Travel insurance – your questions answered
Get to grips with the basics before taking out your next policy
Not sure what type of travel insurance you need for your next trip?
To lend you a helping hand we’ve answered a few of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to deciding on the best cover for you and your family.
Why do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance can protect you against the potential cost of problems like cancellation, stolen property, lost luggage, illness and injury.
Falling ill overseas can be very expensive with medical bills running into tens of thousands of pounds. For peace of mind it’s important to have a good travel insurance policy in place. There are numerous types of cover, so make sure you get the right policy for you and your circumstances.
Do I have a legal obligation to take out travel insurance?
No. However, it’s strongly advised that you take out insurance before travelling in case of a medical emergency that could costs thousands of pounds.
Should I purchase single trip or annual cover?
Single trip insurance covers you for one trip to just one location for a specific period of time, while Annual insurance (also known as a multi trip policy) covers cover you for every trip you make during a 12 month period. The best policy for you will depend on how often you travel. If you are only going on one holiday in the next year get a single trip policy, but if you travel more often an annual policy could be cheaper.
What is covered by travel insurance?
Regardless of what optional extras a traveller chooses, travel insurance for UK holidaymakers may include all of the following components.
Cancellation and curtailment – This part of the policy is the fall-back if a traveller has to cancel their holiday, or if they go on holiday and then have to cut it short and return home early. A good general rule for coverage level is to choose an amount that will reimburse the total cost of the holiday if the traveller has to make a claim.
Baggage and belongings – Pays for the cost of lost or damaged luggage and personal possessions, generally up to a limit of around £1,500 to £3,000 for luggage, £250 to £500 for cash, and £500 for individual items such as laptops, smartphones, and cameras.
Delay – This typically pays out if the flight is delayed for longer than the period of time specified in the policy, which is typically 12 or 24 hours. When a traveller’s flight is delayed, they should get confirmation in writing from the airline and keep the receipts for anything they have to pay for or buy as a result of the delay.
Medical expenses – One of the most expensive travel disaster scenarios involves having to get medical care while abroad. Depending on the country a traveller is visiting, and the kind of medical care they need, the costs could easily run to tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of pounds. Insurance experts typically recommend getting £1 to £2 million worth of coverage for medical care.
Personal Liability – This kind of insurance applies in cases where the traveller injures someone or damages their property, and the third party makes a claim for compensation. A standard policy typically provides compensation of up to £1 million.
What special types of coverage are available?
There are a variety of types of coverage for all types of traveller…
Adventure travel – This might cover high-risk activities for adventure tourists, but it does usually come at a price. Insuring a trip that includes activities such as bungee jumping, rock-climbing, and abseiling could mean higher premiums. Similarly, it might be possible to purchase specialist policies that cover winter sports, for activities such as skiing and snowboarding.
Annual travel – For frequent travellers, it could prove to be cheaper to buy annual insurance that provides coverage for the whole year, rather than buying policies for individual trips.
Backpackers – Most travel insurance is typically valid for a short period of time, typically 30, 60, or 90 days. Consider something like backpackers’ insurance for longer trips. This could be valid for up to 18 months and covers multiple countries.
Family travel – For families travelling with children, some policies offer free insurance for kids under a certain age; however some charge a separate excess for each member of the family. This might mean that family insurance isn’t always cheaper, but it could be worth investigating for family holidays.
Older Travellers – Most insurance companies charge higher premiums for older travellers. For older travellers, there may be specialist insurance providers that cater to the over-50 demographic. These could be more likely to provide coverage for certain pre-existing conditions, and often have higher medical claims limits.
When does my policy expire and how can I renew my policy?
Your policy will expire at midnight on the final day it’s valid for. For single trip polices your cover will end on the day you have advised you will return to the UK. For an annual policy your cover will expire a full year later so, for example, if you purchase on the 2nd of January 2017, your policy will expire at midnight on the 1st of January 2018, by which time you must be in the UK.
Can I get travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions?
Yes, but it can be more expensive and not all insurers will cover you. If you’re pregnant, certain exclusions may apply if you travel after a certain point during the period of your pregnancy. We would advise you to read the Key Facts Policy Summary, and the policy wording thoroughly, prior to purchasing the product to see at what point exclusions and conditions may be in place. For complete peace of mind, you can also ask your insurer any questions you may have.
What is a pre-existing medical condition and can I be covered?
A pre-existing condition usually means any medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment was recommended or received. Cover will only be provided for pre-existing medical conditions that you have declared. Please check your policy wording and key facts to ensure the cover meets your needs.
Do I need to declare medical conditions?
You must declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you apply for a policy. If you fail to do so you’ll be unable to claim if you fall ill as a result of your conditions. Not all travel insurers cover certain health problems, so check before you purchase your policy.
Can I claim for cancellation before my holiday starts?
Yes, as soon as you take out your policy you will be covered, so always buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip.
Can I earn cashback on my travel insurance?
Yes! Simply visit Quidco Compare to start comparing travel insurance quotes from 35+ insurance providers. You could earn up to £15 on your next policy.