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Millions pre-book 2019 summer holidays: but is your trip protected?

Find out how to get the best travel insurance cover

One in 10 Brits have already booked a 2019 summer holiday, new research shows. But while we’re quick to pick a new swimsuit or research attractions, many drag their feet when it comes to buying travel insurance.

Already more than five million UK adults have booked a trip for next summer, with almost half (45%) hoping to hit the beach for their next getaway, according to data from Sainsbury’s Bank.

Those forgetting to buy travel insurance as soon as they book, however, risk losing the cost of their trip should any mishaps occur in the next twelve months.

Here, we explain how to make sure you get the right level of travel insurance protection for your next holiday.


When should I buy travel insurance?

Premature as it may seem, you really should buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday.

A good travel insurance policy will cover cancellations and mishaps that might occur in the run-up to your trip.

But you need to have the cover in place before these events crop up.

Otherwise, if the worst should happen and you need to cancel your trip, you might lose the full cost and be unable to re-book.

Buying a policy early also means that you have more time to shop around for a great deal that gives you the right level of cover.

What should travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance is designed to cover problems that crop up in the run-up to your holiday as well as when you’re travelling.

It’s not limited to destinations abroad, as you can also get travel insurance for UK trips too.

As a minimum, Which? suggests that your policy should cover the following:

Emergency medical cover £2m in Europe or £5m worldwide
Cancellation, curtailment and missed departure cover £3,000
Personal belongings and money cover £1,500
Personal liability cover £1m

Travel insurance policies usually offer a number of other elements, including personal accident cover, legal expenses insurance, sports equipment cover and insurance for disasters and unexpected events.

Before taking out a travel insurance policy it’s important to read the terms and conditions to make sure it’s suitable for you and covers everything that you need.

Travel insurance for UK holidays

Many people assume that you don’t need travel insurance for holidays in the UK, since you’re staying in the same country.

This is far from the truth, however, as costly problems could arise on a staycation, just as they could if you were abroad.

While there is access to the NHS for unexpected illness or injury, additional protection may be needed for other aspects of your trip, such as cover for lost or stolen baggage, travel delays or cancellations.

Certain holidays won’t be eligible for travel insurance protection in the UK and most policies won’t cover the following:

  • short breaks: a trip of less than two or three consecutive nights.
  • staying close to home: you’ll need to travel at least 50 miles away from your home.
  • staying with family: most travel insurance policies only cover commercial establishments like hotels and B&Bs.

If you’ve already booked a staycation for next summer, it’s really worth checking whether your trip qualifies for travel insurance protection and working out if it is worth it. While a budget week away may not need cover, a more expensive trip – especially one involving multiple bookings or activities – could be worth protecting.

Will my Ehic work after Brexit?

An Ehic is a free medical card which can be used throughout the EU and in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

It’s still unknown what will happen to the Ehic scheme once the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.

The government has suggested that some form of agreement will continue and in a Brexit White Paper suggested that the UK is likely to have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with some European counties.

Nothing has been finalised yet though, as a Brexit deal is still yet to be reached. For the time being, however, you can still apply for an Ehic card and use it on your travels.

Getting the right level of cover

None of us plan for things to go wrong on our holiday but it’s important to have a policy in place in case an unexpected emergency arises.

Starting your search for a travel insurance policy as early as possible will give you more time to find the best cover.

Price comparison websites are a great way of seeing what deals are out there quickly.

Avoid choosing a policy solely based on price and be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure that you get the right level of cover.

Exclusive Which? research found that insurance policy small print baffles readers and can be difficult to understand; so if you’re unsure of anything, get in touch with customer service for clarification.

Once you agree to the terms of a policy, making a travel insurance claim will be impossible for things that are excluded.

Check out our travel insurance guides for help on finding the best travel insurance policy and watch the short video below for tips on how to buy travel insurance.

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