Travel and holidays

Your guide to holiday insurance

Last updated: 12/01/2021

Let’s face it - when it comes to planning your next adventure, travel insurance is usually at the bottom of the priority list. In fact, ABTA’s 2019 research found that just over one in five (21%) holidaymakers travelled without insurance in the year prior.

But with the average cost for overseas medical treatment reaching £1,300 in 2017, and a year of travel turbulence and high cancellation and expatriation costs following a worldwide pandemic, travel insurance could be one of the most important things to consider before you go on holiday.

To help you decide which travel insurance is best suited to your trip, here are some things to consider when taking out a travel insurance policy.

Do I need travel insurance for my holiday?

If you’re heading off abroad, then you might want to consider having some form of travel insurance in place to protect yourself financially should something go wrong, as well as your belongings.

There are lots of different types of travel insurance available with varying levels of cover for different types of holiday, so it’s important to do your research to make sure you have the right insurance for your type of trip.

There will also be instances where you might not need travel insurance. For example, if you’re just taking the car down the motorway for a quick camping trip in Devon - which probably won’t have too many costs involved - then you might want to reconsider whether you need travel insurance for your trip. You’ll probably find that the main risk is the driving aspect, which would be covered under your car insurance.

If you’re travelling abroad, however, there may be additional costs involved that could have a big financial impact you should something go wrong. If you’ve splashed the cash for the holiday of a lifetime, then taking out a travel insurance policy might just give you that additional peace of mind so you can sit back and relax on your trip.

There’s also a common misconception about what medical cover is available when travelling abroad, so make sure you’ve done your research.

Find out more about the GHIC card, or apply via the NHS website.


What does travel insurance cover?

The level of cover included under your travel insurance policy will be entirely dependent on your insurer, so it’s important to check your policy documents before you head off to find out what’s covered.

Depending on the policy you choose, holiday insurance will usually cover:

  • Cancellation and curtailment
  • Delay
  • Baggage and belongings
  • Personal liability
  • Emergency assistance
  • Medical expenses and repatriation costs – this could be one of the most important elements of your travel insurance will be the medical cover, as this isn’t necessarily something that will be covered by your GHIC card.

Top tip: Don’t forget to check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) website before booking or heading on your trip, as travelling against FCDO advice could invalidate your travel insurance policy in the event of a claim.

How much is travel insurance?

However, insurers will consider a number of factors about your holiday when providing a travel insurance quote. This could include your age, your destination and the duration of your trip, as well as whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

When calculating the cost of your holiday insurance, insurers will also consider the details of the holiday itself - so you may need to let them know about any potentially “extreme” activities you’ll be undertaking, such as snowboarding, sailing or surfing!


What types of travel insurance are there?

There are lots of different types of holiday insurance available, so it’s important to make sure you find the cover that’s right for you. You might want to consider one of the following:

Single trip travel insurance

Whether it’s a luxury holiday, a hike through the Himalayas or a quick city break, a single trip travel insurance policy will cover you for the duration of one trip abroad, usually up to maximum number of days. So if you only take one or two holidays a year, then this may be all the cover you’ll need. These policies will also cover you for travel to various countries, as long as it’s within a single trip.

Annual travel insurance

If you’re a regular traveller, or you’re planning on taking several trips throughout the year, then it might be worth considering annual multi-trip travel insurance. However, bear in mind that there will usually be a limit to the number of days a trip can last, so check your policy documents before you head off.

Backpackers insurance

Backpacker travel insurance is very similar to single trip travel insurance, except that the policies are usually valid for between three and eighteen months, rather than the shorter duration of a single trip policy. These policies will also cover you for travel to various countries, as long as it’s within a single trip. This means you can travel far and wide across various continents without having to take out multiple insurance policies.

Winter sports travel insurance

You may find that a standard travel insurance policy won’t provide cover you for any winter sports activity, such as skiing or snowboarding. So if you’re planning on hitting the slopes over the winter months, it might be worth considering taking out a specialist winter sports insurance policy. A winter sports insurance policy may provide some, or all, of the following covers; ski school fees, lift passes and hired ski equipment, as well as off-piste skiing and mountain rescue should you need it.

Holiday insurance

Sadly none of us have been able to do a lot of travelling lately. But even if you’re planning a staycation in the UK, you may still need travel insurance for your trip – for example, you may still need cover for cancellation, missed departure on public transport or personal belongings.

Find out more about holiday insurance.

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