Travel insurance covers you for the cost of unexpected events that can occur while you are abroad.
The main purpose of which, is to cover you for the potentially high cost of medical treatment and repatriation if you are injured or fall ill abroad, particularly in countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA)*.
If you need medical treatment while travelling within the EEA, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to receive treatment on the same basis (for example, free or at a reduced cost) as people who live in that country.
The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance – you should still take out travel insurance if you are travelling to a country within the EEA.
Medical treatment and repatriation
Policies vary from insurer to insurer, but most travel insurance policies should include:
- emergency medical treatment costs, including hospital charges and ambulance fees
- returning you home following medical treatment abroad if you cannot use your original ticket
- reasonable additional transport and/or accommodation expenses for a close relative or friend to stay with you or travel from the UK to escort you if required
- temporary emergency dental treatment for the relief of immediate pain
- 24 hour assistance helplines to offer support and advice about appropriate treatment
It is important to answer any questions from your insurer about your medical history fully and honestly, including any pre-existing medical conditions you may have. Withholding details of your medical history may mean you are not fully covered.
See travel insurance and your health for more information.
Some policies will also include or offer the following additional cover for you to consider:
- personal liability cover if you accidentally cause an injury to someone or damage their property and they choose to sue you
- personal accident cover that pays a lump sum to you or your estate if you suffer a severe accident during your trip that results in permanent disability, or death
- lost and stolen possession cover
- you may already have travel insurance as part of a bank account/credit card, or your home contents insurance may already cover your possessions when you take them abroad. Check your policy to see what it covers
- check the travel insurance policy limits and excesses are appropriate for the value of possessions you are taking on holiday
- legal expenses cover helps you to pursue compensation or damages following personal injury while you’re abroad – is important in countries without a legal aid system
- cover for cancellation and curtailment (cutting your trip short) in certain circumstances
- hazardous sports or leisure activities such as skiing or bungee jumping – you may need to extend your policy or buy a specialist policy to get cover for these
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice
See the FCO checklist and latest facts on the importance of taking out travel insurance:
Travel to volatile destinations
Your insurance may not cover you if the FCO, or the government of the country of your destination, advises against travel to that country.
To find out which countries the FCO advises against travelling to, see the FCO website.
* The European Economic Area (EEA) is made up of the 28 European Union (EU) member states, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.