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Travel insurance restrictions in the UK

Cover only applies to pre-booked stays

UK travel insurance

Holidaymakers planning a ‘staycation’ this summer could get stung by restrictions if they fail to adhere to the tricky travel insurance terms and conditions relating to trips in the UK.

Failing to book accommodation ahead, or not journeying more than 25 miles from your home, may mean that you’re not covered if you try to make a claim.

Pre-booked accommodation only

When Which? Money analysed 80 travel insurance policies, we found that most insurance providers insist any trip in the UK is to pre-booked accommodation, typically with a minimum stay of two consecutive nights. 

Some insurers, such as ETA and Golfguard, told us they require a longer minimum three-night stay. If you decide to check in to a hotel on the spur of the moment – without pre-booking your stay – you won’t be covered.

The restrictions also stretch to the type of accommodation you plan to stay in. Most travel insurance policies specify that your holiday must be at a commercial property such as a hotel, bed & breakfast, hostel, cottage or similar accommodation rented for a fee. If you’re planning a camping holiday, you should check your policy first as some insurers, such as the AA, won’t provide cover for tents.

No cover within 25 miles

And many providers state that you won’t be able to make a claim if your accommodation is less than 25 miles away from your home. Some policies, such as Essential Travel’s Superior cover, insist that it must be at least 50 miles away.

Unlike the cover provided for trips taken overseas, the level of cover for UK trips may vary. For example, medical expenses for UK holidays are usually excluded, but this shouldn’t be an issue as NHS treatment is free.

However, if you are taken ill on holiday and need to go into hospital, some policies pay for you to be transferred to a hospital near to your home. For example, Aviva includes ‘associated expenses’ as part of its medical cover.

More on this…

  • Travel insurance review – the comprehensive Which? guide to travel insurance
  • Which? Recommended travel insurance Providers – the companies we rate
  • Pre-existing medical conditions – cover if you have a medical condition
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