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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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Covers you if your personal belongings are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip.
If you accidentally injure someone or damage property, this will cover the legal costs of someone making a claim against you.
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.
There are some exclusions you need to be aware of when you take out UK travel insurance:
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.
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:
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.
Anyone who’s travelling in the UK might benefit from the peace of mind of UK cover, but some groups of people should definitely consider it:
If you often travel around the UK for business, travel insurance might be useful for you, especially if you’re self-employed and bear the cost yourself.
You’ll need to say if you’re travelling for work when you take out the policy. Not all insurers cover UK business trips.
If you’re planning a UK golfing break, you might be bringing expensive clubs with you.
Standard travel insurance will cover you for loss or damage to your baggage, but it might not extend to golfing equipment.
Some policies will include cover for golf clubs as standard. With others, you can usually add cover for a fee.
It might be easier to take your skis and snowboards with you in the UK when you don’t have the complication of airports and flights.
You can usually get cover for winter sports as an optional extra, even for UK travel insurance.