Pre-existing medical conditions?

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An unlucky traveller in hospital after an accident on holiday

Compare the best travel insurance

Don't risk jetting off on holiday without first ensuring you have adequate travel insurance for your trip. Whether you're taking a two-week break in the sun, a short break for the weekend, or a round-the-world adventure, search now and compare policies from more than 50 travel insurance providers.

Why is cover so important?

Knowing you have protection from a travel insurance policy will give you the comfort you need to kick back, relax and enjoy your holiday...

The last thing you want to happen when you are away is to find yourself high and dry with nowhere to turn should you have the misfortune of something going wrong. Taking out a travel insurance policy will not only give you peace of mind, it will ensure you can receive help and assistance when you need it.

Travel insurance covers you for a range of areas, though exactly what you're covered for will depend on the quality of the policy you buy. Your policy could include cancellation cover should you have to cancel your plans before you have even flown away, medical costs if you were to fall ill or be hospitalised while on holiday, cover for your baggage and money, cover for travel delays, curtailment costs should you have to cut your holiday short, and liability cover should you cause an accident while away. There is also a huge range of other cover types so check your travel insurance policy carefully. 

Be aware that while you want to get the best price possible, cheap travel insurance is not always a good buy as you may not have sufficient cover. The more you pay for your policy, the higher the level of cover you will have. In fact, you can often get more protection for only pennies more, so buy carefully.

When buying your policy it's particularly important to ensure that your holiday cost is covered for cancellation, you have sufficient medical cover and that you are aware of how your policy works should you need to make a claim.

Types of policy

With a range of holiday insurance policies on offer, which policy is right for you?

There are two main types of travel insurance. Single trip and annual trip cover. 

A single trip policy covers you for one individual trip from the first date of travel until the day you return home. If you are an infrequent traveller, this will be the best type of policy for you.

Annual cover (or annual multi-trip cover) operates for a full year with an unlimited number of trips; however, you can only usually travel away for up to around one month at a time. This type of policy works out better value when you travel away two to three times a year.

Each type of policy will be available for cover in Europe or worldwide (either including or excluding the USA/Canada) and you can buy a policy for a single traveller, a couple, family or even a group.

Read our guides to give you more information.

What is an EHIC?

Many people travel away with an EHIC believing they have insurance. We explain why it is insufficient for your travel plans...

The EHIC , or European Health Insurance Card (previously known as the E111), is a European-wide scheme that allows nationals of the EU and wider European Economic Zone to travel within the countries and receive the same free health care that they would receive if they were a national of the country they are visiting.

While this in principle sounds like a great idea, the levels of free care on offer across many European countries when you fall ill or have an accident are generally not as good as those here at home on the NHS.  You might, for example, be asked to pay for items such as drugs, plaster casts, many hospital procedures and even things such as ambulances and doctor's appointments.

To ensure you take away the worry and concern of facing huge unexpected medical bills, always take out a full travel insurance policy with a good level of medical cover. Not only will you then have protection against bills, you will also have a friendly person here in the UK at the end of the phone to help you when you need medical attention and to guide you through the hospital. Having a policy will also ensure that treatment is not delayed as the doctors or hospital know they will get paid.

Other types of travel insurance

There are a range of extra levels of cover that you can add on to your travel insurance policy. We round up some of the main ones...

Anyone who is travelling and has suffered with health problems will probably need to consider applying for cover that includes pre-existing medical conditions. These policies take into account any treatment and condition you have and apply special premiums to ensure you can still travel and receive care and attention at a reasonable price.

Those who love their winter sports will need to take out cover specifically for skiing and snowboarding. The cover is often sold as a bolt-on to an existing policy and the higher premium reflects the increased risk of medical treatment, as well as additional cover for ski equipment, piste closures and the loss of expensive lift passes. If you are doing winter sports, ensure you have full winter sports travel insurance to protect you.

Many people take cruise holidays and ensuring that your holiday is fully covered is important. Therefore check that any policy you are choosing covers cruises. Cruise insurance is often sold as an add-on to many policies.

Backpacker or long-stay insurance is used by those who travel for periods of more than one month and is often sold for up to one year away. Effectively it is like normal travel cover but gives you peace of mind for an extended travel period.