Do you need 'staycation' insurance? When you do and don't need cover explained

Mike McGrail
28 June 2019

There are many reasons to staycation in 2019.

Forecasters are predicting more of the same hot weather that we enjoyed in 2018 (although that hasn't quite panned out yet!), while the fall in the pound since the Brexit vote means Britain looks more affordable than ever.

If you’re holidaying at home, you don’t have to deal with airport delays, queues to exchange currency and extra costs like airport parking.

But don’t think you can also opt out of travel insurance, just because you’re not venturing overseas.

Myth number one: I don’t need travel insurance, we have the NHS

You may not need medical cover, thanks to our amazing NHS – but taking any trip can still come with an element of risk, even in the UK.

If you have to cancel or cut short your holiday for reasons beyond your control, like illness or injury, then travel insurance can help you claim back the cost.

And if you’re travelling by train or coach then there’s always the possibility the service could be cancelled or delayed.

You could even find that the company you’ve booked that hotel or cute cottage with has gone bust.

Again, a travel insurance policy can make sure you’re not left out of pocket.

Myth number two: My contents insurance covers my stuff outside the home too

As well as your clothes and luggage, you’re likely to be travelling with lots of expensive equipment, like your phone, camera and a pricey pushchair, as well as jewellery and cash.

Home contents insurance policies can cover your belongings when you take them out and about, but it doesn’t often come as standard.

You should speak to your provider to check if personal possessions are covered and if not add insurance cover to your policy, which means your personal possessions are covered against theft, loss and accidental damage anywhere in the UK.

Usually there is an overall limit on the amount your insurance company will pay for, so you may be required to add a significant level of cover to ensure everyone’s belongings are covered.

Or you could take out a travel insurance policy, which can also provide protection for your possessions. The value and the exact details of what is covered will vary, as well as the cost of the policy, so make sure it suits your needs before you buy. Even the most high-end policies have a limit to what they will cover.

Myth number three: I already have annual travel insurance, so I’m fine

Annual travel insurance can be great value for money if you make a number of trips every year, but if you’re used to taking breaks abroad, it’s well worth reviewing your policy when you switch to a staycation.

When you’re holidaying in the UK, you don’t have the same limitations on the amount of luggage you can take with you as you do on a plane, so you’re likely to cram more into the car.

It’s likely you will pack all of your gadgets and might even take expensive sports equipment like a bike or golf clubs.

Most travel insurance policies put a limit on the total value of possessions they’ll cover, and the amount they’ll pay out for any single item, so you’ll need to arrange extra insurance if you’re taking more stuff than usual, or anything very valuable.

Myth number four: My breakdown cover will make sure I get there OK

If you only have basic breakdown cover, most providers will try and fix your car at the roadside, but if they can’t, they’ll tow it to a nearby garage, usually within 10-20 miles from where you’ve broken down.

If you’re on your way to a staycation destination that’s some distance from home, that can effectively leave you stranded with all your belongings.

So, it’s worth considering upgrading your cover so you can get your car towed to a destination of your choice.

Some breakdown policies will even provide either a courtesy car, overnight hotel accommodation or arrange for you to take the train or bus to your destination.

Mike McGrail is senior product manager at Swinton Insurance