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.
Travel insurance should always be an essential part of your holiday planning. Not only could it help cover the cost of expensive medical bills if you need hospital treatment while you’re away, you’ll also be protected in the event you had to cancel your trip, whether due to redundancy or illness.
When comparing travel insurance options, you’ll need to decide whether you want cover for a one-off trip, known as single trip travel insurance, or for a number of trips over the course of a year, known as annual or multi-trip travel insurance.
If you’re after single trip travel insurance, here’s how it works.
What is single trip travel insurance and who is it for?
Single trip travel insurance is designed for those planning a one-off holiday and typically lasts around 30 days, although some policies will stretch up to 60 or 90 days.
It’s best suited – and usually works out to be the most cost-effective – for those taking one or two holidays a year. But remember, you’ll need a separate policy for each and every trip.
If you’re planning to go away more than twice a year, annual cover will likely be more appropriate, although it pays to compare your options carefully.
If you’re over the age of 75, single trip travel insurance is also usually the best choice as many travel insurers will not offer annual cover to those in this age group.
What should my policy cover?
A ‘good’ single trip travel insurance policy will cover the following as standard:
medical expenses: covering medical bills if you need treatment abroad
personal liability: in the event you injure someone or damage their property while away
cancellation and curtailment: in the event you have to cancel or cut short your holiday due to illness, redundancy or bereavement
missed departures: if you miss your flight, ferry or train through no fault of your own
baggage and personal belongings: in the event your items are lost, damaged or stolen (always check the ‘single item limit’ on your policy as items worth more than this amount must be covered separately).
Should you want a more comprehensive travel insurance policy, you can usually add a range of optional extras, such as:
end supplier failure and/or scheduled airline failure: providing financial protection if your hotel, travel company or airline goes into administration. If you’re not travelling as part of an ATOL protected package holiday, this is worth adding
legal expenses: covering legal fees if a claim is made against you for an incident that wasn’t your fault
natural catastrophe and terrorism cover: if you had to claim due to a natural disaster such as a volcano eruption, or due to a terrorist attack
sports and activities cover: specialist cover if you’re taking part in high-risk or winter sports, eg. skydiving or snowboarding.
Whether you need this extra cover will partly depend on the type of holiday you have planned and whether you will be taking part in extreme activities, as well as how much you want to spend on your travel insurance policy.
You may find that some policies automatically include higher levels of cover as standard, while others will require you to pay extra. Take the time to run a number of comparisons to ensure you’re getting the right level of cover at the best price.
Are there any exclusions?
When comparing policies, you’ll also need to check the small print carefully for what is not covered. Typical exclusions within a travel insurance policy are as follows:
medical treatment for pre-existing conditions
claims due to drug or alcohol-related incidents
claims arising from visiting a country the Foreign and Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has advised against
claims resulting from not taking reasonable care of your possessions, for example if your bag is stolen after leaving it unattended
claims relating to not having the correct vaccinations for your holiday.
Will my single trip travel insurance cover me for Covid-19?
Whether or not you’ll be covered for Covid-19 will depend on the policy.
Some travel insurers will only provide cover for medical expenses if you fall ill with the virus while you are away, while others will also include cancellation cover should you be unable to go on holiday as a result of contracting the virus or self-isolating.
Always check before you buy and if it’s not clear, give the insurer a call to discuss.
Can I take out single trip travel insurance for more than one person?
Yes, you can take out single trip travel insurance whether you’re travelling on your own, with someone else or as a family.
Family cover generally works out cheaper than arranging a separate policy for each person, although it’s always worth running several quotes to confirm this before taking out cover.
Do I need single trip travel insurance if I am holidaying in the UK
If you’re planning to book a break in the UK, it’s easy to assume you don’t need travel insurance. But having cover in place can still provide vital financial protection should you need to cancel your trip or lose your possessions.
Check whether your policy only provides cover if you’re away for more than a specified number of nights, or whether your break has to be a certain distance (maybe 25 miles) from your home.
At what point should I buy single trip travel insurance?
The best time to buy any type of travel insurance policy is as soon your holiday is booked. Doing so will ensure you have all-important cancellation cover should you be unable to go on your trip due to illness, the death of a family member or losing your job.
How much does single trip travel insurance cost?
The cost of your single trip travel insurance policy will be determined by your destination, how long you are going for, and who is travelling.
For example, a couple going for a week’s holiday in Spain could get basic cover for around £12, while a family of two adults and two children travelling to the United States could expect to pay over £90 for a policy with £10 million of medical expenses cover. Increasing that to £15 million would see premiums increase to £130 and above.
What are the top destinations for single trip travel insurance?
You can take out this cover for any destination provided you are not going to be away for a prolonged period - policies usually stipulate 30, 60 or 90 days. You will normally also need to be visiting one country rather than touring through several.
Many holidaymakers buy single trip travel insurance for their journeys to the likes of Spain, France, Greece, Italy and Turkey.
Will I need a specialist travel insurance policy if I am over 65?
Older travellers do not need a specialist travel policy on account of their age, although they will find the cost of a standard policy is higher once they reach 65 or 70, with further increases in store as they get older still.
A specialist policy will be required if the traveller has a ‘pre-existing’ medical condition such as heart disease or cancer, or has had such medical problems in the past. When you apply for travel insurance, you’ll be asked if anyone travelling has a medical condition, and if so, you’ll be referred to insurance companies that have experience of providing cover in these cases.
Who are the best travel insurance companies?
We’ve looked at the travel insurance companies offering cover for Covid-19 related risks such as having to cancel because you fall ill ahead of departure. You can find out more here.