Travel Insurance for the UK

Common UK travel risks that you can get insurance for.

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If you are travelling to the United Kingdom for your next holiday, make sure you’re protected. Travel insurance can protect you from many common travel risks including:

  • Cancellation. Flights can often be cancelled, and many budget airlines will make you purchase a new ticket, so travel insurance is pivotal in any case.
  • Overseas medical expenses. Travel insurance cover’s the cost required to pay for medical treatment and hospital stays if they arise.
  • Evacuation. If you need to be evacuated, travel insurance can protect you against the financial implications.
  • Loss of luggage and personal belonging. In foreign countries like the UK, you may loose personal items. There are travel insurance options designed to cover these circumstances.
  • Cost of delays. The cost of missing a potential business trip when travelling can be substantial, and it is something that should be insured against.
  • Rental vehicle damages. If you rent a vehicle, you are exposed to many risks especially in a country with a different road rules.

Continue reading our guide to travel insurance for the UK and find the cover that is right for you. Or, if you’re ready to compare policies, please fill out the quote form below.

Compare travel insurance for UK

Name Product Medical Cover Cancellation Cover Luggage and Personal Effects Cover Default Excess
Unlimited
$50,000
$5,000
$100
Unlimited
$50,000
$0
$100
No cover
$50,000
$0
$100

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What am I covered for while in the UK?

If you’re in the market for a comprehensive travel insurance policy for your next trip to the UK, ask yourself:

  • Am I covered for overseas medical expenses? This includes emergency ambulance, medical, hospital and dental expenses you incur while overseas. If necessary, medical repatriation back to New Zealand will also be included in your cover.
  • Are my luggage and personal effects covered? If your luggage and personal effects are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip, you’ll receive cover for the cost of their repair or replacement.
  • What happens if my luggage is delayed? If an airline loses or misplaces your luggage for more than a minimum period of time, you’ll receive an allowance to purchase emergency clothing and toiletries.
  • What if my travel is delayed. If your pre-paid scheduled transport is delayed, cancelled or rescheduled, you’ll receive cover for additional meals, transfers and accommodation expenses you incur.
  • Am I covered for cancellation? If unforeseen circumstances (for example illness) force you to cancel your trip, you’ll be reimbursed for any cancellation fees and lost deposits.

How do I find the right policy?

  • Should I get cover through a travel agent? While it may be convenient to take out a policy through a travel agent, agents may charge commissions on top of the price of your policy. It is worth reviewing your options direct and comparing the prices with what you’re being offered by a travel agent.
  • What do I need out of my cover? Ask yourself: are you looking for no frills cover or a comprehensive policy? Do you need cover for one trip or would you save money by opting for an annual multi-trip policy? What activities do you plan on participating in during your trip to the UK? Finding answers to these questions may help you when it comes to sorting through the travel insurance policies out there.
  • Should I shop around? Like with any financial product, it pays to shop around. Comparing your options helps you get an idea about which policies offer value for money.
  • Why should I read the PDS? It’s important that you read all product disclosure statements closely to find out the exact level of cover offered by each policy. This will ensure you don’t get any nasty surprises in the future and will also help you determine the true value of the quotes you are given.

Questions to ask when comparing policies

When you’re comparing travel insurance policies for the UK and shopping around for cover, considering asking the following questions to each insurer you come across:

  • Will this policy cover me for all the destinations I am planning on travelling to and all the activities I will be participating in?
  • Will you cover my pre-existing medical conditions?
  • Do you cover the cost of medical evacuation?
  • What limit applies to the cover offered for my luggage and personal effects?
  • What events and circumstances are excluded from my policy?
  • What sort of customer assistance do you offer? Is there a 24/7 assistance helpline I can call?
  • How much excess will I have to pay if I make a claim?
  • Can I lower my excess by paying a higher premium, and vice versa?
  • How long do you take to process and pay claims?

Doesn’t the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement cover me in the UK?

The New Zealand Government has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement in place with the UK.

This means that:

  • The cost of some of your hospital treatment in the UK’s public health system will be covered while you’re overseas. This is similar in some ways to how the public health system helps cover some of your medical expenses in New Zealand.

However:

  • You will not be covered for unlimited medical expenses or the treatment of any existing medical conditions you may have
  • You will only be covered medical costs you incur in the UK if it would be unreasonable for you to delay treatment until you return to New Zealand
  • If a doctor recommends that the right course of action is for you to be medically evacuated to New Zealand, the cost involved will not be covered

There is no substitute for travel insurance.

The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement should by no means be considered a replacement for travel insurance. Not only does it not provide sufficient coverage for medical emergencies, but it also doesn’t cover any of the other risks that travel insurance protects against, such as cancelled or delayed trips, lost or stolen luggage and personal liability. For peace of mind and protection against such risks, travel insurance for the UK is highly recommended.

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Does travel insurance for the UK cover working in the UK?

There are specialist travel insurance brands available that offer working holiday travel insurance policies. These are much the same as regular travel insurance policies but they also offer cover for claims related to the work you engage in overseas.

Some working holiday makers plan to take extended trips overseas, perhaps for up to 18 months e.g. you may plan to base yourself in the UK and then take several trips to destinations throughout Europe during the course of a year. If you’re planning such a trip there are points you need to consider.

  • Check the maximum trip duration that your policy covers. There are other policies available (sometimes called backpacker insurance) that will cover you for trips up to 18 months duration.
  • You may wish to consider annual multi-trip cover. These policies provide travel insurance cover for all the journeys you take during a 12-month period, and they can be a lower cost option than taking out a separate policy for each trip. However, keep in mind that such policies, if purchased in New Zealand, will usually only cover you for trips that start and end in New Zealand — so if you’re based in the UK for an extended period of time you will need to purchase your insurance over there.

You can read more about working holiday travel insurance here.

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I want to travel to the UK as well as the surrounding countries – am I covered for this?

Happily, many insurers will include UK and the rest of Europe in the one region. This makes it easy to make sure that you will be covered for the entirety of your trip. However note:

  • Provide full details of itinerary. When you apply for a travel insurance policy it’s important that you provide full details of countries you intend to visit. This is because the type of policy many insurers offer is affected by where you plan on travelling.
  • Some insurers class regions differently. There are some insurers that class the UK in a separate region to continental Europe.
  • Read the fine print. Read your policy closely to work out exactly where and when you will and will not be covered.

Existing travellers in the UK – I’ve forgotten to get travel insurance, what options do I have?

If you get caught up in the excitement of your holiday and forget to take out travel insurance before you go, don’t worry – it is still possible to get cover. While many travel insurance brands refuse to offer cover to travellers who are already overseas, there are some insurers willing to give you the protection you need.

To be eligible you:

  • Need to be an New Zealand resident to be eligible for this cover (though some visa holders may also qualify)
  • may have to satisfy other requirements such as starting and ending your trip in New Zealand.
  • Depending on your insurer, you may also have to serve a waiting period before your cover begins.

Note: Normal travel insurance exclusions regarding age limits and pre-existing conditions will also apply. Insurance for travellers who are already overseas offers all the same benefits as a regular travel insurance policy, giving you much-needed peace of mind and financial protection on your UK getaway.

You can read more about already overseas travel insurance here.

What are the UK specific risks I am exposed to when travelling in the UK?

Although the UK can be considered a safer travel destination than many other places around the world, there are still some potential risks you should consider before travelling including:

  • Terrorism risk. Terrorism is currently a potential threat and New Zealanders in the UK are advised to be vigilant, particularly in public places. Authorities in the UK have currently set the international terrorism threat level to ‘severe’. (Source: SafeTravel)
  • Delay risk. Because of increased security precautions, checks for baggage at airports could cause extensive delays and subsequent costs.
  • General travel risks Regardless of where you are in the world, luggage can be lost or stolen, flights can be delayed and accidents can happen. With this in mind, having the right cover in place before you leave for the UK is essential.

Be smart when you travel to the UK and do the following:

  • Organise adequate travel insurance.
  • Register travel and contact details with SafeTravel.
  • Remain vigilant and report suspicious behaviour.
  • Pay attention to the media.
  • Take the safest, clearest routes when commuting.
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Who do I contact in an emergency?

You can contact your travel insurer in cases of emergencies as they should have a 24 hour number and is usually the ideal party to talk to in assisting with financial emergencies. If the emergency does require consular assistance, you can contact the New Zealand High Commission in London. Contact details are as follows:

Address

80 Haymarket
London SW1Y 4TQ
Greater London

Phone+44 20 793 08422

Websitewww.nzembassy.com

Email aboutnz@newzealandhc.org.uk

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Are there any travel tips that can help me?

The UK and Europe might seem like fairly similar places to New Zealand in a lot of ways, but there are a number of handy tips that all travellers should be aware of to help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip:

  • While they drive on the left-hand side of the road in the UK, remember that the rest of Europe drives on the right
  • It’s compulsory to carry certain safety items in your vehicle, including a warning triangle, reflective jacket or waistcoat, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, winter tyres and snow chains
  • If you’re in the far left lane on a motorway in Italy, France or Germany, know that this lane is for overtaking only
  • If something goes wrong overseas, you are not entitled to any New Zealand Government assistance
  • Keep copies of receipts, police reports and other pertinent documents to back up any insurance claims
  • Make use of the underground tube system in London, and use an Oyster Card to save money
  • Eurostar is the quickest way to get to Europe from the UK
  • A visa is required if you are going there for more than 6 months. Make sure you apply in advance, as travel insurance can’t cover you for cancellations due to visa denials.
  • Shop around for UK travel insurance cover. This will ensure that you find the best deal for you.
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Are there any exclusions I need to be aware of?

Just like any other type of cover, UK travel insurance policies also contain a list of exclusions. Your claim will typically not be paid if:

  • you leave your belongings unattended and they are lost or stolen
  • you have a pre-existing medical condition that you didn’t disclose to your travel insurance brand when you applied for cover
  • you engage in reckless activities, for example drinking to excess or taking drugs
  • you engage in high-risk activities, for example skydiving
  • you travel to a region where the New Zealand Government has issued a travel advisory warning against visiting such a place
  • you fail to comply with the road rules
  • your claim results from you participating in criminal or unlawful activity
  • you travel in the last trimester of your pregnancy and then suffer related complications

Frequently asked questions

You can read more on long term coverage here.

Bottom line

Travel insurance is an essential consideration for any trip, no matter whether you’re travelling to the UK or the Middle East. However, in order to guarantee that you end up with the right type and level of cover for your specific needs, make sure to do plenty of research and shop around for the best* available policy.

*The use of the term ‘Best’ is not for product ratings and is subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing travel insurance policies.

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