Travel insurance (2024)

Travel insurance can give you extra protection if your holiday doesn't go as planned. So you should make sure you have cover if you're planning a trip away.

It's particularly important to take out travel insurance if you are travelling independently because you may find yourself stranded with no way to get home and no-one to help sort out your holiday problem.

Read this page for more information on what you need to think about before you take out a travel insurance policy.

Top tips

  • travel insurance is essential, particularly if you are travelling independently

  • choose a policy that covers your needs

  • compare policies on the cover they offer as well as the cost

  • check if you have other insurance that will cover you away from home

Why take out travel insurance?

Travel insurance can protect you against the following things going wrong:

  • cancelling or cutting short your trip for reasons beyond your control

  • missed transport or delayed departure for reasons beyond your control

  • medical and other emergencies

  • personal injury and death

  • lost, stolen or damaged items, including baggage, passports and money

  • accidental damage or injury caused by you.

If you don't have travel insurance you will have to pay out of your own pocket to deal with a problem while you're away. Or you may lose money if you have to cancel a trip and can't get your money back. This could cost you thousands of pounds.

Older travellers

If an insurer or broker can’t offer you insurance because of your age, most of them will refer you to an alternative insurer or give details of a signposting service such as the British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s (BIBA’s) ‘Find a Broker’ service. You can use this service to find specialist insurers who can offer specific types of cover based on factors such as age and medical condition.

You can find the BIBA’s ‘Find a Broker’ service by phoning their helpline on 0870 950 1790 or by going to their website at www.biba.org.uk.

Where can you buy travel insurance?

Travel insurance is widely available. You can buy it from:

  • insurance companies

  • banks

  • retailers and supermarkets

  • travel agents

  • online comparison websites

  • holiday companies.

Sometimes, travel insurance might be included as an extra service offered through your bank account or credit card. You should check how much you're paying for this and what kind of cover it offers. For example, cover may be limited for your spouse or partner. It might be better to buy a stand alone policy.

Your travel agent may offer you travel insurance as part of a package holiday. You can opt for this if you want to but you don't have to buy this insurance. The travel agent is breaking the law if they try to make you take it out or charge you more for your holiday because you refuse to accept it. If this happens, you should get advice.

Before you buy holiday insurance

It's important to get the right type of cover for your needs. Think about:

  • where you're travelling to. For example, if you're travelling to the United States you will need extra medical cover

  • how old you are. Travel insurance can cost more if you're over 65. There are special policies for older travellers which may be worth looking at

  • how often you travel. If you go away several times a year, it may be better to buy an annual travel policy rather than several single-trip policies

  • what you'll be doing while you're away. You may need extra cover if you're taking part in dangerous sports, such as skiing or scuba diving

  • whether you're travelling independently or on a package holiday. Package holidays usually offer you greater protection if things go wrong with transport or accommodation so you may not need to make a claim on your travel insurance

  • how you're travelling. Cruises and budget airline flights may not be covered by some insurance policies.

What cover should travel insurance include?

Your travel insurance should always include the following cover:

  • medical expenses and cover for getting you home if you're injured or fall ill abroad

  • personal injury and cover for accidents or damage caused by you

  • cover for lost or damaged items

  • cover for lost or delayed baggage

  • cover for cancellation or missed departure.

How much you pay for your insurance depends on the amount of cover you're likely to need. You should never under-insure yourself just to save money. However, you may be able to keep costs down.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you're a UK resident and have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can still use it to get healthcare in EU countries until it expires.

If you don't have an EHIC or it has expired, you can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) on the NHS website. You can use a GHIC to get healthcare in EU countries at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. You should still get travel insurance before your trip - even if you have an EHIC or GHIC.

Home contents insurance

Check if your household contents insurance policy covers you for items you take away from home. If it does, you could choose a larger excess on your travel insurance policy. The excess is the amount that your insurer won't pay out for the claim and is typically between £50 and £100. If you choose a higher excess, your travel insurance may cost less.

Choosing the right insurer

The cheapest policy may not offer best value for money, so it's important to check what the policy includes as well as how much it costs.

You can check what different policies offer and how much they cost by using an online comparison website. However, comparison websites usually only offer general cover. If you have particular needs, it may be better to find an insurer that offers specialist cover.

Next steps

Other useful information

Travel insurance (2024)

FAQs

Who gives the best travel insurance? ›

The best travel insurance
  • Santander. Times Money Mentor award winning cover. ...
  • Saga. Best for over-50s. ...
  • Post Office. Best for those with pre-existing medical conditions. ...
  • Aviva. Best for those wanting substantial medical cover. ...
  • LV= Best for a range of unique add-ons. ...
  • Switched On. ...
  • Just Travel Cover* ...
  • InsureandGo*
May 9, 2024

How much should travel insurance cost? ›

The average cost of travel insurance is about 3% to 5% of a trip's total value, according to quotes gathered by our research team across different travel insurance providers for various traveler profiles.

What's the best international travel insurance? ›

The Best International Travel Insurance Providers in Detail
  • Faye. Our Top Pick. ...
  • Travelex. Our pick for families. ...
  • Nationwide Travel Insurance. Our pick for most coverage reimbursed. ...
  • Tin Leg. Our pick for customizable coverage. ...
  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. ...
  • Seven Corners Travel Insurance. ...
  • AIG Travel Guard.
4 days ago

What is not covered by travel insurance? ›

Reasonably foreseeable events. Known storms, epidemics, acts of war. Travel restrictions imposed by government authorities. Pre-existing conditions, unless the Premium plan is bought within the window for coverage.

Who is the best and cheapest travel insurance? ›

How We Chose the Cheapest Travel Insurance Companies
CompanyBBB RatingCheapest Plan
Travelex Compare PlansA+Travel basic
Seven Corners Travel Insurance Compare PlansA+Trip Protection Basic
Generali Global Assistance Compare PlansA+Standard Plan
AIG Travel Guard Compare PlansA+Essential
3 more rows
4 days ago

Do travel insurance companies actually pay out? ›

Without travel insurance, you'd lose the money you spent on your vacation. Fortunately, a serious, disabling illness can be considered a covered reason for trip cancellation, which means you can be reimbursed for your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs.

How many days before should you buy travel insurance? ›

If you're wondering when you should buy travel insurance, the simple answer is as soon as possible. Ideally, you'll buy coverage no later than 15 days prior to your trip.

Is Allianz travel insurance good? ›

We at the MarketWatch Guides team awarded Allianz Travel Insurance 4.1 out of 5 stars based on our provider review methodology. Named our pick for concierge services, Allianz offers 24/7 travel assistance through a multilingual team, which can help policyholders with travel and coverage issues while abroad.

How long before Travelling should you get travel insurance? ›

Buy travel insurance as soon as you know your travel dates. That way you're covered if your trip is cancelled before you even leave or if you're unable to travel at all.

Who is cheaper than travelers insurance? ›

Of the 10 largest car insurance companies, only Geico and USAA are cheaper than Travelers, on average.

Do credit cards have flight insurance? ›

Your credit card's trip cancellation insurance may reimburse you for prepaid flights and hotel stays booked with your credit card. Trip interruption insurance (for trips that end earlier than planned) may cover expenses like the cost of a last-minute flight home.

What is the best travel insurance for seniors? ›

Top 9 Best Senior Travel Insurance Companies of 2024
  • Faye: Our top pick for seniors.
  • Travelex: Our pick for families.
  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection: Our pick for luxury travelers.
  • Nationwide Travel Insurance: Our pick for cruise travel.
  • Generali Global Assistance: Our pick for emergency assistance.
5 days ago

Does AARP offer international travel insurance? ›

While there are no AARP travel insurance products or discounts available for seniors, members can use the AARP website for trips and tricks on how to plan for international travel and information regarding how to choose the right insurance plan for older travelers.

How do I know if I need travel insurance? ›

Before you travel, consider getting travel insurance to cover yourself in case delays, accidents, or illness occur on your trip. Your current medical insurance may not cover care in another country. Also, some types of travel insurance help you cover costs if your travel is cancelled or disrupted.

How much does international travel insurance cost? ›

On average, travelers should expect to pay 6.87% of their total trip cost for travel insurance. The minimum you might expect to pay is 4.15%, but it can go as high as 15.8%.

Is Allianz travel a good travel insurance? ›

Allianz is a popular choice among business travelers due to its AllTrips Executive travel insurance policy with coverage for lost, stolen or damaged business equipment and rental car insurance. Earning 4.1 out of 5 stars, our expert reviewers think Allianz is a great choice for international travel insurance.

Does travel insurance get more expensive closer to the trip? ›

Unlike other aspects of your travel experience like airfares or hotel-room rates, the price of travel insurance doesn't increase the closer you get to your travel date. There's no financial penalty if you wait to buy travel insurance (except for those bonus coverages, of course).

Does it matter when I buy travel insurance? ›

Purchasing travel insurance isn't mandatory for a good vacation, but it can certainly come in handy if your plans go awry. While it's possible to buy travel insurance up until just before — or even after — you depart, the best time to do so is shortly after you begin booking the trip.

What to look for in travel insurance? ›

Your travel insurance should always include the following cover:
  • medical expenses and cover for getting you home if you're injured or fall ill abroad.
  • personal injury and cover for accidents or damage caused by you.
  • cover for lost or damaged items.
  • cover for lost or delayed baggage.

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