What type of travel insurance do I need?
There are several levels of holiday insurance cover, each designed to suit a different type of trip. They include:
- Single trip travel insurance
- Annual travel insurance, also known as multi trip insurance
- Backpacker travel insurance
- Business travel insurance
Single trip travel insurance could be useful if you’re planning on going on a short city break or your annual family holiday. It covers you for one trip to a single destination of up to 2 weeks. These policies tend not to cover pre-existing medical conditions or ski cover as standard, though.
Annual travel insurance is suitable if you’re planning on making multiple trips in a 12-month period. This kind of travel insurance policy usually covers you for an unlimited number of trips over the course of a year. Each trip is usually limited to 31 days, but some travel insurance providers offer policies that cater for longer individual trips.
Backpacker travel insurance could come in handy if you’re travelling through multiple countries on a longer trip. These policies cover you for between 1 and 18 months.
Business travel insurance is an extra bit of cover that you add to a standard travel insurance policy. It provides cover for your laptop and other business equipment while abroad, as well as any company money that’s lost or stolen.
What additional cover can I get?
Depending on the type of holiday you’re having, you can add extra cover to your travel insurance policy for additional protection, including:
- Water sports
- Winter sports
- Gadget cover
- Passport cover
- Natural disasters
- Travel disruption
- Hazardous activities
- Wedding cover
- Repatriation, meaning return travel to your home country
- Personal liability
Water sports might be covered under a standard travel insurance policy, but this depends on the insurer. Water sports can include scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing & swimming.
For more adventurous water sports such as jet skiing, additional cover could help with medical expenses and damage to your equipment.
Winter sports cover can be added if you plan to ski or snowboard while away. A basic travel insurance policy won’t normally cover you for this since there are additional risks involved. This add-on could cover you if the piste is closed due to bad weather or lack of snow.
Gadget cover can be included on some travel insurance policies. This includes your laptop, phone and other gadgets for up to £1,000. This could help cover the cost of replacing them if they get lost, stolen or damaged on holiday.
Passport cover is also covered by many travel insurance policies. It will usually cover 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.
Golf equipment cover can be added as a separate add-on or as part of additional business cover. Golfing isn’t without its risks, so this extra could cover you for injuries on the golf course, as well as for your golfing equipment.
Natural disaster cover is available with some insurers as an additional extra let you add natural disaster cover as an extra to your policy. This could protect you if you had to cancel your holiday suddenly and with short warning due to a hurricane or volcanic eruption, for example.
Terrorism is usually listed as as one of the exclusions on a standard travel insurance policy. Some providers might cover you for injury or death as a result of terrorism while travelling, but not for other expenses.
You can get additional cover for terror-related incidents. This could help you if you need to cancel your holiday due to an act of terror, or you need to come back to the UK early after a terrorist incident.
Travel disruption cover enhances your policy to cover you if your holiday is delayed or cut short. This add-on could let you claim for transport and accommodation costs while your trip is delayed.
Hazardous activities refer to adventures like hot air ballooning. Some travel insurance companies will offer cover as an add-on. Check the policy wording when looking at your quote to make sure you know exactly what activities are covered.
Wedding cover is useful If you’re planning on getting married abroad, this extra cover could help protect you if your wedding gifts or rings are stolen. Some policies also cover the costs of restaging photographs should yours go missing.
Delays cover is an add-on that can help 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, 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, though. Some providers might let you enhance how much you’re covered for.
Personal liability cover 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’s not covered with travel insurance?
There might be some exclusions attached to your policy, but it depends on the insurer. A standard travel insurance policy might not cover:
- Travelling against Foreign, Commonwealth & Development (FCDO) advice.
- Failure to declare any pre-existing medical conditions. If you have a medical condition, you should get a pre-existing medical quote to make sure you're covered on your trip.
- Incidents involving alcohol or drugs.
- Waiting too long to report an incident. You need to declare any lost or stolen personal possessions usually within 24 hours, but this should be detailed in the policy.
This makes it all the more important to answer questions honestly when getting a quote or if you’re making a claim. If you don’t, your claim could be void or your policy cancelled, and you’ll be left without protection.
When travelling, always follow the latest government advice, declare any incidents as soon as possible and enjoy yourself, just not to the point you’re in trouble!
Need more help?
This depends on the policy specifics, so be sure to check beforehand. Generally, off-piste cover is included as long as you’re with a qualified instructor.
Our panel of travel insurance companies are all UK-based providers. This means we’re not able to compare policies for customers who aren’t a permanent UK resident.
This depends on your holiday insurance provider, but many companies do allow travel insurance extensions.
It’s worth getting in touch with your provider and asking about your options. Some might be able to extend your cover by a few weeks or even months.
If you’re thinking about the possibility of an extended trip anyway, it could be worth looking into backpacker travel insurance.
Standard travel insurance policies don’t usually cover winter sports. If you need cover for a ski trip, select winter sports cover when you get a quote.
Yes, annual policies cover UK travel as well. So if you go on several staycations throughout the year, an annual travel insurance policy could be worth considering.
If you’re looking for cruise insurance, select the cruise option in the list of extras when you get a holiday insurance quote.
With cruise cover included, you should be covered against:
- Cabin confinement
- Missed ports
- Emergency transport to hospital, if needed
- Unused excursion
As always, we recommend checking your policy details carefully before buying to ensure you have the right level of cover.
You can easily get a ski travel insurance quote with us. When getting a quote, just select winter sports cover as an extra. Once selected, we’ll only show you offers from insurers that include it in their policies.
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
A UK resident is someone whose main home is in the United Kingdom. This includes:
- Northern Ireland
- The Channel Islands
- The Isle of Man
A single trip travel insurance policy covers you for as long as you need. When you compare travel insurance quotes with us, we’ll ask you for your departure and return dates. You’re able to select a trip as long as 365 days.
If you’re planning on a trip that’s longer than that, it might be worth considering a backpacker travel insurance policy.
It depends on the type of policy you are going for. If you need a single-trip policy, you can get a quote for as cheap as £2.59*, or from £12 for a multi-trip policy.
*The cheapest Europe policy is £2.59 (based on 1 adult aged 31, with no previous medical conditions travelling in Europe for up to 3 nights). Prices correct on the 22/09/2022.
Family travel insurance policies cover parents and children under the age of 18. Once they turn 18, they’re classed as an adult and would need to get a separate travel insurance policy.
Yes, all travel insurance policies include IPT at 20%. This is included in the price, so when you compare travel insurance policies, the price you see is the price you pay.
Yes, you should be able to cancel your policy within 14 days of buying it and get a refund. This is as long as your trip hasn’t already started and you don’t intend to make a claim.
Some travel insurance providers might have additional exclusions, so it’s best to check with them.
Most travel insurance companies limit each trip in an annual travel insurance policy to 31 days. But some companies might let you extend this to 60 or even 90 days, so it’s worth checking with them before buying.
Unfortunately, if you’re already on holiday and are outside the UK, we can’t help you get a new policy or extend it if you already have one.
If you’re planning on travelling only once in the year, then a single-trip travel insurance policy will suit you. It could be cheaper and should give you the level of cover you need.
If you plan on travelling multiple times a year and want the same cover for all your trips, then an annual travel insurance policy is probably best and could work out cheaper. With an annual policy, you’ll need to let the insurer know where you’re travelling. You can either do this by telling us each individual country or by choosing a specific area from the following list:
United Kingdom, Europe, Worldwide, (including USA, Caribbean, Canada and Mexico), Worldwide (excluding USA, Caribbean, Canada and Mexico) and Australia & New Zealand.
Doubling up is when you’re covered by two travel insurance policies at the same time.
Often this can happen by accident. You might have a travel insurance policy thrown in as part of booking your holiday without realising it.
Then when you buy travel insurance yourself, you’re technically covered twice.
This doesn’t mean that you get double the cover, though.
If you need to make a claim, you might find that each policy only pays a portion of the claim. This comes with the admin headache of making two separate claims.
Excess is the amount you’ll have to pay towards any claim you make on your travel insurance policy. The amount of excess you pay depends on your policy and the type of claim you’re making.
For example, if you have an excess of £250 and claim £1,000 for a cancelled flight, then your insurer would pay the remaining £750.
A pre-existing medical condition is an illness or condition that you know about before you buy your travel insurance policy.
You need to tell your insurer about any health issues that might be relevant. If you don’t, you risk having your policy invalidated.
If in doubt, get in touch with your travel insurance provider before buying.
Airline insolvency is when an airline goes bust. This usually means that any flights booked with that airline are cancelled.
Depending on how you’ve booked your holiday, you could be entitled to a refund by the airline itself or by ATOL. If not, then your travel insurance policy should then kick in, provided the policy offers protection against airline insolvency.
Cancellation cover starts the moment you buy the policy, and lasts until the moment you depart.
This added protection is another reason to compare travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday.
Ideally, you should be considering your travel insurance options when you book your holiday. This gives you peace of mind that it’s all sorted way ahead of time and you don’t need to rush.
Depending on the policy, this also means that you might be covered if the trip is cancelled for reasons beyond your control.
But if you’ve left it a bit late, you’re able to buy travel insurance right up until the day before you travel.
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 to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. These are referred to as green cards.
- 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.
Most travel insurance policies should cover your medical expenses if you get coronavirus while on holiday. But it’s best to check the policy wording as some could exclude certain illnesses as standard.
If you buy your policy when the FCDO advises against all non-essential travel to your destination, you won’t be covered by your policy. If you bought your insurance policy a few weeks or months ago and the advice on travel to the destination changes, you might still be covered. Check with your insurer directly to get up-to-date information.
We recommend that you get a travel insurance policy before you go anywhere, even if you don’t leave the UK for your holiday. A UK travel insurance policy usually covers you for all the things you’d be covered for when abroad, including:
- Cancelled accommodation meaning that if you have to change your UK travel plans, your UK travel insurance policy should be able to help you recover your accommodation costs. However, if you’re in lockdown and plan to travel abroad, then you won’t be covered by your policy.
- Cancelled travel. If you’re travelling in the UK and your flight, train or bus gets cancelled, then your travel insurance policy could cover it.
- Luggage cover means you’re insured if your luggage goes missing, gets damaged, or is stolen. Any valuables you have in your luggage should also be covered.
Check your policy wording. Most travel insurance companies should provide cover for medical expenses if you fall ill due Covid-19 while on holiday.
But they might have exclusions in place around cancellations. So, if you have to cancel your holiday because of coronavirus, you might not be covered.
When you get a quote with us you can see whether coronavirus is covered on the prices page. If the insurer does offer cover then you’ll be able to view the terms & conditions on their website so you can check them before you buy.
If you need emergency medical attention while you’re abroad, you could be covered. It’s best to check your policy wording. You won’t be covered if you ignore travel advice from the FCDO, World Health Organisation (WHO), any local government or authority.
You should still be covered for any medical issue that’s not related to the coronavirus as standard.
You should be covered if you’re following the advice from the FCDO or other relevant authority. If you’re travelling against their advice, then there’s a chance you won’t be covered. To make absolutely sure, you should always check with your provider.
Early indications suggest that premiums may have gone up, but it’s too soon to say.
After Brexit, the signs are that premiums may have gone up. But right now it’s too soon to say.
Most travel insurance policies don’t cover the cost of getting tested or getting test results for coronavirus. Some policies might come with a discount on tests, so it’s worth checking with the provider.
What our travel insurance expert says
Don’t leave travel insurance on your ‘things-to-do’ list - Make sure you buy as soon as you book your trip as travel insurance doesn’t just cover you while you’re away. Buying early means you can be covered for cancellations leading up to your trip and leave you with peace of mind prior to your holiday.
Travel Insurance Product Executive
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