Worldwide travel insurance policy

Preparing for an eagerly awaited overseas trip outside of Europe? If so, you're probably busy studying guidebooks, downloading language apps and wondering whether you have the right-sized suitcase. But there's one more important thing to add to your list: buying a worldwide travel insurance policy.

Preparing for an eagerly awaited overseas trip outside of Europe? If so, you're probably busy studying guidebooks, downloading language apps and wondering whether you have the right-sized suitcase. But there's one more important thing to add to your list: buying a worldwide travel insurance policy.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

Josh Daniels
Travel Insurance expert
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Posted 9 DECEMBER 2019 Last Updated 18 JANUARY 2021

How does worldwide travel insurance differ from standard travel insurance?

A worldwide travel insurance policy takes into account the higher cost of medical treatment you’ll encounter beyond Europe. In some parts of the world, people have private health insurance to cover their care so, as a visitor without this, you’ll need your travel insurance to help fill the gap.

In Europe, there are agreements in place to keep treatment costs to a minimum for visitors. In the UK, this includes the EHIC/GHIC**. This doesn't mean you don't need medical insurance though – you do need it. This is because even though the costs are reduced in the EU for EU citizens, they're still expensive to pay for.

**After Brexit, and the UK officially left the EU with a deal in place, you won’t be able to apply for an EHIC anymore, but, if you have one already, issued before the end of 2020, then it’ll still be valid until the expiry date.

However, the UK government has introduced a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). If you don’t have an EHIC, or once yours expires, you can apply for a GHIC here, and it should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

What’s the difference between UK, European and worldwide travel insurance?

Most travel insurance providers offer UK, European or worldwide policies.

  • UK travel insurance is for people who are travelling within the UK, and still want the protection of travel cover.
  • European cover is for people travelling within Europe, though some European policies stretch the boundaries to include Egypt, Morocco, Israel and Turkey. It's generally (but not always) cheaper than worldwide cover.
  • As the name suggests, worldwide travel cover provides travel insurance cover for the rest of the world. However, it is important to note there are specific policies if you are travelling to the USA, Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. Always make sure your destinations are included in your policy, as definitions of worldwide cover can vary by provider.

Do I need worldwide travel insurance?

Worldwide travel insurance is well worth having. It could be a lifesaver if:

  • you have an accident and need medical treatment
  • your baggage gets lost or stolen
  • your flight is delayed
  • you need to cancel your trip at the last minute.

What are the main benefits of worldwide travel insurance cover?

There are many advantages to worldwide holiday insurance, including:

  • Medical cover – if you have an accident or fall ill while abroad, worldwide travel insurance will cover your hospital expenses and transport back to the UK, if needed. A policy with £2 million of medical cover, which should include repatriation, is a good level of cover.
  • Stolen, lost or damaged luggage – as a guide, your policy should pay out at least £1,500 if your luggage or personal possessions are lost or stolen. Bear in mind most travel insurance providers put a limit per item on the claim for valuable items, such as cameras and laptops. You might want to think about separate gadget cover if you carry a lot of expensive items.
  • Flight delays – the airline is always the first port of call for compensation in the case of a delayed or cancelled flight. Policies will vary greatly around flight delays so check your policy carefully, especially if you have connecting flights or travel arrangements. If your airline doesn't compensate or cover you, then your policy should pay out if your flight is delayed for more than 12 hours. If this happens, get the airline to confirm the delay in writing and keep receipts of anything you've had to buy due to the delay.
  • Cancellations and curtailment – if your annual worldwide travel insurance policy includes cancellation cover, you'll be able to claim back money for your hotel and transport, if you have to cancel your holiday unexpectedly. Check individual policies for any exclusions.
  • Personal liability cover – every country has different laws, so accident, liability and legal cover could come in handy. Check individual policies to see if you're covered for these.

What is not covered by worldwide travel insurance? 

While the right worldwide travel insurance policy will cover you around the world, there are still several common exclusions, which you won’t be able to claim for. You should always read your policy information carefully, to make sure you’re covered for everything you need, and avoid invalidating your cover. Here are some common exclusions: 

  • Travel to destinations against government or FCO advice 
  • Medical care and treatment for pre-existing medical conditions that have not been declared – make sure that you’re as honest and accurate as possible during your application, as you may find you’re not covered if you need to make a claim 
  • Treatment for illness that you should have been vaccinated for ahead of travel 
  • High-risk activities and sports – if you are travelling to take part in these activities, you should arrange specific cover 
  • Reckless behaviour, drunkenness or drug use – you won’t be able to claim for events that were illegal, or involved drug or excessive alcohol use 

What else should I consider with worldwide travel insurance?

If you'll be taking part in special sports or have specific needs, you should ensure you're covered for these when taking out a worldwide travel insurance policy. This includes:

What if I'm travelling for more than 30 days?

Most standard travel insurance policies will cover you for up to 30 days.

If you're heading off on a round-the-world trip or gap year adventure in some far-flung corner of the world, you'll need to take out one of the following, depending on your circumstances:

Should I get annual or single trip worldwide travel insurance?

Single trip travel insurance would be a perfectly fine level of worldwide travel cover if you're going on a two-week holiday in the sun, and aren't planning any other overseas trips. It may not set you back a fortune either.

An annual policy (also known as multi-trip cover) could be better if you're a regular traveller that takes two or more trips a year. It could save you money on worldwide travel insurance in the long run.

Where can I compare worldwide travel insurance?

We make it quick and easy to compare worldwide travel insurance quotes, and to find the right policy to protect you on your travels.

We provide an impartial and independent comparison of a wide range of worldwide travel insurance packages, with great deals on single trip, backpacker and annual worldwide holiday insurance.

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