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 road trip abroad or in the UK can be incredibly exciting. Even after we have invested hours mapping out our route, making sure to include the sights we want to see, the excitement of our upcoming adventure remains.

However, as we finally set off on our holiday, thoughts of a car accident are often far from our consciousness. Yet, a moment's distraction on unfamiliar roads or a simple miss at a red light can lead to various implications that can be challenging to navigate, particularly when in a foreign country.

In this guide, we delve into what travellers can expect from their travel insurance in the event of a car accident, ensuring you are prepared for the unexpected.

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The Vital Role of Travel Insurance

Over the years, travel insurance has transformed into an essential item when preparing to head off on holiday. It is advised that you purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip away, as it should provide you with protection, even before you have left your house.

When it comes to car accidents on holiday, understanding the nuances of what your travel insurance covers is paramount. But first, let us highlight why travel insurance, specifically, is critical.

In the context of travel insurance, it blends personal insurance (such as medical and personal belongings) with travel-related hardships (such as cancellation and curtailment), ensuring a comprehensive safety net that regular car insurance or the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)/European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will not provide

For more information read our blog on GHIC/EHIC.

The Importance of the Right Car Insurance Abroad

Before you venture abroad, ensuring you have the appropriate car or hire car insurance is just as essential as your travel insurance. Driving in a foreign country comes with its own set of challenges and regulations, and your standard car insurance might not cover you outside the UK. It's crucial to check if your policy extends to international trips and, if not, consider purchasing additional protection.

Hiring a car? Then, hire car insurance is a necessity. While rental companies often offer insurance, the cover can be basic and leave you significantly out of pocket in case of an accident or theft. Look into options for excess cover or a collision damage waiver to enhance your protection.

Remember, being well-informed about your car insurance before heading abroad can save you from potential headaches and unforeseen expenses. Make sure to do your homework, so you can focus on the fun part – exploring new destinations.

Car Accident

What Will My Travel Insurance Cover Me for Following a Car Accident Abroad?

Understanding what would be covered by your travel insurance vs. your car insurance, can be confusing. Let us explore what is covered by your travel insurance following a car accident.

Medical Expenses and Injuries

Whilst abroad, imagine being in an accident that leaves you or your travel companions in need of medical attention. Not only is the experience itself quite frightening it can be even more troublesome, should this happen in a foreign country.

This is where travel insurance shines, travel insurance will usually help to pick up the medical costs for you and your insured travelling companions, following an accident.

Your travel insurance should encompass hospital stays, surgeries, ambulance services, and follow-up treatments, offering peace of mind even in the most severe circumstances. You can also include protection for any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.

Additionally, should you or your travel companions require repatriation back to the UK, following the accident, travel insurance should provide cover for this too. Always make sure to check your documents to see what is specifically covered.

Curtailment and Cancellation

A significant aspect of travel insurance is the means to recoup losses incurred from a trip cut short (curtailment) due to a personal accident.

For instance, should you be in a car accident and need to cut your holiday short, your insurance could step in to help recoup the costs of your holiday.

This means that your insurance should extend to non-refundable travel expenses for the unused portion of your holiday, such as pre-paid hotel bookings and activities. This could include any costs you have made for your vehicle hire too.

Find out more in our guide What is Curtailment.

Personal Belongings

When it comes to your personal belongings, your travel insurance policy can potentially help here. If you are in an accident and your personal belongings that were in the vehicle with you, are damaged, lost or stolen, you could be able to claim for these too.

Some car insurances may include protection for personal belongings already – however, this only applies to belongings inside the car. If your items are lost stolen or damaged when outside of the car, these may not be covered by the car insurance.

Bear in mind, that where there is a cross-over in protection from multiple insurance policies, you will only be able to claim from one of the policies. Trying to claim for the same thing on multiple insurance policies could be deemed as fraud, which may land you in a lot of trouble with the police.

If in doubt, speak with your insurance provider and let them know, when making a claim.

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What Would Not be Covered by my Travel Insurance?

There are just some things that travel insurance will not protect against when you are in a car accident. Let us delve into the most common things that will not be protected.

Damage to the Vehicle

Following an accident, your travel insurance would not protect against damage to the vehicle you were driving.

In this situation, your car insurance (if you are driving your vehicle) or the insurance you obtained with your hire car, may be able to help here. Check what alternative protection you have in place – as travel insurance cannot help.


Not everything encountered on the road is covered by travel insurance. If you are responsible for an accident resulting in property damage or injuries to another party, your travel insurance will not provide cover. 

Usually, liability protection is part of rental car insurance and is included in your personal car insurance policy. Make sure to review your car insurance documents to see whats covered. 

Being Under the Influence

Regardless of whether you are in a car accident or not, most travel insurance providers may not provide cover for any claims, whereby the policyholder was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.

Additionally, it is not surprising that car accidents caused whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, may invalidate your car insurance too. Essentially, driving under the influence is not merely risky behaviour, it is self-exclusion from your policy's protection benefits.

Woodland Roadtrip

What About Car Accidents in the UK?

If you have decided to head off on a UK road trip, you will be aware that, by law, you need to have car insurance in place, to be able to drive any vehicle. Should you decide to hire a rental vehicle, most rental companies will include insurance with your hire. Make sure you read the policy wording carefully to understand what is covered.

Even though you are heading off on a UK adventure, you should still have travel insurance in place. A good policy will usually cover you for curtailment should you need to cut your holiday short, meaning you can recover any loss of expenses (e.g. pre-booked accommodation).

Before embarking on your next road trip adventure abroad, ensure your travel insurance policy is as prepared as you are. Confirm the inclusion of medical protection and take the time to understand the cancellation and curtailment benefits.

Travel insurance is a multifaceted product. The decision to purchase it — and the need to thoroughly understand its cover — is as crucial as any item on your packing list. Accidents are unforeseeable, so when the unexpected impact of a car accident arises, the aim is to emerge unharmed, both physically and financially.

For additional information and articles, visit our blog. Alternatively, explore our guides for more insights on travel insurance.

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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.

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.

Cancellation amounts will be per person. So, if you were going on a trip for 2 people which cost £1,000 in total you would ideally need cancellation cover for at least £500.
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