certain as is possible in those circumstances that "permanent resident" is being used as a 'plain English' description of the conditions defined in the contract rather than as a reference to a specific immigration status. Requiring permanent residency status in the sense it's used in your link would make the overwhelming majority of UK residents ineligible.

All that being said, the companies really should be both able and willing to clarify exactly what their eligibility criteria are, and if you have any doubts my suggestion would be to either keep pushing them until they provide an unambiguous answer, or find a different provider. Unwillingness to answer such simple questions isn't a good omen for the experience you'll have if you ever need to make a claim.

  • It looks like the company is both able and willing to clarify exactly what their eligibility criteria are -- the OP is quoting that clarification as the four bulleted points in the question. Jun 18, 2019 at 15:10
  • @HenningMakholm seems fairly clear to me too, but evidently not clear enough for OP who has explained what seems like an understandable enough uncertainty they have. OP also says they asked them this question directly and the answers were very vague. That is the failure to clarify, and one that absolutely shouldn’t happen on what is a yes or no question.
    – Chris H
    Jun 18, 2019 at 18:15
  • 1
    As far as I'm aware, the UK does not have a formally defined legal concept of "permanent residence" (except perhaps inasmuch as it comes from EU law and applies to EU citizens who have lived there for 5 years or more, and that is clearly not the intention).
    – phoog
    Jun 18, 2019 at 19:54

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