How to claim on travel insurance
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WHEREVER YOU’RE GOING, TAKE PEACE OF MIND WITH YOU.
Travel insurance can cover unexpected costs while you’re on holiday. Things like replacing lost luggage, reimbursing your travel costs due to trip cancellation, and paying for emergency overseas medical expenses.
If you didn’t have travel insurance, you’d have to pay for this yourself or be left out of pocket. Which could work out pretty pricey.
This makes travel insurance as essential as your passport. Don’t leave it off your holiday checklist.
What’s included in your travel insurance policy varies. Check your policy terms and conditions to be sure.
The best type of travel insurance for you depends on how often you plan to travel, where you’re going and for how long.
Covers one trip that lasts up to 30 days. This policy type is available for individuals, couples, families and groups
Great for if you have more than one short trip planned within a year. Like with single trip cover, it’s available no matter your group size.
This covers one trip which lasts from two to 18 months. You can buy this cover for individuals, couples, groups and families.
Family travel insurance covers one to two adults, and up to eight children. They must live with you and be under 18, otherwise you may need a group policy.
Like standard travel insurance, but it also covers business-related risks like company equipment and the costs of sending a replacement colleague if you’re unable to travel.
Covers everything standard travel insurance does, but with a few cruise-specific extras including cabin confinement and missed ports.
Technically no. Travel insurance isn't a legal requirement, but it could give you peace of mind if you're travelling abroad. Especially if you’re going somewhere that has no free healthcare.
According to the National Accident Helpline, treating a broken leg in the USA could cost you £25,550 in medical expenses. Without travel insurance you'd have be liable to cover these costs yourself.
Some countries need you to have travel insurance with Covid-19 cover to enter. Check the country's entry requirements before you travel.
To help us find you the right cover, we’ll need to ask you a few questions like:
Your name, date of birth and those of your travelling party
Do you have just one trip planned or multiple ones this year?
A week or two, or an extended trip?
Whether that’s somewhere in Europe, or further afield
Whether you have any activities or sports planned
You need to declare all pre-existing medical conditions you have
The older you are, the more vulnerable you are to health risks.
Some can cause medical complications which increases your risk level.
The longer you’re away, the longer your insurance needs to last.
Some countries have higher medical fees and greater risks than others.
Choosing higher levels of cover will cost more.
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.
Read more about travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions
Older travellers tend to have existing medical conditions, so travel insurance can cost more. You can still get the right cover at the right price by comparing policies.
If your child is travelling alone, you can get travel insurance just for them. For example if they’re going on a school trip and you want to make sure they have more cover than the school’s standard policy.
You can upgrade your travel insurance policy if you need to. You’ll have to pay more for any add-ons, so consider whether they’re worth the extra cost.
Some insurers cover adventurous sports as standard. But the riskier an activity the less likely your insurer will cover it. You might be able to get more cover for an extra fee.
Planning on jet-skiing or canoeing? Standard policies might not cover particular water sports, but you might be able to add it for an extra fee.
Like with extreme sports, not all insurers offer winter sports cover as standard. You'll probably need this if you plan on skiing or doing any other winter sports. It'll usually cover things like piste closure or an air ambulance if you're injured on the slopes.
If your trip is affected by incidents outside of your control, you should be able to recover the costs. Things like if public transport breaks down on the way to the airport or if you can’t make your flight due to a natural disaster.
This can cover your golfing equipment, plus a range of other sporting-related risks to bring you extra peace of mind while you’re aiming for the fairway.
Travel insurance tends to cover the cost to get an emergency travel document if your passport is lost or stolen. But this likely won’t stretch to cover the expense of replacing your passport so think about whether you’d want to add passport cover to your policy.
Cameras, laptops and phones might not be covered by standard travel insurance. Consider whether travel gadget cover could be worthwhile to protect your pricier possessions.
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, so you may have to pay extra to get cover for travel disruption.
This can cover things like disruption to your plans and alternative accommodation if a terrorist attack happens.
Try these top tips to get the most out of your travel insurance:
If you’re only taking one holiday this year, single-trip travel insurance is usually cheaper. But if you travel more often, annual multi-trip cover could save you money. Compare both to check.
If you’re travelling with friends or family, it might be cheaper to buy group travel insurance.
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 your needs. For example cruise insurance, or cover for specific sporting activities.
Don’t add lots of optional extras that you don’t really need. For example, instead of adding gadget cover, could you leave your expensive electronics at home instead?
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.
Offered travel insurance by your tour operator or travel agent? You could probably get a better deal by comparing quotes online instead. Only 15% of Britons said they’d switch their travel insurance, meaning they may be losing out on savings.
Most travel insurance policies cover coronavirus-related emergency medical care and repatriation as standard.
This means if you or a family member become ill with Covid-19 while abroad, the costs of your medical treatment and return travel to the UK are covered.
Some insurers offer further Covid cover. For example, 60% of 1,046 annual travel insurance policies will cover cancellation if denied boarding on an outbound journey. And 55% of policies will cover cancellation due to self-isolation.
However, no policy will cover you if you travel against Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice.
Find out more about travel insurance and coronavirus
You must declare any pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer so it can be factored into their risk assessment. Insurers will either exclude certain medical conditions from cover altogether or include them but at an extra cost.
It can be tricky to find an insurer that will cover more serious medical conditions, but there’s usually specialist cover available.
If you don’t declare your medical condition and make a claim because of it, your insurer can reject the claim. It might also be unwilling to provide you with travel insurance again in the future.
Some travel insurers we compare can give you quotes for policies that cover many serious medical conditions.
For more extreme medical conditions, Money Helper's directory of insurers may be able to provide a quote over the phone.
You can find the directory at the Money Helper website or call the British Insurance Brokers Association on 0370 950 1790.
Yes – they’re not the same thing. A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) simply entitles you to receive state healthcare in some European countries.
With travel insurance you’ll also be covered for repatriation, lost luggage and delays or cancellations.
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.
Find out more about UK travel insurance.
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.
The excess is what you must 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.
Document any evidence of the incident if it’s safe to do so and get in touch with your insurer to make a claim (or get someone else to do it for you).
Some travel insurers will allow you to extend your policy so get in touch to ask.
Medical screening involves answering some questions about your health. Insurers need to know what medical conditions you have, if any, so this can be factored into your quote.
As soon as you book your trip, so you can benefit from its cancellation cover straight away.
A reciprocal health agreement means that you get free or reduced emergency healthcare in places the UK has the agreement with. You’ll need to have your Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) with you to prove you’re entitled to it.
Yes, but it depends on your insurer’s definition of ‘bad weather’ so you’d need to check the terms.
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. But you might only be covered for pregnancy related conditions up to a certain stage, typically 26 weeks.
If you’re studying abroad for long periods of time, you might need to look at backpackers' insurance. You just need to make sure the policy covers studying abroad before you buy it.
You can get a 25% refund on the ticket price for the part of your trip that was affected refunded if you're delayed for at least:
If the delay time doubles, then you should get 50% refunded.
For cancelled ferry trips, you should be offered either an alternative sailing or a refund on the ticket price.
If you don't get a response from the ferry company or they can't to resolve your complaint, you can contact ABTA, the official complaint handling body.
Read more on how to claim for ferry cancellations or delays.
No, not usually. If the policy seems pretty cheap this could be because it doesn’t cover very much. Don’t feel pressured to buy it if it doesn’t seem right for you. It’s always worth comparing travel insurance policies so you know you’re getting good value for money.
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Page last reviewed: 13 April 2023
Page reviewed by Jasmine Hembury
As of May 2023, there are 43 active travel insurers on the panel at theidol.com
National Accident Helpline. How much will you be out of pocket if you break a bone?. Retrieved August 2022.
YouGov. Which insurance policies are Britons most likely to switch?. Retrieved August 2022.
We checked Defaqto on 11 May 2023 and found that 60% of 1,046 annual travel insurance policies will cover cancellation if denied boarding due to Covid-19 on an outbound journey, and 55% policies will cover cancellation due to self isolation.