Don’t forget travel insurance

The summer holiday period is in full swing but about 25% of holidaymakers will go away without travel insurance according to research from American Express. This could prove a costly mistake.

If you fall ill while you’re away, medical costs can easily run into hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. You could also find yourself out of pocket if you aren’t insured but have to cancel your holiday, lose your baggage or have something stolen.

Yet, travel insurance isn’t expensive – cover for a week’s holiday in Spain is available from just £4.59 for a single person, £8.26 for a couple and only £9.22 for a family of four. The risk of not having insurance is therefore really not worth taking.

Even if you’re heading off on holiday in the next day or two, it’s not too late to buy insurance – our comparison tool will enable you to find the cover you need.

I have an EHIC, do I need travel insurance?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which replaced the E111 form in 2006, gives you access to reduced or free medical treatment if you’re travelling within the EU (or Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland). However, only treatment provided under the state system is covered and the EHIC card should not be seen as an alternative to travel insurance.

If you do require medical treatment while you’re away but the EHIC agreement doesn’t cover the entire cost, your travel insurer will meet the shortfall.

Also, the EHIC obviously doesn’t include any of the other types of cover you get with travel insurance, such as loss of baggage, cancellation and so on, but it also does not cover repatriation costs, translation facilities or the consultations with an English doctor that may be provided by some travel insurance policies.

How much cover do I need?

The amount of cover offered by insurers varies from policy to policy. However, it’s not necessarily the case that the more you pay, the greater the level of cover. Similarly, don’t assume that the cheapest price, won’t offer you the cover you need.
Look at what protection is promised before you buy.

At we recommend the following levels of cover:

  •  £2million for medical expenses 
  •  £1million personal liability 
  •  £3,000 cancellation - or enough to cover the cost of your holiday 
  •  £1,500 for baggage


Annual or single trip?

There are two types of travel insurance available – annual multi-trip travel insurance, which covers all trips during a year for a one-off fee but usually with a 30 to 60-day limit on the days you can be away; and single-trip travel insurance, which covers one trip.

If you’ll be going away more than three times in the next 12 months, an annual policy will probably work out better value. However, there’s no point in paying more than you need, so if you’ll only be taking one holiday a single trip policy will be fine.

A family of four taking a one week holiday in Spain this August could pick up a policy for as little as £9.53 by comparing policies using our travel insurance comparison tool. The cheapest policy, from Insurewithease, includes £5million of medical cover, £2million in personal liability cover, £3,000 cancellation cover and £1,500 baggage cover – matching or surpassing our recommended policy limits in all areas.

If you’re looking for annual insurance, a worldwide policy for a family of four including winter sports cover would cost £39.57 from CBG London. This includes £5million of medical cover, £2million in personal liability cover, £3,000 cancellation cover and £3,000 baggage cover.

A note for UK holidaymakers…

If you’re planning to travel within the UK this year, then it’s still worth taking out travel insurance. While you won’t need medical cover at home, policies are available from just a few pounds and will give you peace of mind if you need to cancel a trip or in case your personal effects are stolen.

For more information on travel insurance read our article ‘Why travel insurance is a must’.

Disclaimer: Please note that any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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