Travelling becomes riskier the older you are, and premiums rise especially sharply after you hit retirement age
1Accurate as of August 2023
Worldwide travel insurance covers you for medical expenses, transport issues, and lost or stolen baggage when you travel anywhere in the world within a set period. This can be anything from the length of your trip if you take out single trip worldwide travel insurance to 12 months if you choose an annual policy.
There are two categories of worldwide insurance: policies that include the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean, and those that exclude them. This is due to the high cost of healthcare in those countries, which also pushes up the price of worldwide travel insurance cover.
Worldwide travel cover will provide valuable protection if something goes wrong while you are on – or prevents you going on – holiday. That’s why current Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice is to take out travel insurance wherever you’re going.
This is particularly true when travelling outside Europe, mainly due to the high cost of medical treatment in countries such as the USA, where even a short hospital stay could cost tens of thousands of pounds. Some destinations, including Cuba and Israel, also now insist that visitors have travel insurance in place before the travel.
Your possessions: If your belongings are lost, damaged or stolen while you are abroad
Medical treatment: If you fall ill or are injured on holiday, or you have a previous medical condition that you’ve told your insurer about
Repatriation: If an injury or illness means you need to return to the UK
Holiday disruptions: In case anything goes wrong with your travel or accommodation
Travel outside of guidelines: If the government has advised against travel to certain areas, this is likely to invalidate your cover in those places
Not getting your vaccinations: If you fall ill due to a disease you were advised to be vaccinated against, your claim may be rejected
Undeclared medical conditions: If you haven’t told your insurer, any related claims will almost certainly be refused
Taking part in illegal activity or malicious behaviour: If your claims is due to your own reckless or illegal actions, it’s unlikely to be accepted
Using drugs or alcohol: Accidents that occur while you’re under the influence are not generally covered
Yes, it’s still a good idea to buy travel insurance, even if you have a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), the post-Brexit version of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC, previously known as the E111).
This is because, while a valid GHIC will entitle you to the same emergency or necessary state healthcare as local citizens of most countries within Europe (but not Switzerland, Norway, or Iceland, for example), you won’t be covered for repatriation or for private treatment if needed. GHICss also provide no protection for other eventualities, such as losing your personal belongings or having to cancel your holiday because of an accident in the UK.
Ideally, you should take out your worldwide travel insurance policy as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. That way, you will be able to make a claim under the cancellation cover part of the policy if you need to change your plans due to unexpected events such as illness, redundancy, or bereavement
The type of worldwide holiday insurance you should get will generally depend on how many trips you expect to take in the next year, and where you plan to go.
If you have two or more trips booked to countries outside Europe then worldwide annual, multi-trip insurance will usually offer the best value for money, as well as covering any further staycations and last-minute travel – as long as you don’t exceed the length of the trip or total number of days away stipulated in the policy.
But if you only have one trip planned, a single-trip policy should provide the cover you need for less.
And if, for example, you are planning one trip to the USA and one further European holiday then it’s probably worth comparing the cost of an annual policy that will cover both (plus any further travel) with two single-trip policies, or one single-trip worldwide policy and annual European cover. This is because insurers charge more for worldwide cover, especially when it includes the USA, the Caribbean, or Canada.
Yes, a worldwide policy will cover you for trips to European countries as well as destinations outside of Europe.
Gap-year insurance, also known as backpacker or backpackers’ insurance, is designed for people heading off on a long trip that takes in several destinations. Policies can last for up to two years where required and may include specific types of cover usually excluded by travel insurance policies, such as accidents that occur while you’re working overseas.
Worldwide travel insurance policies can come with a variety of optional extras. Common add-ons that can be taken out with worldwide policies include: ·
Having certain pre-existing medical conditions will increase the cost of worldwide travel insurance and reduce the number of policies available, but it shouldn’t stop you from getting cover. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it’s vital to declare it when taking out your policy, as any claims related to it will be refused otherwise
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