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Travel insurance FAQs

Travel insurance FAQs

Got a burning question about travel insurance or want to know how to find the best cover for you? We've rounded up everything you need to know in this handy guide

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Do I need travel insurance?

Unlike car insurance, travel insurance is not a legal requirement. But as it can help you recover costs 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.

What does travel insurance cover?

Different travel insurance policies will provide different levels of cover, so it’s important to carefully check the policy first. But a good travel insurance policy will help you in the case you are injured or fall ill while you’re away, if your holiday is cancelled, if any of your luggage or belongings are lost or stolen.

What different types of travel insurance are there?

The main two types of travel insurance are single trip cover and annual cover (also known as multi-trip cover). As the name suggests, single trip cover will provide protection for one trip, whereas annual policies can cover multiple trips in one year. If you are going away several times in a year, you might find that annual travel cover offers better value, but it’s worth looking into both options.

You can also get individual cover, or a policy that covers a couple, family or group travelling together.

How much travel insurance do I need?

It’s important when comparing travel insurance quotes to choose a policy with enough cover.

Many policies offer medical cover in the region of millions of pounds - while this might sound more than you will ever need, consider the cost of a serious claim (for example if you are severely injured and need major surgery or to be airlifted for treatment).

Also consider the amount of cancellation and baggage cover included in the policy. You can add up the cost of the booking and belongings you plan to bring with you, but it’s better to overestimate than risk being underinsured.

You should also check the policy for any single article limits and ensure these are generous enough to cover any expensive equipment you plan to take with you. Some of the more basic policies have single article limits of around £100 — possibly not enough to cover your expensive camera or designer sunglasses.

When should I buy travel insurance?

Ideally, travel insurance should be arranged as soon as you’ve booked your trip. That way, if your policy includes cancellation cover, you’ll be able to claim in some circumstances if you need to cancel your trip. There are any number of things that could happen between you booking and jetting off, and some of those that may be covered include if you become too ill to travel, if there’s a natural disaster, or if a close family member dies.

But if you didn’t buy your travel insurance straight after you booked, it’s better late than never. In most cases, can buy your policy right up until the point you leave home for your trip. Just remember you won’t be covered for anything that happens before you take out the policy.

Do I need travel insurance if I have an EHIC card?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the E111 form in 2005. The card can help you get access to state-provided healthcare if you are injured or taken ill while you’re in Europe, but it doesn’t cover everything. An EHIC card doesn’t replace travel insurance (and vice versa — in fact, some travel insurance policies require you to carry your EHIC card when you travel in Europe).

What does excess mean?

The excess is the amount you will have to pay towards a claim. While policies with high excess amounts may be cheaper upfront, you should consider how much you will be willing to pay in the event of a claim. An example: If you make a claim for stolen items worth £500 and your excess is £200, you would receive £300 as a payout from your insurer.

What is curtailment cover?

Curtailment cover can help reimburse you if you are forced to cut your trip short. Your policy will cover specific reasons for this, usually the same as those allowed as part of cancellation cover.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

When comparing travel insurance quotes online, most providers assume you are not awaiting surgery or any form of medical investigation and are not travelling against medical advice. If any of these situations apply to you, or if you have an ongoing medical condition, online quotes may not be suitable for your needs. You may wish to research a policy online and get an indicative quote, then get in touch with the insurer directly to discuss your medical needs with them — many insurers can offer tailored cover.

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.

Where can I buy travel insurance?

When booking your trip it's likely you'll be offered travel cover as an add-on. However, you may find a better value policy by shopping around. You can compare policy features and search for the best price by comparing with Uswitch below:

Compare travel insurance

Search for travel insurance policies with Uswitch and theIdol.com*

Get a quote

*To help you compare travel insurance policies and find the right cover for your requirements, Uswitch has selected theIdol.com to provide you with quotes. Quotations are provided by theIdol.com on a non-advised basis. This means that no advice is given or implied and you are solely responsible for deciding whether the policy is suitable for your needs. theIdol.com is a trading name of Investment Discounts Online Ltd and is registered in England and Wales, registration number 04231834. Registered address One Coleman Street, London, EC2R 5AA. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 197451. Investment Discounts On-Line Ltd is part of the Legal & General Group. This can be confirmed at http://www.fca.org.uk/. View theIdol.com's Our Services Document, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions.

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