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Taking out travel insurance can cover you against things that could go wrong when you’re abroad. Having travel insurance is important as it can help you out if you lose your possessions, if your flights and accommodation are delayed or cancelled, or if you become ill or injured while on holiday or a business trip.
Travel insurance policies usually provide cover for the following:
Cancellation & delay: Including missed departures and curtailment of your trip.
Medical expenses: This will cover any costs incurred if you have to visit a doctor or hospital abroad.
Personal liability: If you cause damage to possessions or injure someone, cover is provided.
Emergency assistance/repatriation: If you need to be brought back to the UK due to injury, your costs will be met.
Baggage & belongings: Protection if your luggage or possessions are lost, stolen or damaged is provided as standard with most policies.
You can get a travel insurance policy from as little as £4.61*. This is a small price to pay for cover that could potentially save you money, as well as giving you peace of mind that you're covered for those unexpected situations.
How to get cheap travel insurance:
If you have an illness or medical condition for which you’ve had treatment, you need to provide details to your insurer. Heart problems, diabetes, cancer and respiratory illnesses (such as asthma) are among the conditions that need to be declared as they could be excluded from your policy, and not mentioning them could invalidate your cover.
If you have a condition, you may have to pay more for your insurance.
You can find out more about pre-existing medical conditions with our dedicated guide.
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A decent travel insurance policy is a sensible thing to buy for any holiday or overseas trip. If you’re injured whilst away, travel insurance can cover your medical expenses and any repatriation if it’s a serious injury. If your trip needs to be cancelled for some unforeseen reason, such as the illness or death of a close family member, then travel insurance may cover any monetary loss. And if your baggage or belongings are damaged or lost, then travel insurance could compensate you up to a set limit.
Travel insurance doesn’t have to cost the earth: policies start from as low as £4.61† for a personal single trip cover, or £11.15† for annual cover.
How much your travel insurance policy costs depends on what sort of cover you opt for and how long the policy covers you for. Travel insurance quotes will also take into account if your policy is personal or if you are travelling with a partner or your family.
†Based on an individual aged 30 taking single trip cover for 3 days to France. Cover starts on 7 December 2019 and ends on 10 December 2019. Annual cover from £11.15 based on an individual aged 30 taking annual cover for travel in Europe. Cover starts on 7 December 2019 and ends after 12 months.
It’s advisable to purchase travel insurance the moment you book your trip, because without it you risk not being covered in the event of something disrupting your holiday.
For example, if an illness or weather disruption affected your trip, you would not be able to claim for any damages or refunds if you haven’t already bought insurance.
Travel insurance covers you after the event, which means that you will normally need to pay for any costs upfront and then make a claim to the insurance company, much like any other type of insurance. You will need to keep any documentation for this reason, hospital bills for example, as otherwise your claim may be refuted.
You should always read the small print to know exactly what you are getting and what you are covered for. Some policies might not cover everything you need, so double check before you depart.
As with any insurance policy, an excess is the amount you will need to pay when making a claim, and it varies by insurer. This is the part of the claim you must pay to allow for the insurer to pay for the remainder. If you have a policy with a £150 excess, for example, then you claim for a baggage loss of £800, you would pay the £150 and the remaining £650 would be paid out by your insurer.
You still need travel insurance if you’re staying in the UK for your next holiday (staycation). Although the NHS will cover the cost of any medical treatment, travel insurance can pay to transfer you to a hospital closer to home. Travel insurance will also bring you or a family member home if you have missed your flights, trains, coach or your family have to drive home separately.
Travel insurance for the UK also covers you against the risk of holiday cancellation, baggage loss, losing spare cash and anything happening to your mobile phone and other gadgets while you’re away from home.
Travel insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but it can provide peace of mind for your holiday so you can concentrate on enjoying your trip. This is because travel insurance can offer useful coverage for things like cancelled flights and accommodation from before you even leave the country.
Travel insurance also offers medical treatment coverage, which can be helpful in countries like the USA and Canada where treatment costs can reach the thousands. You’ll even have the option to cover your personal possessions and belongings, so if you lose your phone or passport you’ll be able to claim for any resulting costs.
Without a good travel insurance policy, you’d have to pay out of pocket, which could put a damper on your holiday plans.
If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance policy, you should consider the following to make sure you have the best chance of your claim being accepted:
If you’re travelling to Europe a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be useful, as it entitles you to medical treatment in certain countries for free or at a reduced cost – essentially the same that applies to citizens of that country. However it isn’t a replacement for travel insurance as it won’t cover you for private medical costs, nor will it be useful for rescue and repatriation – for example, if you got trapped on a mountain whilst skiing.
It also doesn’t offer additional protection for your belongings and possessions, accommodation, or flights, and if you aren’t travelling in a country included in the EHIC scheme then it won’t help much at all.
Additionally, the EHIC may not work at all after 31 October 2019 as a result of Brexit. This makes having a good travel policy even more important, as it will cover any medical costs outlined in your policy.
It’s recommended that you take out a travel insurance policy as soon as you can after you’ve booked your holiday. This is because it can cover part or all the cost of cancelling your holiday before you leave if you need to, as a result of:
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