UK holidays: should you get travel insurance?


Although Covid travel restrictions have all but disappeared, UK holidays remain a popular choice. According to research from Ipsos, 81% of Brits planned a UK break between September 2021 and September 2022.

UK holidays are often more affordable than their overseas counterparts — and easier to organise. But wherever you choose to go on holiday, a travel insurance policy can offer peace of mind that, if something goes wrong, you won’t be left out of pocket.

Do you need travel insurance if you’re not going abroad?

Staying in the UK for a holiday could be less risky than travelling overseas. Your journey may be shorter, there’s no language barrier to contend with and, thanks to the NHS, there’s no need to worry about medical bills.

That said, travel insurance can still provide a financial safety net. If you need to cancel your holiday due to unforeseen circumstances, book alternative transport due to delays and disruption, or lose your possessions while you’re away, travel insurance policies allow you to claim back any unexpected costs.

What does UK travel insurance cover?

Although policies vary between providers, UK travel insurance will typically cover the following:

  • Cancellation or curtailment — covers the cost of your trip if it’s cancelled or cut short due to an unexpected event, including illness, bereavement, or redundancy

  • Baggage and personal belongings — allows you to recoup the cost of personal belongings should they be lost or stolen during your trip

  • Delays — covers any costs incurred if your transport is delayed

  • Personal liability — covers any legal costs in the event you injure someone or damage their property while on holiday

  • End supplier failure — allows you to claim if one of the companies you book with, such as a hotel, fails

  • Hospital transfer — if you are hospitalised during your trip, the cost of transporting you to a hospital closer to home is covered

  • Additional travel or accommodation — if you are unable to return home as planned due to an accident or illness, your policy may cover the cost of any additional transport or accommodation you require

The maximum you can claim on each type of cover varies between insurers. Check these limits carefully before you take out a policy.

It’s also important to check your policy’s excess — the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket towards the cost of any claims.

Many insurers also offer cover if your trip is disrupted due to Covid. For instance, you may be able to make a claim if you have to cancel or cut the trip short due to a member of the party testing positive.

However, as with any medical-related claim, you may need to provide evidence such as a positive test result or medical certificate.

What might not be covered?

It’s a good idea to check the terms and conditions carefully when choosing a cover for a UK trip.

Many insurers only cover UK breaks of a certain length — usually at least two consecutive nights away.

Others may only offer cover if the destination is a certain distance from your home, and you have paid for accommodation in advance.

Will a European or Worldwide policy cover UK trips?

If you’ve already taken out a multi-trip policy with European or worldwide cover, you may not need a second UK-specific policy since many cover UK trips as standard.

However, not every provider offers this, so check the policy wording carefully in advance of your trip.

When should you take out UK travel insurance?

The best time to purchase travel insurance is at the same time as booking your trip — and UK travel insurance is no exception.

Taking out a policy right away means you are covered if your trip has to be cancelled.

What else should you consider when booking a UK holiday?

Along with purchasing a travel insurance policy, there are a few additional steps holidaymakers can take to protect their money:

  • Look out for flexible booking options — some companies offer a full refund when customers cancel within a certain timeframe, such as 48 hours

  • Pay on your credit card — any purchases of more than £100 and up to £30,000 made on a credit card are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means if something goes wrong with your purchase, the card provider is obliged to step in should the company refuse to refund you, even if you only paid the deposit with the card

  • Consider the Chargeback scheme — If you’re unable to pay for your holiday using a credit card, you may be able to use this scheme. If something goes wrong with a debit card purchase, consumers can ask the bank to reverse the transaction and be repaid.