Travel insurance

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Covid-19 (coronavirus) – important information

From 17th May 2021, a travel traffic light system is being introduced and trips to green list countries will be legally permitted if you live in England. Strict border control measures will remain in place for your return to the UK.

Before you buy, you should consider the implications of your destination moving from a green list country to amber or red as you may incur additional costs and/or face travel restrictions that will not be covered by your travel insurance.

The traffic light rules only dictate what you have to do on returning to England – 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.

A few insurers do offer cover If you are an essential traveller, however if you are in doubt or have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing.

Until dates have been set to permit non-essential international travel from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland it is important that you follow all the rules that apply to your country of residence.

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Why take out travel insurance? 

Accidents happen, no matter where you are in the world. Travel insurance covers medical treatment or emergencies, as well as loss of possessions and cancellation. 

Getting ill or injured abroad can be more complicated and expensive than when you’re in the UK. Taking out travel insurance can give you peace of mind should the unexpected happen. 

The main benefit is emergency medical cover, which can be very expensive. 

It 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.

Is your trip to Europe still fully protected after Brexit?

We’ve got the details

Policy types to suit your travels

Where you go, and what you do on your trip, makes a difference to the cover you need. Policies vary and without the right insurance, you could find yourself out of pocket.

Single trip

Covers you for one destination, usually for up to 30 days. You can choose from worldwide or European cover, depending on where you're going. You can bolt-on cover for activities too, like skiing.

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Insures you for multiple trips over the year. If you travel regularly, it can work out cheaper. But if you're only doing a couple of trips, it doesn't always. Compare your options to see which'll be better value for money.

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There are two types: including and excluding America, Canada and the Carribean. If you’re not travelling to these destinations, exclude them from your cover. Medical care is expensive in these places, so it’ll push up the price of your insurance.

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Winter sports

You'll need this extra cover if you plan on skiing or doing any other winter sports. You'll have to pay extra, depending on what you've got planned, to get the right level of cover.

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Families or groups

Cover for the whole family, or a group of friends, under one policy. It usually works out cheaper, unless someone has a pre-existing medical condition that needs declaring.

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Tailored for cruises, you'll be covered for issues you won't experience on dry land, like cabin confinement and missed boats.

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It's harder, but not impossible, to get affordable cover when you're older. Some insurers put age limits on their policies, so you'll need to shop around to find good value for money.

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Pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a pre-existing condition, you need to let the insurer know. Otherwise, they won't cover you for it. If it get's worse while you're away, and you haven't declared it, they won't help you with any medical costs or repatriation.

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Travelling with serious pre-existing medical conditions

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 MaPs on 0800 138 7777.

What’s covered:

  1. Medical expenses

    For visits to the doctor or hospital when you’re abroad

  2. Repatriation

    If you need to be brought back to the UK because of injury or for further treatment

  3. Cancellation or curtailment

    If your holiday is cancelled, cut short or delayed you could reclaim any costs

  4. Lost, stolen or damaged possessions

    Cover for your luggage and belongings

  5. Personal liability

    In case you accidentally injure someone or damage their property

What’s not:

  1. Pre-existing medical conditions

    Unless you declare them. You might need specialist insurance and should check with your insurer first

  2. Dangerous activities

    Like adventurous sports, climbing Kilimanjaro or winter sports

  3. Certain destinations

    If you travel to a country that the government suggests you avoid

  4. Claims due to excessive alcohol

    You can't claim for alcohol or drug-related incidents

  5. Terrorism

    Acts of terrorism aren’t a standard part of most policies

  6. Natural disasters

    You might have to pay extra to get cover for travel disruption

Travel insurers expect to pay £152 million in 2020 travel insurance claims due to the Covid-19 pandemic

According to the ABI

How to get travel insurance 

We don’t need much to help you find the right cover:

  1. Type of cover

    Whether it’s single trip, annual or long-stay cover

  2. Who you want to insure

    Are you travelling alone or with others?

  3. Additional cover options

    If you need extra cover for winter sports or a cruise, for example

  4. Your details

    The usual things – like your name, age and email address

  5. Your medical history

    Whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions

You still need travel insurance, even with an EHIC

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to receive state healthcare within the European Economic Area (EEA) for free or at a reduced rate.

It’s not a like-for-like substitute for travel insurance though. The EHIC won’t cover things like medical repatriation, non-urgent treatment, or any non-medical features like lost/stolen property. You also can’t use it on cruises.

Travel insurance for holidays in the UK

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.

Tips to make your travel insurance cheaper 

Here are a few ways to keep your travel insurance premiums down:

  1. One annual payment

    A multi-trip policy could work out cheaper if you’re a regular traveller

  2. See if you’re already covered

    You could already have insurance with your bank or credit card

  3. Combine cover

    Put the whole family on one policy to get a cheaper rate

  4. Increase your voluntary excess

    But keep it affordable, incase you need to claim

  5. Only cover the destinations you're visiting

    Don’t choose an annual worldwide option if you think you’ll only travel in Europe

  6. Your personal belongings

    Check if these are already covered by your home or gadget insurance

  7. A package holiday

    Make sure you’re not already paying for travel insurance extras as part of your package

  8. Take your EHIC

    It can give you access to free, or reduced cost, medical treatment in EU countries

  9. Shop around

    Get a few quotes to find a great price

Frequently asked questions

  • Will a policy cover the loss of a passport or other documents?

    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.

  • What’s ‘doubling up’ on travel insurance?

    It's where you've got two insurance policies that cross over. For example, you could already have travel insurance through your bank account or credit card. This bolt-on cover tends to have lower levels of cover though, so they might not be best suited to you. 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.

  • How much does travel insurance cost?

    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.[2]

    For annual multi-trip cover, the average cost for travellers without medical conditions was £45.95 and £104.46 for people with medical conditions[3]

  • What does excess mean in travel insurance?

    The excess is what you have to pay towards a claim.

    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 end up paying you the remaining £925.

  • When should I take out my travel insurance policy?

    As soon as possible, so you can benefit from its cancellation cover straight away.

  • I’ve already started my holiday, can I get covered now?

    Yes, you can get last-minute travel insurance. But it won’t include cancellation cover, as you’re already on your holiday.

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[2]Average price purchased data recorded by for single-trip travel insurance, split by those with medical conditions and without, from 1 January to 31 December 2020.

[3]Average price purchased data recorded by 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 March 2021
Next review due: 15 June 2021

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