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What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance could cover medical expenses, trip cancellation or delays, lost or stolen baggage and personal liability while you’re travelling. The type of cover you need will depend on the countries you’re visiting, the activities you’ll be doing and the length of your trip. You’ll also need to state whether you want travel insurance for a single trip, multiple trips or for backpacking.

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We are temporarily suspending our travel insurance comparison service.

On 4 April 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential international travel for an indefinite period.

If you choose to travel overseas to a destination while the FCO has advised against non-essential travel, or domestically against the instructions of the UK Government, then your insurance policy will be invalid, and any claim likely to be rejected. Therefore, until we have complete confidence we can get you a policy to meet your needs, we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend our travel insurance comparison service.

We will continually review the situation, and resume our service in the future, in accordance with the latest FCO or UK Government restrictions on travel.

Until then, stay safe.

For more information please see our travel insurance and coronavirus pages.

Why do I need travel insurance?

While we all love to get away from it all, accidents do happen – as well as medical bills, travel insurance covers delays, lost items and thefts. All these can prove costly if you’re not properly insured.

A travel insurance policy can provide the security you need while on holiday. It offers you peace of mind, knowing that, should you need it, you’ll be well looked after, have your belongings replaced, or have alternative accommodation and travel arrangements if required.

The costs of these are more expensive than you’d think. Medical costs abroad can easily run into the tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, if you need specialist treatment or an emergency evacuation.

Something as small as a lost passport can have huge consequences. You’ll need to arrange a replacement, or emergency passport, you might have to make alternative travel arrangements and you may need additional accommodation while you wait for your replacement to be issued. All of this can add up fast, over something that can happen in an instant.

So, whether you’re taking the family to the beach, a student on your gap year taking the trip of a lifetime or simply making the most of your retirement, there’s sure to be a policy to keep you covered.

What type of travel insurance is right for me?

Picking the right travel insurance policy depends on a few things.  

The most common types of policy are:

  • Single trip: This insurance will cover you for one short trip.  
  • Annual multi-trip: If you’re taking more than one trip a year, then a multi-trip policy will likely be the most cost-effective. There may be a limit on the total number of days abroad you’re covered for. 
  • Worldwide: Generally, travel insurance for trips within Europe are cheaper. This is largely because medical costs in countries outside the EU can be much higher.

Plane window

  • Winter sports: You’ll need this for skiing, snowboarding or other winter activities that are generally a bit more dangerous and might require special provisions. They can also involve expensive specialist equipment, which this policy should cover.
  • Cruise: Covers the specific risks and activities associated with this type of holiday. 
  • Couples: This is for two adults, who live at the same address and are in a relationship. 
  • Family: This covers members of a family in one simple policy. Some insurance providers will also offer free cover to anyone under 18 in the family. 
  • Group: This could suit you if you’re travelling with up to 10 friends or family members, if you’re all travelling from the same country.
  • Business travel: If you’re travelling for work, then business travel is tailored for your needs. 

You can also find specialist insurance for:

Frequently asked questions

Travel insurance is even more vital as the coronavirus outbreak may spread and more destinations be affected. This could mean trips having to be cancelled or rearranged.

If the FCO has advised against travelling to your destination because of coronavirus, you should be able to claim on your travel insurance provided you bought it before the advice was issued. Although, understandably, some people might be put off going on their trips because of the virus, you can’t claim if the FCO hasn’t advised against travelling to your destination as it will be interpreted as your voluntary decision not to go. Read our guide to coronavirus and travel insurance.

How much does travel insurance cost?

According to Compare the Market data, a one-week trip within Europe costs, on average, £13^^ to insure. A week within the UK costs even less, at an average of £7^^ per policy. If you’re travelling further and need a worldwide policy, you could get cover for £38^^, on average.

If you’re a frequent traveller, you may want to consider an annual, multi-trip travel insurance policy. If you regularly travel within Europe, you can find cover for £28^^ per year, on average, while a worldwide policy costs an average of £63^^.

^^50% of customers could achieve a quote of the above amounts based on Compare the Market data in December 2019.

What should I consider before choosing a policy?

When trying to find the best travel insurance policy, with the right level of cover and inclusions for you, you’ll want to consider the following:

Most annual and single policies cover you for between 90 and 180 days, so you should check the details if you’re planning a long break away. If you’re away for longer than this, you may need a long-stay policy.

You should also be able to add extras to your policy for anything that isn’t included as standard – for example:

  1. Winter sports
  2. Extreme sports

Will travel insurance cover lost passports?

While you should always check your policy beforehand, most travel insurance providers will cover you for lost or stolen passports. If your passport is lost or stolen, it’s important that you report this quickly and apply for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD), to minimise the disruption to your holiday. Keep any reference numbers when you report the loss/theft, as these will be needed when claiming on your insurance.

Can I still get travel insurance if I’ve got a medical condition?

Yes, you can still get travel insurance even if you have a medical condition, although you might need to look for a specialist provider. That’s because having certain health issues could mean that you’re more likely to need medical treatment while you’re on holiday. Unlike in the UK, you’ll be expected to pay for any care you receive and even common procedures can cost thousands of pounds.

See more on travel insurance with medical conditions with some specialist advice if you have cancer or heart conditions.

Can I get travel insurance when I am already on holiday?

While this used to be a problem for travellers, you can now find providers who will cover you, even if you’ve already started your holiday. However, providers may have stricter terms and conditions for you to meet, and it may depend on how long you’ve already been on holiday. Therefore, it’s best to get covered as soon as possible.

Can travel insurance be extended?

If you decide to make your holiday last a bit longer, many providers will let you extend your cover. You should inform them as soon as possible and avoid letting your cover expire where possible, as this may make an extension more complicated.

What does “doubling up” on travel insurance mean?

Doubling up on insurance means that you’ve taken out more than one type of cover. This might be because you’ve taken out an insurance policy but also receive cover from another source, such as a bank or credit card provider.

However, having two forms of cover doesn’t mean you’ll get twice the payout. Typically, insurance providers will each pay out for their share of the claim. This may also delay your claim being processed, as both providers may ask each other to cover the cost. Therefore, it’s not usually advantageous to be ‘double’ insured.

Where can I compare travel insurance quotes quickly and easily?

When looking for the best travel insurance policy for you, comparing the latest deals is a good place to start. We provide impartial and independent comparison from a range of UK travel insurance providers. Before you start, keep any dates of your planned trip to hand and know how much any valuables you take with you might be worth, to make sure you get the right level of cover. With great value deals on single, direct and annual holiday insurance, we could find you a cheap price in minutes.

Play our Holiday Hotspots Game!

With the holiday season just around the corner, why not try your hand at our Holiday Hotspots game and get some destination inspiration!

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Hotspots suitcase game

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