Many people view travel insurance as an unnecessary cost when travelling abroad, but it can be the most important purchase made when travelling away from home.

Travel insurance is intended to cover medical expenses and travel-related emergencies. If a member of your family is taken into hospital or you can’t reach your destination due to a plane malfunction, your holiday could turn into a disaster.

Travel insurance reduces the fees you would pay out. Instead of paying the whole cost, you would pay an excess, so if you made a claim for costs of £600 and the excess was £100, the insurer would then pay the remaining £500.


Why do you need it?

Travel insurance can be essential to navigate unforeseen costs that can leave you strapped for finance.

Should a medical emergency strike you when on holiday that requires one of your party to be returned home, an air ambulance from the East Coast of the United States to the UK, for example, would cost you between £35-45,000. Remember, health systems work differently across the world so you may be surprised at how the costs vary from your home country.

Where can you buy it?

You can buy travel insurance every time you go on holiday from an insurer in your country of residence.

Travel insurance can be obtained through a travel agent or an otherwise normal insurer. It can be worth shopping around on websites such as Money Supermarket to compare policy costs and make sure you are receiving everything you want for your money.

What it covers?

There are two main types of travel insurance: international travel insurance and domestic travel insurance.

International travel insurance is essential for when travelling outside your country of residence as many healthcare arrangements won’t apply in other countries. Domestic travel insurance, meanwhile, covers travel inside your country of residence.

Travel insurance covers a huge list of options, but it is vital to choose a basic level of cover at least which should the following:

  • flight cancellation
  • flight delay
  • lost, stolen or damaged belongings
  • personal liability
  • emergency assistance
  • medical cover

What doesn’t it cover?

Pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease are unlikely to be covered by a standard travel insurance policy.

Any health issues should always be declared prior to purchase – some specialist policies will cover some pre-existing conditions.

Travel insurance also becomes trickier to obtain after the age of 55, which alone is considered a type of pre-existing condition and so can increase rates and possibly excess charges.