Which travel insurance should I go for? Explore the various insurance options available
When it comes to buying travel insurance in the UK, you will usually have a range of policies available. With a little research, you can ensure that you have the right type to suit your trip and cover your specific needs.
This article looks at various travel insurance options on offer.
This type of cover is probably the most common and widely used policy, good for short breaks away and that one-off annual holiday. Usually (though not always) it’s a requirement that trips must start and end in the UK (or your home country if available to non-UK residents). Single trip insurance may also allow you to opt for covering pre-existing medical conditions – if so, just make sure you declare these and note any additional charges there may be. Features such as cover for cancellation, personal baggage, curtailment and personal liability are just some of the things that can be covered with single trip insurance but be sure to check your specific policy as cover levels will vary between insurers.
Annual policies are great if you’re planning on travelling more than once a year. They are likely to work out as better value, so help save money too. With annual policies you can travel as many times as you like in that year and if you have the whole family on an annual policy, check to see if independent travel is allowed – very useful for school trips. If you do travel frequently, make sure the number of days allowed per trip is sufficient though, as this will vary from insurer to insurer. When selecting your policy, you’ll need to choose the widest geographic area you’ll be travelling to during the year, so make sure you’re aware of your policy’s area definitions.
These days, many insurers also offer automatic renewal of your annual policy once the 12 months are up to save you forgetting to do so for the next year. Medical conditions may have to be declared again, though, in case they have changed.
Gap Year policies are great if you’re looking to take some time out from work or study to travel the world. Cover is usually available in monthly increments – though there will often be an upper limit on how long the policy will last (e.g. maximum limit of 18 months in some cases). If you’re travelling with a partner, relative or companion you may be able to get a discount too. These policies are usually valid for anyone over the age of 16 up to a certain age (e.g. 45) but check this with your insurer. Do ensure you’re covered for all the activities you may be participating in on your travels and don’t forget to add Winter Sports cover if you’re planning on skiing or similar. If you’re intending to work whilst abroad to earn some extra cash, check that the type of work will be covered under your policy as some restrictions are likely to apply.
Long Stay policies are ideal for those travelling abroad for extended periods be it for a sabbatical to travel the world or to simply spend some time at an overseas holiday home. If you’re cruising during this time, ensure that this is covered in the policy; often this is included at no extra cost but you may need to pay extra for cruise-specific features. Be sure to declare any medical conditions too.
These days there is a great range of specialist travel insurance types available – either as a specific policy or as options that can be added to a base policy. For example, if you need cover for a golfing holiday or that dream destination wedding, check with your provider or an insurance broker that your specific needs can be covered. This also applies if you’re doing activities competitively or need to get a policy limit (or sub-limit) increased.
24 hour assistance
Most travel insurance plans come with a 24 hour emergency assistance line that you can call for emergencies and general queries. These numbers are provided in your policy documentation and will also be the contact point to help you with any medical emergencies should these arise. They will arrange for any medical costs to be guaranteed with the attending medical provider and make any arrangements for transport home should the need arise. Do remember to read the policy wording before you go and watch out for any exclusions that may apply as insurers will not provide cover for any medical conditions that have not been declared before travelling.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be very useful if you need low cost (often free) healthcare in countries of the European Economic Area (EU countries plus selected others) but it is not a substitute for travel insurance as not all medical costs may be covered and services like repatriation won’t be paid for. Online applications are accepted for the EHIC at: www.ehic.org.uk. When you use an EHIC most insurers will waive the policy excess as well.
It is advisable, before travelling, to check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website for the latest travel advice on the safety of your particular destination. If the Foreign Office advises against travel to the region that you are travelling to, this can invalidate your insurance. More information can be found at www.flexicover.co.uk/Page/FCO.
When you arrange travel insurance, once you have completed your research and decided on the best policy for your needs, most providers have processes in place for you to purchase your policy and receive all documentation securely through the internet allowing you arrange your cover at a time to suit your convenience. Providers will often also provide Customer Services support should you need some help in making your arrangements.
Flexicover, a division of Citybond Holdings Ltd., 109 Elmers End Road, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 4SY, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to transact general insurance business. Citybond’s Firm Registration Number is 312208. You can check this information by visiting the Financial Services Register at www.fca.org.uk.