As the UK is currently experiencing a prolonged heatwave, if you’ve decided to stay at home for your summer holiday you’ve picked the right year for it.
Aside from booking your accommodation, and any travel you need, is buying travel insurance also on your list of things to do before you go?
Of those staying in the UK, 60 per cent don’t bother buying extra insurance for a holiday, but instead will rely on using the NHS if they need medical treatment or their home insurance if their belongings are damaged or stolen.
60% of holidaymakers staying in the UK don’t bother buying extra travel insurance
The major benefit of buying travel insurance for a UK holiday is to cover cancellation if you find you can no longer go and have already paid out for a trip.
But 58 per cent of those asked in a recent survey by the insurer LV said they didn’t believe it was possible to claim for holiday cancellations on a UK travel insurance policy. Furthermore 64 per cent didn’t know a policy would also cover loss or damage to personal items of luggage.
On average LV paid out £337 per claim for cancellations, £213 for lost or damaged belongings and £2,533 for medical assistance to those on UK breaks last year.
However, insurers have a different set of requirements for UK holidays and often the trip must be a certain number of nights or a specific distance away from your home in order to be eligible for cover.
Here we look at the main factors affecting travel insurance for a UK holiday, and look at the pros and cons of taking out a policy.
Do I need travel insurance for a UK break?
Travel insurance is designed to cover you if you need to cancel a holiday, or you become ill or injured and need to seek medical treatment.
If you’re abroad the costs for medical treatment can be significant, such as one Aviva customer who had a claim for £182,000 for a stroke whilst on holiday in the USA. Therefore it’s essential you have insurance in place so you are covered if you need to seek treatment.
But if you’re in the UK you will be treated for free by the NHS if something were to happen, therefore you wouldn’t need to take out insurance for medical cover.
What is covered under a UK policy is ‘medical assistance’ which includes things such as, additional travel or accommodation expenses to get you to or from hospital as an inpatient, or for outpatient treatment and appointments, and the cost of a second person to stay with you if it is medically necessary.
UK holiday insurance also covers you if you need to cancel your holiday and you’ve already paid for it and this was the most common reason for claims last year for LV customers.
Insurance covers cancellations but only if your holiday meets certain conditions
This could be, for example, if you were due to go on holiday and became ill and had to cancel. Without insurance you would lose any money already paid but with insurance you should be able to claim this money back.
If you already have an annual travel insurance policy, any trips you make – whether in the UK or abroad – will be covered as long as they meet the criteria required by the insurer.
If you don’t have an annual policy, and you want to make sure you’re covered if you need to cancel the holiday, you could consider buying one to cover you for the next year, which if you’re planning future trips may work out cheaper than buying several single trip policies.
Will my holiday be eligible for UK insurance?
There are a number of different caveats to be aware of if you’re taking out insurance for a UK holiday. These include some insurers insisting you go away for a minimum number of days or others only covering you if you have pre-booked accommodation for your holiday.
With Aviva and Direct Line, for example, holidays must had at least two consecutive nights in pre-booked accommodation in order to be covered by travel insurance.
Whereas with LV, you’ll need to either have pre-booked accommodation, be travelling somewhere at least 25 miles away from your home or going on a trip which involves a sea crossing to qualify.
A spokesperson said: ‘LV also give customers the option to choose baggage cover should they wish, recognising that customers may already be covered by their home insurance as many home policies have optional ‘personal possessions’ cover for items taken away from home.
‘While the NHS will take care of any emergency medical problems, LV’s travel insurance can also help customers with additional transport and accommodation costs, such as for a relative or friend to travel to and stay with them to provide necessary care; for transfer by ambulance to a hospital nearer to where they live; and for getting home when discharged from hospital.’
Can I use my home insurance policy instead?
The belongings you’re taking on holiday may already be covered within your home insurance policy.
This falls under the ‘personal possessions’ section of your contents policy, which isn’t automatic and you’ll usually have to pay around £20 a year to add on.
It covers the belongings (up to a stated limit) if you take them out of the house and they are lost, damaged or stolen while you are in the UK.
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