Let’s be honest, sometimes we buy insurance because it has been required or just for simple peace of mind. It’s something we have to have so we purchase it just in case the worst happens. But, at the end of the day, we know we have to have it because if a disaster did strike, we need it to protect us and keep us from having to pay out large amounts of unforeseen cash.
Travel insurance is no different. It’s there when we need it to keep us protected. But not all cover is the same, so how do you know which travel insurance is right for you and will meet your exact needs? Read on to find out. But first:
What exactly is travel insurance?
Travel insurance policies (sometimes called holiday insurance) are there to protect you against unforeseen costs arising from problems when travelling. Whether you are travelling for business, leisure, or any other purpose, travel insurance will give you peace of mind that if something goes wrong you will not be left to deal with it on your own.
A good quality travel insurance policy will cover you for things like cancellations, delayed flights, lost luggage, stolen personal belongings, as well as illnesses and injury.
Why do I need travel insurance?
You should always get travel insurance if you are travelling abroad. Problems that arise in a foreign country can be difficult to resolve and can cause a huge amount of stress. They can also cost a lot of money and put you massively out of pocket.
Travelling without insurance is like playing a game of chance with your health and your finances. Most of the time you will win but on the odd occasion you could lose, big time.
Before you buy your policy, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the right cover for your trip. Let’s look at the options.
What type of travel insurance do I need?
Well, that depends entirely on your own circumstances. While its tempting to go for the cheapest option, it may not provide the best cover for you and shopping around for better alternatives is often a better policy. Here are a few things to consider when buying travel insurance:
Single trip travel or annual travel insurance?
Single trip insurance covers you for one trip in a specified period of time, usually the length of your vacation. Annual travel insurance covers you for an entire year of travel to any number of locations. While annual travel insurance can seem expensive on paper, if you travel regularly it can be a cheaper alternative to single trip insurance.
Do I need to declare my medical conditions?
Absolutely. Whenever you buy travel insurance you must declare any pre-existing conditions. If you don’t you are risking the policy becoming declared null and void and being unable to make a claim when you really need it.
If you decide to not declare your medical conditions and then you subsequently get ill because of this condition, you will not be able to make a claim and your holiday insurance company will refuse to help you or pay out for any medical fees.
Our tip is to be as open and honest as you possibly can when you are buying travel medical insurance, this way there will be no nasty surprises in the event of a problem arising.
If you are worried that your pre-existing medical condition will make the cost of your travel insurance expensive then try looking for a provider who specialises in covering people with your condition.
What exactly does travel insurance cover me for?
This can vary from policy to policy and you should always check the terms and conditions before buying but generally most policies will cover you for:
|Cancellations||Cancellation of your holiday|
|Delay to travel||Delay caused by flights and other unforeseen issues|
|Cutting short your trip||Issues that cause you to cut your trip short|
|Lost luggage||Cover for lost, damaged, or stolen luggage or belongings (the amount of cover can vary wildly from policy to policy so it is essential to check the terms and conditions thoroughly especially if you are taking expensive items with you)|
|Medical||Cover for if you get injured or become ill while you are away and need to seek out medical assistance.|
|Emergency home return||Cover for situations that require you to be brought back to the UK.|
|Personal liability cover||Cover in the event that you injure someone else or damage their belongings.|
What will I not be covered for?
Most policies won’t cover you for things like:
- Taking part in extreme sports
- Natural disasters like storms, earthquakes, etc.
- Injury or damage caused by terrorist activities.
- Any undeclared pre-existing medical conditions.
- Alcohol-related injuries and accidents.
Can you add extra cover to your policy?
Yes. Most providers will offer additional extras that will provide extra cover… for a fee. Here is a list of things you can add:
|Sports cover||Cover for extreme and winter sports activities|
|Business cover||Cover for business travel.|
|Golf cover||Covers you if you are travelling to play golf. Covers your golfing equipment and any other related costs.|
|Senior citizen cover||Cover for older people who may be more likely to require medical treatment.|
|Pre-existing medical conditions||Cover for specific pre-existing conditions declared on purchase.|
|Cruise travel insurance||Cover for cruise ship travel.|
|Backpacker travel insurance||Cover for backpacking travel.|
|Family travel policies||Cover for your entire family. This can save money over buying separate policies.|
What are the best cheap travel insurance providers for 2020?
So, you’re armed with all the information you need to get the right travel insurance for you, but how do you know which providers are best? Let us help you out. Here is our guide to the 10 best budget travel insurance providers available in the UK right now:
|Alpha Insurance||Ultra-cheap cover|
|The AA Travel Insurance||Comprehensive cover|
|The Post Office||Quality cover|
|GO Travel||Cheap cover with a decent selection of extras|
|Big Cat Travel Insurance||Adventure holidays|
|STA Travel Insurance||Young travellers|
|GreatCover.com||Choice of policies|
|Columbus Direct||Skiing holidays|
|HolidayExtras.co.uk||Package holiday customers|
Alpha Insurance Review
Alpha is a Travel Insurance Facilities brand that started out in 2012 selling exclusively to the backpack traveller market. Since then they have branched out into all areas of travel insurance and now offer straightforward and cheap travel insurance to everyone from just £2.83 per single trip. Customers love Alpha and they have an average score of 9.0 out of 10 from over 9,000 reviews on Trustpilot.
What do Alpha Travel Insurance offer?
Alpha offer a total of 4 types of policy: Single-Trip, Long Stay, Multi-Trip, and Winter Sports. Single tripe and multi-trip offer standard cover while their Long Stay policies cover for extended periods of travel. If you are looking for a little more action, we suggest taking a look at one of their Winter Sports policies which offers great value.
One of the interesting things to note with Alpha is that all their policies offer the same standard of protection with none of the levels you might find with other providers. They will also cover you for pre-existing medical conditions through their Protectif screening process.
What do Defaqto say about Alpha?
Alpha’s Zero XS WS Multip-Trip and Zero XS Multi-Trip Insurance policies have both been awarded a 4 Star rating from Defaqto the independent financial review service. All other policies have been given a 3 Star rating.
Overall Alpha punch above their weight and offer great cover for an excellent price.
The AA Travel Insurance Review
The AA (the Automobile Association) has been around for a long time (it was founded in 1905). From its beginnings as a drivers’ members club to its current guise as a roadside assistant and insurance purveyor, The AA is synonymous with great quality and excellent value.
The AA’s travel insurance is no different and they currently offer a wide variety of insurance policies, covering multi-trip annual cover, single trip cover, backpacker’s cover, golf cover, and wedding cover.
Single trip cover comes in two flavours, Standard and Essential, and both offer protection for any single trip up to 185 days. The difference between the two is how much you are covered for with levels generally lower in the Essential package. It’s also worth noting that you can only add pre-existing medical conditions (for a fee) to the Standard package.
The AA’s multi-trip insurance offers the same great cover as the single trip policies but allows for multiple trips so long as they do not total more than 61 days in a one-year period.
What do Defaqto say about The AA Travel Insurance?
Defaqto have awarded the AA’s single-trip Gold and Silver policies with a whopping 5 Stars. On top of this, its Gold multi-trip policy also scored a full 5 Stars, with the Silver package scoring 4 Stars.
The AA are a big name and you might be forgiven for thinking they are an expensive but quality choice. They do offer great cover but their prices, while not the cheapest, are still great value.
The Post Office Travel Insurance Review
The Post Office are another big name that hardly needs an introduction. They have been serving UK residents for 370 years and now offer over 170 different services, including travel insurance.
People love the Post Office’s travel insurance products and they were voted ‘Best Travel Insurance Provider’ by the British Travel Awards for 9 years in a row between 2006 to 2014.
What do The Post Office offer in terms of travel insurance?
The Post Office may not offer as many types of travel insurance as some of their competitors, but they do have all the common bases covered with both single trip and annual multi-trip policies being joined by backpacker cover.
Their single trip and multi-trip policies have five levels to choose from:
All come with varying degrees of cover and cost but even at the cheaper end, you’ll find a lot to like. On top of this, all policies include personal liability cover, something you may not find elsewhere.
What do Defaqto say about The Post Office Travel Insurance?
Defaqto have awarded the Post Office’s Premier Plus and Premier packages 5 out of 5 stars and their Economy, Standard, Superior, and Superior Plus 3 out of 5 stars.
The Post Office are another great travel insurance provider, and while at the top end of their range costs can be quite high, their economy packages offer great value.
GO Travel Insurance Review
GO Travel Insurance (owned by the AA) is a relatively new and small travel insurance company who are beginning to make a name for themselves in the cheap travel insurance industry.
What do GO Travel offer in terms of travel insurance?
GO Travel offer three different travel insurance policies: single trip, annual travel insurance, and backpacker insurance. They also offer the facility to add cover for Winter Sports to all their policies. Price-wise, GO Travel policies are on the cheaper end of the travel insurance spectrum offering decent cover. If you want fully comprehensive, however, you may need to look elsewhere.
On the negative side, none of the GO Travel policies offer the option to add cover for pre-existing medical conditions.
What do Defaqto say about GO Travel Insurance?
Defaqto have reviewed only two GO Travel products (Go Annual Travel Insurance and GO Single Trip Travel Insurance) and awarded both with 2 stars.
While the Defaqto ratings above are low, avoiding GO Travel for your insurance needs is missing the point. GO offer incredibly cheap cover with a decent, if not comprehensive, level of cover. If you’re off on a package holiday, what else do you need?
Globelink International Travel Insurance Review
Globelink International are another insurance company formed with the aim of offering backpacking insurance to people looking to visit to places like Australia and New Zealand. Over the years, it has expanded its range of products and now offers a wide range of travel insurance policies
What do Globelink International offer in terms of travel insurance?
Globelink offers the following policies:
Seniors travel insurance
Backpacker travel insurance
You can also add various extensions to each policy to further tailor it to suit your needs, such as:
Emergency return home
Being initially aimed at the backpacking market activities like trekking, pre-existing medical conditions, cruise trips, and variety of adventure activities come as standard with all policies.
What do Defaqto say about Globelink International Insurance?
Defaqto have given Globelink’s multi-trip policy the highest rating of 5 Stars.
If you travel more on the adventurous side, then Globelink International are the insurance company for you. They may not be as cheap as some of the other providers on this list but the list of included “adventurous” extras more than makes up for this.
Big Cat Travel Insurance Review
Big Cat Travel Insurance is another independent provider specialising in the more adventurous side of the travel market. They offer cheap and comprehensive cover with a few additional extra you won’t find elsewhere.
What do Big Cat offer in terms of travel insurance?
Big Cat offers mainly standard single and multi-trip policies, but they come with some non-standard options that are useful to specific travellers. For example, with Big Cat you can buy cover even if you are already travelling. Pre-existing medical conditions also come as standards for things like asthma, heart disease, or cancer, but you will need to check terms and conditions before applying to ensure you are covered.
You can also add extras like the Big Cat’s activity pack to cover you for sports activities, or the fruit picking, bar work, or casual farm work packs to cover you for working while you are away.
What do Defaqto say about Big Cat Travel Insurance?
Err… not a lot. Defaqto have yet to review any of Big Cat’s policies.
Don’t be fooled by the lack of Defqto reviews for Big Cat policies. As a newish, small, and niche provider they have flown under the radar for many but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great value, especially if you are looking for a more adventurous holiday.
STA Travel Insurance Review
STA are another small, independent travel insurer who offer cheap policies from just 22p per day with decent cover. They’ve been around longer than a lot of the other providers on this list (they were formed in 1979) and have used their years of experience to make good quality cover packages.
What do STA Travel offer in terms of travel insurance?
STA offer the standard single trip, multi-trip and backpacker insurance policies aimed primarily at students and young people. Their policies come in four different flavours (Budget, Standard, Premier, and Premier Plus) offering increasing cover for an increasing cost. Even with the cheaper Budget policy you still get £1m in medical expenses cover, cancellation cover up to £1,000, and personal liability of up to £500,000. That’s more than enough for most travellers.
Additional extras like winter sports cover, cover for electrical items, and cancellation cover can also be added for a small fee.
What do Defaqto say about STA Travel Insurance?
Independent insurance expert Defaqto have awarded 5 stars to both STA travel insurance’s Gold Premier Plus and Blue Premier Plus travel insurance policies.
STA Travel have long held a solid reputation amongst younger travels for offering decent and cheap cover. But the secret is out, and more and more older travellers are now heading to STA for their travel insurance needs. We don’t blame them.
Greatcover.com Travel Insurance Review
GreatCover.com is part of the award-winning Blue Insurance Group and are commitment to offering great cover at competitive prices. While price is the driving factor of Greatcover.com’s policy range, they also offer decent terms as standard and can be a great choice for those looking for a no-frills travel insurance policy.
What do GreatCover.com offer in terms of travel insurance?
Greatcover.com offer perhaps the largest range of policies out of all the providers in our top 10. Joining the standard single trip, and multi-trip policies are backpacker, winter sport, cruise, golfing, wedding, and skiing. Each come with their own terms and conditions and cover levels.
Single trip and multi trip are available in three varieties – Essential, Super, and Super Plus that increase in cost as the level of cover rises. But pre-existing conditions may be covered as standard on all policies (you have to ring to find out).
What do Defaqto say about GreatCover.com Travel Insurance?
Defaqto the independent financial experts gave Greatcover.com’s Super Plus policy 5 Stars and its Super policy 4 Stars for both single and multi-trips.
Greatcover.com’s range of policies is unparalleled, and their cover offers great value. They are the very definition of what we call a cheap travel insurance provider and while their policies are standard, they are reliable and include a raft of options not found elsewhere.
Columbus Direct Travel Insurance Review
Columbus Direct is another well-established insurance company founded in 1988 who are a specialist in offering travel insurance for skiing holidays (although other policies are available).
What do Columbus Direct offer in terms of travel insurance?
Columbus Direct offer all the standard travel insurance policies, such as single trip, multi trip, skiing, and pre-existing medical conditions. Each come in a variety of levels from Bronze, to Silver, and finally Gold, increasing in price as you go.
While the higher-level policies include more things as standard, the basic Bronze package is more than enough for most healthy travellers and is super cheap to boot at a little over £20 for a single trip policy.
What do Defaqto say about Columbus Direct Travel Insurance?
Defaqto have rated a variety of Columbus products, here are a few:
Annual travel Gold = 5 Stars
Annual travel Silver = 4 Stars
Annual travel Bronze = 3 Star
Single trip Gold = 5 Stars
Single trip Silver = 5 Stars
Single trip Bronze = 2 star
Columbus Direct are another solid choice for decent and cheap travel insurance. Their policies are great value and give a good level of cover for most. At the higher end (Silver and Gold packages) Columbus Direct really shine and the included extras make them an easy recommendation.
HoldiayExtras.co.uk Travel Insurance Review
HolidayExtras.co.uk have long been synonymous with selling cheap holidays to popular destinations. Their travel insurance is no different and offers basic cover at super-low prices (as low as £13 for single trip cover) suitable to those on a budget or are going on a standard package holiday.
What do HolidayExtras.co.uk offer in terms of travel insurance?
Holiday Extras offer all the standard single trip, annual trip, family cover and over 65s policies you would expect. As they are a real budget provider, there are no specialist polices but you can tailor your cover to suit your needs by adding a variety of additional extras, like cruise cover, skiing cover, golfing cover, and adventure cover.
What do Defaqto say about HolidayExtras.co.uk Travel Insurance?
Defaqto have awarded Holiday Extras 3 stars for every one of its insurance policies labelling them as ‘standard products providing an average level of features and benefits’.
HoldiayExtras.co.uk are the very definition of cheap and cheerful in the world of travel insurance. With policies starting from just £13 for a single trip, you can’t really go wrong if all you are doing is heading out on a family holiday in the sun.