Emergency medical treatment: This covers you or anyone on the policy if you fall ill on holiday and need medical assistance, and for any expenses you might have to pay too. This should include if you get Covid-19 while abroad, as long as you’re travelling in line with FCDO advice, but check your policy details to be sure.
Cancellation cover: This should cover your costs if your flight or accommodation is cancelled. It's safest to get a policy with enough cover to pay for the entire cost of your trip. Cancellation cover starts the moment you buy the policy, and lasts until the moment you depart.
Possessions and baggage cover: This usually covers theft, accidental damage or loss of any personal possessions or baggage on your trip. The amount of protection you get depends on the policy you choose, as does the amount of cash that's covered.
Do I need travel insurance?
While travel insurance isn’t mandatory in most countries, it's important to consider buying a policy before you travel to cover for things like medical treatment, emergencies and travel disruption.
- A traveller had a fall while in Spain. The cost of medical treatment and emergency medical repatriation back to the UK was a massive £124,000.
- A traveller contracted Covid in Cyprus. The cost of treating them and bringing them back to the UK was £70,000.
It’s best to get travel insurance whenever you book a trip away, whether it's a weekend away in Euope, a 2-week family holiday or backpacking for 6 months.
Try to buy it as soon as you book your holiday to make sure you’re covered in case you need to cancel before leaving. This should ensure any part of your trip you’ve already paid for is covered. If you’ve left it a bit late, you can buy travel insurance right up until the day before you travel.
It’s a good idea to check you don’t already have travel insurance before buying a policy. You might have it as part of your trip when you booked, or it might be an added extra with a bank account.
Accidentally having 2 travel insurance policies can cause problems if you need to claim, as you might find each policy only pays a portion of the claim. This comes with the admin headache of making 2 separate claims.
If you’re going on a package holiday with ATOL protection, you may wonder if you need travel insurance. While ATOL protection can help if your airline goes bust, that’s the only scenario it covers, and travel insurance protects you in many other ways.
What type of travel insurance do I need?
There are several types of holiday insurance, each designed to suit a different type of trip. They include:
- Backpacker travel insurance: If you’re travelling through multiple countries on a longer trip, this is likely to be the cover you need. These policies cover you for between 1 and 18 months and may be ideal for gap year travel.
- Business travel insurance: This is an add-on to a standard travel insurance policy. It covers your laptop and other business equipment while abroad, as well as any company money that’s lost or stolen.
- Single trip travel insurance: This is useful if you’re planning a short city break or your annual family holiday as it covers you for 1 trip to a single destination. These policies tend not to cover pre-existing medical conditions or ski cover as standard.
- Annual multi-trip travel insurance: This might work out more cost-effective for people who make multiple trips in a 12-month period, both in the UK and abroad. It usually covers you for an unlimited number of trips in a year. Most travel insurance companies limit each trip to 31 days. But some companies might let you extend this to 60 or even 90 days, so it’s worth checking before buying.
Why use Confused.com?
- We're regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as are all of the travel insurance companies we work with. This means you can be certain that we do things the right way for you, following strict guidelines.
- We're 100% independent. This means we're not owned by any insurance company, so the prices you see are the best available based on your information, not who they're from.
What our travel insurance expert says
What additional cover can I get?
When you're getting a quote, you can choose to add on extra cover for:
- Winter sports if you plan to ski or snowboard while away: Standard travel insurance doesn't normally cover this as there are additional risks involved. But it could cover you if the piste is closed due to bad weather or lack of snow, for example.
- Gadgets: You could get up to £1,000 of cover towards the cost of replacing your laptop, phone and other gadgets if they're lost, stolen or damaged while on holiday.
- Cruises: With cruise cover included, you should also be insured for cabin confinement, missed ports, emergency transport to hospital and unused excursions.
- Business: Offers extra cover that’s specifically suited for business trips. It covers things like laptops, business phones, alternative travel arrangements, and golf clubs.
Depending on the type of holiday you’re planning and who you get your insurance with, you might also be able to include:
- Water sports like scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing and swimming: Some policies already cover this. But for more adventurous water sports like jet skiing, extra cover could help with medical expenses and damage to your equipment.
- Passports: Passport cover usually pays the cost of a replacement passport if yours is lost or stolen. If not, you might be able to claim for the cost of getting an emergency travel document to get you to your destination.
- Travel disruption: Cover for travel disruption protects you if your holiday is delayed or cut short. This add-on might also cover transport and accommodation costs while your trip is delayed.
Hazardous activities like hot air ballooning: Some insurers offer this cover as an add-on, but certain high-risk activities might be excluded altogether. Check the policy wording when looking at your quote so you know exactly what activities are covered.
- Delays: This add-on helps with transport and accommodation if your flight is delayed and you’re unable to get delayed flight compensation.
- Repatriation, also known as return travel to your home country: This covers you if you fall ill on holiday and need to be flown home for treatment. Check the level of cover you get for this, as some providers might let you enhance how much you’re covered for.
- Personal liability: This protects you in case you injure someone else or damage someone else’s property while on holiday. The amount of cover you get is likely to vary between providers, so compare how much cover you get for the price.
What are the different types of travel insurance?
means you can get one policy that covers everyone, rather than buying individual policies.
it will cover you for any holidays that you've got planned in Europe this year.
is the perfect policy for those who plan to travel for an extended period.
allows you to easily get a quote for travellers over the age of 50.
will cover you for travel to multiple locations around the world.
will cover you if you’re planning an action-filled sports trip.
helps provide peace of mind for any unexpected problems while away.
is a specialist winter sports policy that covers you against slope injuries.
Need more help?
Since the UK left the EU in 2020, you need to have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This makes sure you’ve got the right amount of medical cover for your holiday and gives you access to low-cost or free state healthcare in the EU. The GHIC also covers pre-existing medical conditions.
The EHIC or GHIC aren’t replacements for travel insurance, though. You need a valid policy to cover you for replacing stolen property or if you need emergency services such as mountain rescue.
We recommend checking your policy documents or speaking with your insurer before you travel.
Other things you need to consider include:
- Having at least 6 months left on your passport before its expiry date
- Checking if you need an international driving permit.
Making sure you have everything you need to travel over the border of the country that you’re visiting. If you can’t show that you meet all immigration rules, you could be refused entry. For more information, visit Brexit advice on GOV.UK.
Get in touch with your travel insurance provider as soon as possible. If you have your policy details to hand, you could contact them while you’re still on holiday. They might send you a claim form, or ask you questions over the phone. They should be able to guide you through their process from there.
Make sure you keep any relevant documents to hand:
- Crime reference number, if the police were involved
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