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If you're going on holiday in the UK, it might never occur to you to take out travel insurance. After all, you've got motor insurance if you’re driving, the NHS to fall back on if you get ill, and your home contents insurance should cover you if you lose your possessions. However, there are still some valid reasons why you should make sure you take out extra cover.
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.
What's classed as a pre-existing condition? Can you extend your cover? If you're perplexed by your policy, our handy guide to all things travel insurance means you'll never get lost in the legalese again.Read more about Your travel insurance questions answered
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The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides valuable up-to-date travel advice for British citizens abroad. It is the best resource for reliable safety and security information. You can also find other important details, such as local laws, passport information and visa requirements. Stay safe abroad – check the FCDO before you travel.