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.

Originally posted: 2nd Sep 2020

Not sure when you should buy travel insurance?

The easiest way to look at this is when you buy a car when do you buy your insurance? Most people would say straight after you sign the dotted line and the same applies to your travel insurance. The simple way to look at it is “when is my money at risk?” in other words as soon as you have made a financial commitment towards your trip, you should book your travel insurance too.

If you’ve purchased a flight, put a deposit down on a holiday or paid out for accommodation, now’s the time to get travel insurance in place. Think of travel insurance as a backup if things don’t go to plan – it’s your security blanket if something should happen.

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When to buy single trip insurance

Single trip insurance covers you for one trip where you depart, and then return to the UK, and can cover you for multiple destinations as part of the same trip. If you’re buying single trip travel insurance, providing the policy includes cancellation cover, you will be protected from the moment you pay.

This means, that if you are forced to cancel your trip between the time you purchase your cover and your holiday departure date, you can turn to your insurance policy to recover your holiday costs (minus any excess applied to the policy).

Mantas Hesthaven G1wdckcv3w Unsplash

When to buy annual multi trip insurance

Annual multi trip travel insurance covers you for multiple trips across a 12 month period, so it works a little differently. Unlike single trip insurance where the cancellation cover becomes active the moment you pay for the policy, the cancellation cover on annual multi trip kicks in from the policy start date instead.

So for instance, if you pay for your policy today but it doesn’t start until 4 weeks’ time, you actually have no cancellation protection in place for those 4 weeks. This isn’t necessarily a problem providing you have not already booked and paid out money towards a holiday. If you have, it’s wise to start your annual policy on the same day you pay for it, just in case.

When to buy cruise cover

Again, you should get cruise travel insurance in place as soon as you’ve booked the cruise to protect you in case you have to cancel.

If you’re booking your cruise holiday well in advance, say a year to 18 months, the cost of travel insurance can be a bit more to insure against cancellation, as of course there is a long period before your departure date.

As well as the usual benefits you would receive from standard travel insurance, adding ‘Cruise Cover’ to your policy can also provide cover for:

  • Airlifting from the cruise ship to the mainland should you need to be hospitalised 
  • Missed port departure
  • Cabin confinement
  • Cruise interruption
  • Change of itinerary
  • Cover of unused excursions
  • Cruise cancellation
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When to buy cover for a UK holiday

If you’re planning a staycation, whether it be a week away or a weekend, the same rules of travel insurance apply. Once you have paid towards a hotel or accommodation you need to consider how much you stand to lose if you were to cancel, and if the amount is significant, then it’s time to get travel insurance. UK travel insurance will cover you for:

  • Cancelled accommodation
  • Cancelled/ delayed transport
  • Lost, stolen or damaged valuables

You can compare quotes for specialist UK travel insurance if you need to.  

What does travel insurance cover?

  • Medical treatment: if you need emergency treatment whilst away, you can get reimbursed for these costs, which can sometimes run into thousands of pounds. And, if you need to be brought home for treatment, it'll cover the costs to get you home safely too. 
  • Holiday disruptions: you could get reimbursed if there are cancellations of delays to your travel or accommodation. 
  • Possessions: if your luggage gets lost, your misplace your passport or you lose your phone these things can all be covered under travel insurance.
  • Legal costs: If you have to pay legal fees for an incident that wasn’t your fault, this may be covered under your insurance. Alternatively, you may also be covered if you need to pay personal liability if something happened that was your fault.

What doesn’t travel insurance cover?

  • Expensive tech: if you’re taking a lot of expensive gadgets like a smartphone, camera and laptop then these probably won’t all be covered under your standard travel insurance. So make sure that when you search for a quote you add the gadget cover, then we can show you quotes that will cover your more valuable gadgets.
  • Winter sports: winter sports like skiing and snowboarding aren’t usually covered under standard travel insurance, because they’re more of a high-risk activity. But don’t worry, just make sure you include winter sports cover when you’re searching for a quote with us. Then you can ski to your hearts content, knowing you’ve got the right cover should anything happen on, or off-piste.
  • Cruise cover: Going on a cruise is great fun, but it also needs a different type of insurance. If you were taken ill in the idle of the sea, it’s not as simple as popping out the local hospital. So cruise cover takes into account the extra implications in case you fall ill, it’s well worth the extra insurance.

What general exclusions are there?

When it comes to booking travel insurance, there re of course general exclusions that you ought to be aware of. Remember these do tend to change depending on your insurer, but generally they are:

  • A change of heart: You won’t be able to make a claim if you simply change your mind about travelling.
  • Reckless behaviour: If you cause any damage to yourself or anything else whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol you won’t be covered.
  • Risky activities: If you’re planning on doing any extreme sports – like skiing for example, then you will have to get specialist travel insurance to make sure you’re covered.
  • Unattended belongings: If you have left your possessions unattended and they go missing.
  • Undeclared medical conditions: If you become ill from your pre-existing medical condition but you haven’t informed your insurance provider about it, then you will not be covered.
  • Travel recommendations: If you decide to travel against government advice to certain locations (because of a risk of natural disasters or a pandemic) then your travel insurance will no longer be valid.

How much does travel insurance cost?

Well, this all depends on your own unique factors. These include; where you are going, for how long, your age and if you need any extra cover. To help save money, if you’re taking multiple trips in a year then it maybe best to get annual travel insurance. The general advice is that if you’re taking more than 3 trips a year it’ll probably work out cheaper to get an annual policy.

So, what affects the price of travel insurance?

This is usually affected by a number of things, including:

  • Your medical conditions: As mentioned above your pre-existing medical conditions may have an affect on your travel insurance cost, which is why we’re here to make sure you don’t pay through the roof to get the best cover.
  • The duration of your stay: if you’re away for a longer period of time, the likelihood is your insurance will cost you more.
  • Your age: Travel insurance is usually reasonable in your 20s and 30s, but it does usually increase once you’re in the over 65 bracket.
  • Activities: If you’re planning on doing a spot of skydiving or skiing, then naturally these riskier activities will add to your insurance costs.
  • Your level of cover: If you add things (like gadget cover) to your insurance policy, additional cover can add to the price.
  • Your destination: This depends on the price of local medical treatment and the costs of getting you home if you require further treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.
If you don't travel much then a single trip cover is perfect as you can cover specific dates suited to your trip. If you have cancellation cover, you'll also benefit from this as soon as you buy your policy. If you travel 2 or more times a year, it may be cheaper for you to go for an annual trip cover. It's best to start your annual trip cover as soon as possible, as if you have cancellation cover, you'll only benefit from this from your policy start date.
No. We can search for travel insurance quotes for all ages. However, the number of annual multi-trip quotes for older travellers may be limited due to age restrictions imposed by the providers that we search. If you are unable to get an annual trip quote, try a single trip quote instead.
You will need to add each country that you are visiting. If you are on a flight stopover this will include any countries where you leave the airport. If you are on a cruise it includes any countries where your ship will be docking at.
A pre-existing condition is a diagnosed medical condition that existed before taking out a policy. We'll ask a series of questions about the medical history for you and any travellers on your quote. If you answer yes to any of these, you will need to tell us about the traveller's conditions. This could be a condition that a traveller has now, or has had in the past. If you are not sure what conditions you need to declare, we have online support available to help you 24/7!
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