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Travel insurance guide

Why do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance protects you and your family when you are on holiday. It covers a range of problems, from the inconvenient to the catastrophic. The main benefit of travel insurance is that it pays for medical treatment if you are taken ill or are injured while abroad.Travel insurance will also reimburse you if you lose your money or posessions or if they are stolen, and it will also pay compensation if you have to cut short or cancel your holiday because of injury or illness.

What different types of travel insurance are there?

You can buy travel cover as an individual or as a family, and to cover a single trip or to cover a number of trips a year. Travel insurance can also cover holidays in the UK as well as abroad.

What is annual travel insurance?

Annual travel insurance or multi-trip insurance will cover all the trips you take in a year (subject to a maximum length of time per trip). If you take more than two trips a year then an annual policy could be the cheapest option. Annual travel cover is particularly useful if you like to take advantage of last-minute deals or enjoy travelling on the spur of the moment.

What is single trip travel insurance?

You can buy travel insurance each time you go away, for example if you are going for a weekend city break or for a couple of weeks in the sun. If you only plan to take one main holiday or a couple of short trips in a year then this could be cheaper then buying annual cover.

What is family travel insurance?

If you are travelling as a family, two adults plus children, then you can buy family travel insurance to protect you all. Instead of buying individual policies for each family member you can buy one travel insurance policy to cover the whole family, which will save you money.

What does travel insurance cover?

One of the most important elements of travel insurance is medical expenses cover for if you are taken ill or injured while abroad. Travel insurance can also cover you if:

  • your baggage and personal belongings are lost or stolen;
  • your cash is lost or stolen cash;
  • you have to cut short or cancel your holiday because of illness or injury, or death of a close relative;
  • your flight is delayed or cancelled.

A useful extra included in some travel insurance policies is personal liability cover which will cover you for costs involved if you injure someone or damage their property while on holiday.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition then you must tell the insurer as they may not be able to cover you.

Other policies may cover pre-existing conditions but won’t pay for continuing or routine treatment or if you travel against medical advice.

Do I need insurance for travel in the UK?

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.

How much travel insurance cover do I need?

Ideally you need at least:

  • £1 million of emergency medical cover if you are travelling in Europe;
  • £2 million of emergency medical cover if you are going to the US or anywhere else in the world;
  • £1,000 or more for baggage and personal belongings that are lost or stolen;
  • £200 to £500 for cash including travellers’ cheques lost or stolen.

Do I need European or worldwide travel insurance?

If you are planning a holiday outside Europe then you will need to buy worldwide travel insurance. This will cost more, however if you already have annual European travel insurance then you can usually add worldwide cover on if you need it.

Will travel insurance cover winter and extreme sports?

You usually have to pay extra to cover winter sports, extreme sports or activities like scuba diving.If you plan to do any more hazardous or extreme sports (whitewater rafting, showboarding, bungee jumping) you may need to take out specialist travel insurance.