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Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It?

AllClear Team
Last updated 8 May 2018
Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Holiday suitcase and travel items

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Travel landmarks around the world

How Much Travel Insurance You Really Need

So you like to travel but every travel insurance policy feels the same…

You choose the cover which sounds like it does the job – you may even just stick with the cover provided by your bank –  but if you’ve never had to make a claim, deep down you may be thinking: ‘Do I need travel insurance? Is it worth it?’

After all, ABTA have revealed that just over one in five (21%) of holidaymakers travelled without insurance in the last year. Of these people, over a third (37%) said they didn’t think they needed travel insurance and more than a quarter (28%) said it was a risk they were willing to take!

However, last year’s claims statistics by the Association of British Insurers tell the real story:

  • Every 3 minutes a UK holidaymaker will make a emergency medical assistance claim from abroad
  • The total medical bill paid by insurers last year was £209 million – the highest figure since 2010
  • A married couple travelling to Florida recently had a medical bill of £241,000 following heart problems

Dr Harikrishna Patel from AllClear says: “People often do not realise the cost of medical emergencies abroad. It’s natural that people believe it won’t happen to them, but even the most well managed conditions need to be covered, in case the unexpected happens. The value of insurance is realised in the event of a claim and using a trusted supplier will ensure, if the worst happens, the right support is in place.”

So if you’re still wondering whether travel insurance is just a waste of time and money…

Think again!

Read on to find out why you do need travel insurance  – and exactly what it can protect you against.

 Cover for a Medical Emergency

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Doctor shaking hands with patient

You never know what’s going to happen when you’re on holiday. Most of the time they are nice surprises, but travel insurance is there for the few times when they are not…

A traveller on a cruise to China was not only saved paying a bill of £200,000 following a brain haemorrhage, but provided an air ambulance back to the UK all the way from Hong Kong.

It’s true that such medical expenses figures depend upon where you are travelling, however, having extensive medical travel insurance stops you having to juggle potential claim figures and lets you travel with peace of mind.

Of course, travel insurance becomes even more important when you have existing medical conditions, as you will want to make sure you are fully covered, in case the worst should happen.

24 hour emergency medical support and repatriation

Having medical travel insurance is a great start. But of course the most important thing is you actually get the right treatment when you need it.

Cover which includes a 24 hour emergency helpline is a key product benefit.

You no longer have to worry about what’s the right local emergency number, particularly if you’re travelling between countries. Instead you only have to call the emergency telephone number listed on your travel insurance documents and they’ll arrange treatment at the correct hospital, whenever you need it.

What About Using Your EHIC for Medical Cover?

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Couple sitting at Eiffel tower, in Paris

It is true that an EHIC card will cover you for basic, short term, state health care. But there are significant exclusions – which is why the FCO and Association of British Insurers stress that it is NOT an alternative to travel insurance.

The EHIC will not cover services such as private health care, the cost of mountain rescue in ski resorts or lost and stolen property. The right travel insurance can.

The EHIC is also invalid on cruises.

Cancellation and Curtailment Cover

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Middle age woman looking out plane window

Cover for cancellation, along with every benefit mentioned below, aren’t available at all on your EHIC and require travel insurance.

Cancellation cover protects you if unforseen circumstances, from a medical emergency to losing your job, mean you need to cancel your trip before you go.

You do have the option to exclude cancellation cover from your travel insurance. And some traveller do so for valid reasons. For example, if you’re staying in your own property and the flight was under £100, you might find your cancellation excess higher than the amount you’d need to claim for.

However, if you’ve invested a lot of money in your trip, getting travel insurance with cancellation cover – well in advance of departing – is a sensible choice!

Curtailment cover is there for when you’re on holiday but you need to come home early. It is usually always included on travel insurance. And rightly so, as repatriation flights can be extremely expensive from far-flung destinations.

But Do You Need Travel Insurance If You’re Holidaying in the UK?

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Brighton pier

If you want cover for cancelling or coming home early – yes!

While you can use the NHS for medical treatment as a UK citizen, still consider the cost of booking your trip.

Even if your holiday isn’t too expensive, it is still likely to be a lot higher than the cost of travel insurance for the UK.

Travel Disruption

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Car stuck in traffic due to bad weather

Whether you’re planning a getaway in the UK or a trip further afield, the weather could affect your journey regardless!

Travel disruption will cover you for natural disasters  – including floods, heavy snow, earthquakes and hurricanes. Plus, it also covers you for civil unrest.

The benefit isn’t always included as standard on travel insurance, but is well worth thinking about as an optional add on

This year alone, severe weather has caused hundreds of flights to be cancelled. Without travel insurance, many people would’ve lost their money completely.

Protecting Your Baggage

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Holiday suitcase and travel items

You’ve bought new holiday clothes and packed the items you couldn’t leave without…

So you don’t want to lose them and start all over!

Should your suitcase go missing in transit, either on your way out or on your way home, travel insurance can cover you. You’ll also be covered for loss or theft.

Plus if you need to buy extra supplies in the meantime, you could be able to claim the money back on these items too.

Gadget Cover

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Family playing on iPads and computers

It’s unlikely you want to leave your mobile at home.

And we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to take your fancy camera on holiday with you. Especially in the new world of social media!

That’s why more and more travel insurance providers are offering gadget cover.

Gadget cover can cover loss or theft of your camera, mobile phone, tablets and laptops and is an optional as an add-on to your policy.

It’s important to remember that standard baggage cover often does not include any of your gadgets.

To give you an idea of what gadget cover can offer, AllClear you can cover up to 7 gadgets – with a maximum claim value of £3000.

Activities and Winter Sports Cover

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Middle age zip-wiring through jungle

Planning an active trip? Make sure your travel insurance provider knows!

While there’s many activities travel insurance can cover for free,  some will require an additional cost. As for winter sports, you will nearly always need to include cover for them as an optional extra.

There’s also cover for activities you might not have considered, such as Golf. You may not be as concerned that you’re going to injure yourself… but you can be covered for loss of equipment, green fees and even buying a round of drinks up to  £100 if you get a hole-in-one!

 Cruise Cover

Do I Need Travel Insurance? Is It Worth It? Old couple on a cruise taking a selfie

Most cruise-liners state that you must have insurance.

But what you might not know about are the benefits of cruise specific travel insurance.

Cover benefits include:

    • Missed port departure – for if you fail to arrive at the departure point in time to board the ship
    • Cabin confinement – for when you’re confined to your cabin for medical reasons
    • Unused excursions – for the cost of pre-booked excursions missed due to being ill, injured or confined to your cabin
    • Itinerary change – for cancellation of a scheduled port visit due to adverse weather or timetable restrictions

How to Find the Right Medical Travel Insurance Policy

Still not convinced you need travel insurance?

Here’s one last statistic to seal the deal: A man in holidaying in San Fransico recently simply fell out of bed and woke up with a medical bill of £153,000 after breaking his arm!

Now that we’ve convinced you of how important travel insurance is, all that’s left for you to do is find the right policy!

So How Do You Find the Right Policy?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, consider a specialist travel insurance provider.

While some insurers will try to avoid covering those with medical conditions, they have the expertise to offer extensive cover at a sensible price.

And don’t forget to compare policies! The level of cover you need for the benefits above will no doubt depend on your health and where you’re travelling to. That’s why AllClear let you compare 61 prices online to find the best cover for you.

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