Compare our best travel insurance

Travel insurance covers you for costs that could occur when you are travelling

Take a look at providers and find the right cover for your trip abroad

Find the best travel product for your needs

Protect youself against costs when travelling — powered by theidol.com.
Exchange rates, fees and order limits to make sure you get the best travel money.
Prepaid travel cards are easier to get than travel credit cards, offer more security than cash, and can offer great exchange rates.
Only spend what's loaded onto the card and it will keep you from spending beyond your means.
Fact checker
Last updated
November 14, 2023

What is travel insurance?

A travel insurance policy protects you against costs you’d otherwise incur if problems arise when travelling. A good policy will cover you for essentials such as cancellation, lost luggage, delayed flights, stolen property, illness, injury and repatriation.

Sometimes, travel insurance is called “holiday insurance”. You don’t legally need it to travel, but it could prove invaluable if something happens while you were away.


A good policy will cover you for essentials such as cancellation, lost luggage and delayed flights."

Do I need travel insurance?

If you experience problems when travelling, you might have to fork out a lot of money.

For example, if you fall ill overseas, your medical bill can run into tens of thousands of pounds or even more, especially if you must remain in hospital for some time or need to be repatriated. 

Don’t fall into the trap of only getting round to travel insurance when you’re pretty much on your way to the airport. Always search for and buy cover when you book your trip, so you’re protected against cancellations or delays, which could wreck your holiday even before it begins.

The right policy will contain all the elements you need. For example, the personal belongings cover limit should be higher than the cost of replacing any expensive items you’re taking with you.

Worldwide travel insurance 

It’s also worth considering worldwide travel insurance if you are travelling outside of Europe.  Worldwide travel insurance can either include or exclude the USA, Canada and the Caribbean, so read the small print.

Types of travel insurance

Single trip insurance

This covers you for one trip to just one location (or locations - for example, if you’re travelling to a few destinations) for a specific period of time. The cover ends when you return home.

Multi-trip travel insurance

This covers you for every trip you make during a 12-month period. The best policy will depend on what cover you want and how often you travel. If you’re only going on one or two holidays in the next year, it’s usually a good idea to get single-trip travel insurance.

If you travel more often, annual travel insurance could work out much cheaper in the long run. Here’s how to choose between single-trip travel insurance or annual travel insurance.

Types of travel insurance

Single trip insurance

This covers you for one trip to just one location (or locations - for example, if you’re travelling to a few destinations) for a specific period of time. The cover ends when you return home.

Multi-trip travel insurance

This covers you for every trip you make during a 12-month period. The best policy will depend on what cover you want and how often you travel. If you’re only going on one or two holidays in the next year, it’s usually a good idea to get single-trip travel insurance.

If you travel more often, annual travel insurance could work out much cheaper in the long run. Here’s how to choose between single-trip travel insurance or annual travel insurance.

How to choose the best travel insurance

It’s important to get the right cover for your needs, but you’ll want to factor in the price too. Here are a few tips to help you find the best travel insurance.

Shop around

Compare travel insurance deals and choose the travel insurance quote that gives you the right cover at the best price.

Get the right kind of policy

Think carefully about whether annual travel insurance or single-trip travel insurance is best for you. If relevant, consider family travel insurance, too.

Don’t always get the optional extras

Sometimes, you’ll be offered extras like gadget insurance. You might already be covered for your gadgets by other policies, so check carefully before paying for extras you don’t need.

What does travel insurance cover?

Covered

Cancellation and delay, including cutting your trip short
Lost baggage and belongings, including your luggage or belongings being lost, stolen or damaged. Make sure you check the amount you’re covered for
Medical costs, including fees incurred following injury or illness while away
Emergency assistance, including urgent help when overseas, such as finding a hospital or needing to be repatriated to the UK
Personal liability, including injuring someone or damaging their belongings

Not covered with some policies

Extreme sports
Natural disasters
Terrorism
Pre-existing medical conditions
Alcohol or drugs-related accidents

How does pre-existing medical conditions impact travel insurance?

Any pre-existing conditions must be declared when you apply for travel insurance. You’ll need to share information about these when you get your holiday insurance quotes and apply for a policy.

If you don’t declare your medical conditions, you cannot claim on your holiday insurance should you fall ill as a result of your condition. For example, if you don’t tell your insurer about your angina and then suffer a heart attack or stroke while on holiday, your policy probably won’t pay out.

That’s why it’s important to be as open and honest as you can when you sort out travel medical insurance. You might like to find specialist cover for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

If you don’t declare your medical conditions, you cannot claim on your holiday insurance."

How can I get cheap travel insurance?

It’s important to find the best travel insurance for your needs rather than just searching for cheap travel insurance. That’s because cheap holiday insurance might not cover what you need.

If you just need standard travel insurance, searching on a comparison site will provide you with an ample selection of policies to consider. 

If you have more specific needs, such as a pre-existing medical condition, you may need to speak to a specialist. The Money and Pensions Service and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association should be able to help you find affordable cover.

Do I need extra protection or a specialist policy?

Not all activities are covered on every holiday insurance policy. Depending on what you’ll be doing while you’re away, you might need extra cover for activities that aren’t included as standard.

You can tailor your policy with extras such as:

Extreme and winter sports cover: This is for accidents that happen while you take part in sports such as skiing or snowboarding. You might see this being called ski travel insurance

Business cover: This provides cover if you’re travelling for work purposes

Golf cover: This covers your golfing equipment and other associated costs

You can also get specialist policies, including:

Travel insurance for seniors: This is for older people, who are statistically more likely to make a medical claim

Pre-existing medical conditions: This travel insurance element is for people with diagnosed health conditions

Cruise travel insurance: Cruise insurance covers incidents such as cabin confinement or a missed port

Backpacker travel insurance: If you’re going away for longer than usual periods, such as a gap-year trip, you may wish to consider backpacker insurance policies

Family travel insurance: If you’re travelling as a family, this can be a good way to save on the costs as it covers you all

FAQs

Do I legally need to have travel insurance?

No, but you should never travel without it because medical treatment abroad can cost tens of thousands of pounds or more.

When should I buy travel insurance?

It’s best to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday. That way, you’ll be covered if something happens that means you can’t go or you’re delayed. This could include illness or weather disruptions – but check your policy carefully to see what you’re covered for. If you’re not insured, you won’t be able to claim.

Remember that with travel insurance, you’ll usually have to pay for any costs yourself, and your insurer will pay you back later when you claim. So don’t forget to keep receipts and bills to prove what you paid for.

When might I not need to buy travel insurance?

While you should always travel with insurance, you might not need to buy a policy if you already have it through another source, such as through work or as part of a packaged bank account.

Can I get travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions?

Yes, but it can be more expensive, and not all insurers will cover you. This guide explains how to find travel insurance with pre-existing conditions.

Will my destination be covered?

Most popular destinations will be, but check your policy and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) because some countries may not be insured if they are deemed dangerous.

How long can I go away for?

It depends on your policy, but most insurers offer maximum single-trip lengths of between 30 and 90 days. 

Some insurers will offer longer lengths of cover, such as up to 120 days, although there may be upper age limit restrictions.

Can I claim for cancellation before my holiday starts?

Yes, you’re covered from the moment you take out your policy. For this reason, it’s best to buy travel insurance when you book your trip.

Do I need travel insurance in Europe if I have a EHIC?

Yes, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) only gives you access to basic state-provided healthcare when in European Union countries and Switzerland. It doesn’t cover ongoing care, medicines or repatriation costs.

Despite Brexit, the cards remain valid until their expiration dates. When your EHIC expires, you can replace it with a EHIC UK or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).

Will travel insurance cover me if I travel for business?

Yes, and some policies will offer business cover as an extra to cover gadgets and other devices, including laptops and mobile phones as well as business equipment.

Explore our travel insurance guides

Find out more about how travel insurance works with our in-depth guides
How to get travel insurance with pre-existing conditions
How to get travel insurance with pre-existing conditions
How to make a travel insurance claim
How to make a travel insurance claim
Should you get single trip or annual travel insurance?
Should you get single trip or annual travel insurance?

About the author

Lucinda O'Brien
Lucinda O'Brien has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles. She applies her industry knowledge to ensure readers can make confident financial decisions.

Customer Reviews

Rated 4.1 out of 5
by 1,054 people