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Travel Insurance Jargon Buster

Do you find the jargon associated with travelling and travel insurance a little baffling? Well fear not - we’ve put together a handy glossary of travel insurance terms, which should hopefully make everything as clear as the Azores skies.

Your handy travel glossary

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Annual Policy

This is a travel insurance policy that will cover you for multiple trips over the period of a year, including domestic travel.

Don’t know which is best for you? Then read our article on single trip vs annual cover.

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If – due to unforeseen circumstances – your trip has to be cancelled, then you may be able to claim on your policy.

Find out more about cancellation entitlement here.


If you have to cut short your trip and go home earlier than expected, you may be able to claim on your policy.

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You may not be able to claim for a short delay, but you may be entitled to refreshment and possibly overnight accommodation if necessary. You may be able to claim on delays that last longer than five hours if you choose not to travel as a result.

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EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)

Formerly known as the E111, this free card entitles you to some reduced-cost and occasionally free medical treatment in certain European countries. However its scope is limited, and should never be viewed as a substitute for comprehensive travel insurance.

Find out more about the EHIC here.

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation)

A web-based system used to determine the right of visitors to travel to the USA. It is compulsory for British citizens to sort out their ESTA before travelling to the US. It is important to remember that this does not guarantee entry into the country.

Find out more about ESTA here.


This is the first part of an insurance claim that you pay for yourself. So if you claim for £500 but your excess is £100, then on payout you will receive £400. The larger an excess you take out, the lower premiums tend to be – as you are accepting more of the risk.

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General exclusions

Things that don’t tend to be covered by your average travel insurance policies.

Read our article on travel insurance exclusions.

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Hospital sundries

This is the amount payable on travel insurance for every day that the policyholder is hospitalised.

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Joint cover

Travelling as a couple and buying joint cover, as opposed to buying two single policies, could potentially reduce your premium. And this doesn’t mean you have to be in a relationship – you can be paired for joint cover with a regular chum.

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Legal expenses

These are the costs that a policyholder might incur if they engage in legal proceedings against a third party – such as an airline or a travel operator. It’s worth having legal expenses cover, as pursuing a case could prove costly.

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Medical assistance company

The insurance provider will tend to recommend a first port of call for medical assistance. Their contact details should be included in the policy documents.

Missed departure

If you arrive at a point of departure too late to proceed with your booking, you should be able to claim for this. It’s worth noting that your insurance provider will be more sympathetic to a missed departure if it was a knock-on effect of a previous delay in transit, as opposed to missing a flight because you were having too good a time in the airport bar.

Multi-trip policy

This is a policy that will cover you for multiple trips over the period of a year – see annual policy (above).

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Personal liability

This means a situation where you would be found responsible for accidentally injuring a third party and/or causing damage to their property. A travel insurance policy can cover you for this.

Piste closure

If you get winter sports cover (see below), then you should be able to claim for periods where skiing is prohibited for over 12 hours (check your policy to be sure, though).

Pre-existing medical condition

Insurers need to know if you have any medical conditions that you’re aware of before offering you a quote. It’s important that you’re upfront about this, as if you attempt to claim on a policy later and your insurer discovers that you’d failed to disclose details of an illness or condition, then your policy could be rendered void.

Find out more about travelling with a medical condition here.

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This is when you have to be returned home due to contracting an illness or sustaining an injury.

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Single-trip policy

This is insurance for just the one trip, as opposed to an annual policy covering multiple trips.

Don’t know which is best for you? Then read our article on single trip vs annual cover.

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Winter sports cover

You may need additional cover if you’re heading off skiing, snowboarding or doing any other snow-based sports.

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