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What is travel insurance?

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Travel insurance is a policy that can protect you should an accident or loss occur, prior or during your trip in the UK or abroad.

The protection can cover 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. 

You can buy individual, couple or family travel insurance, and you can choose from a single trip to a named destination, or a multi-trip policy which lasts for a year.

You might need to take out a specialist policy or specify if you plan to undertake water sports or skiing, if you're going on a cruise, or if you have any existing medical conditions.

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COVID-19 and travel insurance

It's important to get travel insurance to cover a range of risks, and find out how much you insurer will provide for COVID-19 related issues.

If you decide to travel against government advice or to a country that the FCO advises against travelling to, then you will not be covered by a travel insurance policy.

Do I need travel insurance?

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It's not a legal requirement to have travel insurance, but is a very good idea. Firstly, you will be covered if your holiday is cancelled or your hotel is unavailable.

You will also be covered for medical expenses, which is very important when you are outside the UK as most countries do not offer free healthcare.

If you were to need urgent medical treatment in the US or Europe, you would be charged for your care. That could run into hundreds and maybe thousands of pounds.

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Types of travel insurance

Single trip travel insurance

Single trip travel insurance, covers you just for one holiday to one destination and is the cheapest option if you just have one trip arranged.

Annual travel insurance

Annual travel insurance, 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're 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.

When to take out travel insurance

  • When you book a trip it's a good idea to book travel insurance at the same time

  • Be prepared to change your travel plans and/or cancel

  • Flexible flights or holiday packages make it easier to make alternations in the future

At this point in time, no one can reliably predict how travel rules and regulations might change this summer.

Although travel insurance can cover you for some risks, it will not cover every possible problem connected with the coronavirus.

What is the best travel insurance to get?

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The best type of travel insurance is the one that best fits the holiday you are going on.

If you're 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're planning a couple of holidays, or have an itinerary with multiple trips, you may be better getting an annual travel insurance policy. 

The whole process should only take a couple of minutes:

  • put in the details of your party

  • age

  • destination

  • dates of travel

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.


COVID-19 restrictions

Am I covered for COVID-19 by travel insurance?

A travel insurance policy should cover you if you're unable to travel because you have tested positive for COVID-19. You'll likely need to provide proof of this when you make your claim.

However, each insurance policy will be different, therefore, it's important to look at the small print when you are comparing policies.

What if my destination goes into lockdown or won’t admit me?

UK travel insurance companies will most likely follow the advice of the Foreign Office regarding travelling abroad if there's another lockdown.

If the Foreign Office advice is not to travel, your UK travel insurance will probably not cover you for travel. In this event you may be able to rearrange flights for a later date or different destination.

How do I make a travel insurance claim?

How do I claim on my travel insurance? Find out how to make a successful travel insurance claim if the worst does happen on your holiday.

Single trip travel insurance

Find out if a single trip travel insurance policy is the best choice for you. Your questions on how to get cheap single trip travel insurance answered.

Annual travel insurance

Find out if annual travel insurance (also known as multi-trip cover) is the best choice for you. All your questions answered, plus tips for getting the best deal.

Holiday checklist for your finances

This is a holiday checklist with in a difference; instead of telling you what to put in your suitcase, it tells you what you need in your wallet.

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Last updated: July 27, 2023