The Complex World of Travel Insurance Explained

Travel insurance can be confusing, with so many variables that come into play, it can be difficult to find the right policy. Comprehensive cover is essential, especially if you are travelling abroad, and although you will receive a form of holiday insurance if the holiday was booked in the UK, and includes at least flights and accommodation, this does not cover many situations, so it is advisable to take out a separate policy. Here is an explanation of the more common types of holiday insurance available.

Regional cover

The cost of the insurance very much depends on where you are going, and how long you will be staying there. The four main regions are,

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Europe
  3. Worldwide: Excluding USA, Canada, and the Caribbean
  4. Worldwide: Including USA, Canada, and the Caribbean

Prices for cover would be cheaper in the UK, and the further away the destination is, the higher the premiums would be, as repatriation costs would rise in line with the distance involved.

Other variables will impact the price, and these include,

  • How long you will be staying
  • Whether you are staying in an urban or rural environment
  • What activities you will be taking part in (extreme sports etc.)
  • Your age and health

Pre-existing medical cover

If you have an existing medical condition, you should take out medical travel insurance, as regular holiday insurance will not include treatment for any existing medical condition. Your insurer would ask a series of questions related to your medical history, and one should always be honest with the answers, as failure to disclose information could result in not being covered.

Package holiday insurance

This is compulsory, if the holiday was booked in the UK, and at least two services, such as flights and accommodation were included. This covers you for certain things, such as flight delays and cancellations, but there are limitations. If, for example, you slipped on a wet floor in the hotel and suffered an injury, you might be covered, if it can be proven that the staff were negligent (failed to warn guests of the wet floor), however, if this were to happen in a private restaurant, or indeed on the street, your tour operator is not liable, and your insurance would not cover you. Anything that happened on the resort premises, or during transit trips, would be covered by the holiday insurance, as the tour operator is responsible for those facilities. As a general rule, any service you hire from a third party is not covered by your package holiday insurance, and that leaves you unprotected most of the time.


There are always exclusions with any insurance policy, and for holidays, this might include extreme sports and other activities like riding motorcycles or diving, which is why you should be very specific about what you plan to do when talking to the broker. He or she can only provide cover for things you have mentioned, so make sure you disclose any pre-existing medical condition, or anything in your past medical history over the past ten years that you think might be relevant. If you are injured while driving a vehicle, but do not possess a valid driving licence for that country, they might not accept your claim. If you suffered an injury from inappropriate behaviour, this might also result in no cover. There are those who do not give certain information, thinking the premium will be lower, and while this is true, if the worst happens and that person requires emergency treatment, their insurance company might reject the claim.

Comprehensive cover

This means you are covered for any eventuality for as long as the policy is active. An annual policy is ideal for regular travellers, and it can be purchased as single-trip option, if you are not a regular traveller. Many retired couples have a second home in a tropical country, and in that case, it is better to have an ongoing policy that automatically covers you whenever you decide to go. A comprehensive holiday insurance policy would include the following,

  • Full medical insurance –Including any pre-existing medical conditions
  • Repatriation costs
  • Personal injury
  • Personal liability
  • Personal belongings – Valuable items may have a limitation on claims.
  • Cancellation or curtailment

Once you have booked your holiday, it is wise to take out insurance immediately. Some might think this is unnecessary, as the holiday is still months away, but if the tour company were to go bankrupt at any time before your holiday, you would be covered. The cancellation part of the policy is active as soon as you pay the premium, so you are covered for any cancellation from that moment on. Click here for more detailed information on the different types of holiday insurance available today.

The online solution

Rather than pull your hair out trying to negotiate the many options and companies that offer holiday insurance, a simple online search will put you in touch with a broker who can find the right policy, tailored to meet your needs. You will have to answer a few basic questions using an online form, and within minutes, you can have several quotes from different companies. Should you decide to take out a policy, simply pay online, and the insurer will mail you the policy, and you are covered immediately. A reputable online broker can arrange holiday insurance for people of any age, and with pre-existing medical conditions, once they know your requirements, they can easily locate the right insurer.

There are advantages to using a broker, as they are not tied to any particular insurer and can locate the nest cover at a competitive price. Once the broker has your needs, they can very quickly find a solution, and you can include all the group members in the same policy, for added peace of mind. Having comprehensive insurance allows one to relax and really enjoy the holiday experience.

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