Travel Insurance - UK Guide
Superb Money Saving Travel Tips
Before you head off on your adventure, take a read through of our Travel Insurance Guide
today. It’s extremely important you consider purchasing insurance before you go abroad on holiday.
After all, we’re so excited with packing our bags, passports and tickets, we sometimes forget about protecting ourselves if things go wrong.
Obviously, no one plans for travel mishaps, but they sometimes do happen. For example, you may injury yourself, fall ill or find yourself in a jam.
Unfortunately, hospitals abroad don’t operate in the same manner as the NHS, if you need medical assistance and require an ambulance, the costs could easily rise into thousands of pounds depending on the nature of the illness / injury.
Before you travel, it’s always best to go prepared having bought travel insurance that may come to your aid if required.
Foreign Office Advice
Before you travel it’s always recommended to seek advice from the British Foreign Office website. This will highlight and alert you to any problems occurring in the country you’re planning to visit.
Generally, the Foreign Office recommends journey insurance cover which features:
- 24-Hour Emergency Service / Assistance
- Emergency Medical Expenses
- Personal Liability Cover
- Lost or Stolen Possessions Cover
- Cancellation Cover
Types of Policy
Finding the correct travel insurance policy can be a real challenge, particularly if you’re not used to travelling regularly.
Here are the standard policies that you will most likely encounter:
- Single Trip Travel Insurance – Typically you will find a single-trip policy to cover the duration of your ‘limited’ time away. This means the cover will be specific to your needs and will specify a maximum length of stay. For example, if you were going away to Spain for two weeks. The insurance should only be applicable for 14 days. Learn more now about Single Trip insurance. Find what it does and doesn’t cover.
- Multi-Trip Travel Insurance – This can also be known as ‘annual travel insurance’, it tends to provide cover for a 12-month period. Typically for most people this could be a ‘cost effective’ solution, particularly if they have several trips over the course of the year. You may find depending on the insurer, that each trip will have a ‘maximum length of stay’, however this can vary. For more information on this type of policy, please visit our Annual Travel Insurance page today.
- Backpacker Insurance – Generally, backpacker insurance can also be known as ‘Gap Year’ insurance too. Perfect for university students, who are planning an extended break away from the UK. Most insurance providers will offer this form of policy, however it’s usually ‘tailored’ to individual needs. Particularly focusing on the style of travelling and the activities, which may be involved. Please read the Backpacker Insurance guide, for more information on this type of cover.
- Long Stay Travel Insurance – Unlike other forms of travel cover, policies for Long Stay are usually for a single trip, which will last for more than 30 days. For more information on Long Stay cover, please view the Long Stay Travel Insurance page.
- Individual / Group Cover – Generally you will find lots of insurers offering specialised insurance for larger groups such as a schools, clubs, colleges, sport teams and so on. This can sometimes be a good option for families, particularly if a large number are travelling together. Most insurers will provide discounts and savings typically can be made against insuring each person individually.
- Senior Travel Insurance – After workings for years, you’ve finally decided to spend your retirement seeing the world. Typically there are no ‘rules’ and age limits on insurance policies, as they vary depending on the insurance provider. This means some insurers may not cover anybody over 55, while others will cover people in there 80s and over. Please check out the Senior Travel Insurance guide, to learn more about senior travel insurance and how it may work for you.
European Health Insurance Card
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) has been in force since 2006, when it replaced the older E111 card. The EHIC allows all EU nationals to treatment in the European Economic Area (EEA) for medical emergencies.
Everyone travelling to the EEA should get a European Health Insurance Card; they’re FREE
and can be applied for online today.
It’s important to note, that you should note ‘rely’ on a European Health Insurance Card in place of a travel insurance policy. They were designed to ‘supplement’ rather than to replace your travel cover agreements.
Equally you may find that some insurers will only cover your trip if you carry an EHIC when in Europe.
You should also know that the EHIC only applies to ‘state-run’ hospitals, if you need to be repatriated to the UK, this will not cover those expenses. Equally it also does not cover expenses for private health facilities and private ambulances.
to find out more and apply for a European Health Insurance Card from the UK Government's official website.
What does Travel Insurance Cover?
Apart from injuring yourself or falling ill while abroad, travel insurance can cover a whole range of things, from legal expenses, personal belongings, stolen baggage and so on.
You should consider these options and see how they apply to you, before agreeing to any form of insurance:
- Personal Belongings – When travelling we usually take a whole host of belongings, from laptops and cameras to Smartphone’s and money. In the event of an incident occurring your policy may replace any items, which are stolen or lost. Generally, there will be ‘limits’ set on the amounts available, and it could be lower than the cost price of the stolen / lost belonging. As always this will vary depending on which insurer you choose, always read the documentation and terms and conditions before signing / agreeing to any policy.
- Stolen Baggage – Most insurance providers will have a set limit that can be claimed against in the event of your luggage being lost or stolen. You may find that countries with higher levels of crime may result in increased premiums.
- Personal Liability – You should get a policy, which includes this form of cover. It provides you with a ‘set limit’ if you’re found to be ‘liable’ for an injury to a third party while you’re away. You may find this can also include damage/or loss for their possessions too. Generally, this cover is great if you plan to use or hire equipment on your trip.
- Cancellations – Sometimes things go wrong in life, you need to make sure your policy has a level of cover regarding cancellations. Typically, cancellations will be accepted for reasons such as natural disasters, bereavement, sickness, injury, etc. As each insurance provider is different, you will need to consider and read all the documentation related to your cover. Also make sure, in the event of a cancellation there’s no additional charges to be paid.
- Delayed Departure – Unfortunately travel can easily be delayed by many different reasons, from bad weather, mechanical failures, lost passports and so on. Typically, most travel policies will have some form of ‘maximum daily reimbursement’ amount. This usually won’t be able to be claimed until a minimum duration has passed. For example, let’s say your flight is delayed at the airport, typically you won’t be able to claim until you’ve been delayed by 12 hours or more. This timescale can obviously vary depending on your chosen insurance provider, so always read all documentation and terms and conditions.
- Missed Flights – If your flight leaves without you, and you ‘missed’ the departure then you will have to prove to your insurance provider you did everything within your power to make the flight on time. Unfortunately, many different factors cause our travel plans to be delayed, however most insurers will need pretty good supporting evidence before they decide your claim is acceptable.
- Legal Expenses – Insurance that includes legal expenses can be perfect for your own ‘piece of mind’. Generally, it will cover you up to a set limit. This means it will pay any legal costs you may occur as the result of an injury or illness. Which was caused by you to a third party during your holiday.
- Wedding – More Brits are going abroad to get married these days and some insurers offer ‘wedding’ features as part of their policy cover. This can be great for items such as the wedding gifts, wedding rings and outfits in case they get stolen or lost. Not all insurers will provider this level of cover as standard, so you may have to search for ‘specialist’ insurers.
- Adventure Holiday – You may have to search for a specialist insurance company if you’re planning an adventure getaway. Typically, mainstream providers won’t have this level of cover as standard. Adventure activities can include bungee jumping, jet skiing, horse riding, cycling, rafting and so on. Most insurers will regard holidays such as these as ‘high risk’, this means the likelihood of making a claim through accident or injury is higher than the standard holiday to a beach resort for example. Shop around for the best deal.
- Sports - If your trip is a sporting one, then having this level of cover should be ideal for you. Generally, this is ideal for all sorts of sports, from winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding to more relaxing sports such as diving and golf. Usually a good policy will include the loss, theft or damage to equipment.
- Airline Bankruptcy – Typically most mainstream insurance policies will not ‘pay out’ if your journey has been affected by an airline going out of business. However, you will find that some do. Please read our Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance guide today, full of fantastic tricks and tips.
How to Save Money on Travel Insurance?
We all want to save money, it’s just human nature, deciding which holiday insurance
is right for you, can be a real challenge. Sometimes we spend thousands on holidays and then forget about covering ourselves in case something goes wrong.
Here are some great money saving tips when purchasing travel cover:
- Combine – If you’re travelling with a partner or part of a larger group as a family, it’s always a good idea to combine your insurance costs. This means get a policy that includes everybody in one go, usually you will get a discount and it will work out cheaper than insuring each person individually.
- How Often Do You Travel? – Typically, if you travel more than twice a year, then an ‘annual’ policy will likely save you money than purchasing a ‘single trip’ policy every time you travel. Single policies tend to only be cheaper if you make less than two trips a year.
- Destinations – Think about where you’re going, some locations may result in higher premiums depending on the current situations at the time. This can include many different factors such as war, terrorism, weather, crime and so on. A good idea if you’re travelling within the EU is to ‘limit’ your cover only to Europe. This tends to bring premiums lower.
- Personal Belongings – Increasingly we all take valuables such as laptops, phones and cameras away with us while on holiday. For some people they may find their personal belongings can be already insured by other policies in which they have. For example, some home insurance policies cover personal belongings when travelling. Of course this is not always applicable in every circumstance, it’s a good idea to read over your home insurance agreement to see if this applies to you. Equally its important to remember to not ‘over-insure’ your personal belongings because this could mean you pay more for your cover than you actually need too.
- Get an EHIC Card – Everybody travelling within the European Union should apply today for the European Health Insurance Card, this is currently FREE and entitles you to emergency medical treatment in all European Economic Area (EEC) countries.
- Excess – Just like other forms of insurance, the higher excess your willing to pay will most likely reduce the policy premium. As the excess is amount you have to pay towards a claim, make sure it’s a comfortable level that fits within your budget. For example let’s say your laptop is worth £500 and gets stolen while you’re abroad. If you have a £250 excess on your policy, the insurer will have to pay the additional £250 for you to replace the item.
- Are You Already Covered? – Sometimes your job, bank account or a credit card may include travel insurance as a ‘perk’. Usually this will be applicable on premium or business bank accounts. There’s no point in paying for additional cover when you may already have it, so it’s always worth double-checking!
Original Publication: 14 June 2017
Last Updated: 23 June 2017