A Quick Guide to Travel Insurance


With the school holidays in full swing, many of us will be dusting off our suitcases and packing all the essential items needed for that long-awaited break from it all. Along with all the other essentials, toothbrush, suncream, passport and tickets, travel insurance is a must!

Despite our health being one of our most precious commodities, so many people each year fail to adequately protect themselves when travelling abroad, especially when conditions can be very different to those we have here in the UK.

Why do i need travel insurance?

According to the Association of British Insurers, the average cost for overseas medical treatment is £2,040. In the case of a coronary artery bypass and an emergency flight from the US to the UK, the total was £49,000. Taking out travel insurance can assist with medical care on holiday that could otherwise cost you thousands of pounds. Without insurance, you could have to cover emergency expenses on your own.

Travel insurance will also reimburse you if you lose your money or possessions or if they are stolen, and it will also pay compensation if you have to cut short or cancel your holiday because of injury or illness. In most cases the insurance will cover the cost of getting you home and essential medical expenses.

Other insurances such as credit card accident cover and private health insurance don’t cover most travel emergencies.

Travel insurance will cover you for;

– Emergency medical expenses (there may be exceptions such as pre-existing conditions)

– Personal liability, should you be sued for damaging property or causing injury

– Any lost or stolen bags

– The costs of cancelling, delaying or cutting short your trip because of illness, injury or death of a close relative

Types of travel insurance

You can buy travel insurance for a single trip or to cover a number of trips per year, you can also purchase travel insurance as an individual or as a family.

Annual Travel Insurance (multi-trip insurance) will cover all the trips you take in a year (subject to a maximum length of time per trip). If you take more than two trips a year then an annual policy could be the cheapest option. Annual travel cover is particularly useful if you like to take advantage of last-minute deals or enjoy travelling on the spur of the moment.

You can also buy travel insurance each time you go away, for example if you are going for a weekend city break or for a fortnight in the sun. If you only plan to take one main holiday or a couple of short trips in a year then this could be cheaper than buying annual cover.

Family travel insurance – If you are travelling as a family (2 adults plus children) then you can buy family travel insurance to protect each member on just one policy. This option should save you money as it is usually cheaper than buying a separate policy for each member of the family.

Pre-existing conditions – It’s important to note that should you have any pre-existing medical conditions you must tell the insurer as they may not be able to cover you. Some policies may cover pre-existing conditions but won’t pay for continuing or routine treatment or if you travel against medical advice.

European or worldwide travel insurance – If you are planning to holiday outside Europe then you will need to buy worldwide travel insurance. You can also apply for the European Health Insurance Card to cover your visits within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Amount of cover required – the minimum you should seek to cover yourself for should be a minimum of;

-£1 million of emergency medical cover if you are travelling in Europe;

£2 million of emergency medical cover if you are travelling to the USA or anywhere else in the world; 

£1,000 or more for baggage and personal belongings that are lost or stolen;

£200 to £500 for cash including travellers’ cheques lost or stolen.

Cover from winter sports – You usually have to pay extra to cover winter sports, extreme sports or activities like scuba diving. If you plan to do any more hazardous or extreme sports  such as whitewater rafting, snowboarding, bungee jumping etc you may need to take out specialist travel insurance.

Travel insurance for age 65+ – As you get older, the price you pay for travel insurance will increase due to insurers perceiving older travellers as being higher risk. Insurers typically have one price bracket for those aged 18-64, with those aged 65 or over paying higher premiums.

The key to keeping down the cost of over 65’s travel insurance is searching out reasonably priced cover by comparing quotes online however, don’t buy on price alone. Checking exactly what you are covered for as you must have comprehensive cover in place.

So, with this quick guide to travel insurance we hope that you’ve now added it to your essentials list for your holiday. Happy Holidays!

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