Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

Planning a short trip away, whether it's a quick weekend getaway or a last-minute short trip, is always exciting. The thrill of exploring new destinations, even if just for a few days, can be a refreshing escape from our daily routines. However, amid the excitement of booking flights, choosing accommodations, and planning itineraries, it's crucial to remember one essential element: travel insurance.

Many people often overlook travel insurance for short trips, thinking it's only necessary for long holidays or distant journeys, or think that, as it is only a short trip, nothing will happen... Yet, even short trips can benefit greatly from the peace of mind that comes with having the right cover. From unexpected cancellations and delays to medical emergencies and lost baggage, travel insurance ensures that you are prepared for unforeseen events that could otherwise disrupt your travel plans.

In this guide, we'll provide a comprehensive insight into travel insurance for short trips. We'll explore the different types of cover available, what to look for in a policy, and how to choose the best insurance for your needs. Whether you're staying put in the UK or visiting somewhere nearby, ensuring you have adequate travel insurance will help you enjoy a worry-free travel experience, allowing you to focus on making the most of your short getaway.

Do I need Travel Insurance for a Short Trip/Weekend Away?

Absolutely! Travel insurance is essential even for short trips or weekend getaways. The purpose of any insurance is to help protect you from potential unforeseen financial losses. While you may think a short trip is less likely to encounter any major issues, the reality is that accidents and unexpected events can happen at any time.

For instance, you might face a sudden illness, lose your luggage, or deal with flight/travel cancellations that can disrupt your entire plan. Travel insurance can cover medical expenses, reimburse you for lost belongings, and even provide assistance in case of emergencies. Investing in travel insurance gives you peace of mind, knowing that you are protected no matter where your adventures take you.

READ MORE: Do You Need Travel Insurance?

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Do I need Travel Insurance for UK Trips?

Yes, travel insurance can still be very useful for weekends away around the UK. Whilst the NHS provides excellent healthcare throughout the UK, travel insurance offers additional benefits that can enhance your peace of mind.

In short, while the scope of your travel might be limited to within the UK, the range of protections offered by travel insurance remains invaluable. It safeguards against a myriad of potential disruptions and unexpected costs, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trip.

READ MORE: Travel Insurance for Trips in the UK

What about GHIC/EHIC?

While the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) and the soon-to-be-phased-out European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provide medical assistance, the care you receive may not be as freely accessible as it is through the NHS.

For example, it only covers "medically necessary healthcare"—emergency treatment or care that cannot wait until your return to the UK. Depending on where in Europe you are, even with a GHIC/EHIC in place, you may still be expected to cover costs that are typically incurred by local residents. Furthermore, this treatment is available only at select state-run healthcare facilities.

READ MORE: Guide to GHIC, EHIC and Travel Insurance

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Understanding Travel Insurance for Short Trips

Travel insurance can seem complex, but understanding the basics will make choosing the right policy for your needs easier. Knowing what cover options are available to protect yourself during your travels is crucial. Here are the key types of travel insurance you should be aware of:

Types of Travel Insurance

Single Trip Policies: Perfect for those who travel occasionally, these comprehensive policies cover a single trip from start to finish. From the moment you purchase your policy, cancellation cover comes into force. Then, from the start of your holiday, all of your other benefits come into play (Curtailment, Medical Emergency, Personal belongings, etc.).

Single Trip policies provide peace of mind with cover tailored specifically to the dates and destinations of your journey, ensuring that every aspect of your holiday is protected.

Annual Multi-Trip Policies: Ideal for frequent travellers, these policies cover multiple trips throughout one calendar year and usually provide the same benefits as a single trip policy. Annual Multi-Trip policies can be purchased to include:

  • Europe
  • Worldwide (excluding the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean)
  • Worldwide

If you have already booked your summer holiday to Spain, but feel like a quick weekend away to France, both of your trips would be covered under the same policy, providing the trips take place within your policy’s lifetime. This option is usually more cost-effective (if you take more than one holiday a year) and convenient, saving you the hassle of purchasing individual policies for each trip.

Common Features of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance policies typically cover the following aspects: medical expenses incurred during your trip, trip cancellations or interruptions, lost or delayed baggage, and repatriation. Additionally, they may include 24/7 assistance services and protection for travel delays, ensuring peace of mind while you explore new destinations.

Trip Cancellation and Curtailment: Reimbursement for non-refundable expenses if you have to cancel or cut short your trip (curtailment) due to unforeseen circumstances, such as illness, unexpected bereavement, or other unexpected events that disrupt your travel plans.

READ MORE: Trip Cancellation & Curtailment

Medical Expenses: Comprehensive cover for medical emergencies, which includes hospitalisation, necessary treatments, and repatriation back to the UK if required. This ensures you receive the best care and support during unforeseen health crises.

READ MORE: Repatriation Cover

Luggage Protection: Compensation for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage and personal belongings, covering the costs of replacement or repair to ensure travellers are not left at a financial disadvantage. This includes reimbursement for essential items and any expenses incurred due to the inconvenience.

READ MORE: Personal Belongings Cover

Travel Delay: Financial support will be provided if your trip is delayed beyond a certain number of hours, ensuring you have assistance for any unexpected expenses or inconveniences during your journey.

Additional Cover: If you are heading on a short cruise or winter sports weekend getaway, you will likely need to purchase further protection to ensure your travel insurance covers these activities.

READ MORE: Cruise Travel Insurance  and Winter Sports Cover

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Pre-Existing Conditions

When purchasing travel insurance, it's vital to declare any pre-existing medical conditions to ensure you are fully protected. Typically, this involves filling out an online medical questionnaire, detailing your medical history and any ongoing treatments or medications. Failing to declare these conditions can result in claims being denied, leaving you vulnerable during your travels. Many providers offer specialised cover for pre-existing conditions, providing peace of mind and protection.

READ MORE: Online Medical Screening

Medical Essentials for Short Trips

Even for short or last-minute trips away, there are always some things you should remember to pack, such as:

First-Aid Kit: Plasters for minor cuts and scrapes, antiseptic wipes/creams to clean wounds, painkillers for headaches or minor pains.

READ MORE: 10 Essentials for Your Holiday Medical Kit

Sunscreen: Ensure you pack sun protection for your skin. Use a high-SPF sunscreen to guard against harmful UV rays, especially when travelling to sunny destinations.

READ MORE: How to Stay Safe in the Sun

Medications: Always carry a sufficient supply of your medications in their original packaging, alongside a copy of your prescription, to avoid any issues at customs.

READ MORE: Travelling with Medications

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How and When to Buy Travel Insurance

Purchasing travel insurance doesn't have to be complicated. Here are some tips to make the process smoother:

Tips on How and When to Purchase Travel Insurance

Buy Early: Purchase your travel insurance as soon as you book your trip to ensure you're covered for any unexpected cancellations before you depart. This proactive step not only protects your financial investment but also provides peace of mind, letting you fully enjoy the anticipation of your upcoming journey without worry.

Shop Around: Here at Medical Travel Compared, we specialise in helping you compare travel insurance quotes, whether you're planning a last-minute getaway, a short break or a long holiday. With our panel of 30+ travel insurance specialist providers, we offer a comprehensive comparison of numerous options, ensuring you find the best protection to suit your needs. Our user-friendly platform makes it easy to navigate through different policies, helping you save time and money while securing peace of mind for your travels.

Read Reviews: Check feedback from other customers to gauge an insurer's reliability and customer service. Look for reviews that mention how quickly and efficiently claims were processed, how helpful and responsive the customer service team was, and whether customers felt their needs and concerns were addressed satisfactorily. This will give you a clearer picture of what to expect from the insurer.

How to Compare Policies

Cover Limits: Compare what is covered under each policy, including the specific benefits and services provided, and be sure to note any exclusions or limitations. This will help ensure you understand the full scope of protection offered and identify any gaps in cover.

Excess Fees: Be aware of any excesses you might need to pay when making a claim. These fees can sometimes be unexpected, so it’s important to read the fine print of your policy and understand the costs involved before proceeding. Knowing this in advance can help you avoid any surprises and better manage your finances.

Additional Benefits: Look for extra benefits such as 24/7 assistance, which can provide support at any time of day or night, or cover for missed connections, ensuring you don't incur additional costs or delays if your travel plans change unexpectedly.

Defaqto Ratings: Defaqto is an independent research company that assesses the quality of financial products. Defaqto’s rating system can help you compare policies and understand the policy's features and benefits, from 1-star (lowest) to 5-star (highest). This can be a useful tool in evaluating different options and making an informed decision.

READ MORE: Defaqto Ratings Explained

Travel insurance for short trips is an essential investment, providing peace of mind and protecting you from unexpected expenses. Whether you're heading off on a weekend getaway or exploring a new country on a spontaneous short break, it's crucial to choose the right cover that suits your needs.

By understanding the types of travel insurance available, such as single-trip policies and multi-trip policies, you can find the best fit for your travel habits. Additionally, recognising the importance of medical cover, trip cancellation and lost luggage, is vital. The right travel insurance can help to turn a potential travel disaster into a minor inconvenience, allowing you to focus on enjoying your trip.

For more information, explore our extensive articles in our travel insurance guide section. Alternatively, you can also visit our travel blog for helpful travel tips.

Get a quote

It's easy! Enter your details just once and you'll be able to compare quotes from over 30 specialist providers. We'll even e-mail your top quotes to you so you can access them at any time. Once you've found the policy that is right for you, pay securely online and your documents will be sent to you directly from your insurance provider.

Single Trip insurance is for one-off, individual trips and will cover your specified travel dates. This is usually up to 45 days; however, some insurance providers can cover up to 94 days. If you’re not a frequent traveller, single trip cover is a great option and will likely be cheaper than an annual multi-trip cover.

The start date will need to be the date you leave your home to start your trip, and the end date will be when you arrive back home. This includes any travel to and from an airport or port.

If you travel 2 or more times a year, annual trip cover may very well save you money. The maximum duration of any trip will always be specified and will vary by provider. But don't worry, when you get a quote, we'll ask you what your maximum trip length is and only show you quotes that match!

A pre-existing is any medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received before applying for a travel insurance policy. For some conditions, we'll need to know if they have ever been present, whilst for others if they occurred within a certain period.

It is simple and quick to do! After you've told us about your trip details and answered some medical history questions you can add your pre-existing conditions, one by one, for each traveller. You'll only need to enter your details once, it's all online and there's no need to call, or provide details of your conditions in writing.

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