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Travel should be all about wows, not worries. So get a great deal on insurance and get packing.
Travel insurance and coronavirus
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against “all but essential” travel abroad until mid-April 2020 as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise globally.
Do you have a trip booked?
- If you haven’t bought your insurance yet, be aware that after 11 March 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic, most travel insurers stopped covering any coronavirus-related claim.
- If you bought insurance before 11 March, you’ll probably be covered for cancellations. To be sure, contact your travel insurer directly to see whether you’ll be able to claim on your policy.
Our travel insurance coronavirus Q&A has more on this.
What's in this guide?
- What does travel insurance cover me for?
- What doesn't travel insurance cover?
- What are the most common travel insurance claims?
- Things to consider when comparing policies
- Some final points before you buy travel insurance
- Customer satisfaction 2020 travel insurance league table
- Frequently asked questions
What does travel insurance cover me for?
- Trip Cancellation. This provides cover for cancellation fees as well as any prepaid deposits you made for travel and accommodation that you are not able to recover if your trip is cancelled or cut short.
- Medical Cover. This provides cover for treatment overseas if you suffer a serious illness or injury. It also should include repatriation in case you need to be flown back home.
- Baggage and Belongings. This provides cover for luggage and personal items that are lost, stolen or damaged on your trip. You can purchase additional cover for specific items.
- Travel delays. This provides cover for delays and cancellations that are beyond your control. Travel delay cover can help you manage some of the additional expenses that may arise as a result, such as accommodation or additional transport.
What doesn’t travel insurance cover?
The last thing you need is to be left stranded overseas if your claim is rejected. Know exactly what you are covered for and avoid a nasty surprise at claim time.
- Had a few drinks? Jumped on a moped after a few drinks and ended up hitting a ditch? Yep, you’re not covered. Insurers do not pay claims that arise while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Renting a motorcycle or moped? You’re only covered if you have a current UK motorcycle licence and you wear a helmet.
- Diving or Bungee jumping? Not all activities will be automatically covered. Each insurer will have a list of high-risk pursuits that are excluded from cover. Find out what these are and if you need to purchase any additional cover.
- Lost an expensive item? Policies will have limits applied to what will be paid for an item, which may not measure up to what it’s worth. Consider getting specific cover to protect expensive items.
- Had to pay more once you returned home? You’re only covered for expenses incurred while on your trip overseas, not once you have returned home to the UK.
- Ended up in a war zone or a riot? Very few insurers cover claims that are the result of you travelling to a country against foreign travel advice or other warning issued by the government or mass media. This may include strikes, riots, bad weather, civil unrest, contagious diseases, epidemics, pandemics, or threats of epidemics or pandemics. Claims that arise while you’re in a country under a do-not-travel warning will not be covered.
- Left your bag in the back of the taxi? Most insurers do not cover theft if you did not take reasonable care to protect your belongings. Insurers do not cover theft of expensive items that have been left unattended.
- Final stages of pregnancy? Generally, insurers exclude cover for complications that arise past the 24th week of pregnancy, although the specifics of cover do vary from one insurer to the next.
What are the most common travel insurance claims?
The most common travel insurance claims are those associated with the three main areas of risk: luggage or personal items damaged or lost, cancellations and overseas medical expenses.
MUST READ: Waited too long before contacting your insurer or making a claim?
Most insurers will require you to notify them of any event leading to a claim within a certain time period, some even as quickly as 24 hours after the event. Find out what this period is and the maximum period of time following your journey that you can lodge a claim.
Things to consider when comparing policies
When comparing different travel insurance quotes its important to consider the following points to make sure you’re receiving the right cover for your trip.
- Where are you travelling? Are there risks specific to that country you should be aware of and is it covered by your insurer? If there has been a travel warning issued against travelling to the country, you may not be able to apply for cover. It is also important to ensure that you are covered for each country you are travelling to, consider worldwide cover if you’re travelling far and wide.
- Discounts. If you’re travelling as a family or a group then you might be able to receive a slight discount on your policy.
- How long are you travelling for? Are you a frequent traveller? If you travel often, or you’re planning on taking a gap year, then an annual policy might be more affordable and convenient. Just be aware of the maximum period of travel permitted for individual trips.
- Do you need extra cover for your trip? If you’re off skiing or your trip involves adventurous activities you’re going to need extra cover. You could also need extra cover if you have pre-existing medical conditions, you’re above a certain age, you’re taking valuables that you want to protect.
- Maximum cover available. Make sure you check out the range of benefits and the maximum payment you will receive for each claim, for example, how much will you be able to claim if you suffer a medical emergency, if your flight is delayed or if your luggage or valuables are lost, stolen or damaged
Some final points before you buy travel insurance
- Tell the truth. It’s really not worth leaving out details of an old medical condition or anything that you think might be able to save you a few extra pounds. Insurance companies will take the time to ensure that your claim is genuine and that you were truthful at the time of application, so it’s important to be upfront from the start to ensure you are covered appropriately.
- Read the important stuff. You might not read 10 different product disclosure statements cover to cover, but at the very least read through the exclusions and cover benefits section so you know when you will and won’t be covered. It’s also worth checking out the claims section so you know exactly what you will need to provide and who to contact in the event of a claim.
- Know the excess you will be charged. Excess charges can vary greatly between insurers. You will be charged an excess for each individual claim you make under the policy, so it is important to know how much you’ll need to fork out in the event of a claim.
- Want to avoid the excess altogether? Some insurers offer policies with no excess. However, this does mean that you’ll be required to pay a higher premium when you purchase the policy so that you no longer have to pay an excess.
- Know what you will be paid for the loss of valuable items. Most policies will have a sub-limit for individual items. If you are taking out additional cover for expensive items, make sure you know the maximum amount your insurer will pay for multiple items in the event of a claim.
- Keep an eye out for discounts. Competition between insurers for your business means there are some great chances to lock down great savings and bonus gifts.
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
Purchasing your policy
Choosing the right option
Adjusting your policy
When you will and won’t be covered
Making a claim
Travel insurance ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
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