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.

Three reasons to compare travel insurance

What's travel insurance?

Travel insurance compensates you for unexpected things that can happen while you're travelling.

It’ll usually include cover for things like:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • Cancelling or cutting your trip short
  • Lost luggage
  • Flight delays
  • Personal liability claims

You can get single trip, annual multi-trip backpacking travel insurance policies.

Do I need travel insurance?

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.

Travel insurance and Covid-19 cover

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.

What does travel insurance cover?

What’s included varies by provider so check your policy to be sure. A few things most policies will cover are listed below:

What’s covered?

Medical expenses
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.

What’s not covered?

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.

Dangerous activities
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.

Certain destinations
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.

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 the British Insurance Brokers Association on 0370 950 1790.



Policy types to suit your travels

You need to choose the right insurance for your trip. Think about how frequently you travel, where in the world you're going and waht you'll be doing.

We'll help you narrow down the options and choose when you get quotes.

Single trip

Covers you for one destination, usually for trips of up to 30 days. You'll need to choose the country or area you're going to and the duration of your trip when you get quotes. You can bolt-on cover for activities too, like skiing.

More about single trip travel insurance >


Insures you for multiple trips for one year. If you travel regularly, it can work out cheaper. But if you're only doing one or two trips in a year, you might save money with single-trip policies. Compare both to see which'll be better value for money.

More about annual travel insurance >


There are two types: including America, Canada and the Caribbean, or excluding them. 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.

More about worldwide travel insurance >

Families or groups

Cover for the whole family, or a group of friends, under one policy. It usually works out cheaper than everyone buying individual policies, unless someone has a pre-existing medical condition.

More about family travel insurance >


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

More about cruise travel insurance >


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.

More about travel insurance for seniors >

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 gets worse while you're away, and you haven't declared it, they won't help you with any medical costs or repatriation.

More about travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions >

Addons and extras

Natural disasters

If you're abroad and a natural disaster occurs, you could be injured, have your travel disrupted or need repatriating. Natural disasters aren't usually covered as standard by travel insurance, so you may have to pay extra to get cover for travel disruption.

More about travel disruption cover >

Extreme sports

While some adventurous sports might be covered as standard, generally the riskier an activity the less likely your insurer will be to cover it. But you might be able to get additional cover for an extra fee.

More about extreme sports cover >

Winter sports

Like with extreme sports, not all insurers offer winter sports cover as standard so you'll probably need this if you plan on skiing or doing any other winter sports.

More about winter sports cover >

How to get travel insurance 

Just tell us a few details and we'll 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

Frequently asked questions

  • 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]

  • How can I get cheaper travel insurance?

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

    1. One annual payment – A multi-trip policy could work out cheaper than buying several single-trip policies if you’re a regular traveller
    2. See if you’re already covered – You could already have travel insurance with your home contents policy, gadget cover, bank or credit card
    3. Only cover the destinations you're visiting – Don’t choose an annual worldwide option if you think you’ll only travel in Europe
    4. Take your EHIC – It can give you access to free, or reduced cost, medical treatment in EU countries
    5. Shop around – Get a few quotes to find a great price
  • Do you still need travel insurance if you have 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.

  • Do you need 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.

  • Do I need travel insurance if I’m pregnant?

    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.

  • Can I get travel insurance if I’m under 18?

    Travel insurance is available for under 18s, whether they’re travelling on their own or with friends or family.

  • Will travel insurance cover natural disasters?

    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 traveled 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.

  • 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. 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.

  • What does excess mean in travel insurance?

    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.

  • When should I take out my travel insurance policy?

    As soon as you book your trip, 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 and you'll need to find a specialist insurer covering post-departure insurance.

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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: 14 June 2021
Next review due: 14 September 2021

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