As the price of flights, exchange rates and various hidden holiday taxes continue to escalate, holidaying in the UK is becoming ever more popular. Staycations, so called because you’re going on holiday but staying in the country you live in, can be anything from camping to cottage breaks and although good weather can’t exactly be guaranteed, hospitality, fun times and happy memories are.
If you were holidaying abroad, the thought of not taking out travel insurance wouldn’t even enter your head. Of course you would get it, I mean what if you’re luggage got lost on the plane or what about if you had an accident or got ill abroad? And whilst in this country we have the NHS, so we don’t need to worry about sorting out medical care and treatment, why is it we don’t take into consideration some of the other factors that could go wrong during a holiday in the UK, that having a good travel insurance policy in place would be able to sort out?
In a recent study undertaken by Zurich Insurance, it was revealed that the average UK adult carries approximately ?972 worth of belongings around with them, including items such as mobile phones, jewellery, iPods and laptops etc. Of those surveyed, 74% were unaware of how much their possessions cost and 57% underestimated the value of them by ?380. What’s interesting is that this survey reported on the belonging we carry about with us on a day to day basis, so imagine how much more it is when we go on holiday! Most good quality home insurance policies will cover your personal possessions, even if you are not at home, but you should always check the policy details as there may be some exclusions. It may be that you are only covered for items up to a certain value and items such as tents, bicycles and other outdoor equipment may need their own separate insurance as they are considered at a higher risk of theft.
So, if you’re covered for medical emergencies and illness by the NHS and your belongings are covered by your home insurance, why on earth would you need to take out travel insurance as well, when all your doing is spending a week up in the Lake District?
UK travel insurance provides you with a lot more cover than you would initially think and we’re going to take you through the benefits of having a decent policy in place, regardless of whether you are going to Manchester for a couple of nights on business, going to a family wedding in Scotland or camping at Glastonbury festival.
What will UK travel insurance cover me against?
Cancellation and Curtailment
Travel insurance can cover against all manner of scenarios relating to the cancellation or curtailment of your UK holiday, regardless of whether you, the travel company or the accommodation are to blame. What if you have to cut short your holiday due to illness, or you may randomly be called up to jury service two days before you’re due to go on holiday or what about if the hotel you’re due to stay in has a fire the week before you’re planning to be there? Travel insurance will cover you for these sort of eventualities and will mean you can claim back things like deposits or nightly charges for accommodation which may have been cut short. David Gaskell, Manager of Schofield Insurance Brokers, says, “The price of some of British holidays is now pretty high. With some large cottages costing over ?1,000 a week to hire, you could lose a lot of money if you are forced to go on jury service or a close relative is rushed to hospital.” travel expenses, such as pre-booked train tickets, internal flights or coach tickets may also end up being lost, but if you have travel insurance you should be able to claim some, if not all, of it back if you have a good enough reason as to why you had to cancel or cut short your holiday. Other valid reasons can include; home emergencies, bad weather, ill pets and pregnancy, although this will only be valid if you did not know you were pregnant when you first took out the policy. One key thin to remember when you book your holiday and sort out any travel arrangements is to keep all of your receipts as these will be absolutely vital in helping you with any claim you make on your travel insurance.
Missed or delayed travel
If you miss your train, bus, ferry or flight there is every possibility that you will be able to claim on your travel insurance for the cost of the tickets and any admin fees that may be involved in buying new ones. You will need to prove that the circumstances for you missing your transport were out of your control, as you will not be insured against excuses such as not getting yourself ready in time, the kids were playing up or your watch had stopped. If there is a genuine reason, such as bad traffic or lost keys then you are much more likely to be covered. Likewise, if your transport is delayed for over a certain length of time, you will be able to claim for the inconvenience and for any sundries, for example food and drink that you may have had to buy during your wait.? Every policy will be different however, and you will need to check how long the delay must be before you are entitled to make a claim and it is also worth being aware that internal flights are not always covered.
Baggage and belongings
We mentioned above that most home insurance policies will cover your personal possessions, regardless of whether they are in or out of your house, however you may prefer not to make a claim on your home insurance for the fear that it will drive your premiums up and ruin any no claims discount you may have built up. If this is the case, you should seriously consider taking out travel insurance, as there are just as many thieves and opportunists about in the UK as there are abroad. And it’s not just the threat of having your expensive items stolen that should encourage you to take out travel insurance, what about if something gets damaged? It could be that the stone falls out of your engagement ring or maybe the washing machine in your holiday cottage decides to chew up your favourite jumper, either way travel insurance will cover you for these type of misfortunes.
Although we are fortunate enough to have free health care courtesy of the NHS in the UK, if you do end up needing medical attention that requires you to go into hospital when you are miles and miles away from home, you may actually prefer to transfer to a hospital more local to you. If this is the case, you would have to pay for transportation to transfer you safely to the hospital of your choice and this may not be cheap. However, if you have travel insurance, this will all be covered and it means there’s one less thing for you to worry about at a time when your mind is likely to be worried about far more important things.
What won’t UK travel insurance cover me for?
As you can see, there are some huge benefits to taking out travel insurance before you holiday in the UK, but as with every insurance policy there are always exclusions to consider and great care must be taken when reading through the small print.? Every policy is different and each will have their own rules, but in general the following restrictions are common to UK travel insurance:
- You must be staying a certain distance away from your usual place or residence for it to be considered a holiday. This is usually set at 25 miles.
- You will only be covered against pre-paid accommodation and travel.
- You cannot claim for any private health care,
- You must meet the minimum requirements, for example your holiday duration must be of a duration no shorter than the stated amount.
Where is the best place to get UK travel insurance?
There are lots of insurance providers who specialise in providing UK travel insurance and many of the big worldwide travel insurance providers also offer this as an option. Your starting point should be a comparison website such as MoneySupermarket or Comparethemarket, which will enable you to compare the different policies available both in terms of what they offer and how much they cost. Talk to your friends and family about whether they have any recommendations, because insurers are likely to reward scheme in place for referrals and you may be able to negotiate a discount for both yourself and the existing policyholder.
Some holiday companies may offer you their own travel insurance as part of your holiday package, but don’t always assume that it will give you the best deal. By all means ask for more details and take it away to think it through, but never commit to signing up on the spot, as it is unlikely to be the cheapest available.
In general it works out more economical to buy an annual policy and this will cover you and your family for a year, meaning should any spur of the moment holidays crop up, you will be covered without even needing to think about it. Simon Lamble, from Confused.com, also advises “If you wait until the last minute before buying your travel insurance, you lose out on one of the key benefits ? cancellation cover. You are covered for cancellation from the moment you buy the policy, so the sooner you get your insurance sorted out the better.” As your holiday draws closer, it is likely that you will forget about important matters such as travel insurance and instead be thinking about trivial matters such as packing, so try and sort out your UK travel insurance from the moment you book your holiday.
You can’t insure the weather, but you can insure your holiday!