Holiday season has returned! But how do we make sure we can go away safely?

Sarah BrodieAfter months of lockdown, the Government’s recent announcement of a list of countries that are considered safe to travel to will have come as a huge relief for many. However, anyone running for the sun without travel insurance risks being plunged into another crisis. One that could cost them the price of an average UK home if they have not taken out travel insurance. 

The lifting of Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice to allow travel to specific countries is a clear signal that it is safe to go on holiday to these destinations. Before you book, it is worth checking FCO travel advice for the country you intend to travel to, to make sure there are no border or quarantine restrictions either there, or back in the UK on your return. But what else can you do to protect yourself and go on holiday with peace of mind? 

Before you rush off for some summer sun, there are a few important things you should considerFirst and foremost is travel insurance to ensure you are covered for any emergency medical care you might need when overseas. And if you are going to Europe, do not make the mistake of thinking the EHIC will cover all of your medical bills – it only covers part of the cost, so you do need travel insurance alongside it. It is also important to know that you may invalidate your insurance if you travel to a destination that the Foreign Office has not deemed safe. However, be assured that if the advice changes whilst you’re already in that country, your insurance will continue to cover you for the duration of your trip.

Travel insurance will provide vital cover for you should the worst happen. If you require urgent medical treatment overseas, travel insurance will cover you for hospital expenses and emergency repatriation. Overseas medical bills, even in European countries, can run into the tens of thousands of poundsLast year, one travel insurer paid a claim for £78,000 to treat a visitor to Spain for a 23-day hospital stay following a road crash and another paid a claim for £137,000 to treat a fractured spine resulting from a bathroom fall in Thailand. 

With travel insurance only costing a small fraction of a potential claim, it is just not worth running the risk of travelling without cover. Last year alone, travel insurers dealt with the equivalent of 1,300 travel insurance claims every single day, with a total of £377 million paid out to customers – customers who would otherwise have had to stump up those costs themselves. 

The purpose of travel insurance is to cover for the unexpectedSince COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, COVID-19 cancellation claims have become more of a probability than a possibility. This means that any new policies taken out, or trips booked, may contain some COVID-19 exclusions for cancellation risks so it is important to check what you are and are not covered for. However, the vast majority of policies will cover you for all emergency medical treatment – just check with your insurer if you are not sure. 

So enjoy some well-deserved summer sun but make sure to follow FCO travel advice on the country you are travelling to, take out travel insurance and check you know what you are covered for. Doing so will help you head off on holiday with peace of mind. 

We have more general information about Travel insurance and the pandemic here.

More information on insurers response to the crisis and member pledges to customers can be found on the ABI’s COVID-19 Information Hub. 

Last updated 08/07/2020