Travel plans for many Brits have been dramatically altered due to the impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. It is unclear how easy foreign travel will be this year – with lockdown restrictions in different countries and quarantine rules on arrival, as well as when you return home. It is estimated that 4 out of 5 Brits (84%) are planning a ‘Staycation’ during 2021.

There are a number of advantages to holidaying closer to home – reduced travel time, no busy airports and savings on lots of additional costs such as flights, transfers and currency exchange. All we need is for the British weather to cooperate!

However, if you’re considering a ‘Staycation’ without travel insurance in order to save money, you may want to reconsider. It is worth taking out a policy at the time of booking, so you are covered and won’t be left out of pocket if your holiday doesn’t go to plan.

Do you need travel insurance for UK holidays?

You do not need UK travel insurance for medical cover, as your treatment is free with the NHS. However, it could offer you protection for other unexpected issues with your trip such as cancellation/curtailment and lost/stolen/damaged luggage.

Think about what you are taking with you and what activities you might be doing during your holiday, as well as how much you have already spent on travel and accommodation. If you are driving to stay with a friend or family member and taking nothing of great value, it may not be worth taking out a policy. However, if you are flying to Scotland with golf clubs, electronic tablets, camera equipment etc, then it is something you should definitely consider.

Don’t I already have cover with my other insurance policies?

If you only need cover for your luggage and possessions, you may already be covered by your home insurance policy. It is important to check whether your home contents insurance policy covers personal possessions away from home. This is usually an optional extra on a policy, and not everyone will have opted to take it out. It is also important to check which possessions you have cover for, and that any limit on the policy is high enough to cover everything you plan to take with you.

If you have breakdown cover, this may cover you for getting home or to your destination if you are driving there. You need to double check that your policy has national cover and includes onward travel.

Having home insurance and breakdown cover can be an advantage if something happens with your UK travel, but neither will cover as many eventualities as having a dedicated travel insurance policy.

Choosing the right UK travel insurance policy

Think about how frequently you plan to holiday within the next 12 months. You can take out either an annual policy or a single trip policy. It is important to take out your policy at the same time you book your holiday. This will ensure that you are immediately covered for cancellation. Be sure to choose a policy that has adequate cover for all your requirements.

Travel insurance policies purchased through Buckingham Insurance include ‘failure of supplier’ for added peace of mind.

Annual Policies

If you already have an annual policy for European or worldwide destinations, your UK trips will be covered. Be sure to check for any exclusions around UK travel.

If you think you might go further afield in the next 12 months, opt for a European or worldwide annual policy, as it will include UK travel.

Single Trip Policies

When you take out travel insurance for a single trip, you have to specify the country you are travelling to. If you say your whole trip is in the UK, your policy will only cover you there.

Policies for UK holidays are likely to be quite cheap, as the risk of you making a claim for medical treatment is very low, due to being eligible for treatment on the NHS. If you think you might go abroad in the next 12 months or part of your trip is outside the UK, it might work out cheaper to buy an annual policy instead.

Cover for valuables

If you are taking electronic gadgets and valuables with you, ensure your policy has a high enough single-item limit to cover them. That is the maximum amount you can claim for each item. You can always buy optional extra cover for valuables if the policy doesn’t offer enough cover as standard for your needs.

Activities

If you are planning on doing some adventurous activities while you are holidaying in the UK, opt for a policy that covers them. If you plan to do any mountaineering, climbing or diving, you will need a policy that covers you for these ‘additional risk’ activities.

What does UK Travel Insurance cover?

  • Cancellation and curtailment

If you can no longer travel due to unforeseen circumstances such as a death, injury or being called for jury service, cancellation cover could refund some of the money you’ve paid out for travel, accommodation and any pre-booked excursions. If your trip is unexpectedly cut short for similar reasons, curtailment cover can compensate you for the part of your trip you miss out on.

  • Valuables/Possessions

You are covered if your possessions are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip.

  • Personal liability

If you accidentally injure someone or damage property, personal liability will cover the legal costs of someone making a claim against you.

  • Hospital benefit and transfer

You cannot usually make a claim for medical treatment on travel insurance in the UK, because it’s provided free with the NHS. However, some policies might include hospital benefit, which is a small sum to buy things to make you more comfortable if you need to go in for treatment during your trip. There might also be cover for a private hospital transfer to take you to a hospital closer to your home or family.

What isn’t covered by UK travel insurance?

When you take out UK travel insurance, there are some exclusions that you need to be aware of:

  • Medical treatment: If you are injured or unwell, you will be treated for free by the NHS.
  • Travel delay and cancellation: Your first point of contact for a refund is the travel operator or provider, if the delay or cancellation is their fault. If for some reason that is not possible, for example if they’ve gone bust, you might then be able to claim on your travel insurance instead. Travel insurance policies purchased through Buckingham Insurance include ‘failure of supplier’ for added peace of mind.
  • Short breaks: Some travel insurance policies, especially annual ones, will have a minimum number of nights away that count as a trip. You probably won’t be covered for day trips.
  • Staying close to home: Your UK travel insurance may have a minimum distance you need to stay from your home address for it to count as a trip and to be eligible for a travel insurance claim. For example, at least 25 miles away. This is to stop fraudulent claims for things that have happened in everyday life, rather than when they are away from home.
  • Staying with family: Check the terms of your policy if you plan to stay at the home address of friends or family. Some policies won’t count that as a trip away and won’t cover any claims for it.

Will UK travel insurance cover domestic flights?

If you need to cancel your trip for any of the reasons listed in your policy, you should be covered for all of your pre-booked travel expenses, including domestic flights.

Cancellation reasons typically include:

  • Jury service
  • A bereavement
  • A fire or flood at your home
  • An illness or injury
  • Your destination becoming unsafe

If your flight is cancelled or delayed by the flight company, you will have to look to the flight provider first for compensation. If they are unable to reimburse you, you might then be able to claim on your travel insurance.

Who might benefit from having travel insurance in the UK?

Anyone who is travelling in the UK will benefit from having the peace of mind of knowing they have travel insurance. However, there are certain groups of travellers that should definitely consider it.

  • Frequent Business Travellers

If you travel around the UK for business, travel insurance might be useful for you, especially if you’re self-employed and cover the cost of travelling yourself. You will need to state if you are travelling for work when you take out the policy, as not all insurers cover UK business trips.

  • Golfers

If you are planning a golfing break in the UK, you might be taking expensive clubs with you. Standard travel insurance will cover you for loss or damage to your baggage, but it might not extend to golfing equipment. Some policies will include cover for golf clubs as standard. With other policies, you can usually add additional cover for a fee.

  • Winter sports travellers

It might be easier for you to transport your skis and snowboards in the UK, when you don’t have the added complication of airports and flights. You can get cover for winter sports as an optional extra, even for UK travel insurance policies.

**The FCDO is currently advising against travel to countries on the amber or red list. Up to date information can be found on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website**

Tony Buckingham, Managing Director of Buckingham Insurance says, “The situation with Covid-19 and travel is constantly evolving. To discuss your travel insurance policy and to make sure you have adequate cover, please contact us or telephone one of our friendly staff on 01246 575 625 (Clowne) or 01773 748 627 (Ripley). They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.”