When you’re booking a holiday, you should ideally buy travel insurance at the same time to ensure you’re fully covered.
However, it’s easy to put off taking out cover, and with thousands of policies on the market, you want to choose the best one for you. Read more in our article Everything you need to know about travel insurance.
Here, we look at why buying travel insurance when you book your holiday is a good idea, the different types of policy you might consider and the coverage they offer.
- What is travel insurance and why might you want it?
- Why you should buy travel when you book
- What cover does travel insurance provide before I go away?
- What does travel insurance cover while I’m away?
- Can I buy travel insurance if I’m already on holiday?
- What type of travel insurance should I get?
- Should I buy travel insurance for a UK holiday?
What is travel insurance and why might you want it?
Travel insurance is designed to protect you against the risks and financial losses that can occur when travelling. A travel insurance policy normally includes protection against unforeseen delays, cancellation and medical bills, and if your belongings are damaged, stolen or lost while you’re away.
Going away isn’t cheap, with the average Brit planning to spend £2,115 on going abroad this year, according to comparison site, Finder. Ensuring you have travel cover in place means that if something goes wrong, you probably won’t lose all of your money.
Why you should buy travel when you book
To ensure you’re fully covered for any trip, it’s important to always buy your travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday.
This means that not only will you have protection against things going wrong while you’re away, but also for issues before you go. For example, you may receive a payout if you’re forced to cancel your holiday for any reason, such as illness, jury service or bereavement, or if the travel provider cancels your holiday. Bear in mind that trip cancellation is the number one reason for travel claims. Therefore, leaving buying travel insurance until some time after you’ve booked your holiday could mean you miss out on valuable protection.
What cover does travel insurance provide before I go away?
While you’ll hope that no issues will arise when you book a holiday, sometimes things happen that mean your trip is cancelled. Most policies include cancellation cover, and you should ideally look for a minimum of £3,000 for this part. Most will also include cover for flight delays, if more than 24 hours, or missed departures.
The main reasons that you might be able to make a claim for cancelling your holiday are unforeseen situations such as the death of a close family member, injuries or unexpected illnesses that mean you can’t travel, stolen passports or if you’re made redundant.
You might also be able to make a claim if your trip is delayed, although depending on where you’re travelling, your insurer might expect you to claim compensation through your travel provider first.
Bear in mind, though, that simply changing your mind and choosing not to go is not usually covered. The scenario has to be unexpected and unavoidable, so a change of dates isn’t a valid reason to make a claim.
What does travel insurance cover while I’m away?
Of course, travel insurance also covers you while you’re away. What you’re covered for will depend on the particular policy, but generally, you will have some degree of protection for:
- Medical cover – This is the amount that your insurer will pay towards medical bills if you have an accident or get sick while you’re away. The level of cover usually reaches into millions of pounds, as medical costs abroad can be eye-watering.
- Lost, stolen, or damaged belongings – Going away is one of the few times that you’re likely to carry higher value items with you, such as cameras and laptops. It’s not uncommon for luggage to get lost in transit, for things to be stolen from accommodation or for accidents to happen. This protection means that you’ll be covered for the cost of replacing items that are lost, stolen or damaged while you’re away.
- Personal liability – This provides cover if you accidentally hurt someone or damage their possessions while you’re away.
Can I buy travel insurance if I’m already on holiday?
If you’re at the airport or have already reached your destination and suddenly realise that you forgot to buy cover, you might still be able to buy travel insurance.
If you’re at the airport, waiting to depart and there are no cancellations or delays already, you might be able to get a normal travel insurance policy. Make sure that any policy you take out starts instantly. Different insurers will have different terms and conditions, however, and some won’t let you buy a policy if you’ve already gone through security, so always check the small print.
Some insurers also offer a type of insurance called last-minute or post-departure travel insurance. This insurance is provided on the understanding that nothing has already gone wrong, such as losing your luggage, and it usually won’t cover cancellations or delays. This type of policy will cover you from the day you buy it, and normally includes medical, lost, stolen, or damaged belongings and personal liability cover. You can expect to pay a higher premium as it’s considered a specialist type of insurance.
What type of travel insurance should I get?
As with any type of insurance, it’s important that the policy you buy is fit for purpose and actually covers you for the scenarios that might crop up. When applying for a policy, make sure you outline the right dates for your trip and the correct destination.
Also make sure that you identify if you’re doing an activity that might need a higher level of cover such as:
- Going on a cruise – If you’re going on a cruise, you’ll need to get specialist cruise cover as the things that could go wrong are different to other kinds of travel. Cruise travel insurance will usually cover things like itinerary changes, missed ports, unused excursions, cabin confinement, higher cancellation costs and airlift cover in case of emergency medical requirements.
- Winter sports – If you’re hitting the slopes, then the risks you face will be different to lying by the pool in the sun. Winter sports travel insurance will usually cover things like loss of ski equipment or passes, piste closure, avalanche delay and higher medical costs in case of an accident.
- Business trip – If you’re travelling for business, it’s likely that you have more high-value or specialist equipment with you, and your trip might be more likely to change. Business trip travel insurance will usually provide special cover for things that are considered business essentials like company money, changes to your schedule and cover for any equipment schedule changes and business equipment.
Single or multi-trip?
Whatever type of insurance you choose, you’ll normally have the option to buy your cover either as a one-off or a multi-trip policy.
If you’re only taking one trip over the course of 12 months, then a single-trip insurance policy is probably better, but if you’re going away multiple times, buying a multi-trip insurance policy could work out cheaper than buying numerous single-trip policies.
The level of protection you get won’t vary between the different ways of paying for insurance, it’s more about cost.
If you’re looking for travel insurance, we have partnered with Staysure to provide you with first class travel insurance, tailored to suit your needs. There’s no upper age limit and they’ll cover most pre-existing medical conditions. You can also take advantage of their 20%‡ discount, just quote REST03 at checkout.
‡Discount applies to the base premium of the policy only and not to medical screening costs or add-ons where relevant. Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply.
Should I buy travel insurance for a UK holiday?
Even if you’re staying in the UK for your holiday, it’s still worth thinking about getting travel insurance.
All the things that could go wrong when travelling abroad could still happen in the UK, and it’s more than likely that you’ve still spent a lot of hard-earned cash on your staycation, so making sure this is protected is a good idea.
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