Things travel insurance will cover you for… and things it won’t

A typical travel insurance policy should cover you for medical treatment, trip cancellation and losing your luggage while you’re away. But not every policy will cover every eventuality. We look at what’s likely to be included in your policy – and what isn’t.

A typical travel insurance policy should cover you for medical treatment, trip cancellation and losing your luggage while you’re away. But not every policy will cover every eventuality. We look at what’s likely to be included in your policy – and what isn’t.

Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 8 JULY 2022

What should travel insurance cover?

As a starting point, look for a policy that covers:

  • Medical expenses if you’re injured or fall ill while you’re away
  • The cost of bringing you home if you’re injured, become unwell or have a fatal accident
  • Lost or stolen passports, travel documents or money
  • Lost, damaged or delayed baggage
  • Travel or accommodation cancellations, delayed flights, missed departures or cutting your trip short for reasons outside your control
  • Personal liability if you cause an accident or injure someone.

What does medical cover include?

Most policies will cover:

  • Emergency treatment costs, including hospital charges and ambulance fees
  • Returning you home, or repatriation costs, if you can’t use your original ticket
  • Reasonable accommodation and travel expenses for a friend or family member to stay with you or travel back with you to the UK
  • A 24-hour helpline for support and advice.

Medical cover varies among insurance providers, so always check exactly what each policy offers.

Will travel insurance cover coronavirus?

Many travel policies offer cover if you can’t travel because of coronavirus. When you get a travel insurance quote with us, it’s easy to compare levels of COVID-19 cover. Just click on the ‘more details’ buttons on your quote results page.

Can travel insurance cover me for a medical condition I already have?

If you have a pre-existing medical conditiondiabetes, for example – you must state this when you apply for travel insurance. Depending on the condition, you might need to pay more for your insurance or you may need to find a specialist provider to cover you.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean any claim you make is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

Does all travel insurance cover repatriation?

Most travel insurance policies cover repatriation – bringing you back home if you fall ill or have a serious accident. Check how much cover is included as repatriation can be very expensive – you might need to be taken home in an air ambulance, for example.

Travel insurance might also cover what’s called ‘repatriation of remains’; that is, bringing your body back if you die abroad. Check to see if your policy includes this.

Will travel insurance cover me for sports and other activities?

A standard policy should cover you for low-risk activities on holiday. However, what’s defined as ‘low risk’ varies among insurance providers so, again, it’s a matter of checking your policy carefully.

If you’re planning a skiing holiday or enjoying water sports or high-adrenaline activities while you’re away, you’ll need to ensure you have appropriate cover. Check with your insurance provider if you’re not sure.

There’s also the option of specialist insurance for sports like golf, which could be worth considering if you’re taking your own clubs and equipment.

Will travel insurance cover me if I have an accident when I’ve been drinking?

Most travel insurance policies won’t pay out if you have an accident or have property stolen while you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Does travel insurance always cover cancellation?

Travel insurance usually includes holiday cancellation cover in case your trip is cancelled for reasons beyond your control – illness or the death of a close family member, for example.

Travel insurance won’t cover you if you simply decide you don’t want to go on holiday, or if you cancel because of a pre-existing medical condition you didn’t declare.

Are airline strikes covered by travel insurance?

If your flight is delayed or cancelled because of an airline strike, then you should apply to the airline for compensation, rather than trying to claim on your travel insurance.

Your travel insurance should cover you for other costs, like accommodation and car rental bills, if they occur as a direct result of the event. The tricky bit is timing, because your chances of making a successful claim may depend on whether you bought your tickets before the strike became public knowledge.

Read more on flight cancellation insurance.

Does travel insurance cover the death of a parent or other family member?

Usually, yes. Cancelling a trip because of close family bereavement is often covered by travel insurance. But the definition of a ‘close family member’ can vary among providers.

Does travel insurance cover my baggage and belongings?

Travel insurance will cover your lost or stolen baggage up to a certain limit. There’s usually a maximum amount you can claim for a single item and a maximum amount you can claim in total.

You might also want to think about travel gadget insurance if you’re taking valuable tech with you. Or consider leaving those pricey accessories at home.

Your belongings typically won’t be covered if they’re left unattended or stored insecurely. And that does include leaving stuff on your lounger while you cool off in the pool…

Will travel insurance cover my passport?

Most policies will cover the costs of replacing a lost or stolen passport.

What legal cover can I get from my travel insurance?

Your travel insurance could provide cover if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property and they decide to sue you. The right policy could also help you pursue compensation if you’re injured in an accident.

What happens at the time is important, though, even with decent cover. Your policy may be invalidated if you admit an accident was your fault or offer to pay someone money before talking to your insurance provider.

Frequently asked questions

Will travel insurance cover me if my jewellery is stolen?

If you have a valuable piece of jewellery, you’ll need to check that it’s within the single-item cover limit of your travel insurance – this is the maximum amount the policy will pay out for a single item. If it’s not, you may be able to increase the level of cover.

Alternatively, you could take out specialist insurance. There may also be requirements about where the jewellery is kept while you’re away.

Will my home insurance cover valuables when I’m on holiday?

If you have personal possessions cover, it may cover valuables that you take away with you, but there could be limitations – for example, where you’re going or for how long.

I’m planning to live or work abroad. Will travel insurance cover me?

That depends how long you’re planning to be away. Long-stay travel insurance is available for trips lasting up to 18 months. But if you’re planning to relocate on a permanent basis, you need to think about other insurance options, such as international health insurance.

Visit the GOV.UK website which offers UK nationals advice on living and working abroad.

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