Best travel insurance
Whether you're young or old, going on a family holiday or backpacking, here's how to find the best travel insurance deal, plus we reveal the insurers customers love.
We’ve surveyed customers and picked out policies that excel in a particular category, too. The type of policy you will need will differ, depending on your trip. So we break down travel insurance into the following categories: seniors, those with pre-existing medical conditions, multi-trip, those taking plenty of gadgets and those looking for the cheapest deal possible.
How to compare travel insurance and get the best deal
First, there are some basic tools you can use to effectively compare travel insurance policies.
Regardless of whether you’re going on a cruise or a city break or whether you’re young or old, here are some key ways you can find the best travel insurance deal.
- Shop around. Use price comparison websites and get quotes directly from insurers, so you can really see the lay of the land. Try not to jump for the first or second decent deal you find.
- Use an insurance broker. A broker could give you tailored advice and even help you find an affordable deal. If you have a pre-existing condition and you’re struggling to get cover, it can be a good idea too.
- Think about the excess. Watch out for cheap travel insurance policies that come with high excesses. This is the amount you’ll have to contribute towards any claim, so it could hit your wallet harder in the long run.
- Medical protection. Try to get at least £1 million medical cover, potentially £2 million if you’re heading to the U.S or the Caribbean. Health care can be expensive in certain countries as can repatriation costs.
- Age limits. If you’re in your 60s or above, watch out for age limits on any deals you compare. You don’t want to waste your time looking at policies that exclude you.
- Individual claim limits. If you’re taking away any expensive items, jewellery or gadgets for instance, keep an eye out for any limits the insurer imposes on individual items. If it only pays out £200 for your £2,000 camera, you’ll be left red faced and out of pocket.
Best travel insurance for seniors
Once you’re in your 60s and above, you’ll be charged increasingly more for travel insurance. Some insurers could even refuse to cover you.
Yet it’s crucial you get cover. Should you have a medical emergency while uninsured abroad, it could lead to financial ruin. Follow these steps to find quality cover for your trip:
- Don’t buy through a travel agent. You’ll invariably be ripped off when you take out travel protection through an agent or airline. Shop around, use price comparison sites and buy direct from the provider to get the best deal possible.
- Specialist insurers. Over 65s can struggle to get travel insurance, yet specialist insurers such as Age UK travel insurance offer protection, no matter your age. Compare deals from these providers if you’re struggling to find cover.
- Multi-trip. Heading away more than once this year? Buying an annual (multi-trip) police can save you money.
- Declare any conditions. Make sure you mention any pre-existing health conditions. Ultimately, the best deal is one that will cover any emergencies while away, so you want to make sure the insurer will pay out should you need treatment. It could refuse if your pre-existing condition leads to a situation abroad.
- Medical cover. Try to find a policy that offers at least £1 million medical cover, as treatment and repatriation costs can really skyrocket. If you’re heading outside of Europe, you’ll want at least £2 million.
- Opt for a higher excess. As a senior, you might have more cash to burn. Accepting a higher excess can lead to lower premiums, although you need to make sure you can afford the excess should you need to make a claim.
- Cruise cover. Setting sail across the open seas? You’ll want to get additional cruise cover, which can protect you should you fall ill during the trip or if you miss the boat for reasons beyond your control.
Best travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions
Unfortunately, getting travel insurance with a pre-existing health condition can be a bit more difficult. Insurers might hike prices or even refuse to cover you completely. Yet there are a few ways you can find a top-quality deal:
- Speak to a charity. Struggling to find cover? Get in touch with a charity that works to help people with your specific condition. It could point you towards a recommended insurer.
- Look at specialist insurers. Check out specialist providers like Travel Insurance 4 Medical and Medical Travel Insurance, which offer cover for people with a range of health conditions.
- Shop around. As always, use price comparison websites and really look at all the deals out there, making sure they offer the cover levels you need, at a price you can afford.
Best travel insurance for covering electronics
From your phone to your camera, you’ll want travel insurance that properly protects your gadgets abroad. You might buy gadget cover as an add-on to your standard travel insurance deal or take out a separate gadget policy.
- Check individual item limits. All policies will have a maximum amount you can claim for a specific gadget, so make sure the limit will cover the cost of your electronics.
- Look at the excess. The excess is the amount you contribute towards a claim before the insurer starts paying out. Taking on a higher excess can mean cheaper premiums, but make sure you can afford it.
- Check contents insurance documents. Check whether your home and contents insurance covers your electronics abroad, or ask your insurer if this is possible. It might be a cheaper and more effective way of getting protection.
Best cheap travel insurance
Holidays and trips abroad are expensive enough without having to think about getting insured. Yet there are some simple ways you can keep costs down and save that money for a nice meal out.
- Buy direct and online. Avoid travel agents as they often charge over the odds. Use price comparison websites and buy through insurance companies’ websites to get the cheapest deals.
- Look out for discounts. Coupon codes are sometimes available and are a quick and easy way to shave some pennies off your insurance costs.
- Buddy up. Travelling with friends or family? Buying a joint policy will lower your premiums.
- Buy an annual policy. Heading away multiple times this year? Buying an annual or multi-trip policy will save you money on travel insurance for the year.
Customer satisfaction 2020 travel insurance league table
|Overall satisfaction||Customers who’d recommend||Issuer||Review|
|★★★★★||89%||Virgin Money offers a wide range of policy types and levels of cover. While all offer decent cover, the more premium policies get a 5-star rating from analysts at Defaqto and the rest get 3 or 4 stars. Customers in our survey were generally happy with the service and value for money.||View deals|
|★★★★★||91%||A specialist in medical travel insurance, Get Going offers basic policies (Defaqto 2-star rated) up to premium ones (5 stars), and the range of policy extensions includes cruise and winter sports cover, and cover for carers. Customers praised the service and value.||View deals|
|★★★★★||88%||Many Direct Line customers in our survey praised the ease of dealing with the company – including several who’d made a claim. Policies get 4-star or 5-star ratings from Defaqto. Fairly limited options, with extensions for personal belongings and winter sports.|
|★★★★★||87%||Lots of options and levels with Post Office Money travel insurance and it makes a point of saying it will “consider” covering any medical condition. Customers in our survey felt they’d got good value for money. Defaqto ratings range from 2 stars to 5.||View deals|
|★★★★★||85%||Tesco Bank no longer offers travel insurance to new customers.||View deals|
|★★★★★||78%||Aviva customers praised its efficient service. There’s only one level of cover rather than a range of tiers, and it’s worth knowing that baggage cover is extra. You can get extensions for activities such as scuba-diving and winter sports. Aviva’s single trip and multi-trip policies are both 5-star rated by Defaqto.||View deals|
|★★★★★||79%||AXA offers a wide range of cover types and levels (three tiers: bronze, silver and gold). Customers felt service was reliable. Defaqto gives the policies 3-5 stars.|
|★★★★★||71%||Saga travel insurance is tailored for people aged over 50 and there’s no upper age limit. Customers in our survey praised the service but felt cover was on the expensive side. There’s a special policy covering pre-existing medical conditions, and there’s a winter sports add-on. Policies get 3 or 5 stars from Defaqto.||View deals|
|★★★★★||75%||Staysure customers praised the service but a few felt the policy wording could have been clearer. Lots of policy options, and two levels of cover: Basic (Defaqto gives it 2 stars) and Comprehensive (5 stars).||View deals|
|★★★★★||78%||Coverwise customers felt they were getting good value. Pre-existing medical conditions can only be covered with a Select policy. Cover levels range from Standard and Bronze up to Platinum and Defaqto stars range from 3 to 5.||View deals|
|★★★★★||77%||AA customers praise the service, including when you make a claim. Tiers go from Bronze (Defaqto gives this 2 stars) up to Gold (5 stars). AA members get extras thrown in.|
|★★★★★||75%||Many Asda Money customers in our survey said they thought the cover was cheap. There are three levels of cover, and Defaqto ratings range from 3 to 5 stars.|
|★★★★★||64%||Admiral travel insurance customers said it was easy to deal with the company. There are several tiers – the basic cover gets 3 stars from Defaqto and the Platinum tier gets 5 stars.||View deals|
Frequently asked questions
Travel insurance ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
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