Although taking out travel insurance should be one of the first things on the list when travelling abroad, it is often not even considered for trips made within the UK. On the face of it, this seems fairly obvious. After all, if you have an accident on a domestic holiday there is no chance of having to re-mortgage your house in order to pay for the medical expenses.
However, most insurance providers in the UK allow their customers to take out travel insurance for trips made within the country. This seems strange for many people, and the question that arises is - how can UK travel insurance possibly be worth the added expense?
The truth is that travel insurance in the UK is often a lot cheaper than the equivalent policy for a trip made abroad. It can also provide cover for a large range of events such as delayed departure, cancellation and loss of personal items. These events are certainly not confined to foreign travel!
What You Are Covered For
Not all providers offer travel insurance for trips made within the UK, and those that do will not necessarily offer the same cover. The following represent some of the most common policy benefits that make taking out insurance for a UK trip worthwhile.
Missed and Delayed Departure
If you are travelling by plane or ferry then you will be susceptible to missed and delayed departures just like on any foreign holiday. UK travel insurance can provide you with cover should you fail to get to the airport on time due to problems beyond your control, or should your flight be delayed for over 12 hours. This is one of the major reasons why people take insurance out for their trips.
However, be careful when choosing a provider as some policies do not cover internal flights, and others only include missed departure for boat journeys rather than flights.
Cancellation & Curtailment
Hotels can often be more expensive in the UK than abroad. It therefore makes perfect financial sense to get covered for this on a UK holiday as there are potentially greater losses to endure if you have to cancel your holiday plans. As well as that, if you suffer a bereavement and have to curtail the holiday then anything that has already been paid for, including accommodation and transport, will also be covered.
Personal items are just as likely to get lost or stolen in the UK as they are in any other country. Making a claim on a UK insurance policy involves the same process as applies overseas, but it will often be a lot more convenient to report the stolen items to the police in the UK than it will abroad. If you are taking lots of expensive gadgets then getting a policy which covers personal valuable is definitely worth considering.
It’s true that some home insurance policies will cover you for personal items up to a certain level. However, making a claim on your home insurance will affect the no-claims bonus which can increase future premiums, so making a claim on a travel insurance policy is always preferable.
Transfer to Hospital
Although all UK insurance policies state that no medical expenses will be provided as you are always covered by the NHS, a number of companies do offer to pay the costs to transport you to a hospital near your home should you require hospitalisation. This prevents you having to spend weeks in a hospital on the other side of the country, which can also lead to extra accommodation costs for any friends or relatives looking after you.
One of the things to be aware of with UK travel insurance is that medical expenses are not going to be an issue. This can often be the major reason why people take out insurance when they go abroad, whereas in the UK we know that we are covered by NHS. It should be noted that travel insurance providers will not pay for private healthcare if you take out a policy with them, and this is always clearly stated in the policy wording.
One of the stipulations that all insurance providers insist on is that the trip involves pre-booked accommodation. Many specify that you must spend at least two consecutive nights away from home, though it can be as little as one night or as many as five, depending on the provider. However, trips that have not been booked in advance will not be covered.
The type of accommodation is also important and usually needs to be recognised as "tourist accommodation". It's probably no surprise that your friend's house won't qualify, but quite often B&Bs, guest houses and camp sites are not covered either, so make sure you check before you buy.
Distance from Home
The distance that you will be travelling will also be of importance. Most providers state that your accommodation must be at least 25 miles away from your home, but again this can vary and may be as much as 50 miles.
Purpose of the Trip
Although less often stipulated, some providers insist that the main purpose of the trip is pleasure rather than business, so make sure you check this. A number of insurance providers also state that they only provide UK travel insurance as part of a multi-trip policy, which will be clearly stated when you are purchasing insurance.
Differences Between UK Insurance and Foreign Insurance
Whereas foreign travel insurance policies often include medical expenses, personal liability, personal accident, mugging cover and a whole host of other events specific to certain activities such as winter sports and backpacking, UK insurance policies are often a lot more basic. However, this is not always the case and some providers offer everything apart from medical cover, so it pays to shop around.
Additional Extras Worth Considering
The most important events will usually be covered even on the most basic of policies. However, some providers such as PJ Hayman also include vehicle breakdown cover which could be a good consideration.
If your policy doesn't include breakdown cover and your taking your vehicle with you on holiday in the UK or Europe, then it is definitely worth purchasing breakdown cover separately. PetrolPrices.com have compared all the leading breakdown cover providers with policies ranging from basic roadside assistance to the more comprehensive levels with hire cars, and overnight accommodation costs, to help you find the right cover to suit your holiday. They also compare European breakdown cover which you can purchase for short trips, offering extras such as repatriation for you and your vehicle if it can't be fixed abroad, and a replacement driver if your driver is not able to continue the journey.
As well as that, it is more likely that owners will take their pets if holidaying within the UK. So additional pet insurance could be a wise decision.