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Holiday insurance: Compare cheap travel insurance quotes online
While you’re unlikely to be planning for the worst when you’re booking a holiday, the truth is that accidents and mishaps can happen no matter where you are in the world. From cancelled flights to stolen luggage to an accident or illness, if the worst happens while you’re on vacation you could find yourself left high and dry…unless you have a suitable holiday insurance policy in place.
That’s why approximately three quarters of British holidaymakers take out travel insurance before they go on vacation, according to research by ABTA.
What is holiday travel insurance?
Holiday travel insurance can help cover any costs if things don’t quite go to plan – for example if your luggage is damaged or you need to pay for medical treatment while you’re in another country.
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), approximately 150,000 British holidaymakers need emergency medical care while they’re abroad each year – that’s one every three minutes. So, while you don’t need travel insurance by law, it’s certainly a good idea to have a policy in place.
What does travel holiday insurance cover me for?
Travel insurance covers a range of events and incidents, but some of the most important things to ensure you’re covered for are:
- Medical expenses – covers the cost of any treatment you need while on holiday.
- Repatriation – pays to bring you back home in a medical emergency.
- Cancellation or curtailment – compensates you if you have to cancel or cut short your holiday through no fault of your own.
- Lost or damaged luggage – pays to replace any accidently lost, stolen or damaged luggage.
- Personal liability – covers the cost of legal fees and compensation if you have an accident and someone blames you for their injuries or damage to their property.
What other features should I add to my holiday travel insurance?
Almost all insurance policies come with a range of exclusions, which means you won’t be covered in certain situations.
If you’re planning on simply relaxing on a beach or sightseeing then standard travel insurance should offer adequate protection. But if you’re planning on doing anything that your insurer might class as ‘risky’ then it’s essential to read the terms and conditions to ensure you’re covered.
If a standard policy doesn’t cover the activities you’ll be doing you should be able to add on the protection you need for an extra fee, for example:
- Travel insurance for a cruise holiday – covers events that are unique to cruising holidays. For instance, if the weather is bad and the ship is forced to miss a port stop.
- Ski holiday travel insurance – often known as winter sports cover, this is aimed at anyone skiing, snowboarding or taking part in any other ‘winter’ activity such as sledging. Policies should also cover mountain rescue and replacement skis, boards or other equipment (owned or hired).
- Extreme sports cover – can cover anything that the insurer considers to be particularly ‘risky’, like kayaking, scuba diving or rock climbing.
- Golf travel insurance – insures your clubs and other accessories like shoes and bags and can also cover the cost of damaged hire equipment. Some policies will also include compensation of club fees if you can’t play because of illness or bad weather.
- Cycling holiday travel insurance – covers the cost if your bike is stolen or damaged.
Do you need travel insurance before booking a holiday?
No, you don’t need to take out the policy before you book your holiday. However, it would be a wise decision to buy your holiday travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday, because you’ll benefit from the cancellation feature of your policy.
As a general rule, this means you’ll be compensated if your holiday is cancelled because of circumstances out of your control – for instance if you become too ill to travel or if the holiday provider stops trading.
Should I buy single trip or annual holiday travel insurance?
If you’re only going away once in any given year then single trip holiday insurance is likely to be the most economical policy for you.
Whether you buy a single or multi trip policy, it’s important to know that insurers set limits on how long each holiday can last – typically this is 31 days. For example, if you have an annual policy, you can still go away several times a year but each holiday can only last for 31 days (or whatever the limit is).
If you’re planning on staying away for longer, just let your insurer know and they should be able to extend your policy to cover you.
If you’re going on a gap year or taking a sabbatical it’s worth taking a look at backpacker insurance instead. These policies will insure you to travel continuously for at least 12 months.
What countries are classed as Europe and worldwide for holiday insurance?
Worldwide cover is also split into two regions:
- Worldwide including the USA and Canada.
- Worldwide excluding the USA and Canada.
Because insurers work to their own classifications, it’s sensible to check that a policy covers the country you’re visiting before you buy.
Do I need holiday travel insurance for the UK?
Holidaying in the UK means you don’t have to worry about the cost of medical care but your policy can ensure you’re moved to a hospital closer to home if necessary.
It’s also worth remembering that travel insurance covers so much more than just medical treatment. Going without insurance even in the UK means you run the risk of having to pay for things like damaged luggage and missed internal flights yourself.
What working holiday travel insurance do I need?
If you’re planning on working during your trip then you’ll need working holiday travel insurance, since standard holiday insurance olicies won’t cover you.
Before you buy a policy you should check the terms and conditions set out as exclusions will vary by insurer – think about:
- The type of work you’ll be doing – in most cases working holiday travel insurance will cover jobs like teaching, bar work or waiting tables. If you’re doing anything more manual than this – for example farm work or working with machinery – you may need to add extra cover to your policy.
- The activities you’ll be doing – it’s not a holiday if you spend all your time working so make sure your insurance covers any activities you plan on doing too. For instance, if you’re chalet hosting in the mountains and intend to ski or snowboard on your days off, you’ll also want to include winter sports cover.
Declaring pre-existing medical conditions
You should always let your insurer know about any pre-existing health conditions that you’re taking medication for. This is so they can accurately work out the cost of your policy based on the possibility that you may need medical care.
If you don’t tell your insurer about a pre-existing condition your insurance policy could be invalidated.