Top 10 money-saving tips for travel insurance
Save money on your travel insurance, without compromising on cover.
1. Get your cover type right
There are three main types of travel insurance:
- Annual/multi-trip cover: For multiple, short-duration trips throughout the year
- Single trip cover: For one short-duration trip
- Backpacker/extended-trip cover: For a single trip that lasts over a month or more
Cover types are broken down by destination too:
- Worldwide including the US, Canada, Caribbean and Mexico
- Worldwide excluding the above
If you haven't got any trips planned outside Europe, limiting your cover to European only will usually be cheaper than a worldwide policy.
If you are heading further afield, there are two worldwide options: including OR excluding the US, Canada, Caribbean and Mexico.
Travel insurance that includes these countries is more expensive because of the cost of medical care. If you're not travelling there, get a worldwide policy that excludes them - it'll be cheaper.
2. Combine cover
You can get policies for an individual, a couple, a family or a group.
If you're travelling in a group, it’s usually cheaper to get a couple, family or group policy - rather than insuring everybody separately. If anybody has a pre-existing medical condition though, it's usually more cost-effective to get separate policies.
3. Check whether you’re covered already
Avoid doubling up on insurance - it's where you have more than one travel insurance policy. As well as costing you twice as much, it can make claiming and getting insurance in the future more difficult.
4. Decide if you need all the bells and whistles
Carrying cash, cancellation and curtailment cover and liability sometimes come as standard, or can be added to your policy. Think about what you really want or need depending on your trip.
A good way to save is leaving high-value items behind. You'll avoid having to pay for personal belongings, valuables and/or gadget cover.
There's a balance though. Over-insuring means you’ll pay more for cover you don’t need. But if you under-insure, you’ll lose out on full compensation if you need to claim.
5. Get a GHIC card
A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is free and entitles you to free or reduced cost medical treatment in the European Union (EU), in a medical emergency. It replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) after Brexit.
Your GHIC or EHIC card isn’t a replacement for travel insurance though - it doesn’t mean you’ll get free treatment everywhere, as it won’t cover you for anything more than medical care and won’t pay to get you home in crisis.
6. Be careful where you buy from
Travel agents, tour operators and airlines might offer you travel insurance, but it's not always good value for money.
Make sure you buy your travel insurance well in advance too. Buying last minute or when you arrive at your destination can be expensive.
7. Don’t just buy the cheapest
It’s tempting to buy the cheapest travel insurance policy you can find, but the cover might not be enough for your trip or belongings. Cheaper policies often have higher excesses to pay too.
Which? recommends a good travel insurance policy should include at least:
- Medical expenses: £5 million
- Cancellation: £2,000, or up to the value of your trip
- Baggage and belongings: £1,500
- Personal liability: £1 million
8. Check exemptions and age limits on your cover
Some policies might not cover over 65s, for example.
Exclusions are also common around:
- Alcohol consumption
- Driving abroad
- Being reckless
- Travelling against medical or Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, make sure you declare it when you buy your travel insurance, as some insurers won’t cover certain conditions, or will impose special terms.
9. Make sure your holiday activities are covered
Standard travel insurance might not cover certain activities, things like winter or water sports.
The riskier the sport, the less likely it is to be included on your policy. Check your cover to see what’s included and what activities you can add for an extra fee.
10. Compare travel insurance quotes
Shopping around for policies lets you compare travel insurance features and price.
You can find cover with the features you need, like cruise or winter sports cover, an excess you’re happy with, and the right cover limits for medical care and your belongings.
Why it's important to buy travel insurance early
As soon as you get travel insurance, you’re immediately covered for cancellation – provided the reason you're cancelling isn’t something you knew about in advance. This can help with any changes in travel plans, just in case you or someone else your travelling with can no longer make it or if Coronavirus restrictions ever got reintroduced.