Travel insurance and coronavirus
When buying travel insurance, check whether the policy provides cancellation cover that includes coronavirus risks, including if you fall ill or need to isolate before you travel. You should also have cover in case you fall ill (including with Covid) while you are away. Read the policy documents and check levels of cover with the insurer if you are not sure what protection is provided.
If you’re planning to spend more than a month travelling overseas, standard travel insurance is unlikely to provide adequate protection and you’ll need to look into buying long-stay travel insurance instead.
Here we explain all you need to know about how this type of insurance policy works.
What is long-stay travel insurance?
As it says on the tin, long-stay travel insurance is a type of travel insurance policy designed to provide cover for longer-term trips abroad.
Standard travel insurance will typically only cover for you for around 30 days at a time, while long-stay travel insurance will usually provide cover for up to six months.
Long-stay travel insurance can therefore be particularly beneficial for anyone looking to explore the world for an extended period of time, spend the winter in their overseas holiday home, or visit friends or family overseas for a number of months.
If you’re planning an even longer trip, for example on a gap year, you’ll need to look for longer term insurance such as specialist backpacker travel insurance. This can provide cover for up to 18 months.
What does long-stay travel insurance cover?
The type of cover provided through a long-stay travel insurance policy will depend on the insurer and the policy type, so you’ll need to compare your options and check the small print carefully. However, you can typically expect the following to be included:
medical expenses: covering the cost of medical bills if you need treatment and repatriation back to the UK. Cover should be around £3 million
baggage and belongings: protecting your personal possessions against loss and theft. Cover should be at least £1,500. Always check whether there is a single item limit which is the maximum amount you can claim for any one item. Additional cover may be required for any valuable items you’re taking with you
cancellation and curtailment: cover in the event you have to cancel or cut short your trip due to illness, redundancy or bereavement. Make sure the amount of insurance fully covers the cost of your holiday
missed departures: cover if you miss your flight, ferry or train through no fault of your own
personal liability: providing cover if you injure someone or damage their property while away. Cover should be around £1 million.
Some policies will also include ‘end supplier failure’ and/or ‘scheduled airline failure’ cover, which will provide financial protection if your hotel, travel company or airline goes into administration.
This can be particularly valuable if you are not travelling as part of an ATOL-protected package holiday. If it is not included on your policy as standard you may be able to add it for an extra fee.
Are there any exclusions?
Cover for extreme and winter sports is often not included as standard on a long-stay travel insurance policy, so if you’re planning to take part in activities such as bungee jumping, skydiving or skiing, you may need to add cover separately.
Other exclusions you’re likely to come across include:
claims resulting from not taking reasonable care of your possessions.
Always read through the terms and conditions of your policy carefully to ensure you understand exactly what you are and are not covered for.
Does long-stay travel insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?
If you have a pre-existing medical condition you can still apply for long-term travel insurance, but you will usually find that claims related to that particular condition will be excluded.
Alternatively, you may have to pay more to take out specialist cover that includes the condition.
It’s important to declare all medical conditions when applying for travel insurance. Failure to do so could invalidate your insurance policy and leave you without cover.
Can I get long-stay travel insurance for over 65s?
Yes – if you are aged over 65 you can still buy long-stay travel insurance, but you will usually find policies are more expensive than for younger age groups. This is simply because insurers perceive older travellers as being at a higher risk of making a claim.
How much does long-stay travel insurance cost?
The price you pay for your long-stay travel insurance policy will depend on a number of factors such as:
the type of activities you plan to take part in.
How can I get the best long-stay travel insurance policy?
The easiest way to find the best long-stay travel insurance policy is to shop around using an online comparison service.
Keep in mind that the cheapest policy won’t necessarily be the best one so take the time to compare cover levels and check what activities are included as standard. Remember that if you plan to take part in extreme or winter sports, you may need to pay for additional cover.
It’s usually worth running several quotes and changing your cover levels and optional extras until you get to a quote you’re happy with. As part of this, you may want to change the level of voluntary excess (the amount you’ll have to pay in the event of a claim) to see how this affects the price.
A higher voluntary excess will reduce your premium, but make sure you could still afford to pay it if you had to claim.