Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is designed to provide assistance or compensation for problems that may occur during a holiday. These may include medical treatment, lost luggage or delays. Cover is also provided for cancellations.

Do I need travel insurance?

It is a good idea to have some form of travel insurance, even if you are not going abroad. Hopefully, you will never need to make a claim, but having an insurance policy could help to give you peace of mind while you are travelling.

Travel insurance may be able to provide vital assistance in an emergency. One example of this is medical evacuation. If you are injured in a remote area, travel insurance can cover the cost of providing an ambulance to get you to an area where you can receive medical attention.

It can also cover the cost of any additional expenses incurred due to delayed or cancelled flights. In 2010, a volcanic ash cloud shut down flights and left over 10 million people stranded. Many may have needed to rebook and pay for another flight, but travel insurance can reimburse the costs in these situations.

Types of travel insurance

There are several different types of travel insurance policy available.

  • Single trip travel insurance provides cover for one trip only. If you are not planning on travelling often, this may be the most suitable type of policy.
  • Annual travel insurance normally covers an unlimited number of trips during a twelve month period. This type of policy is useful for those who may be taking several trips a year. There is usually a maximum holiday duration of 31 days imposed.
  • Insurance is also available for those who are taking a longer holiday. Long trip travel insurance can provide cover for up to 365 days. This type of cover can also be used by those who are working abroad.

Many travel insurance policies exclude activities such as snowboarding and skiing. However, special insurance is available for those who want these activities to be covered. This cover can sometimes be added to a standard policy for an additional premium.

There are also different policies available for different people. These include individual, couple, family and over 65. There are also policies that are designed to provide cover for pre-existing conditions, which are often excluded from standard policies.

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Where to buy travel insurance

There are many companies providing travel insurance. Price comparison sites can be useful for comparing policies quickly and easily. These sites often include reviews of the policies and the providers. It is worth reading the reviews before making a decision, as you will want to ensure that you will be receiving good customer service, as well as a reasonable price.

When choosing an insurance policy, you should ensure that you check the terms and conditions, including any exclusions.

Other aspects to check include whether the provider offers a 24 hour helpline. This is offered by most insurers.

Top providers

As there are so many different providers to choose from, it may be difficult to narrow the choice down. It is important to check the quality of the cover and service before buying a policy.

  • Staysure is one of the top rated insurance providers. This company provides cover for those aged 50 and over. Staysure offers both single trip and multi trip insurance policies.
  • Another highly rated provider is M&S. They offer a wide choice of cover, including medical emergencies, winter sports, luggage loss and cancellations.
  • Insure and Go is a recommended travel insurance specialist. They provide good value cover at the lowest possible prices. The cover offered includes both business and leisure travel, as well as long stay trips.
  • Virgin Money are known as a market leader in travel insurance. As well as providing single trip and annual trip insurance, they also offer cover for backpackers and those aged 65 or over.
  • Post Office travel insurance is also highly rated. Their policies can either be purchased online or through the UK post office network.

Useful tips

If you are travelling within Europe, you should have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card entitles UK residents to health care in state run hospitals in EU countries. This is not a substitute for travel insurance, but it could be a useful addition.

When taking out a travel insurance policy, it is important that you disclose all relevant information. For example, if you fail to disclose a medical condition, the insurance company can invalidate the policy.

If you are taking part in any sports that are considered dangerous while on holiday, you should ensure that your policy provides this cover. Most standard policies won’t, so you will need to ensure that you tell the insurance provider that you want this to be covered.

It is important to remember that any non-disclosure could invalidate the policy.

  24 hour helpline Offers for new customers
Staysure Yes None
M&S Yes 15% online
Insure and Go Yes Kids go free
Virgin Money Yes Free cover for up to 3 under 18s per adult
Post Office Yes Children covered for free