Travel insurance compensates you for unexpected things that can happen while you're travelling.
It’ll usually include cover for things like:
And there are two main types of policy you can get:
What’s included varies by provider so check your policy to be sure. A few things most policies will cover are listed below:
Covers the cost of emergency visits to the doctor or hospital for medical treatment while abroad. You’ll need to declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you buy travel insurance, or you might not be covered.
Repatriation covers the cost of getting you home to the UK for further medical treatment if you're seriously ill or injured abroad.
Cancellation or curtailment
If you need to cancel, cut short or delay your holiday for certain reasons outside your control, you could reclaim the cost. You won't be covered if you knew that you might need to cancel or cut short your trip, for example because you were already unwell.
Lost, stolen or damaged possessions
Cover for your luggage and belongings. This sometimes also includes cover for passports or cash. Your home contents policy or gadget insurance might offer some cover for your possessions while abroad as well.
Personal liability and legal expenses
Covers the costs of legal fees, in case you accidentally injure someone or damage their property and they sue you. It can also help you pursue compensation if you’re injured during your trip where someone else was to blame.
Pre-existing medical conditions
You won’t be covered for medical conditions that you haven’t declared to your insurer. You might need specialist insurance for some conditions so check with your provider.
Some activities like extreme sports, mountain climbing or winter sports might not be covered on a standard travel policy due to the higher risk of injury.
If you travel to a country that the government suggests you avoid.
Claims due to excessive alcohol
Your claim might be rejected if it's proved to be caused by you consuming alcohol or drugs.
Claims arising from acts of terrorism aren't covered by most policies although some will cover medical treatment.
There are a few countries that legally require you to have travel insurance as a condition of entry, although most don’t. But accidents and illness can happen, no matter where you are in the world.
Some travel companies will also require you to have travel insurance, especially if you’re travelling somewhere that has no public healthcare.
Getting treatment abroad can be more complicated and expensive than when you’re in the UK. Taking out travel insurance can give you peace of mind for the unexpected.
Medical treatment abroad could cost more than the value of your home – treating a heart problem in the US could cost £240,000, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, travel insurers were paying out £570,000 every day for medical claims. But as well as medical cover, your travel insurance might compensate you for cancellation and changes to your plans if your travel operator won't refund you.
Just make sure you understand what's included when you take out the cover, especially for Covid-related claims.
Our panel includes travel insurance providers that can give you a quote for policies with cover for many declared serious medical conditions. If you have more extreme and serious medical conditions, Money and Pension Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to give you a quote over the phone. You can find the directory at the Money Advice Service or call the British Insurance Brokers Association on 0370 950 1790.
Our panel includes travel insurance providers that can give you a quote for policies with cover for many declared serious medical conditions.
If you have more extreme and serious medical conditions, Money and Pension Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to give you a quote over the phone.
You can find the directory at the Money Advice Service or call the British Insurance Brokers Association on 0370 950 1790.
While there's no standard list of exactly what 'Covid cover' includes, cover for your medical expenses if you get it while abroad is fairly common.
You might want to look out for a policy that also lets you cancel due to getting coronavirus or needing to self-isolate before you go, and that will cover the cost of an extended stay if necessary due to the virus.
You should also familiarise yourself with England’s traffic light rules for travel. In particular, consider the implications of your destination moving from a green list country to amber or red as that could mean you have to meet extra costs that aren’t covered by your travel insurance.
The traffic light rules only dictate what you have to do on your return – so even if a country is on the green list, you still need to check your destination's entry requirements and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for travelling there. If the Foreign Office has advised against travel to your destination and you still decide to travel, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase.
The average cost of single-trip travel insurance policies was £21.30 for those without medical conditions in 2020. For those with medical conditions, the average cost was higher, at £56.05.
For annual multi-trip cover, the average cost for travellers without medical conditions was £45.95 and £104.46 for people with medical conditions
With travel insurance you’ll also be covered for repatriation, non-emergency treatment and non-medical cover like lost luggage or cancellation – so it’s worth having.
You won't need the medical aspect, because we've got the NHS. But, it’s a good idea to have some cover if you’re having a staycation.
Missed transport and cancellation cover is useful if you’re taking an internal flight. Gadget cover can be worthwhile too, if you’re travelling in the UK with expensive smart devices.
You can get travel insurance if you’re pregnant. Insurers don’t class pregnancy as a medical condition so you likely won’t have to mention it when you take out cover and it won’t affect the cost of your policy. Bout you might only be covered for pregnancy related conditions up to a certain stage, typically 26 weeks.
Travel insurance is available for under 18s, whether they’re travelling on their own or with friends or family.
Many insurers won’t cover natural disasters that are classed as a 'known event' - so something that was predicted, like a hurricane that was forecast the week before you left but you travelled anyway. You might be covered for cancellation but it varies between policies so it’s important to read the wording carefully or get in touch with your insurer if you aren’t sure.
Most policies will cover some of the costs of getting emergency travel documents. But, the cost of replacing your passport when you get back to the UK usually won’t be covered.
It's where you've got <a href="https://www.gocompare.com/travel-insurance/guide/double-cover/">two insurance policies that cross over</a>. For example, you could already have travel insurance through your bank account or credit card. Check the terms and conditions to see exactly what’s covered.
If you have existing cover, taking out a stand-alone policy on top can make claims processes complicated. The two insurance providers will have to decide between themselves whether to split the excess and claim amount, or if they expect the other to cover it.
The excess is what you have to pay towards each claim you make.
For example, if you make a claim for £1,000 and your excess is £75, the excess amount is deducted from your claim, so your insurer would only pay out £925.
As soon as you book your trip, so you can benefit from its cancellation cover straight away.
Yes, you can get last-minute travel insurance. But it won’t include cancellation cover and you'll need to find a specialist insurer covering post-departure insurance.
Average price purchased data recorded by theidol.com for single-trip travel insurance, split by those with medical conditions and without, from 1 January to 31 December 2020.
Average price purchased data recorded by theidol.com for annual multi-trip travel insurance, split by those with medical conditions and without, from 1 January to 31 December 2020.
Page last reviewed: 15 September 2021
Next review due: 15 December 2021