We’re often contacted by readers asking whether or not we think travel insurance is worth it. In our opinion travel insurance is a necessity, not an option. This is particularly the case for the medical cover it provides should you find yourself in difficulty abroad.
The cost of medical bills when you travel can be eye watering, and we don’t think that the small savings you get from skipping insurance is worth the huge potential bills you might be saddled with.
Travel insurance varies though in what it covers, and what it costs. It also varies depending on your country of residence, as well as a range of other factors including your age, trip destination, trip duration, planned activities, and so on.
In this post, we’re going to go over some of the key features of a travel insurance policy, to give you an idea of what to look for. This part of the guide applies to most travellers, regardless of where you are resident.
Then we’re going to look at a range of travel insurance options for travellers who are resident in the UK. Usually they will also require you to be registered with a medical practitioner in the UK as well. I’m from the UK and have purchased a variety of travel insurance policies over the years for my travels.
Some of the policies we include in this guide are available for travellers from other countries, but the majority are for UK residents only. That includes those living in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. They may also cover crown dependencies like the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, but you would need to check.
We’ll cover a range of trip types, from gap year travel insurance policies, to insurance policies for couples and families, to policies for those in different age groups.
Before we start, the inevitable disclaimer. This article should not be constituted as advice, and we are not insurance or financial experts. We have just provided the facts for individual policies to the best of our abilities, to help you make an informed decision on the best travel insurance for you.
Now, let’s get started.
Travel Insurance Policy Features
Before we get into individual travel insurance policies on the market today for British travellers, let’s take a look at what travel insurance typically covers, and different features you can use to compare policies.
What Travel Insurance Typically Covers
I’ll go into more details on some of these sections below, but in general travel insurance can cover the following (subject to exclusions and your specific policy).
- The cost of medical treatment if required on your trip
- Loss of baggage on your trip
- Costs incurred due to delays
- Costs incurred due to cancellations
- Personal liability and legal expenses claims
- Replacement of travel documents
Some travel insurance policies may be more niche or specific, and may only cover specific things like medial costs or trip cancellation costs.
Single or Multi-trip Cover
There are a range of different types of travel insurance on the market, with the two main types being single trip and multi-trip cover.
Single trip insurance is designed to cover you for a specific trip. This type of insurance covers you for a specific number of days to a specific destination or destinations. You can think of it as insurance for one trip. Gap year travel insurance also usually falls into this single trip category.
A multi-trip insurance policy works a little bit differently. These policies usually last for a fixed period, say a year, and cover you for all your travels in that period. Usually there is a limitation on the length of each trip you can take before returning home and starting the next trip.
The price difference between single trip cover and multi-trip cover is often relatively small. Depending on how often you travel and the length of your trips, you can compare single trip policies with multi-trip policies to see which is best for you.
We have an annual multi-trip policy for our travels, as we travel a number of times each year from the UK, and this has worked out to be the best value option for us. However, you will need to decide which kind of cover is best for your specific needs. Those who usually only travel once or less per year will probably want to look at single trip insurance.
Both single trip and multi-trip travel insurance policies will have a limit to the length of each individual trip you can take. Multi-trip policies may also have a total limit on the number of days they cover over the duration of the policy.
For a single trip policy, you will buy the trip for the number of days you are travelling for.
For a multi-trip policy, usually the length of any individual trip will be specified in the policy. For example, the policy might cover you for any trip lasting up to 30 days. You can take multiple trips over the lifetime of the policy, but to be covered you will have to return to your home country before starting a new trip.
Usually you can pay a fee to extend the duration of trip that the policy covers. So for example, our annual multi-trip cover allows us to take trips of up to 30 days in length, but we were able to contact them and pay a fee to increase that cover to 45 days.
Finally, you might be looking to cover a much longer trip, such as travel insurance for a gap year or insurance for life as a digital nomad. These policies also exist, and are often called gap year insurance or something similar. Business travelers and those being sent to work in another country should check with their company on their insurance coverage while abroad.
Travel insurance policies for UK travellers are available for different family units. For example, you can buy travel insurance on an individual basis, or you can buy it as a couple or family.
In our experience we have found that covering more people on a policy usually works out to be less expensive per person than buying individual cover, although of course every situation varies.
When checking the policy for the number of people covered, things to look out for include whether or not the policy still covers you when you are travelling alone. For example, some couple policies allow you to travel together and individually. On the other hand, children insured on a family policy are usually not covered unless they are travelling with the family.
Different regions of the world have different risk and cost factors associated with travelling in them, and so the price of insurance policies will vary depending on where you are travelling.
For example, the cost of medical treatment in the USA is generally regarded as quite high. As such, insurance policies which cover travel in the USA are often more expensive.
Other destinations might be considered higher risk for travel for a number of other reasons, ranging from safety issues to infrastructure.
It is important to be aware that where you travel will affect the price of the policy you purchase. So be sure that you include all destinations you plan to visit when applying and are sure that you will be covered in each.
The mode of travel is important – many policies for example may require you to specify if you will be taking a cruise. If so, this may require the purchase of cruise specific cover. Again, you will need to check what is defined as a cruise – an overnight ferry crossing for example is unlikely to be considered a cruise, but this will be policy specific.
In addition, you will want to check if the policy covers you for domestic trips in your home country. Some policies cover travel in your home country and some do not. Normally for those policies that cover you domestically, you need to be away for a certain length (e.g. at least two days) and a certain distance from you home for the coverage to apply (e.g., 300 miles) so you can’t claim for an accident close to home.
Insurance is basically a gamble. The insurer takes a gamble that you will not require to claim, whilst you take a gamble that you might need to claim.
As with any gamble, the odds vary depending on a number of factors. When it comes to insuring a traveller, one of the main risk factors an insurance provider considers is the age of the traveller.
As this article from the Association of British Insurers makes clear, younger travellers are less likely to make a claim, and the cost to the insurer of those claims is lower than older travellers. The average cost of claims rises as travellers get older, as do the frequency of those claims.
As a result, older travellers tend to have to pay a higher premium for their travel insurance. Some insurers won’t even provide insurance for certain age groups as they deem the risk is too high.
On the other hand, there are specialist insurance providers like Saga who only provide cover for older adults.
One of the main benefits of travel insurance is the medical cover it provides. If you get sick or injured whilst on a trip, the costs associated with medical bills can be very high.
This is especially the case if you need emergency transport such as a helicopter or flight to a hospital, where you might be looking at tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of costs. You might even need to be flown all the way home – known as repatriation.
Having to spend this amount of money would be a life changing event for most people, and it is for this reason that travel insurance is important. Even if you are not travelling anywhere particularly dangerous, or partaking in risky activities, accidents can and do happen.
It is important that you read exactly what is and what isn’t included with any part of a policy, and medical cover is no exception. For example, most policies only cover non-elective treatment (so immunizations and general checkups won’t be covered), and any prescriptions or medication you usually have to take at home also won’t be covered.
It’s also important to read the procedure you need to follow if the worst should happen and you need to invoke your policy.
Most insurance providers provide a free phone number that can be used from around the world to contact your insurer. They should be able to provide you the advice and information you need. Nearly every provider we know of requires you to get in touch as soon as is possible when it comes to medical treatment, so they can ensure you get the help you need, and so you can claim under the policy.
You want to be sure you have 24/7 year-round access to be able to get in touch with your travel insurer for medical assistance and emergency assistance, and have this number at hand with you as you travel. You should also give this number and your insurance policy number to either a travelling companion, your tour guide, or a trusted contact at home, in case you are incapacitated on your trip. Many of the tours I’ve been on have required this information as a condition of booking.
Finally, be aware that most policies have strict rules around pre-existing medical conditions. You will usually need to let the insurer know about any pre-existing conditions, as this can affect your policy. If you do not let them know about a condition and you have to make a claim, there is a good chance they may reject it, although you will need to check the insurance policy wording to see the exact rules for your policy.
Depending on your pre-existing condition, you may struggle to find insurance. In this case, you might have to find specialist travel insurance that covers your pre-existing condition.
As a traveller from the UK, you also need to be aware that the UK has reciprocal healthcare arrangements in place with a number of countries, such as Australia and New Zealand. This means travellers from these countries are usually eligible for NHS treatment, and travellers from the UK can use health care services in these countries.
Many insurance providers will require you to register for this cover either during or prior to your trip in order for your medical coverage to be valid.
Travellers from the UK visiting other EU countries will also likely need to register for and travel with a European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC. An EHIC gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.
Whilst an EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance, many insurance providers will require UK travellers to have one as a condition of insurance.
Many travel insurance policies include some kind of possessions cover, which can cover your baggage and personal effects against loss, theft, or even accidental damage.
The exact circumstances that the cover will apply to will vary depending on the policy, and you will need to read the small print to find out what is and what isn’t covered. For example, some policies might cover possessions left in the locked boot of a vehicle overnight, but others might not. Other policies might only cover you if your valuables are locked in a hotel safe.
Another thing to be aware of is that most travel insurance policies have relatively low single item limits. So for example, the policy might have a total possessions cover of £2,000, but a single article limit of £250.So if you have an expensive item like a camera stolen valued at £1000, even though your total cover is £2000, you will only be eligible for the £250.
If you have an item stolen, you may be required to file a local police report to make a claim.
Basically, there are a lot of variables for cover, so always dive down into the details and check what the policy covers compared to what you need it to cover. If you are travelling with expensive items, you may have the option to add them to your policy as named items for an additional fee.
Another option to consider is your home contents insurance policy if you have one. This might be more cost effective for covering your valuables away from the home, rather than relying on that part of your travel insurance policy.
We actually had a laptop stolen whilst on a trip in France, and to make a claim we had to get a police report, as well as proof of the laptop purchase. Unfortunately our travel insurer only had a single item limit of £300, with an excess of £50, so this was all we were able to claim. Since then we have added travel outside the home cover to our home contents insurance, with our valuable items listed individually.
We go on holiday for different reasons, and to take part in different activities. Obviously, some activities are riskier than others, and as such insurance policies will usually have different levels of activity cover available.
Usually, activities are rated into different categories. Low risk activities might include cycling or golf, whilst more extreme activities like winter sports, mountain climbing, skydiving, or white water rafting will generally be rated as higher risk.
Insurance providers are usually very specific about which activities they cover, and the majority of them allow you to add specific cover which includes more risky activities.Winter sports cover is a very popular addon due to the number of people who go on ski trips.
Make a list of any activities you plan to take part in and make sure they are covered.
Most insurance policies have some sort of excess in place. The excess is the amount you have to pay when you make a claim.
Some policies have a variable excess depending on which part of the policy you are claiming on, for example £100 towards your medical expenses, but £50 towards a lost luggage claim. Others have a fixed excess that applies to all claims.
The majority of policies will let you adjust the amount of excess you are willing to pay. Usually, a higher excess will result in a cheaper policy, whereas lowering the excess to zero will result in a more expensive policy.
Does it Overlap with Existing Insurance You Own?
Travel insurance is obviously a specific type of insurance designed to cover you while you travel. However, some of the features that travel insurance policies provide are not necessarily unique. You might find that you already have existing cover for some scenarios, in which case you might be able to save money by skipping some of the features on the travel insurance policy.
One example of this is possessions cover. As mentioned previously, most travel insurance policies have relatively low single item limits for your possessions, meaning it can be challenging to cover high value items like cameras, smartphones, video equipment, jewellery, ski equipment, and laptops.
However, home insurance policies often have a feature where you can insure your items outside the home. In some cases, this can be less expensive compared to adding it as a feature on a travel insurance policy.
There are other areas where travel insurance policy features can overlap with existing insurance. For example, some travel insurance policies may allow you to add Collision Damage Waiver protection when you hire a car. However, this might also already be provided through your credit card company or home car insurance policy.
So do check before buying an insurance, or adding features to the policy, that you are not already covered for it with a policy you either already have, or that you can buy separately at a lower cost.
Finally, in the UK there are a couple of additional protections to be aware of. First, there exists a scheme known as ATOL (Air Travel Organisers Licensing scheme). Operated by the Civil Aviation Authority, this government backed scheme is designed to protect consumers from the failure of a travel business that sells package holidays, such as a holiday which includes both flights and accommodation.
ATOL is a mandatory scheme which every UK company selling overseas holidays and flights has to be a part of.
Another program to be aware of, although this time voluntary, is ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents). The ABTA scheme is set up to provide protection for non-flight based holidays, such as coach, rail or cruise holidays, as well as linked travel arrangements and monies paid to travel agents.
ABTA is not mandatory, however if you are booking a trip that falls into the above categories, we suggest doing it through an ABTA registered travel agent, and ensuring you get ATOL protection as well.
Whilst most folks think of travel as a leisure activity, a huge amount of travel is actually for business reasons.
If you travel a lot for work, then you might want to check that any policy you purchase also covers business travel. It is likely that your workplace insurance covers you or will reimburse you for your policy, but you will need to check with them.
As with any other feature, naturally business travel cover can come with specific exclusions, which might include the nature of the business. So for example, specific type of manual labour are often excluded, as are other high risk jobs.
So always check the policy wording carefully if cover for business travel is important to you, and if in doubt, always contact the insurer for clarity before taking out the insurance and embarking on the trip.
Specific Features such As Scheduled Airline Failure & Cancel for Any Reason
A common complaint heard about any insurance policy is that when you need to make a claim, it mysteriously doesn’t cover you for the specific circumstances in question.
This is why you need to check what a policy covers you for, and what it does not, before you purchase it. There are some relatively common sense exclusions we cover below in our section on common travel insurance exclusions, but there are some others which are perhaps less well known.
One example of these is Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance, or SAFI. Without this specific inclusion, you are likely not going to be covered if an airline ceases operating and you can no longer take your trip as a result. There are similar insurances for other supplier failures, such as hotel or car hire companies.
Of course, even if the policy includes this failure insurance, read the small print to be sure it covers situations relevant to you. For example, some might only cover failure for products booked before your trip begins.
Another example of an uncommon inclusion is known as Cancel for Any Reason. Normally, something needs to happen for an insurer to pay out if your trip is cancelled. You can’t just decide not to go and claim on your insurance. However, some policies allow you to add this feature for an additional cost if you want this additional peace of mind as it allows you to cancel your trip for almost any reason.
Common Travel Insurance Exclusions
There are usually a list of exclusions on a travel insurance policy, and it is vital that you know what you are not covered for. This is why it is so important to read through the small print, boring though it may be, so you can see exactly what you are and are not covered for.
The exclusions will vary depending on the policy, and many can be added to a policy at an additional cost, but some common exclusions might be:
- If you leave your belongings unattended they will likely not be covered
- Claiming against any pre-existing medical condition
- Travelling to a region or country when government advice has been issued against travel to that region. You can see current UK government advice here.
- Claims arising as a result of partaking in any illegal activity in the destination you visit, such as drink-driving, drug use, or off-road driving
- Travel resumption – if you have to return home for any reason, such as a medical claim, most policies will not cover the cost of resuming your trip at a later date
- One way trips – if you set off on a journey with no return ticket, many policies will not cover this
- If you are already travelling – the majority of travel insurance policies need to be taken out before you start your trip, and cannot be bought once your trip has started
- Cancellation of products booked with reward points such as airline miles
There are also often clauses limiting claims for other reasons, which may include claims arising as a result of terrorism, natural disasters, pandemics, and times of global strife etc,.
Ease of Getting a Quote
This is not necessarily a feature of a travel insurance provider, but we think it is worth mentioning.
Some of the providers on our list make it very easy to get a quote – you just put in your destination, age, and type of policy you are interested in, and you get a quote straight away.
If you have pre-existing conditions, in most cases you need to declare these as well.
Other providers require more personally identifying information, including your full home address, contact phone number, and email before they’ll even give you a quote.
If a provider does require personal information, we advise opting out of any marketing materials when you go through the quote so you don’t end up getting lots of marketing material sent to you.
Travel Insurance If You Are Already on a Trip
The majority of travel insurance providers will only issue you with a travel insurance policy prior to your trip start date. However, if you are already travelling and require insurance, some providers will still allow you to purchase insurance.
Travel Insurance Policies for UK travellers
Below are some providers of travel insurance for UK travellers. Information on these policies is up to date as of April 2020, and we have done our best to ensure it is accurate.
However, please do check the policy wording and information prior to making any purchase. These are not listed in any order of preference.
Note: since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic most new policies will not provide any coverage for coronavirus related issues. In addition, due to a volume of claims some insurance companies have stopped issuing new insurance policies for the time being, or have rules around when policies can start.
Prices and availability of policies may be affected by the current outbreak. Each provider will have specific information on their website.
True Traveller Travel Insurance
True Traveller offers a wide range of travel insurance products to travellers aged 65 years and under. They are particularly focused on backpackers and long term travellers, and are also one of the few providers on our list who offer cover even after your trip has started.
They offer gap year, one-way, multi-trip and single trip cover, as well as specific policies for trekking and those going to Canada on an IEC visa.
True Travellers products are very customisable. The base product for example doesn’t include baggage cover, as they recognise this may duplicate an existing home contents insurance policy. This can save you money by skipping insurance you don’t need.
You can also add all sorts of extras, from CDW excess cover, to cover that lets you ride scooters or motorbikes (excluded on many insurance policies), to travel disruption cover that includes natural disasters. Obviously, additions will increase the price of your premium.
You can take out the multi-trip cover for varying durations, unlike many other policies which sell it as an annual policy which lasts for 12 months. So if you are doing a few trips over 6 months, you don’t have to commit to a full year of coverage.
When it comes to their policies they have three packages. The policies vary in terms of what is offered, as well as who can take them out.
The True Value product currently does not include Financial Failure Protection, but the Traveller product does, and this covers you against the failure of service providers including scheduled airlines, hotels, etc.
For multi-trip cover, two of the packages offer individual trip durations up to 30 days, while the more expensive package allows for trips up to 70 days. There’s no limit on the number of days you can travel per year.
For the single trip cover, you can take this out for a period up to 18 months, and you can then extend it for 12 months at a time
It’s super easy to get a quote from True Traveller, and you don’t need to enter your e-mail address or contact information. Get a quote from True Traveller here.
Staysure Travel Insurance
Staysure offers a range of insurance policies, including single trip, annual, cruise, and golf insurance. They also have specific cover for a range of pre-existing conditions, and they have no age limit on their policies.
They have a number of packages available depending on how much cover you want. For example, for a multi-trip annual policy you can choose between a basic package and a more comprehensive package. The former costs less and covers the essentials like medical expenses and repatriation, but is missing things like end supplier failure.
The more comprehensive package includes supplier failure cover and personal liability, as well as legal protection and winter sports.
You can also add higher value items, wedding rings and sporting equipment to your policies.
The annual multi-trip cover covers up to 183 days of travel in a year, with up to 50 days of consecutive travel per trip for those aged 70 and under, and 35 consecutive days for those aged over 70.
You can get a quote without entering your e-mail address or contact information, although you do need to enter your name and date of birth, as well as disclose any medical conditions. Get a quote from Staysure here.
Boots Travel Insurance
If you’re from the UK you are no doubt familiar with the Boots brand. They’re a popular high street health, beauty, and pharmacy brand who have been trading since 1849.
As well as their high street services, Boots also offer a number of other products, including travel insurance. They offer a range of travel insurance policies, including single trip, multi-trip, cover for those with pre-existing conditions, and cover for long trips including gap years.
The multi-trip insurance policy offers cover for individual trips up to 31 days in length, and at time of writing Boots offers five insurances packages, from a basic “Lite” package up to a comprehensive “Platinum” package. You can compare what’s included in each package here for the multi-trip policies. Basically, the more you pay, the more cover you get. If you want Supplier Failure Coverage, you would need the Silver policy and above.
In terms of availability, Boots has no upper age limit on single trip policies with the exception of their gap year policy, which is available up to and including those aged 55. Multi-trip policies are only available for those aged 79 and under. If you purchase a family policy, it includes your kids at no extra cost.
Boots does require some personally identifiable information including your e-mail address, before they will give you a quote. You can get a travel insurance quote from Boots here.
AXA Travel Insurance
AXA are a huge French firm specializing in a range of insurance products, as well as other financial services. When I lived in France, I had a travel insurance policy through AXA.
They also offer travel insurance policies in a whole range of other countries, including the USA, Canada, and of course, the UK, and in fact many travel insurance policies are actually underwritten by AXA.
AXA offer both single and multi-trip policies. Single trip cover is available for trips up to 120 days in length, while multi-trip cover is for 30-40 days depending on the package, and can be extended to cover trips up to 45 days. Policies are also available for those with pre-existing conditions.
Policies are currently available in three tiers of cover, Bronze, Silver and Gold. As far as we can tell all the policies include cover in the event of insolvency of the accommodation provider, transport provider, or their booking agents, but do check the policy wording before purchasing.
In terms of age, for single trip policies which include travel to the USA, Canada or the Caribbean, these are only available for those under 75. Single trip policies to the rest of the world are only available for those under 80. Annual multi-trip policies are available for those under 75, regardless of destination.
From our research, AXA was one of the most price competitive options for travel insurance for UK travellers, although they don’t offer any kind of gap year or long trip cover currently. It also covers domestic trips in the UK that are for at least 2 days in length.
AXA do require some personally identifiable information including your e-mail address and home address, before they will give you a quote. You can get a travel insurance quote from AXA here.
Saga Travel Insurance
Saga specialises in travel insurance for the over 50s. So if you are are under this age bracket, you’ll want to skip Saga as they don’t even provide insurance for the under 50s.
If you do fall into the over 50 age bracket though, then Saga is an option. They offer a range of policies, including single trip and multi-trip cover. Single trips can be up to 120 days per trip, whilst multi-trip cover has a standard duration of 45 days per trip. This can be extended to up to 90 days, depending on where you are travelling.
Based on our research, Saga do charge a bit of a premium compared to other providers. However, their policies are tailored toward a specific age group, and the policies include generous cover for things like trip cancellation and medical expenses. They also include supplier failure including scheduled airline failure.
Saga do require some personally identifiable information including your name and home address, before they will give you a quote. You can get a travel insurance quote from Saga here.
World Nomads Travel Insurance
For long term travellers, World Nomads is a popular option. They were one of the first insurance companies to specifically target longer term travellers, and they are also one of the few insurers to allow you to start or extend a policy whilst on your trip.
In terms of their policies, World Nomads offers two main policies, their Explorer Plan and their Standard Plan. The Explorer Plan has more additions, and covers things like travel delay, missed departure, and natural catastrophe evacuation, as well as car rental CDW excess.
Both policies include Financial Failure Protection, which covers the insolvency of your travel providers. This includes scheduled airline failure, as well as everything from safari providers to hotels to ferries.
Another feature of World Nomads is how easy it is to add higher value items like laptops, cameras, and other gear to your policy. Obviously this increases the price of the policy.
Note that World Nomads is specifically designed for longer trips, so they don’t have the concept of a multi-trip policy. Instead, their policy covers you for the duration you specify, and you can travel for the whole period. The maximum amount of time they can cover you for currently is 550 days.
As a result of this though, their policies do tend to be a bit more expensive than other providers, because they are potentially covering you for a much longer period than other providers.
Age wise, UK residents can purchase a World Nomads policy up to 64 years of age. They also only cover trips outside the UK, not travel inside the UK.
Note – at the time of writing World Nomads is not currently offering policies to UK travellers. We expect this to change in the coming weeks, but we have not been able to include them in our pricing comparison table below for now. However, you can see an overview of the current policy wording here.
Insurefor Travel Insurance
Insurefor is a travel insurance provider with a range of policies available, including annual multi-trip cover, family travel insurance policies, and single trip policies.
In terms of policies, they currently offer three levels of cover, standard, premier and Ultimate. The price difference between these level of cover is not too great; however, there are a few key differences around what is covered and what isn’t. For multi-trip annual cover for example, the Ultimate package allows for trips up to 60 days in length, whilst the other two policies allow for trips up to 32 days.
Trips inside the UK of at least two days in length are covered, and if you travel with a number of electronic items, you will be pleased to hear the you can add gadget specific cover for higher value items.
Age wise, currently Insurefor offers annual multi-trip policies for those aged 74 and under, whilst their single trip policies are available for those aged 84 and under.
One obvious omission from Insurefor policies is that they do not currently cover scheduled airline failure or any other losses you might incur as a result of a provider going insolvent. This is definitely something to be aware of and to keep in mind when comparing this insurance with other providers.
Insurefor make it easy to get a quote without needing to enter your personal information. You can get a quote from Insurefor here.
Virgin Money Travel Insurance
Virgin Money offer a range of travel insurance products, including backpacker insurance, annual multi-trip cover, and single trip insurance.
Each policy is available at a range of color coded levels, and as with other insurance policies, these offer varying levels of cover. In addition, Virgin offers a range of optional extras which vary including winter sports and other activities, through to cruise, business, and gadget cover.
Even their most basic “red” cover for single and annual policies includes scheduled airline failure as standard. However, if you want to include the insolvency of other providers, you would need a higher level of cover.
For the multi-trip policy, you can travel for up to 31 days on the red option, 45 days on the silver product, and up to 90 days for the gold and black policies. Note that these limits vary depending on your age.
Speaking of age, the most basic “red” policy for the single and multi-trip products is only available for people aged 65 and older. The other single and multi-trip policies have no upper age limit, however if you are aged between 66 and 75 the maximum single trip duration is limited to 31 days and if aged 76 and over the maximum single trip duration is limited to 17 days.
Virgin also offers a Backpacker specific travel insurance, available for trips from 18 days up to 18 months. This policy is a good option for longer term backpackers, but is only available for travellers age 39 and younger.
Note – at the time of writing Virgin Money is not currently issuing new travel insurance policies. We expect this to change in the coming weeks, but we have not been able to include them in our pricing comparison table below for now. You can however see their policy wording here.
InsureandGo Travel Insurance
InsureandGo offer a range of travel insurance products including single trip, annual multi-trip and backpacker insurance. They also offer specific insurance for travellers over 65.
They are also the provider of the Virgin Travel Insurance product, although there are some differences between the two providers, including age limits and what exactly is included, so I have included both providers in this round up.
Product wise, each type of insurance is available at a different level of cover, ranging from a budget product through to a black product. Cover and remuneration varies by product. Trip length is also one of the main variables, the budget product allows for trips up to 31 days, whilst the Gold and Black products allow for trips up to 90 days.
Note that unlike the similar Virgin Travel policy, none of their products include Scheduled Airline Failure insurance, or cover for the failure of any other supplier. As with other providers, you can add valuables, winter sports, and cover for other activities as well as natural disasters.
In terms of age, with the exception of the backpacker policy (66 and under only) there is no upper age limit on InsureandGo policies. The only restriction they have is on trip length – the maximum trip length for those over 65 is 31 days on both single and annual trip policies.
InsureandGo make it very easy to get a quote without having to provide any personally identifiable information. You can get a quote from InsureandGo here.
Planet Earth Travel Insurance
Planet Earth Travel Insurance offers a range of insurance products, including single trip travel insurance and annual multi-trip insurance. Policies are available for individuals, couples and families as well as single parent families (we didn’t see this option with any other insurers, although it might exist). They don’t have a gap year specific product, but you can buy a single trip policy up to 360 days in duration.
Planet Earth have one policy with the same inclusions for both single and multi-trip insurance. The only price difference relates to the length of your trip, and the age of the participants. For the multi-trip insurance product, the standard trip duration is 31 days, but you can pay more to extend this all the way up to 91 days.
In terms of age, you can buy a policy up to the age of 85 for single trips, and up and including 79 for annual multi-trip coverage. In both cases, we found the prices for older travellers especially to be very competitive compared to the other providers we checked.
It is important to note that the insurance doesn’t include cover for costs associated with the liquidation, administration, or receivership of the carrier or travel operator. So if your provider or airline goes out of business, this policy won’t cover you, which is definitely an omission to keep in mind.
As with many other insurance providers, there are also a number of addons you can purchase, to cover things like your gadgets, additional activities, and claims arising as a result of a catastrophe such as a volcanic eruption.
Planet Earth make it very easy to get a quote without having to provide any personally identifiable information. You can get a quote from Planet Earth here.
AllClear Travel Insurance
AllClear specialises in providing travel insurance to travellers who have pre-existing conditions, and they provide cover for travellers with any of up to 1,300 conditions.
Launched in the year 2,000, AllClear was the first company in the UK to provide this specialist medical travel insurance cover.
They also provide insurance to folks without pre-existing conditions, although their policies are a little more expensive based on our research.
They do offer a wide range of packages though, depending on the cover you need. However, not all packages are available for all ages, so you would need to search based on your specific age and requirements to see if there is a package to suit. In addition, we weren’t able to find a policy which included end supplier failure.
The maximum trip length for single trips is 180 days, so this wouldn’t work for those looking to go on a longer trip like a gap year. For annual multi-trip policies, the standard trip duration is 31 days.
AllClear do require some personally identifiable information including your name and home address, before they will give you a quote. You can get a travel insurance quote from AllClear here.
Allianz Assistance Travel Insurance
Allianz are the world’s largest insurance company, and they offer a huge range of insurance policies for all kinds of things, including travel, in countries around the world.
In the UK, they offer a range of travel insurance policies, including single trip, annual multi-trip, and gap year travel insurance. They also have specific policies for travellers with pre-existing medical conditions, travellers over 75 and for families. So hopefully you should be able to find a policy that meets your needs!
Currently, Allianz offer three main tiers of insurance, Bronze, Silver and Gold. These offer varying levels of coverage, and at time of writing only Gold includes end supplier failure coverage.
In terms of trip duration, the multi-trip annual cover policies allow for unlimited trips up to 31 days in length. Single trip cover is available up to 180 days.
The backpacker policy is available as two products, either with skiing or without. It’s available for travellers aged 35 or under, and covers trips up to 365 days in length. It does not include supplier failure insurance.
The standard multi-trip and single trip products are available for travellers up to age 75. However, you should be aware that the multi-trip policy for travellers over the age of 65 is only available for those without pre-existing conditions.
However, Allianz also offer a specific Seniors travel insurance. This is available in both single and multi-trip variants for travellers over the age of 65, and is available for those with pre-existing conditions. Otherwise, the coverage is similar, with three tiers (Bronze, Silver and Gold), with silver and gold including possessions cover, and gold including supplier failure.
Allianz make it very easy to get a quote without having to provide any personally identifiable information. You can get a quote from Allianz here.
Comparison of Quotes and Cover
I wanted to provide a comparison of cover for a range of scenarios, to give you an idea of pricing and features. I’ll use some example trips and applicants of different ages to show you what’s available.
Prices are all valid as of April 2020 when I did the comparison search.
As providers often have a range of packages at different price points, I have tried to include the most comparable products from each provider in terms of coverage.
Where possible, I also tried to pick a package that matched the trip, for example if a provider has a special gap year product, this was chosen for the gap year comparison.
Cover was chosen to include worldwide trips including the USA and Caribbean. If additional features were available these were not added to the cover.
Excess was left at the default amount if available, and the middle amount if a choice had to be made. Some providers have varying excess amounts for different parts of the product, so in these cases the most expensive excess was used in the comparison table.
No pre-existing medical conditions were specified.
One last thing before getting into the individual prices. Please remember that price is not everything. You need to compare the specific inclusions and exclusions for each product, as well as recent customer reviews on websites like TrustPilot. Many providers also have a Defaqto rating, which gives a product a score based on features and benefits.
Ideally you want a policy where it is easy to make a claim and reviews indicate customer service is good.
Now, let’s compare providers to see what they offer, and how much they charge across a range of scenarios. Prices have been rounded to the nearest pound. Please note this information is provided for comparison purposes only. You will always need to do your own research and get your own quote to ensure a product is correct for you prior to purchase.
Example 1: Multi-trip Annual Travel Insurance for a 40 year old Couple
|Policy Name||Total Cost||Excess||Medical Cover||Personal Liability||Cancellation||Max trip length||Possessions|
|Staysure||Comprehensive||£116||£65||Unlimited||£2 million||£5,000||50 days||£2,500|
|Boots||Silver||£183||£60||£5 million||£1 million||£3,000||31 days||£1,500|
|AXA||Silver||£87||£100||£10 million||£1.5 million||£2,500||35 days||£2,000|
|True Traveller||Traveller||£195||£75||£5 million||£2 million||£3,000||30 days||Optional|
|World Nomads||Standard||Paused||£75||£5 million||£2 million||£3,000||550 days||£1,000|
|Insurefor||Standard||£150||£99||£10 million||£2 million||£2,500||32 days||£2,000|
|Virgin Money||Silver||Paused||£60||£12.5 million||£2 million||£3,000||45 days||£1,500|
|Planet Earth||Annual multi-trip||£117||£100||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||31 days||£2,000|
|Allianz||Allianz Gold||£153||£50||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||31 days||£2,000|
|InsureandGo||Silver Annual||£138||£60||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||45 days||£2,500|
|AllClear||Traveller Basic||£166||£85||£5 million||£2 million||£500||31 days||£1,000|
Example 2: Multi-trip Annual Travel Insurance for a 75 year old Couple
|Policy Name||Total Cost||Excess||Medical Cover||Personal Liability||Cancellation||Max trip length||Possessions|
|Staysure||Comprehensive||£373||£65||Unlimited||£2 million||£5,000||35 days||£2,500|
|Boots||Silver||£605||£60||£5 million||£1 million||£3,000||31 days||£1,500|
|Saga||Annual Trip||£867||£150||£10 million||£2 million||£10,000||45 days||£5,000|
|Virgin Money||Silver||Paused||£60||£12.5 million||£2 million||£3,000||31 days||£1,500|
|Planet Earth||Annual multi-trip||£360||£100||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||31 days||£2000|
|Allianz||Allianz Gold||£462||£50||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||31 days||£2,000|
|InsureandGo||Silver Annual||£437||£60||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||31 days||£2,500|
|AllClear||Traveller Basic||£400||£85||£5 million||£2 million||£500||31 days||£1,000|
Example 3: 1 year Gap Year Travel Insurance for a 21 year old
|Policy Name||Total Cost||Excess||Medical Cover||Personal Liability||Cancellation||Max trip length||Possessions|
|Staysure||Comprehensive||£963||£65||Unlimited||£2 million||£5,000||550 days||£2,500|
|Boots||Longstay Silver||£302||£75||£5 million||£1 million||£2,500||18 months||£1,000|
|True Traveller||Traveller||£457||£75||£5 million||£2 million||£3,000||18 months||Optional|
|World Nomads||Standard||Paused||£75||£5 million||£2 million||£3,000||550 days||£1,000|
|Insurefor||Standard||£2,709||£99||£10 million||£2 million||£2,500||365 days||£2,000|
|Virgin Money||Backpacker Silver||Paused||£60||£10 million||£2 million||£3,000||18 months||£1,500|
|Planet Earth||Single Trip||£897||£100||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||360 days||£2,000|
|Allianz||Backpacker||£235||£100||£5 million||£2 million||£2,500||365 days||£1,500|
|InsureandGo||Backpacker Silver||£495||£60||£10 million||£2 million||£3,000||18 months||£1,500|
Planet Earth maximum trip duration of 360 days rather than a full year.
True Traveller has an initial 18 month policy duration (24 months for Canada IEC if required), and it can then be extended while you are travelling 12 months at a time.
Example 4: 2 Week Single Trip Travel Insurance for a Family, two parents age 32 and two kids aged 2 and 4
|Policy Name||Total Cost||Equivalent annual price||Excess||Medical Cover||Personal Liability||Cancellation||Max trip length||Possessions|
|Staysure||Comprehensive||£97||£119||£65||Unlimited||£2 million||£5,000||550 days||£2,500|
|Boots||Silver||£95||£167||£60||£5 million||£1 million||£3,000||45 days||£1,500|
|AXA||Silver||£124||£127||£100||£10 million||£1.5 million||£2,500||120 days||£2,000|
|True Traveller||Traveller||£195||£1144||£75||£5 million||£2 million||£3,000||30 days||Optional|
|World Nomads||Standard||Paused||Paused||£75||£5 million||£2 million||£3,000||550 days||£1,000|
|Insurefor||Standard||£167||£120||£99||£10 million||£2 million||£2,500||365 days||£2,000|
|Planet Earth||Single Trip||£85||£111.9||£100||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||31 days||£2000|
|Allianz||Gold||£108||£185||£50||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||180 days||£2,000|
|InsureandGo||Silver||£129||£139||£60||£10 million||£2 million||£5,000||365 days||£2,000|
|AllClear||Traveller Basic||£143||£167||£85||£5 million||£2 million||£500||180 days||£1,000|
Note: When checking single trip insurance, always check to see what the equivalent annual policy price would be, as this might sometimes work out either cheaper or only slightly more expensive.
For this reason I have included the equivalent price for a similar annual policy for each provider if they offer one. Just be aware that the policy may vary slightly from the single trip policy, so it’s hard to compare it directly.
Does Your Bank or Financial Provider Offer Travel Insurance?
Before you finish your travel insurance search, don’t forget that many bank accounts in the UK offer travel insurance as a benefit. These products are generally known as packaged bank accounts, and may come with a number of benefits including travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, and/or car breakdown cover.
For example, we have a FlexPlus bank account with Nationwide, which offers us a number of benefits including worldwide multi-trip travel insurance.
There is a cost to having this bank account, as there usually is with any packaged bank account like this, however in our case the cost was worth the benefits. We’ve claimed on the travel insurance twice, and had a good experience both times.
As with any insurance product you will of course need to read the terms and conditions to check it meets your specific needs before purchasing.
That’s it for our guide to travel insurance for UK travellers. We hope you found it useful! Before you go, we have a few more guides we think you might find helpful in planning your travels.
- We have a guide for how much it costs to travel in the USA
- We have a guide to choosing the best VPN for travel
- Our guide to the best travel routers for improving your WiFi signal, both when travelling and at home
- Our guide to how to get online when travelling away from home
- You’re going to need to power all your devices when you travel – see our guide to the best travel adapters
- If you are heading out onto the road and looking for a laptop to get some work done, see our guide to the best laptops for photo editing
- Thinking of buying a new camera? See our guide to the best cameras for travel
- Looking to improve your photography? See our detailed online travel photography course here
And that’s it! As always, we hope you found this guide useful. If you have any thoughts on the policies above, or experiences with a travel insurance provider you’d like to share, just pop them in the comments section below.