Over-65s' Travel Insurance

Over-65s' Travel Insurance

If you're booking a holiday as restrictions are beginning to ease, then getting travel insurance as soon as you've booked is vital. And while policies now generally cover Covid medically, there is a whole host of scenarios around the pandemic where you won't be covered. And as you get older, many insurers use your age as an excuse to charge you more. We take you through what to watch out for, and our top-pick insurance policies.

Warning! Know the risks if you book a trip, as restrictions can change at any time

 

Before you book a trip, be aware that with most travel insurers:

 

  • You won't be covered for cancellation if entry restrictions in your destination, or local or national lockdowns in the UK, mean you can't go on your trip.
  • You won't be covered for ANYTHING if you travel to a country or region against the advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

There's a lot of uncertainty for future bookings right now as rules can change  with little warning. So book flexibly where you can, and understand what is and isn't covered by your travel insurance so you know what financial risk you're taking on. For more info, see our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide.

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What is travel insurance for over 65s?

The aim of travel insurance is to cover the cost of the unforeseen, such as illness and injury or theft of your personal possessions while you're on holiday. It's also designed to cover you if you have to cancel your trip before you go, or if you need to return early due to an emergency.

For older travellers, the cover works exactly the same way. However, as you age, insurers see it as an excuse to charge you more - the main thinking being that you're more likely to develop medical issues while on a trip. 

And, while it covers a lot, travel insurance isn't designed to (and won't) cover every eventuality or every loss or inconvenience that you experience while on holiday. Read this guide carefully so you know what is (and isn't) covered.

What does travel insurance cover?

A good travel insurance policy should cover you for:

  • These usually include being made redundant, having to do jury service, falling seriously ill (including with Covid-19) or suffering a bereavement.

    Home emergencies eg fire, flood or break-in are also usually covered.

  • As it says on the tin. This covers the cost of receiving treatment overseas. You're also covered for repatriation – the cost of flying you back to the UK if the insurer decides you are medically able to be moved and it wants you treated in the UK. 

    However, a word of caution here. If you have a pre-existing medical condition you did not tell the insurer about when you arranged cover, you won't be covered for any medical treatment you need while on holiday that's related to that condition. ALWAYS tell your insurer about any medical conditions (see our Pre-existing Conditions Travel Insurance guide). 

  • This is where you go on the trip, but need to cut your holiday short due to an emergency. As with cancellation, there's usually a list of (similar) accepted reasons you can claim for, so check the policy wording carefully.

  • If your stuff is lost, stolen or damaged while you're away, you should be able to claim, as almost everything you take with you is included – think phone, camera, wallet, expensive clothing, etc. Yet be aware policies can vary greatly both in the amount covered (including the maximum amount they'll pay out for a single item) and in the excess – the amount you have to pay towards the claim yourself.

    You may already be covered for this under your home contents policy, as these often cover belongings outside the home, so check.

  • Some policies will reimburse you if you can't make use of your booking. However, some stipulate you can only claim for these costs if the reason you missed out is that the provider of the activity went bust.

    Again, watch out for the excess – a high one could mean it's only worth claiming for pricier outings.

  • This protects others and their property from accidents you may cause while on holiday. For example, the personal liability element of your insurance would cover you if, while staying at a plush hotel, you spill some hot coffee and stain an expensive upholstered chair.

While you can expect an insurer to pay out for most of the above, the exact level of cover will vary by policy – so check the terms carefully before you buy.

You also won't be covered for any of the above if you're travelling to a country the Foreign Office is warning against travel to, whether that's because of its coronavirus levels or for other reasons eg war or terrorism. If you do need to travel to one of these countries, you'll need specialist cover

Most policies won't cover cancellations for Covid-related travel bans but will cover you if you catch Covid and can't go

The pandemic is a major concern for any prospective travel, but working out exactly what a policy covers isn't always straightforward. In the table below, we've summarised the level of cover you can expect when it comes to Covid-related cancellations.
 

Scenario Are you covered?
You or a family member can't travel as you've got Covid-19.
Most policies DO cover this, as long as you're not travelling against Government advice.
You or a family member can't travel as you've been told to self-isolate by NHS test & trace.

SOME policies cover this – check insurer's site and the policy wording carefully.

You can't go because of government restrictions at home or abroad.
NOT covered by most policies, so you won't be able to claim for this.
Can't travel as you don't feel safe going.
NOT covered – this is known as 'disinclination to travel' which travel insurance never covers.

In short, you're generally covered if you catch coronavirus before your trip or while on it. We've also focused our top-pick policies on those which cover you if you've been told to self-isolate and can't go on the trip, though this is by no means standard.

However, travel insurance to cover cancellations due to national or local lockdowns - whether in the UK or in your destination - as well as changing Foreign Office advice doesn't really exist. So, you need to accept that risk.

It's best to always book flexible, easily-cancellable flights and hotels so you can cancel or rearrange your trip if you're caught by restrictions. Our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide has more information about your rights to cancel/move your trip, or get refunds from your provider. 

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Over-65s' travel insurance: Nine need-to-knows

over-65s' travel insurance need-to-knows

Getting the right holiday cover is a much more arduous task as you age, as statistically you're more at risk of injury and illness.

However, besides the extra cost, over-65s' travel insurance is just like cover for younger travellers, insuring against unforeseeable mishaps which may occur before your holiday starts or while you're away. 

Before you buy cover, here are nine things you should know.

  • If you've booked a holiday a holiday, do not leave arranging the insurance on the 'things to do' list, as you'll be taking an unnecessary risk. 

    This is because travel insurance doesn't just cover you while you're away – it also covers you for cancellation, events such as redundancy or an injury or death in the family, or anything else that might go wrong BEFORE you make your trip. You're also covered if you catch coronavirus shortly before your trip and can't go.

    So, always buying your travel insurance ASAB (As Soon As you've Booked a holiday).

    The same rule applies for a UK holiday, and we have a guide to help with arranging UK travel insurance

  • declare your medical conditions

    The thought of having to declare medical conditions can be daunting but travelling without making your insurer aware of any issues can result in any claim you make being rejected.

    Make sure you give a full and frank rundown of all the health problems you have, or have had, usually in the last five years, plus if you're pregnant too.

    If you have, or have had, what insurers consider to be less serious conditions, such as mild asthma or high blood pressure which you're not receiving ongoing treatment for, you may still be able to get traditional cover at the standard price.

    Just let the insurer know, even if you don't deem it particularly important, as many providers are taking a pragmatic approach as to whether to charge you more because of a certain condition. This is especially true as each insurer will have its own list of conditions it deems as more serious.

    If your insurer doesn't know your medical history, any existing conditions – however minor – will likely be excluded and you could face a massive bill if you become unwell. Insurers also need to know about medication, conditions or illnesses that can be linked to your existing condition.

    For example, an asthmatic who develops a chest infection (connected to being asthmatic) while on holiday will only be insured if they've told 'em about it.

    For much more, including tips, tricks and how to find the cheapest deals, see our Pre-Existing Conditions Travel Insurance guide.

  • make sure the policy suits your needs

    While choosing a travel insurance policy isn't rocket science, don't think you can buy cover without first giving it considerable thought.

    Like all insurance policies, there are a number of things that providers won't pay out for. Here are the most common:

    • Alcohol-related injury. You may be on holiday to unwind but if you are badly injured while you are more than just a little tipsy, your insurer is likely to reject your claim. The same goes for drugs. Insurers have different classifications of 'drunk', with some using blood alcohol limits, so check your policy carefully before you buy.

    • Medical conditions. Insurers will often cover you if you have pre-existing medical conditions, but if you fail to tell your insurer and then need treatment for that condition, or a related condition, you won't be covered. You may also struggle to get a claim paid if you ignore advised medication or jabs needed to enter a country.

    • Dangerous sports. If you're going on an adventure holiday, or planning to take a winter sports break, you must get extra cover or a specialist policy. Taking to the Alps for a spot of snowboarding with just a basic travel insurance policy in your bag is a risk not worth taking. If you get injured you could end up paying £10,000s in medical bills.

    • Refused entry (to visiting country). No one wants their holiday to end before it begins, but most standard policies won't cover this type of scenario. Insurance policies have a list of scenarios they do cover (eg, theft, medical assistance).

      It's your responsibility to check your travel documents are valid and you meet the entry requirements. Always check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for the entry rules of the countries you're visiting well before travelling and give yourself plenty of time to get your paperwork in order.

    • Unattended possessions. Travel insurance will cover your personal possessions when you're abroad but it doesn't mean you can be gung ho with your stuff. If you leave your items unattended and they are then stolen, your insurer will not pay for their replacement.

    • Travel to dangerous countries. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) outlines which countries are unsafe for travel. If you travel to a country on the FCO's list your cover is likely to be invalid. Check out the FCO's current travel advice for more.
    • The excess. This is the amount you have to pay towards any claim you make. For example, if you cancel a trip and are entitled to £3,000 back from your insurer but have a £500 excess you will only receive £2,500.

      However, many travel insurance products have separate excesses for different sections of the policy. For instance, some providers may make you pay an excess on both stolen cash and luggage. So if your suitcase was nicked and your wallet was inside you would have to pay an excess on both.

      It's important to check all excesses so you know exactly what you will have to pay if you make a claim.
    • Private hospital treatment. Only some insurers will cover you, others won't, so double-check your policy – whether out of curiosity or if you need to make a quick decision on which to go to.

      Of those we asked, it was a mixed bag. For example, if you're overseas and know you need to go to hospital to check out a chest pain, LV says it would cover you in a private hospital, but not all the insurers we asked would.

      However, if you're in an emergency, eg, you've a ruptured appendix or had a serious accident and are taken to a private hospital by emergency services without your knowledge, you're more likely to be covered by insurance, though there is still a chance of rejection.

      If rejected and you're unhappy, you can always go to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which can arbitrate.
  • Insurers will classify your trip as 'European' or 'worldwide'. Worldwide is often further broken down to include or exclude the US, Canada, the Caribbean or Mexico. Selecting the option to include these countries increases the premium due to the high cost of medical treatment – particularly in the US – and possible repatriation.

    European annual travel cover isn't just for Europe
    If you're travelling just outside Europe, you don't always have to select worldwide cover. Many insurers actually allow you to use their European cover in a handful of non-European countries too.

    If you're visiting Egypt, Morocco, Turkey or Tunisia, it's worth getting a quotation for European cover first and then checking the policy's geographical area definition to see if the country you're going to is included. The following insurers – Allianz*Insure and Go and Coverwise* – all class Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia as Europe.

    It's also worth noting that not all insurers automatically include Spain (and the Balearic/Canary Islands) in their European cover – you may have to pay extra to include Spain if you plan to travel there.

    Check if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination

    The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has a list of countries which it feels are unsafe for travel. Usually, this covers areas where there's war, terrorism or other reasons not to travel eg natural disasters. Currently, the list is rather longer than usual due to the pandemic.

    If you take a holiday to a country the FCDO's advising against all travel to (or all but essential travel to) at the time of your then your insurer won't cover you, even if travel was allowed when you booked your trip.

    So, when you're booking, and in the weeks leading up to your trip, check the Foreign Office website for the latest on whether you'll be able to travel as things can change quickly. You should also if the country you're planning to travel to has restricted entry – you can usually do this via its UK embassy website.

    If one or the other means you can no longer take your trip, see if you can rearrange it, or if the provider will give you a refund. For more on what to do if this happens, see our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide.

  • Apply for a free EHIC

    The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and the replacement Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which has been sent to new applicants from the 1 January 2021, entitles you to treatment in state-run hospitals in the EU at the same cost as a local would pay. So if they pay nowt, you pay nowt.

    The main difference since 1 January 2021 is that you'll NO LONGER be able to use your EHIC or GHIC in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, as they're not part of the EU.

    An EHIC/GHIC should be seen as an extra to travel insurance, not a replacement. Travel insurance covers a far greater range of scenarios, as well as gives cover for cancellation, possessions, delays, repatriation, personal liability, and more. Plus, even using an EHIC/GHIC you may need to pay, and travel insurance will cover that (and often using the EHIC/GHIC means you don't pay the excess).

    How do I get a GHIC?

    The card is free so if a copycat site pretending to be the real thing advertises a fee (often about £35), run a mile. For full info and how to get it for free from the legitimate NHS site, read our Free EHIC/GHIC guide.

  • This varies depending on where you're travelling and for how long, but if you get an annual policy you also have the added comfort of knowing you have cover in place no matter how many trips you go on in a year.

    For those 65 or under our rule of thumb is, go away two or more times a year and annual policies are often worth it. And that logic can usually work up to age 75.

    Above that, annual policies get relatively more expensive, so then they usually only win if you go away three or four times a year or more. 

    However, it does vary, so it's always worth doing the maths yourself and comparing annual and single-trip policies.

  • separate cover could be cheaper

    If you're travelling with your partner or family, you have two options: you can cover everyone under one policy, or each person takes their own.

    If you're the oldie in a group and you're travelling with your younger partner or your family, it can work out cheaper for you to get a policy for yourself and for the rest to get a single, couples or family policy. This is because the price is usually based on the oldest traveller in the group, but always check both options before buying.

    When travelling with your family, a policy would normally only cover your immediate family, eg, partner and kids, so check exactly who is covered prior to committing. Even children going on a school trip may be covered automatically on a family policy (as long as they're with a responsible adult).

    There are times when separate policies will be a better option (so always check, to be safe), including:

    • If one of the travellers has a medical condition, as it will increase the price for all.
    • If just one of the travellers is going outside Europe, in particular to the US, or on a skiing trip (or even both), it could be better to have separate policies rather than the whole family buying extended cover when it's not needed.
  • Many bank accounts that charge a monthly fee have extra benefits such as travel insurance, so if you pay for yours you may already be covered for family members under 80 (depending on which account. This is great for those aged up to 79, who pay no surcharge on top of the monthly fee - though remember a surcharge may be applied if you're covering medical conditions that aren't covered as standard.

    If you think you got insurance as a sweetener with your bank account, check the terms to see if it's appropriate for your trip. For more info on accounts that offer travel insurance, see our Top Packaged Bank Accounts guide.

    Do NOT confuse this with a benefit offered with credit cards called travel accident insurance, which only covers accidents on a train, plane or in a hire car paid for on the card. Never think this means you're completely covered. 

    And travel accident insurance should also not be confused with Section 75 legal protection – which covers you if you buy anything that costs between £100 and £30,000 using a credit card (not a debit card). See our Section 75 guide for more.

  • For either, do not expect to be automatically covered.If you need extended cover, which usually includes cover against missed departure, unused cruise excursions, cruise itinerary change and cruise cabin confinement, you can usually select an add-on to get the right protection – which won't break the bank.

    On a cruise, most regular travel policies will cover you for loss or theft of goods and medical costs on a cruise, you may not be for other eventualities unless you upgrade your policy. If you need extended cover, you can usually select an add-on to get the right protection – which won't break the bank. These include:

    • Missed departure
    • Unused cruise excursions, eg, a day trip to a city port
    • Cruise itinerary change
    • Cabin confinement, eg, onboard virus

    To get cover for these, you can usually select an add-on to get the right protection – which won't break the bank. If you want to buy one, a quick way to get a quote is to use a comparison site such as MoneySupermarket*Confused.com*Gocompare or Compare The Market.

    The same principle applies if you're planning a skiing holiday – you'll need an add-on.

    Quick questions

    • Many holidaymakers wrongly assume they're automatically covered for winter sports as part of their travel insurance. While some providers offer winter sports as standard under certain policies, others only cover you if you extend your insurance and this will typically cost extra.

      All winter sports policies will cover you for skiing and snowboarding and many will also cover other activities, such as husky dog sleigh riding and sledging, as standard. If you are doing something a bit more unusual, such as ski jumping or snowmobiling, check the terms and conditions of your policy first. If you are planning to take part in something even more wild – such as luging and stunt skiing – specialist providers such as BMC and Snowcard may be able to offer you cover.

      If you opt for a specialist travel policy, check your details closely to make sure you know the limits of your cover.

      Don't forget to pick your specialist provider like any other insurer. Make sure you tell it about any existing medical conditions and remember to pack your EHIC/GHIC if you're going somewhere in Europe.

    • The cost of medical bills if you get injured on the slopes can be extortionate so it's essential to have the right cover.

      The Association of British Insurers told us one Brit required £90,000 of treatment for a fractured rib and punctured lung.

      Even a smaller injury, such as knee ligament damage, cost as much as £3,800 to treat.

      Add being airlifted from the mountain to hospital, repatriation if you need to be flown home injured from the US or Canada, and this would significantly increase the claim.

      As well as covering yourself, winter sports insurance also covers your ski pack – a term used to describe the package of lessons you've paid for, lift passes and equipment hire – and cancellation of your holiday.

    • In most cases, you'll be allowed to ski off-piste but with certain restrictions. You'll have to be within the boundary of the resort, on a marked ski run, with local ski patrol guidelines or supervised by a qualified instructor.

    • Lucky you. It may be cheaper to take out an annual policy with a winter sports add-on. However, check the price against the cost of single trips to ensure you're getting a bargain. Your age is likely to play a part here so check the T&Cs of the policy carefully.

    • Most winter sports policies will cover you for accidental damage, theft or the loss of equipment. The onus will be on you to keep your gear safe, so don't leave it at the mercy of crooks.

      Your equipment will usually be covered but different providers offer different limits. The sum insured is usually in addition to your standard baggage cover. For example, Axa will cover up to £1,500 worth of equipment, Admiral will cover from £500 up to £1,000 (depending on the policy), while Aviva and Direct Line give cover up to £500. Think about the value of your stuff and pick your policy accordingly.

      If you've hired ski equipment, it may be covered by your insurer if it's lost, stolen or damaged. Some providers insure any rented kit as part of your baggage up to a limit. Other insurers only pay up to 50% of the sum insured for hired equipment. Some ski equipment providers may also cover their gear for you so it is worth checking with the resort before you buy your cover.

      In most cases, your ski pack – including ski school fees, a lift pass and hired ski equipment – is covered. The amount can range from £150 to £500, but can be as high as £5,000. As always, check your policy for any potential exclusions.

    • If your piste closes (usually due to lack of snow or an avalanche) and you're unable to hit the slopes, your insurer may give you back a set amount per day. This can range from £10 to £50, up to a limit of £200 to £500.

    • As long as your claim is valid and you're within the terms of your policy, you should be covered should you have a mishap on the slopes. But if you've had a drop of sherry and then injure yourself, your claim is likely to be rejected.

      This is a standard exclusion on most travel insurance policies, including ones with winter sports cover. Insurers have different classifications of 'drunk', with some using blood alcohol limits so check your policy before you buy. The same goes for skiing despite weather warnings and – with some providers – skiing without a helmet.

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Cheapest single-trip travel insurance for over-65s

These are our top-pick policies for individuals and families looking for single-trip travel insurance, ordered by price. All policies listed meet our minimum cover levels. In addition, you're covered:

  • If you or a family member has been diagnosed with Covid-19 before your trip and can't go.
  • If you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace (or Scot, Wales, NI equivalent).

Remember, most travel insurance policies WON'T cover you for cancellation if a government restriction at home or abroad means you can’t travel. 

They also won't cover you for ANYTHING if you decide to take a trip if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination. If your trip is essential and you do need to travel against Foreign Office advice, you'll need a specialist policy

Cheapest single-trip travel insurance policies for over-65s

  TABLE_CELL_STYLE Europe Worldwide   TABLE_CELL_STYLE
Insurer  1wk, individual – price from (i) 1wk, couple (i)(ii) 1wk, individual – price from (i) 1wk, couple (i)(ii) Excess
Coverwise (Bronze)* £20.80
£26.59 £63.02 £136.58 
(Two individual policies cheaper)
£100
Leisure Guard (Standard)* £22.76 £37.92 £59.98 £95.95 £100
Staysure (Comprehensive)* £23.68 £45.22 £66.84 £124.90 £65
Avanti (Classic)* £23.87 £44.22 £59.77 £108.33 £75
ABTA (Travel Sure) £24.20 £42.06 £83.41 Too expensive to consider £99
CoverForYou (Gold)* £36 £52 £74 £96
£0

Prices correct as of June 2021. (i) Price will vary depending on your age. (ii) Based on two adults aged 66.

For a wider choice – with good options to add on cover – try comparison sites

If our hand-picked selection of insurers don't provide the cover you're looking for, it's worth doing a full check using comparison sites such as MoneySupermarket*Compare The Market, Confused.com* and Gocompare as they allow you to adjust your quote to suit your needs, for example if you need to add cruise cover and want to compare policies.

However, we can't pre-filter these for you, so always check they have cover that meets your needs. In particular, check what level of coronavirus cover the insurer offers before buying a policy.

Cheapest annual travel insurance for over-65s

These are our top-pick policies for individuals and families looking for annual travel insurance, ordered by price. All policies listed meet our minimum cover levels. In addition, you're covered:

  • If you or a family member has been diagnosed with Covid-19 before your trip and can't go.
  • If you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace (or its Scot, Wales, NI equivalent).

Remember, most travel insurance policies WON'T cover you for cancellation if a government restriction at home or abroad means you can’t travel.

They also won't cover you for ANYTHING if you decide to take a trip if the Foreign Office is advising against travel to your destination. If your trip is essential and you do need to travel against Foreign Office advice, you'll need a specialist policy

Cheapest annual travel insurance policies for over-65s

  TABLE_CELL_STYLE Europe Worldwide   TABLE_CELL_STYLE
Insurer  Individual - price from (i) Couple - price from (i)(ii)  Individual - price from (i) Couple - price from (i)(ii) Excess
Leisure Guard (Standard)* £55.99 £90 £120.50 £204.18 £100
Axa (Silver) £56.15 £91.19  £122.59 £214.86 £100
Staysure (Comprehensive)* £73.92 £118.22 £136.67 £230.83 £65
Avanti (Classic)* £79.85 £133.36 £146.70 £249.16 £75

Prices correct as of June 2021. (i) Price will vary depending on your age. (ii) Based on two adults aged 66.

A potentially cheaper alternative for couples aged 79 and under. Get travel (and mobile & breakdown) insurance for £180/yr

The Co-op Everyday Extra packaged bank account is a cracking deal for couples & older travellers, as the cost can be cheaper than buying a standalone travel insurance policy. Plus you get breakdown and mobile phone cover too. For £15/mth (£180/yr), the account holder(s) get:

  • Worldwide travel insurance up to your 80th birthday. This includes coronavirus medical cover when abroad, cancellation cover if If you or a family member has been diagnosed with Covid-19 before your trip and can't go OR if If you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace (or Scot, Wales, NI equivalent)
  • Mobile phone insurance.
  • RAC's UK and Europe breakdown cover. 

If you've a pre-existing condition, tell Co-op when you open the account as you may need to go through the insurer's medical screening process to see if it can cover you as standard. If not, you may be declined cover for that condition, or may have to pay an additional amount to cover it.

For a wider choice – with good options to add on cover – try comparison sites

If our hand-picked selection of insurers don't provide the cover you're looking for, it's worth doing a full check using comparison sites such as MoneySupermarket*Compare The Market, Confused.com* and Gocompare as they allow you to adjust your quote to suit your needs, for example if you need to add cruise cover and want to compare policies.

However, we can't pre-filter these for you, so always check they have cover that meets your needs. In particular, check what level of coronavirus cover the insurer offers before buying a policy.

Still can't get cover or not happy with the price? Contact a broker 

Specialist brokers can help you find insurers that cover non-standard trips. To find one, see the British Insurance Brokers' Association website.

Always double-check the level of cover offered before taking out a policy as well as providers' websites for any info about coronavirus.

Travel insurance if you're travelling against Foreign Office advice

If you decide to travel to a country that has a Foreign Office warning against travel (though note we're not encouraging you to do so) and are looking for travel insurance to cover it, we've found some insurers that give some level of cover. Here's how it works...

  • You WILL be covered for normal medical issues while overseas.
  • You WILL have cover for the normal scenarios that travel insurance covers, such as loss of belongings, theft etc.
  • You MAY NOT have cover if you catch coronavirus overseas, so check the policy.

Here are some insurers to consider: 

Insurer Cover as standard, or optional extension? Covid-19 covered medically? Cancellation cover for Covid-19?
Battleface* Standard Yes – with repatriation cover No
Insurefor.com* Standard (but only for single-trip travel to Europe) Yes – with repatriation cover Yes, but ONLY if insured or family member diagnosed with coronavirus
Leisure Guard* Standard (but only for single-trip travel to Europe) Yes – with repatriation cover Yes, but ONLY if insured or family member diagnosed with coronavirus
Staysure* Optional - add "European Foreign Office travel advice extension" Yes - if you’ve had the recommended COVID-19 vaccinations Yes, but ONLY if insured or family member diagnosed with coronavirus

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How to claim on your travel insurance

making a claim on your travel insurance

Claiming on your travel insurance shouldn't be daunting and – if you understand the terms and excesses on your policy – you shouldn't be in for any nasty shocks. 

Follow the five steps below in the event you need to claim...

  • Submit your claim as soon as possible. Contact your insurer as soon as you can. Some parts of your policy may have a short window to submit a claim and it may take a while to be processed.
  • Get your insurer to accept a medical claim before you get treatment. If you need to make a medical claim – and it's not an emergency – get your insurer to accept the claim over the phone first. For example, if you sprained your ankle, call your insurer – if it accepts the claim then, you're less likely to be faced with a rejected claim later down the line. For obvious reasons, don't delay treatment if it's an emergency.
  • Notify the police if it's a theft or loss. If something goes missing or is stolen when you are abroad you may need to get a crime reference number or the overseas equivalent to make a successful claim. Report the incident to the police as soon as you can – you often have to do it within 24 hours to be able to claim – to make sure your claim doesn't hit the skids.
  • Keep receipts. If you are claiming for lost luggage or delay, remember to keep receipts of essential items you have bought in the interim, such as food and drink. Many insurers allow you to add these expenses to a claim and may ask for receipts as proof.
  • Complain if you feel your claim was unfairly rejected. If your insurance company rejects your claim, and you think it has done so wrongly, do not take it lying down. Complain to the free Financial Ombudsman. This independent adjudicator will make the final decision on a claim if you are locked in a dispute with your insurer. For more on how to make a complaint, read our Financial Rights guide, or see our section below.

How to complain about your insurance provider

The insurance industry doesn't have the best customer-service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include claims either not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in small print. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but, if not, then…

Travel insurance FAQs

  • If you're going away for more than 60 days at a time then standard travel insurance is unlikely to cover you.

    You'll need specialist backpacker insurance – sometimes called gap-year or extended leave insurance. These policies can protect you for up to 18 months as standard in most cases, and can even be extended.

  • Many people aren't aware that if they have an alcoholic drink on holiday, and lose something or have an accident, their insurance may not cover them – even if they only had one drink. Insurers all have different interpretations – which we have seen in policy T&Cs – ranging from "drinking too much" to "approx four pints" to "alcoholic abuse".

    In practice, what most say is that it's all about if the drink has affected your decision-making. As we all have different tolerances, for some this could mean that just one drink could invalidate a claim.

    It's also been reported that some insurers have gone as far as testing blood samples for your alcohol level (although we wonder how this actually worked).

    Having a claim refused could hit hard, possibly excluding you from medical or possessions cover. As a general rule, use your common sense as it's about safety as well as insurance. For example, if you're skiing and have two or three glasses of wine at lunch before hitting the slopes again, you're increasing the chance of an accident – which you also may not be covered for.

    See our Eight things many of us do on holiday that could invalidate our insurance blog – it's an eye-opener.

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