Do I need travel insurance?

If you’re asking yourself ‘Do I need travel insurance?’ the answer is probably ‘yes’.

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While travel insurance isn’t a legal requirement like car insurance is for drivers, a good travel insurance policy can help to protect your holiday, your belongings and yourself should anything go wrong.

And while you may get travel insurance cover with your packaged bank account or even your flight booking, it’s important to check what is covered — these basic policies may not be enough to cover you in the event of an emergency, particularly if costly medical treatment is required.

A good insurance policy can also cover your baggage and reimburse you if you need to cancel your trip for a specified reason.

Here’s a useful checklist for making sure that your travel insurance covers you. Check that:

Other types of travel insurance might include personal accident cover (including disability and death), cover for pregnancy, legal expenses or financial protection if your travel agency goes out of business. You may also want to opt for cover if anything should happen to your home while you are away.

The price of going without travel insurance

It’s worth considering not just the cost of your holiday or the loss of your belongings, but the potential cost should the worst happen while you’re away.

While UK residents don’t have to worry about the cost of emergency medical treatment at home, hospital bills abroad can quickly run into thousands of pounds, leaving you with a huge bill in your time of need.

Even fairly minor ailments can prove costly, with the average medical claim reaching £1,300 in 2016, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Five and six-figure medical bills are not uncommon on holiday, and the ABI has reported just a few examples:

Do I need travel insurance if I have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

As well as travel insurance, you should have a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC. As a UK resident you’re entitled to state healthcare when visiting an EU country if you have an EHIC. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are also part of this scheme.

Your card will be valid for up to five years. It’s important to remember that your EHIC doesn’t replace travel insurance, it just complements it. The EHIC will not cover all medical costs, including emergency repatriation to the UK — this is one reason medical claims are so costly, with an air ambulance from Spain the the UK costing an estimated £25,000 (ABI figures).

Visit Ehic.org.uk, get a form from your post office or call EHIC to apply for an EHIC card.

You can’t use the EHIC card to go abroad for medical treatment, but you are covered for routine and necessary visits to the doctor or hospital for certain pre-existing conditions, or if you’re pregnant.

You may be asked to contribute to the cost of your healthcare, but in some cases you can be reimbursed for those costs.

Do I need travel insurance to travel in the UK?

If you’re thinking of taking a staycation this year, travel insurance is still an important consideration. Travel insurance will cover you if you have to cancel or cut short your holiday in the UK because of illness. It does not, however, usually cover medical treatment in the UK.

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