What is travel insurance?
The type of cover you need will depend on the countries you’re visiting, the activities you’ll be doing and the length of your trip. You’ll also need to tell us whether you want insurance for travel on a single trip, multiple trips or for a long-stay trip, like backpacking.
Travel insurance could cover:
- medical expenses
- trip cancellation or delays,
- lost or stolen baggage
- personal liability.
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It’s easy to compare travel insurance
Give us a few details
Tell us where and when you’re going, what type of cover you need and whether you want COVID-19 cover.
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We’ll show you a list of quotes, so you can choose the best travel insurance for your needs.
Buy your policy
Read the policy carefully before you buy to make sure it provides all the cover you need. Then relax and enjoy your trip.
Does travel insurance cover COVID-19?
Some travel insurance providers are now offering cover for disruption related to COVID-19. Policies could include cover for:
- medical costs
- additional transport and/or accommodation expenses
All providers on our panel offer emergency medical treatment and repatriation for COVID-19 claims.
To find policies that offer this type of cover when you’re getting a quote, simply:
- select the “more details” option in the yellow COVID-19 information box on the quote results page
- read the policy document thoroughly so you can see what is and isn’t covered before you buy
It's best to check the latest government travel advice before you travel, as it will explain anything you may need to do before travelling abroad and returning home. You should also check the latest entry requirements and other advice for each country you're visiting or travelling through. Travel rules and requirements can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.
What does travel insurance cover?
A holiday insurance policy could offer cover for:
If your baggage is lost on its way to your destination, loss of baggage cover allows you to claim for its value.
This will insure your luggage or personal belongings on the way to your destination, as well as while you’re out and about on holiday.
This can protect you if you need to cancel your travel plans at the last minute due to injury or illness, or perhaps a bereavement.
If you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, you’ll need to declare this when getting a quote from us.
If you or a family member are injured or fall seriously ill abroad, emergency repatriation can cover the costs of bringing you home.
If bad weather, strikes or breakdown disrupt your flight or ferry, for example, you can claim for delays over a stated length of time.
What type of travel insurance is right for me?
Picking the best holiday insurance policy for you depends on the type of cover you need. Types of policy include:
If you’re taking more than one trip a year, this is likely to be the most cost-effective way to get travel insurance cover.
Whether your ship misses a port stop because of bad weather, or you’re confined to your cabin because you’re ill, cruise travel insurance could cover you.
Only planning to go on one trip in the next 12 months? Single trip travel insurance could be the cheapest way of getting the travel cover you need: will cover you for one short trip.
Going on a long trip to lots of different countries? With backpacker insurance you can enjoy your adventure knowing you’re covered.
Cover for skiing, snowboarding or other winter activities. This type of policy should also cover expensive equipment, like skis and snowboards.
Get insurance designed around your needs as a business traveller, from protecting your laptop to covering extra travel expenses.
Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions
It’s vital to have medical cover if you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, like diabetes or cancer. You may need healthcare while you’re away and the costs of paying for it out of your own pocket could be enormous.
Not all providers will offer cover for pre-existing conditions as standard, so you may need a specialist policy. We can help make your search easier: 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. Remember, it’s vital that you give the insurance provider honest, accurate information about any medical conditions you have – if you don’t, you risk invalidating your policy.
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.
See more on travel insurance with a medical condition
Additional travel insurance cover options
Depending on what you’re going to be doing while you’re away and your personal needs, you might want to consider the following add-ons to your policy:
- Travel gadget insurance – to cover loss, theft or damage of devices like phones, tablets and gaming handhelds. Checks exactly what’s covered before you buy.
- Terrorism cover – offers cover if you have to cancel or cut short your trip because a terrorist act is committed within a set distance of where you’re staying.
- Natural disaster cover – offers cover if your trip is affected by a natural disaster, like volcanic ash, earthquakes, floods or hurricanes.
- Travel connection delays – cover if you miss a connecting flight or ferry, for example, because your original transport was delayed.
- Travel disruption – can offer extended cover if the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) changes its travel advice, or if strikes or industrial action mean your transport is cancelled.
- Hazardous activities – if you’re planning on going paragliding, ballooning, skiing or taking part in water sports, you may need additional cover.
- Wedding cover – additional cover for your wedding dress, rings and gifts, for example.
How to get cheaper travel insurance
Shop around to see how different policies and prices compare. Don’t let annual policies automatically renew.
Get the best policy for you
Make sure you have the right insurance for travelling on your type of trip, your destination and the activities you’ll be doing.
Only pay for what you need
Get the right amount of cover, but don’t buy add-ons you don’t need. For example, if you’re not taking expensive gadgets with you, don’t buy extra cover for them.
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Frequently asked questions
Why do I need travel insurance?
While we all love to get away from it all, accidents do happen. As well as medical bills, travel insurance can cover delays, lost items and theft, alternative accommodation and travel arrangements.
All these can prove costly if you’re not properly insured. Medical costs abroad can easily run into tens of thousands – even hundreds of thousands – if you need specialist treatment or an emergency evacuation. And even something as small as a lost passport can be hugely disruptive to your plans.
How much is travel insurance?
It depends on the level of cover you choose, how long you’re away and where you’re travelling to. Typically, the higher the level of cover, the more it may cost. Some providers offer silver, gold and platinum levels of cover. The best value travel insurance isn’t necessarily the cheapest or the most expensive – what matters is that the policy suits your needs.
Has Brexit affected travel insurance?
There are a few changes you need to be aware of.
- You now need to have at least six months to run on your passport to visit countries in the EU.
- If you’re a tourist, you’ll only be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
- If you’re planning on taking your car abroad or hiring a vehicle, you’ll need the right driving documents.
- Your EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) is still valid until the date of expiry, but will be replaced by the GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). It’s still recommended to make sure your travel insurance gives you an adequate level of cover.
See more on the changes that Brexit brings for travellers.
Do I need travel insurance if I have a European Health Insurance Card or Global Health Insurance Card?
Yes, if you want cover for cancellation, theft, loss of baggage and so on. And while the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) provide help with medical care, you shouldn’t presume this offers you the same protection as travel insurance. For example, it won’t cover you for an emergency repatriation if you need to be returned to the UK for specialist medical care. This can be extremely expensive to fund yourself.
Can I get travel insurance for the UK?
Yes, you can get travel insurance for trips in the UK. The NHS will cover your medical needs, but it’s possible that an internal flight or train might be cancelled, your hotel closed or your baggage lost or damaged. Or you may need to cancel your trip because of ill health or bereavement. Travel insurance could cover you for all these things.
Will travel insurance cover lost passports?
While you should always check your policy beforehand, most travel insurance will cover you for lost or stolen passports. If your passport is lost or stolen, it’s important that you report this quickly and apply for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) to minimise the disruption to your holiday. Keep any reference numbers when you report the loss/theft, as these will be needed when claiming on your insurance.
Can I still get travel insurance if I've got a medical condition?
Yes, you can still get travel insurance even if you have a medical condition, although you might need to look for a specialist provider. That’s because having certain health issues could mean that you’re more likely to need medical treatment while you’re on holiday.
See more on travel insurance with medical conditions with some specialist advice if you have cancer or heart conditions.
Can I get travel insurance when I am already on holiday?
Although you should arrange cover before you set off, you may be able to buy specialist travel insurance after you’ve departed. Your circumstances and whether you intend to make a claim will be taken into account, and there may be a waiting period to prevent you from making an immediate claim.
Can travel insurance be extended?
Many providers will let you extend your cover if you decide to make your holiday last a little longer. You should let your provider know as soon as possible and avoid letting your cover expire, as this might make an extension more complicated.
What does “doubling up” on travel insurance mean?
Doubling up on insurance means that you’ve taken out more than one type of cover. This might be because you’ve taken out a travel insurance policy but also have cover from another source, like a bank or credit card provider.
Having two forms of cover doesn’t mean you’ll get twice the pay-out. And doubling up could delay your claim being processed, as both providers may ask each other to cover the cost. So it’s not usually an advantage to be ‘double’ insured.
How can I make a claim on my travel insurance?
If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance, here’s what to do:
Have your policy and travel documents with you. It’s a good idea to have a printed and e-version.
Contact the police or relevant authority as soon as possible to get an official report if your claim is for theft or the result of any other criminal activity. Your policy may set out how quickly you must do this.
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. It can be helpful to let your provider know you want to make a claim immediately.
Keep or request any evidence to support your claim. Make sure you have the necessary receipts, or police or medical reports.
What our expert says...
“While it can be tempting to go for the cheapest policy to cut your travel costs, you need to look at what levels of protection the policy offers. Cheaper plans may have lower levels of cover and you may be expected to pay more towards a claim too. Think about the cover you want, then look at the best price travel insurance based on your needs.”
- Josh Daniels, Travel insurance expert