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Travel insurance

Important: As a result of COVID-19 pandemic and current Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance against all but essential travel

You’ve booked your flights, dug out your passport, and now you’re looking forward to your upcoming trip.

While you might not want to think about the possibility of anything going wrong, there’s always a risk that you could fall ill or lose items while you’re away from home, or have to cancel your trip due to circumstances beyond your control.

With travel insurance you can prepare for any eventuality so you can sit back and enjoy your holiday.

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a form of cover to protect you while you are away on holiday or travelling abroad. It protects you in case your flight is cancelled, your hotel is unavailable, you fall sick or are injured while you are away, or your belongings, gadgets or money are lost or stolen.

What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance can help cover your costs or reimburse you if:

  • You fall ill or are injured while you’re away
  • Your possessions are lost, damaged or stolen
  • Your trip is cancelled or abandoned for a specified reason

Depending on the type of policy you choose, you could be covered for extras such as delayed baggage, loss of travel documents, missed excursions and many more.

You might need to take out a specialist policy or specify if you plan to undertake any extreme or winter sports, if you are going on a cruise, or if you have any existing medical conditions.

Some policies exclude more dangerous activities such as riding jet skis or scuba diving.

You can take out a travel insurance policy for just yourself, joint cover for you and partner, or insurance for your whole family or group. Find more details on what travel insurance covers.

Why would you need travel insurance?

In the UK we are used to having free healthcare and free treatment at hospitals for Accident and Emergency, but this is not the case in the rest of the world.

Many countries ask people to pay for medical treatment and this can end up being very expensive if you need medical help while you are abroad. Some private hospitals will refuse to treat you unless you can prove that you will be able to settle your medical bill, or you have travel insurance policy documents to show them.

A travel insurance policy will mean that you can claim back any costs that you incur if you are sick or injured while you are away, as well as the cost of flying you home if you need further treatment in the UK.

A holiday insurance policy also covers you if your flight is cancelled or your hotel is not available, and if you lose valuables or money during your trip. It gives you peace of mind so you can enjoy your holiday.>

When should I buy travel insurance cover?

It might be tempting to put it off until your suitcases are packed, but it’s advisable to get travel insurance as soon as your holiday is booked.

If you buy travel insurance with cancellation cover, you’ll be covered from the moment you buy the policy, rather than the start of your trip. That means you can claim if your flight or holiday is cancelled due to circumstances beyond your control.

It’s worth checking the policy details as most insurers will lay out specific circumstances in which they will pay out on cancellation cover, for example if you can no longer travel because you fall ill, become unemployed, or have to deal with the death of a family member.

Do I need travel insurance?

While travel insurance isn’t mandatory, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind if something should happen to ruin your holiday — or worse, if you rack up an expensive medical bill abroad.

After Brexit, it will become even more important to have travel insurance if you are travelling to Europe.

Currently the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to medical care while you are travelling in Europe and will continue to do so during 2020. While an EHIC provides access to basic state-provided health in some countries, it doesn’t cover all medical and repatriation costs. A good travel insurance policy can cover all of this plus your belongings and much more.

If you go on holiday in 2020, you will still be able to use your EHIC. The reciprocal arrangement may continue after 2021 but that depends on the Brexit negotiations.

The EHIC covers state-provided medical treatment in any EU country plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Find out more about whether you need travel insurance.

What is the best travel insurance to get?

The best type of travel insurance is the one that best fits the holiday you are going on. If you are making a single trip and don’t plan any more holidays this year, a straightforward policy to the country you are visiting will be most suitable.

However, if you are planning a couple of holidays, or have an itinerary with multiple trips, you may be better getting an annual travel insurance policy.

Single trip travel insurance

This covers you just for one holiday to one destination and is the cheapest option if you just have one trip arranged.

Annual travel insurance

This covers multiple trips abroad during a 12 month period. You will need to specify what countries you are planning to visit. For example, if you are only planning to travel within Europe it will be cheaper than a worldwide policy.

Worldwide policy

If you are travelling outside Europe, you will need to buy a worldwide policy. The price will depend on where you are going to visit. For example, a trip to the US will increase the cost of your travel insurance because medical care there is very expensive.

Where can I find cheap travel insurance?

You can find cheap travel insurance by using our comparison tool. Bear in mind that the cheapest travel insurance policy may not always offer the best or the most comprehensive cover.

If you are going to a single country within Europe for a fortnight’s holiday then arranging cover will be quite straightforward, but don’t forget to include cover for cancellation and loss of valuables as well as medical cover.

How much does travel insurance cost?

Cover could cost as little as a few pounds for a short trip in Europe, for example, but the cost will vary depending on how comprehensive the policy is and any extras that are included.

The price will depend on many factors including where you are travelling to, your age, and how much cover you need.

You might find it’s more expensive to cover cruises, winter sports and existing medical conditions — but it’s important to weigh up the value of the cover compared to the cost of your holiday. You should also consider the cost of receiving emergency medical care, as this can quickly build up to thousands in the worst case.

You can find out how much travel insurance will cost you by getting a quote below. It takes just a few minutes and you don’t need to provide many details.

How to compare travel insurance

Don’t just choose the cheapest travel insurance. Use our travel insurance comparison tool to look at the options available and select the best travel insurance for you based on where you are going and what cover you will need.

Getting a travel insurance quote

Our travel insurance comparison tool means when you need to compare travel insurance, getting a quote is simple and easy. First of all, put in where you are going and for how long, then provide details of yourself and the other people in your party. You will need to let us know if anyone has a pre-existing medical condition. Once you have put in all the details, we will give you a quote or a range of quotes. The whole process should only take a couple of minutes. When you have chosen which cover you would like to buy you can filter the results based on medical cover, cancellation cover, baggage cover or the amount of excess you need to accept.

Then when you have chosen the right travel insurance cover for you, you can buy online by clicking through. It is that simple!

Travel insurance guides

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