9 Reasons You Need Travel Insurance for the UK

Map with camera, money, coffee and travel sign.

Travelling to the UK can be expensive. With airfare, places to stay, and things to do, you’re going to spend some money. Travel insurance is another expense layer on top of that! I’ve seen several posts across the internet questioning if it is worth the money you’re spending? If something happens to you whether it’s a cancelled flight or something more serious the initial outlay is worth it.

Do I need travel insurance for the UK? I always recommend getting travel insurance. If you think “I don’t need it” or “I won’t get hurt” please rethink that as it DOES happen. While most trips go to plan if it doesn’t you’ll be happy you spent that little bit of money on travel insurance.

Why should someone get travel insurance for the UK? Travel insurance can be beneficial to travellers regardless of their planned destination. The top 9 reasons you need travel insurance for the UK:

  1. Medical Emergencies
  2. You Need an Emergency Medical Evacuation
  3. Baggage and Belongings Mishaps
  4. Cancellation of Your UK Trip
  5. You Miss Your Connection
  6. Flight Cancellation
  7. Your Passport is Lost
  8. Your Travel Company Files Bankruptcy
  9. Stress-free Car Hire

Before you get travel insurance, you’ll need to know more about it: what it is, why you might want it, and what kind you may want depending on the trip that you’re planning. We’ve outlined all the basics here, to help you decide.  

Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.

What Is Travel Insurance – and Why Would I Need if?

Travel insurance is just like any other kind of insurance, in that it ensures your safety and wellbeing. When travelling, this can mean a few different things. Most of them have to do with the safety of you and your belongings. Different types of insurance cover different things and can have more or less coverage than others.

To get started, we’ll outline some of the most important things that you need to know about travel insurance. Having a basic understanding of what is most commonly covered will give you a better understanding of what you might want to protect while travelling to the UK.

9 Reasons You Need Travel Insurance for the UK

1. Medical Emergencies While the UK

As much as we would all like to hope that our vacations will go according to plan, accidents are inevitable. Most of the time they aren’t that serious but there is always the chance that a serious injury happens to you while you’re in another country. The problem is, of course, that most health insurance may not extend to a UK hospital if you’re as a citizen of another country.

If you know you’re going to travel to the UK, and before you buy travel insurance, call your health insurance company. Find out if you are covered or if your existing health insurance plan offers a travel supplement. If it’s available, find out the cost of that so you can compare when you look at specific travel insurance.

2. You Need an Emergency Medical Evacuation

Rugby players being interviewed at the cheese rolling festival
Rugby players helping at the Glouster Cheese Rolling to catch contestants after running down the hill chasing the cheese! They also assist in the injuries that occur in this dangerous sport and there are a few brutal ones.

While the UK might not seem the first place you may need an emergency medical evacuation there are plenty of stories of people getting lost during a hike in Scotland or Wales, some requiring airlifts off mountains.

During my travels, I have witnessed things that you just don’t think will happen. As an example, on a sailing trip around the Greek Islands, I watched a lady fall out a window at a bar and shatter her elbow. While the UK has better safety standards than Greece, she needed to get airlifted off this island as we were in a remote location. If she didn’t have travel insurance the cost would have been thousands of euros that she owed.

By having travel insurance it will return the initial cost outlay. If you plan for outdoor activities this will give you the peace of mind whatever happens on your adventures.

3.  Baggage and Belongings Mishaps

One of the easiest problems to come into contact with when travelling (especially internationally) is to have luggage get lost in transit. Ending up in the UK without any of your things would probably be extremely frustrating.

On top of missing some of your favourite products, if you’re not staying with friends or family who can lend you clothes, you will probably have to shell out money just to be clothed the rest of the trip!

Investing in travel insurance for your trip to the UK could save you from having to spend your money on clothes and other supplies that you don’t really need. Baggage insurance usually comes in the form of reimbursement for lost goods, so you would still have to buy new clothes, but you would get reimbursed, making them free in the end.

This process is still stressful and tedious, but insurance can definitely help ease the cost.

4. Cancellation of Your UK Trip

Most trip reservations are going to include a non-refundable booking fee and, very often, a booking fee on top of it. If something happens and you end up having to cancel your trip, you could be paying even more money for a trip that you didn’t get to take.

Thankfully, most travel insurance includes cancellation coverage, which reimburses you for any extra funds that you might have to spend due to cancelling your trip. If you have an ever-changing schedule, look for a travel insurance plan that has really good cancellation. This way, you can relax even if something comes up.

Pay attention to what kind of situations your cancellation insurance covers. There is a wide range of cancellation coverages policies and packages. Some comprehensive packages include a “cancel for any reason” insurance. This option is just what it sounds like: an assurance that you can back out of your trip for any reason, within a stated time frame.

5. You Miss Your Connection

Travel doesn’t always go to plan and you discover that you are going to miss a connection that impacts your trip. Whether is joining a cruise, tour bus, train or flight this will be an additional or lost cost to your trip.

Having missed connection coverage will be providing you with the assistance services to help you arrange and pay for those travel changes.

6. Flight Cancellation

From natural disasters to industrial action there are factors out of your hand that could your flight cancelled. With cancellation or interruption coverage you will have the money refunded and the costs covered for a new ticker or stay in a hotel.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the airline won’t cover you in instances, but insurance gives you that extra support if the airline ends up being difficult. Do read the terms and conditions of the booking to ensure what you are covered for in case of a cancellation.

7. Your Passport Is Lost

You’ve taken your passport on a night out and realise it’s no longer in your bag and now you’re stuck! I’ve witnessed this happen a few times, even when I was renewing my passport at the Australian Embassy in London.

Not sure about your countries emergency passport but getting an Australian passport overseas is expensive!

Lost passport coverage will help you getting the process expedited and paying for the new passport.

P.s. want to know if you should take out your passport in London? Read this article.  

8. Your Travel Company Files for Bankruptcy

With travel companies like Thomas Cook and Monarch going bankrupt in the last few years you just never know if your trip will be safe. Travel insurance can recoup the cost you would lose if the company cancels due to financial default and provide assistance finding an alternative solution to your trip.

9. Stress-free Car Hire

Driving in a new country can be stressful and for most of the world, the UK drives on the other side of the road.  Car accidents can happen, so I always make I have car insurance if I am renting a car. One of the biggest ways that car rental companies earn money from you is via insurance. Including car insurance in your trip policy can save you money and still be covered!  

What Types of Travel Insurance Are Available for My Trip?

A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for most of your concerns when visiting the UK.  These include trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. However, you may choose to get additional coverage to cover cruises, adventure activities or a higher coverage on your belongings (if you decided to bring a lot of camera gear as an example).

Coverage Type

While every individual travel insurance company is going to price their plans differently, there are two specific groups of plans that you can get. Depending on the situation that you’re in, you’re going to either want basic coverage or comprehensive coverage.

  • Basic Cancellation Coverage:

This is exactly how it sounds. Basic cancellation coverage is only going to cover trip cancellation fees and non-refundable deposits for flights, hotels, etc. It also oftentimes covers baggage loss or damage, but not much more than that. This is perfect for any short, standard trip to the UK.

  • Comprehensive Coverage:

This is the coverage that is going to help you get out of a dangerous situation or get medical attention for no out-of-pocket costs. If you are going on an extended UK trip or plan on doing particularly dangerous activities, a more comprehensive plan might be something to look into.

The Cost of Insurance Coverage Based on Traveler’s Age

Like many other types of insurance, travel insurance actually increases in cost as you age. So, the younger you are, the less you will pay for more coverage. This is mostly because of the increased risk of medical problems for older individuals because their health is in decline.

Older travellers may have more health issues that make them at risk of needing medical assistance or attention while travelling. And, while most insurance companies will still offer coverage, it will cost more as you age – and that cost will be compounded, depending on what kind of coverage you are interested in.

However, when you price compare, check to see which companies offer special packages for seniors. It’s possible to find special deals and group rates, too. 

What Doesn’t Travel Insurance Cover?

Travel insurance isn’t a miracle coverage, nor does it offer generous coverage of any and all potential travel-related issues. Like other forms of insurance, there will be some fine print to travel insurance.

  • Pre-existing Conditions – This is a big one to remember if you don’t disclose or choose a travel insurance policy that covers this then you could not be cover. If your trip to the UK is negatively affected by a medical emergency that has anything to do with a condition already existing in your medical records, you will have no coverage. This is a very unfortunate exception to coverage, but it exists, and you should definitely be aware of it if you do have any pre-existing conditions.
  • Individual Risks – While medical costs are generally covered by comprehensive insurance plans, there is always the chance that they will take individual risks into account. This can be a bit vague when it comes to things like outdoor accidents but is more clear-cut in other scenarios.

    For example, you are not covered you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the medical emergency occurs. High-risk sports, like scuba diving or bungee jumping, are also not covered automatically, with only some plans providing them as add-ons for an additional fee.
  • Disease Outbreaks – Strangely enough, even though they cover most medical emergencies and disasters, travel insurance plans usually do not cover medical treatment for a disease involved in an outbreak. They may, however, cover travel costs to escape after the outbreak has been labelled an emergency.

Important tip: Most of the time, your homeowner’s insurance will cover the loss of personal property while travelling. If you have homeowner’s insurance, you may still have coverage in this area, so check with your agent before you leave for your destination.

Choosing Your Travel Insurance

Just like there isn’t just one kind of car insurance, there are different types of travel insurance to choose from. Which type you need depends on your situation and sometimes you have the ability to choose one that is cheaper or has more coverage than another.

The process of picking your travel insurance actually involves a lot more control than you might think. Here are the primary categories of travel insurance plans and why each one might fit your specific travel needs.

Single Trip Travel

If you’re just visiting the UK once, this is the plan for you. This kind of plan will cover a trip that you are going on alone (or that you are only covering yourself for) and only the once. The cost depends mostly on your age and the length of the trip, without much change between areas of travel.

Annual Multi-Trip Travel

If you are travelling regularly, you’re going to want to get a multi-trip plan. This plan continues through each of your visits and costs less overall than getting a new policy for each individual trip.

Group Travel

If you are travelling with more people than yourself, a group plan may be more beneficial in the long run. The best thing about group travel plans is that they are just as comprehensive for a lower price per person. This is best for large groups, but any group larger than two people would do well to have a group plan.

Senior Citizen Travel

If you’re a senior, you can get an insurance plan specific to your needs. It includes coverage for pre-existing conditions and even more medical assistance, which can be beneficial to those dealing with health issues at their advanced age.

Student Travel

There are also travel insurance plans specifically for students. These plans usually have increased protective measures and may include add-ons for emergency evacuations. These plans are also usually just more accommodating in general, but because of this can be a bit pricier than some single trip plans.

When Should You Get Travel Insurance?

The easiest answer? Get it as soon as possible after you have booked your trip. The more exact answer depends on the travel insurance plan. Most of them are around two weeks after you’ve booked your flight, hotel room, and anything else so that they can get all of the necessary information.

You can even get travel insurance after you’ve already left. Many, if not most, travel insurance companies offer the ability to get travel insurance when already abroad. They do have a cap-off date of around two weeks after you arrived at your destination, but if you would still like travel insurance but are a little late, you can get covered.

While getting your coverage late is doable, the best time to get your coverage is still as early as possible. Travel insurance companies, like all insurance companies, are risk-based. That means that they are going to give coverage based on any determined risk. The earlier that you get your insurance before leaving, the more aware they are that you will avoid risk. So, the earlier that you get the insurance, the more coverage you are likely to receive.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It When Visiting the UK?

Travel insurance is always worth the costs to give you peace and mind that you will be covered on your trip. If you are planning on doing any outdoor adventure, cruising or bringing expensive items like cameras and laptops make sure these are included in your policies.

Picking a travel insurance company can be overwhelming with all the choices, depending on the type of trip I have I will either start with an aggregators website like Go Compare, Confused and Money Super Market or go straight to trusted travel insurance companies like World Nomads, Covermore or True Traveller.

  • True Traveller is only for Europeans so it is restricted if you are travelling from places like Australia or the United States.
  • World Nomads is a very popular travel insurance company that provides cover across the world and also when you don’t have a country you reside in.  
  • Covermore will cover you if you are from Australia, India, New Zealand, the United States and the UK.

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