Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance Policies – What They Cover

A couple is shown travelling on a coach

According to ABTA, nearly 10 million Britons travelled abroad in 2017 without any insurance, with insufficient insurance or didn’t take out the right travel insurance. In this article, we examine:

  • What travel insurance covers
  • What excess is in travel insurance
  • Whether travel insurance is compulsory

What does travel insurance cover?

Instead of opting for the cheapest travel insurance, you should always read its terms and conditions carefully as policies vary from insurer to insurer. Medical expenses Although an EHIC card entitles you to medical care in Europe, it isn’t valid in the rest of the world and doesn’t cover you for the costs of repatriation. It’s recommended that your travel insurance should cover you for £1 million of medical expenses in Europe or £2 million for other destinations. The main cover you should expect are:

Loss, damage & theft of personal belongings

Travel insurance usually covers you for the loss of £1,500-£2,000 of personal possessions although you should be vigilant and always keep your valuables with you. There might be a limit for the amount you can claim for a single item.

Travel insurance covers you the loss of  £1,500-£2,000 of personal possessions

Personal liability

In case you’re involved in an accident, personal liability will cover the costs of any legal costs and/or compensation up to about £1 million.


If your personal circumstances mean you have to cancel your holiday, your travel insurance policy will cover you for the cost of any prepayments so you don’t suffer any financial loss.

Delay cover & missed departure

Insurers will pay out if you encounter delays of over 12 hours in your departure although you’ll be expected to keep receipts to provide proof of extra expenditure.
As long as you can prove that you allowed plenty of time for your journey, your insurer will also pay out if you missed your departure because of circumstances beyond your control.

A man is shown travelling and boarding a train

Holiday cash

A good travel insurance policy will also compensate you for any lost or stolen cash (up to about £250) as long as you provide a local police report and report the matter within 24 hours.

24/7 assistance

If something goes wrong while you’re away, your insurer should provide you with round-the-clock support.

What does ‘excess’ mean in travel insurance?

Few travel insurance policies will pay 100% of any claim that you make. Your policy will clearly specify your financial contribution to any claim and this is your excess. Although this is £100 on average, this varies from insurer to insurer. The excess could be a single one-off payment or it could be calculated separately for every claim. If you’re travelling as a family on a group travel insurance policy, the excess might even be per claim per person. Some insurance companies will allow you to take out an excess waiver. However, this will increase the cost of your travel insurance.

Is travel insurance compulsory?

Countries are increasingly introducing laws to make travel insurance compulsory. Among these countries are Finland, Cuba, Qatar and Thailand. This is to avoid holidaymakers leaving unpaid medical bills behind them when they depart. Before travelling, for advice about travel insurance and your destination you should check with the Foreign Office.

About the author

Thomas Henderson

Thomas worked as a consultant in personal finance in the UK for 18 years. He has found a passion in sharing his experience on

Thomas also takes pleasure in woodworking, reading and observing stock market trends.

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