When you’re planning a trip, you might be wondering ‘do I need travel insurance?’.
Although it isn’t a mandatory requirement, travel insurance should be on your list of travel essentials.
From covering you for emergency medical treatment abroad to helping you get back home, buying a travel insurance policy before you take off could end up saving you thousands of pounds in hospital bills and travel fees if you become ill or experience flight delays or cancellations.
Is travel insurance compulsory?
Travel insurance isn’t a compulsory requirement for most international destinations, however, more and more countries are changing their approach to ensure visitors and tourists have the appropriate cover for their trip.
A growing number, including countries in Europe, South America, and the United Arab Emirates, are asking for proof of travel insurance before you arrive, or at the very least are expecting you to purchase travel insurance from a local provider during your stay.
Before you hit the road or set off for the airport, check whether the country you’re heading to needs to see your insurance documentation and make the necessary arrangements to get a policy.
Whether travel insurance is compulsory for your intended destination or not, it’s strongly recommended that travellers purchase a policy to suit their needs in the event of an emergency.
Why is travel insurance important?
There are risks associated with most things in life, and chances are everything will turn out fine. But when you’re in a different country trying out new experiences, the risks to your health and your safety are sometimes higher. From lost suitcases and hot temperatures to marketplace pickpockets and a visit to the emergency room, there are times when an unfamiliar setting can leave you in a vulnerable position. Even when you feel you’ve taken the appropriate steps to prevent falling ill or becoming a victim of theft, around 1 in 20 holidaymakers end up making a claim through their travel insurance each year.
Travel insurance is important as it offers an extra level of protection for those occasions when things don’t go to plan. The cost of your premium offers many benefits and an even greater value if the unexpected occurs. Having a travel insurance policy means that you won’t be faced with huge medical bills or the expense of a new plane ticket on top of the stress of any illness, injury, or crime you may fall foul of.
What does travel insurance usually cover?
Whether you’re longing to lounge on the beach or are excited about hitting the slopes, it’s clear that not all holidays are created equal. So, it makes sense that insurance providers don’t provide a one size fits all policy for travellers.
Allowing for variation between insurers, a standard travel insurance policy is likely to cover things like:
- Cancellation of your holiday.
- Curtailment of your trip if your holiday is cut short
- Lost/stolen personal belongings
- Personal accident
- Emergency medical expenses and repatriation to get you back home
- Personal liability
- Legal expenses
- Travel delay
However, depending on the type and duration of your stay, you can choose travel insurance to suit your needs, or if you have a pre-existing medical condition you can get a quote for a specialist travel insurance policy that will provide extended cover.
Do I need travel insurance for Europe?
If you’re travelling to Europe from the UK, there can often be some confusion over whether you need to take out travel insurance in addition to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC is designed to cover EU citizens for medical treatment equivalent to the level of care provided by the state in which they’re staying.
This can often be where UK tourists with an EHIC get caught out, as not all state healthcare in Europe is the same as in the UK. If you become injured or fall ill abroad, you may need to pay towards treatment or hospital costs and you won’t be covered for repatriation if you don’t have accompanying travel insurance.
Taking out separate travel insurance for Europe is highly recommended. A specialist policy will offer complete cover for emergency medical treatment and will ensure extended cover for any declared pre-existing conditions, as well as claiming for things like lost baggage or passport theft.
What are the different types of travel insurance?
As mentioned previously, travel insurance doesn’t take a universal approach to you and your getaways. There are lots of different types of travel insurance to accommodate either the frequency of your travel, the nature of your trip, or the condition of your health. This means you’ll only pay for the cover you need and get the best value from an extended policy.
The different types of travel insurance provide cover to suit your travel plans. Choose single trip travel insurance if you’re taking one trip to provide cover between specified dates or go for annual multi-trip travel insurance if you’ve got a few holidays or spontaneous city breaks lined up over the year.
Long stay travel insurance is perfect for those who are getting away from it all for several weeks, or maybe even a few months. If a cruise is more your style, cruise travel insurance offers cover for cabin confinement or changes to itinerary, or for extreme sports/off-piste enthusiasts winter sports travel insurance offers protection for ski and snowboard equipment and ski-run closures.
You can also compare travel insurance quotes for any pre-existing medical conditions you may have, so you can have extra peace of mind that any medical expenses will be taken care of in the event of an emergency.
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