Travel insurance: our 10 top tips

2 June 2009

Here’s how to ensure peace of mind from the moment you book your holiday.

By Holly Black and Rebecca Atkinson

After shelling out for flights, accommodation and bottles of sun cream, travel insurance may be the last thing on your mind, but travelling without it could prove a costly mistake.

Follow our 10 tips on cutting the price of travel insurance and making sure you get the right policy for you.

1 Look beyond the cost

Cost should not be your only consideration when buying travel insurance. As a general rule, you should only consider policies that include £2 million for medical expenses, £1 million for personal liability, £3,000 for cancellation, £1,500 for baggage and £250 for cash.

Note that the level of excess you opt for – the part of the claim that you must meet before the insurer pays out – will affect your premium. Not all insurers allow you to adjust the excess, but the more you are prepared to pay, the lower your premium will be.

2 Consider annual cover vs single-trip

There are two main types of travel insurance – single-trip, which only covers one getaway, or annual multi-trip, which covers you for every trip you make over the course of a year.

A single-trip policy is best for people who will only go on one holiday in a 12-month period, and can cost as little as a few pounds. Annual policies can be a cheaper option if you know you’ll be going away several times in a year.

3 Family finances

If you are travelling with your partner and children, consider opting for family travel insurance – and check with your insurer to see if it will cover your children if they travel without you – on a school trip, for example.

Annual policies can be a cheaper option for multiple trips

4 Check what countries are covered

It is vital you check which countries – including travel within the UK – are covered by your policy, as not all will be included.

If you are looking at an annual multi-trip policy, be aware that insurers tend to offer European cover or worldwide cover, with the latter attracting a higher premium in most cases.

5 Get specialist cover if required

Many standard travel insurance policies won’t include high-risk activities, such as scuba diving or skiing. So it might be worth taking out a specialist single-trip policy to cover a particular holiday.

If you are older or have a pre-existing medical condition, then you may also struggle to get travel insurance, as you are viewed as high risk. Specialist insurers – including Age UK and Saga – offer travel cover regardless of your age.

It’s vital that you are upfront and honest about any pre-existing medical complaints, even minor ones, as non-disclosure could result in your claim being rejected. Use the British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s (BIBA) tool to find a specialist provider at

6 Maximum trip duration

If you opt for annual multi-trip travel insurance, check how many days come under your ‘maximum trip duration’. Most insurers will cover individual trips of up to around 31 days. If you are planning on being away for longer, speak to insurers directly or opt for specialist cover.

7 Driving overseas

If you plan on driving abroad, make sure you’re covered by your car insurance – some insurers do this as standard while others require you to pay extra.

8 Airline failure

Recent years have seen the collapse of a number of airlines and travel companies, so check the small print to see if you’re covered in this event. If you’re not protected as standard, you could add this extra cover for a fee.

9 Do you need cover for bags?

Before automatically including baggage cover in your travel insurance, check whether you are already covered under your home contents insurance.

10 Get cover when you book your trip

Buy your travel insurance as soon as you book your getaway. That way, if your holiday is cancelled or delayed before you head off, you can claim for it. Also check the policy document’s small print to ensure you’re covered for the total amount you paid.

Another consideration might be redundancy cover if you are concerned about losing your job.

HOLLY BLACK is a keen traveller and a personal finance journalist who has written for The Telegraph and the Daily Mail

REBECCA ATKINSON is a freelance personal finance and arts journalist who has written for The Guardian

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I always use travel insurance when I travel overseas. I have sometimes had travel insurance for the duration of a holiday and at other times I had had multi trip travel insurance that covers a few trips in a year. For my trip around the world I had backpackers insurance that lasted for one year. Most travel insurance companies like normal people that don't make a claim. Indeed I have never made a claim for travel insurance. However my disabled son was born in 2007 and lots of travel insurance companies refuse to cover him. He has got spina bifida and hydrocephalus. The travel insurance companies worry that he might have a shunt malfunction. A few years ago I found a travel insurance company that will cover my disabled son for a reasonable price. I have to declare his disabilities and health conditions. If he has a shunt malfunction on a trip I would pay a fee which is reasonable. I feel nervous about getting travel insurance for our next trip because he just had an operation and a night in hospital. I will buy travel insurance in September 2018 for our April 2019 trip.

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