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Travel insurance – what does a good policy look like?

Travel insurance policies vary, covering different losses and offering different features. To make sure you buy the right policy for you, use these simple tables to check what features are a ‘must have’, a ‘should have’ or a ‘could have’.

‘Must have’ features

‘Must have’ features
A good policy will give

Medical expenses – provides cover towards the costs of emergency medical and surgical treatment while you’re away.

£1m or more for travel to Europe.
£2m or more for the USA.
Any treatment that can wait until you return home (according to medical opinion) wouldn’t usually be covered.

Getting you back home (repatriation service) – provides cover for the costs of emergency repatriation (for medical reasons) back to the UK.

Includes cover automatically.
Any treatment or surgery that isn’t immediately necessary and can wait until you return to the UK wouldn’t be covered.

Cancellation/curtailment – if you have to cancel or shorten your trip, this covers you for any travel and accommodation costs you’ve paid and can’t use or claim back.

£2,000 or more.
Policies will only cover cancellations in certain circumstances – check the terms and conditions.

Missed departure – covers costs of extra accommodation and travel expenses if you miss your departure flight, boat or train due to situations outside of your control. For example, your car breaking down, being involved in an accident or public transport being delayed.

£500 or more.
You won’t be covered if you haven’t allowed enough time to get to the airport, station or port. You’ll need to be able to provide a report from the breakdown company to show you had a real breakdown.

Delay – if your travel plans become delayed, for example due to industrial action, adverse weather or mechanical breakdown, the insurer will pay you a certain amount.

£200 or more.
There will be separate limits for the first 12 hours of delay, and for every 12 hours after that. Delays known about before you started your journey (such as strikes) won’t be covered.

Travel abandonment – if you have to abandon your trip and cancel your journey, this cover will reimburse your travel and accommodation expenses.

£2,000 or more.
Policies will only cover travel abandonment in certain circumstances – check the terms and conditions.

Baggage cover – covers your baggage if it’s lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed.

£1,500 or more.
There are usually separate limits for single articles, valuables and baggage delay. You’ll need to report all losses within certain time periods and get a written report from your airline if they lose your baggage.

Personal liability cover – this covers you if you’re liable to pay damages due to accidental bodily injury to someone or for loss or damage to someone’s property.

£2 million or more.
Claims made by members of your family or people in your employment won’t be covered.

‘Should have’ features

‘Should have’ features
A good policy will give

Dental emergency – provides cover towards the costs of emergency dental treatment while you’re away. It usually only provides cover for the immediate relief of pain.

£250 or more.
Non-emergency treatment and cosmetic treatment aren’t covered.

Money – replaces money or equivalent (such as travellers cheques or pre-paid tickets) if it’s lost or stolen.

£500 or more.
Any claim for loss or theft of personal money that you don’t report to the local police within 24 hours of discovering it, and which you don’t get a written police report for, won’t be covered.

Cash – covers you for loss of or damage to money held as cash.

£300 or more.

Terrorism – covers your medical costs and other insured losses, such as damaged baggage, if there’s an act of terrorism.

Full cover is provided.
Some insurers only cover certain things in the event of terrorism, for example medical costs or personal accident but not baggage damage.

Loss of passport – provides cover towards extra travel and accommodation expenses as a result of needing to replace a lost passport.

£250 or more.
Unless you have receipts for the extra expenses incurred, you won’t be covered.

‘Could have’ features

‘Could have’ features
A good policy will give

Scheduled airline failure – covers you if your airline goes out of business.

£1,500 or more.
Your insurance company won’t cover you if you’re able to get a refund from another source.

Winter sports – covers you for winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding.

Cover for your own or hired winter sports equipment, such as loss of ski pack, piste closure and avalanche delay.
Certain types of winter sports, such as luge or bobsledding, won’t be covered. Skiing or snowboarding off-piste isn’t usually covered, unless it’s with an experienced local guide.

Things to watch out for

Things to watch out for
A good policy will give

Different excess amounts – your insurance company might apply different excesses depending on the type of claim. For example, amounts might differ according to whether a claim is for cancellation, baggage loss, abandonment or personal liability.

One excess is applied per claim.
Some insurance companies charge an excess per person, or even per person per section of the policy claimed under.

Overseas days – maximum number of days that you’re covered for while outside the UK in any policy period.

120 days or more.

Trip duration – maximum duration for any one trip during the policy period.

30 days or more.

Receipts for baggage claims – when you need to claim for your baggage, some insurance companies will insist on proof, such as a receipt, for all baggage items or all items above a certain value.

No receipts needed.

The tables above set out what to look for. But if you want to know whether you need travel insurance, or if you want to work out much cover you need, read our guides

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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