Travel insurance

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Why compare travel insurance?

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

And there are two main types of policy you can get:

  • single trip
  • annual multi-trip

You can also choose policies tailored for your type of trip, including cruise, winter sports or backpacking travel insurance.

Travel insurance - Important Coronavirus update

As of 04:00 BST on 4 October, the current traffic light system will change for travel abroad.

The new system will be simplified to just a red list. However there’s still a risk that non-red countries could move to the red list on short-notice.

A PCR test is required on day two of your return from a non-red list country.

If a traveller has not had two vaccinations, a covid-19 test is still required ahead of travel as well as PCR tests on day two and eight of your return. Test to release is also available to reduce the self-isolation period.

Some insurers might not offer covid cover to unvaccinated travellers so check your policy details.

Make sure you check the FCDO advice before travelling and the entry requirements for your destination.

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.

Do I need it?

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.

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.



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

Travel insurance that's right for you

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

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

  1. Single trip - Covers you for one destination, for trips up to 30 days

    Single trip travel insurance covers you for one destination, usually for trips of up to 30 days. You can bolt-on cover for activities too, like skiing.

  2. Annual - Insures you for multiple trips for one year

    Annual travel insurance covers you for multiple trips for one year. If you travel regularly, it can work out cheaper.

  3. Worldwide - Two types of insurance dependent on your travel destination

    There are two types of worldwide cover: 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.

  4. Families or groups – Cover the family or a group under one policy

    Travel insurance for your 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.

  5. Cruise insurance - Cover tailored for cruises

    Cruise travel insurance covers issues you won't experience on dry land, like cabin confinement and missed boats.

  6. Pre-existing medical conditions

    If you need travel insurance for a pre-existing medical 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.

  7. Seniors - Cover for older travellers

    It's harder, but not impossible, to get affordable travel insurance for older people.

  8. Winter sports – insurance for skiers and snowboarders

    Winter sports travel insurance has cover for your kit and clothing, as well as covering the risk of injuries from skiing and snowboarding.

  9. Travel insurance add-ons and extras

    Travel disruption cover will compensate you if your trip is interrupted by something outside your control, while cancellation cover will pay for your losses if you need to call off your trip for certain reasons. These might be included with your policy, or you may be able to pay to add them as an optional extra.
    Extreme sports cover can also be added to some policies if you plan on some riskier activities while you’re away.

How to get cheaper travel insurance

Try these top tips to get cheaper travel insurance:

  1. Choose the right policy type

    If you’re only taking one holiday this year, single-trip travel insurance will probably be cheaper, but if you travel more frequently, annual multi-trip could save you money. Compare both to check.

  2. Consider a family or couples policy

    If you’re travelling with friends or family it might be cheaper to buy a policy that covers the whole group, especially if none of you have pre-exisiting medical conditions.

  3. Get the right cover for your trip

    There’s no point buying cheap cover that excludes all the activities you’ll be doing on holiday. Make sure you buy a policy tailored to a cruise, backpacking or winter sports, or add cover for other sporting activities as an optional extra.

  4. But don’t pay for what you don’t need

    Don’t add lots of optional extras that you don’t really need. For example, instead of adding gadget cover, think about whether you could leave your expensive electronics at home instead.

  5. Check if you’re already covered

    Travel insurance is sometimes included with packaged bank accounts or credit cards. So if you’re already covered, don’t waste money buying another policy you don’t need.

  6. Compare quotes and buy online

    You might be offered travel insurance by your tour operator or travel agent, but you could probably get a better deal by comparing quotes online instead.

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.

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.

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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 September 2021
Next review due: 15 December 2021

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