Travel Insurance Guide

Travel insurance is an essential purchase for any trip abroad. It covers the costs associated with unforeseeable problems such as:

Accidents and ill health

Stolen documents, money and credit cards

Cancelled or delayed flights and ferries

Lost luggage


Many travel insurance companies also provide a helpline you can call for advice in the case of an emergency. When you’re alone and confused in an unfamiliar place, this can be a lifeline.

Although travel insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it should be considered essential for any travel abroad and can also come in useful for domestic holidays in your home country.

Although it’s always tempting to go for the cheapest possible travel insurance, this isn’t always a good idea. You may find that the level of cover provided by the cheapest policies isn’t as generous as slightly more expensive policies. Areas where insurance companies can save money include restricting the maximum level of cover for personal possessions so if you travel with lots of expensive jewellery, sports equipment or gadgets, you could be left out of pocket if they all get stolen.

Winter Sports Cover & Other Special Requirements

It’s a fact of life that a holiday spent skiing is more likely to end in injury than a couple of weeks spent lazing around in the sun or visiting historical sites.

That’s the reason why not all travel insurance includes winter sports cover; the cover you need for skiing, snowboarding and other icy sports. Winter sports cover normally costs extra, and you can’t manage without it.

If you have an accident that’s caused by winter sports but your travel insurance doesn’t cover winter sports, they won’t help you. Worse still, your whole policy might be invalidated, leaving you without cover and potentially stranded abroad, unable to travel home as planned due to your injuries.

Always check on any exclusions or restrictions when comparing travel insurance and if you are going to be doing anything at all dangerous or unusual while you’re away, check to see if it is covered or excluded in your policy.

Europe or Worldwide Cover

Understandably, worldwide cover costs a little more than Europe-only cover, so to help you save money, most UK travel insurance companies offer a choice of Europe-only cover or worldwide cover.

If you will be travelling towards the far edges of Europe, especially to non-EU countries, check exactly which countries are include in your travel insurance policy’s definition of Europe. You may need to upgrade to worldwide cover in some cases.

Annual Multi-Trip or Single Trip

If you will only be travelling abroad once or twice, buying single trip insurance each time you go away might be cheapest.

However in many cases the cost of annual, multi-trip travel insurance isn’t much greater than that of single trip insurance and you can relax in the knowledge that you are covered for the whole year, including for any breaks you take in your home county.

Both multi-trip and single trip policies can limit the number of days for which you can be away – check if you are going to be away for a long time.