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Get the right travel insurance for you
UK holiday insurance covers several other eventualities – having a policy in place could prevent you from ending up seriously out of pocket.
Cancellation cover. Say, for example, you or someone in your family or holiday party fell ill or was injured before you even set off. If you had no choice but to cancel, you could lose the deposit on your holiday home or your hotel or guesthouse accommodation. You might even lose the full cost of the holiday itself, including rail or air tickets you bought in advance.
However, if you have UK travel insurance in place with cancellation cover included, you can claim for all these costs, provided you have evidence that it was necessary to cancel your trip. This might take the form of a letter from your GP or from the hospital where the person affected was treated.
Hospital transfer. Thanks to the glories of the NHS in the UK, you cannot normally claim for medical expenses on a holiday insurance policy. But if you or a family member are confined to hospital while you’re away, your policy might pay for you to be transferred to a hospital closer to home, so you can be nearer to your nearest and dearest. On many policies you can also claim hospital benefit for those little extras you may need to buy to make your stay on the ward more comfortable.
The one exception to this is if you fall ill or are hospitalised in the Channel Islands, where you won't be able to get NHS treatment and where you cannot use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get the same free treatment as a local (you can use EHIC cards in Europe). So, if you're heading to the Channel Islands, check to see if your policy will cover you, as medical cover is vital to avoid huge bills on the islands. Note that the Isle of Man does have a reciprocal medical agreement in place, though.
Delayed departure. In addition to cancellation, UK travel insurance might also compensate you if you miss your train, ferry or flight because of circumstances beyond your control. However, some policies exclude internal flights, so you'll need to check the small print.
Protect your possessions. Even if your home contents insurance covers items away from the home, it might not provide the scope of cover you require. For example, an expensive item such as a camera, tablet computer or piece of jewellery might fall outside the limits of your policy.
What's more, you could have a no claims bonus on your home contents insurance that would be reduced or removed if you made a claim, or the excess on your contents policy may be higher than that on your travel insurance, meaning you would have to pay more towards the cost of the claim.
UK policies differ in the amount and extent of cover they provide, so it’s essential that you read the policy detail when you buy.
For example, your policy might cover cancellation but require you to opt in for loss or theft protection, while the amount of insurance provided will also vary. We recommend the following lower limits for the various parts of your policy:
There are a variety of policy types on offer, so make sure you buy the cover that is right for you.
Holiday insurance is available for a single trip or as an annual 'multi-trip' policy. Choose the former and you can specify that you want UK cover. If you go for the latter, it should cover you for your UK trips as well as holidays further afield (you can opt for European or worldwide protection).
Cover for UK holidays will not normally be as extensive as for overseas trips though. As mentioned above, you generally cannot claim for the cost of medical treatment as the insurer will expect you to be treated under the NHS. Also, the policy will only cover accommodation and journeys booked in advance, and the holiday must be beyond a certain distance (say, 25 miles) from where you live.
The policy might also stipulate a minimum length of stay at your destination, such as three nights, so if your plans don't fit this ensure you buy dedicated UK cover to protect those short trips. Business trips may also be excluded, so again check the small print.