What kind of travel insurance do I need?

Travel insurance can come in useful if you need to cover foreign medical bills, lost luggage, theft during a holiday or emergency transport home. Some policies may not cover all of these aspects, so check to make sure you’re buying sufficiently suitable cover before paying for the policy.

It’s also possible to buy group or family insurance to cover a few people rather than just one or two. Buying this way may reduce the price of cover per person.

Consider the following options.

  1. 1

    Single trip travel insurance

    As the name suggests, this type of insurance will cover you for a single trip abroad. It can provide cover for one person, a couple or a family.

    Your policy will name a limit for how many days will be covered in a single ‘trip’. If you are staying in a particular place for longer than the limit, talk to your insurer to arrange extra cover.

    If you’re going away more than once in a year, it may work out cheaper to buy a multi-trip policy.

  2. 2

    Multi-trip travel insurance

    Frequent flyers are likely to get a better deal with multi-trip insurance. This will provide cover for two or more trips a year.

    Your insurer may limit the number of trips that this type of insurance can cover in a single year. If you’re going away a lot during a twelve-month period, make sure you're covered for every trip.

  3. 3

    Winter sports cover

    Winter sports like skiing or snowboarding are a popular but risky activity. Because of the increased chance of injury, insurers will often exclude cover for winter sports in their basic policies.

    Most offer it as a ‘bolt-on’ extra instead. If you’re planning to hit the slopes, it’s advisable to add this type of cover to your general policy. Otherwise, your insurer will not pay out if you get injured.

    Some policies will also cover damage to sports equipment. But many won’t include this as standard, so you may have to pay more to protect your gear.

  4. 4

    Extreme sports cover

    ‘Extreme sports’ cover or ‘adventure sports’ cover offers another type of optional extra protection. It is designed to cover extra risks associated with riskier activities.

    Some specialist policies will cover a range of these sports as standard. Others may offer you the option to add cover for riskier sports for an extra premium.

    Extreme sports cover might be suitable if, for example, you’re going surfing or hang-gliding. But there are many other sports that you can buy cover for.

    Cover for certain sports may come as standard with these policies. For the most risky sports, you may have to pay a bit extra to get specific cover.

  5. 5

    Worldwide travel insurance cover

    If you’re travelling outside of Europe, you’ll need worldwide cover. Medical care is far more expensive in, for example, the USA than within Europe. This type of policy takes this sort of difference into account.

    Worldwide cover is more expensive than European cover. But it will protect you from enormous medical bills for treatment elsewhere in the world.

  6. 6

    Over 65s travel insurance

    Travel insurers will not sell a standard policy to anyone over the age of 65.

    While this is inconvenient, there are many providers who supply specialist policies. These are available for different age brackets, from over 65s all the way to 80+.

    As you get older, you’ll find that the policies become more expensive. Despite this, we’d argue that it’s better to have insurance and peace of mind, than need treatment and not have cover.

    Remember that it might be more cost-effective to buy single trip cover if that’s all you need. Paying for a whole year’s multi-trip cover would be far more expensive.

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