UK travel insurance

Compare cheap quotes for UK trips

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What’s UK travel insurance?

The way we travel has changed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and you might well be planning to holiday closer to home this year and beyond.

Weather aside, there are a few plus points – less travel time, no scrum at the airport and savings on lots of associated costs like transfers, visas and currency exchange.

But if you’re considering taking a UK-ation without travel insurance to save money, think again. It’s worth considering taking out a UK policy to protect you from being left out of pocket if your holiday doesn’t go to plan.

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Do you need travel insurance for UK holidays? 

You don’t need UK travel insurance for medical cover, because your treatment’s free with the NHS. But it could compensate you for other unexpected problems with your trip, including:

  • Cancellation and curtailment
  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage

To help you decide whether you need travel insurance for a UK trip, think about what you’re taking with you and what activities you’ll be doing, as well as how much you’ve spent on travel and accommodation in advance.

If you’re driving to stay with a relative and bringing nothing of great value, it might not be worth it.

But if you’re flying to Scotland with your snowboard, tablet and camera equipment, it’s definitely something you should consider.

Do I already have cover with other insurance policies? 

If you only need cover for your luggage and possessions, you might be covered by your home insurance.

Check whether your home contents insurance policy includes cover for personal possessions away from home. You usually have to pay for it as an optional extra.

You should also check which possessions you have cover for and that the limit is high enough for everything you’re taking with you.

If you have a breakdown policy, that might cover you for getting home or to your destination if you’re driving there. You need to make sure your policy has national cover and includes onward travel.

Home insurance and breakdown cover can be useful if something goes wrong with your UK travel, but neither of them will cover as many eventualities as a travel insurance policy. 

Choose the right UK travel insurance

You can take out either an annual or a single-trip policy to get UK cover.

To get the best value, make sure you compare and buy as soon as you book your trip. That way you’ll be covered for cancellation immediately.

Choose a policy that has adequate cover for your needs, but be careful of adding optional extra cover you won’t benefit from.

Annual policies

If you’ve already got an annual policy for either European or worldwide destinations, your UK trips will be covered as well. Just make sure you check for any exclusions around UK travel.

If you’re taking out a new policy, you can choose UK as the area you want to cover. You may find that the policies on offer will actually include at least European cover as well as the UK though, as UK-only policies are quite scarce.

If you think you might go further afield in the next year, make sure you choose either a European or worldwide annual policy, as it’ll include UK travel anyway.

Find out about annual cover

Single-trip policies

When you buy single-trip travel insurance you have to specify the country you’re travelling to, so if you say your entire trip is in the United Kingdom, your policy will only cover you there.

Policies are likely to be quite cheap as the risk of you making a claim for medical treatment is very low, due to being eligible for treatment on the NHS.

But if you think you might go abroad in the next 12 months or part of your trip is outside the UK, it might work out cheaper to buy an annual policy instead.

Find out about single trip insurance

Valuables cover

If you’re taking gadgets and valuables with you, make sure your policy has a high enough single-article limit to cover them. That’s the maximum amount you can claim for each item. You can sometimes buy optional extra cover for valuables if the policy doesn’t have enough cover as standard for your needs.

Find out about gadgets and valuables cover

Adventurous sports cover

If you’re planning on some adventurous activities while you’re holidaying in the UK, find a policy that covers them. For the most extreme sports, your insurer might be able to include them in your cover for an extra fee.

Find out about sports cover

What does UK travel insurance cover?

Most people will look to their UK travel insurance for non-medical claims, as medical treatment will be covered by the NHS.

Most policies will include:

  1. Cancellation and curtailment cover

    If you can’t travel because of unforeseen circumstances like a death, injury or being called for jury service, cancellation cover could refund some of the money you’ve paid out for train or bus tickets, accommodation and planned excursions. If your trip’s cut short for similar reasons, curtailment cover can compensate you for the part of your trip you miss out on.

  2. Possessions

    Covers you if your personal belongings are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip.

  3. Personal liability

    If you accidentally injure someone or damage property, this will cover the legal costs of someone making a claim against you.

  4. Hospital benefit and transfer

    You can’t usually make a claim for medical treatment on travel insurance in the UK because it’s free with the NHS. But some policies might include hospital benefit which is a small sum to buy things to make you more comfortable if you need to go in for treatment during your trip. There might also be cover for a private hospital transfer to take you to a hospital closer to home or family as well.

What isn’t covered by UK travel insurance?

There are some exclusions you need to be aware of when you take out UK travel insurance:

  • Medical treatment: If you’re injured or unwell, you’ll be treated for free by the NHS.
  • Travel delay and cancellation: You usually need to look to the travel operator or provider to refund you if the delay or cancellation’s their fault. If for some reason that’s not possible, for example if they’ve gone bust, you might then be able to claim on your travel insurance instead.
  • Short breaks: Some policies, especially annual ones, will have a minimum number of nights away that counts as a trip. You probably won’t be covered for day trips.
  • Staying close to home: Your UK travel insurance might also have a minimum distance you need to stay from your home address for it to count as a trip and to be eligible for a travel insurance claim. For example, at least 25 miles away. It’s to stop fraudulent claims for things that have happened in everyday life rather than when they’re away from home.
  • Staying with family: Check your policy terms if you plan to stay at the home address of friends or family. Some policies won’t count that as a trip away either and won’t cover any claims for it.

Will my UK travel insurance cover domestic flights? 

If you need to cancel your trip for any of the reasons listed in your policy, you should be covered for all your pre-booked travel expenses, including domestic flights.

Cancellation reasons typically include:

  • Jury service
  • A bereavement
  • A fire or flood at your home
  • An illness or injury
  • Your destination becoming unsafe

If your flight’s cancelled or delayed by the flight company, you’ll have to look to it first for compensation. If it can’t reimburse you, then you might be able to claim on your travel insurance instead.

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