What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Published 08 June 2018   |   Updated 18 May 2021

Impact of Covid-19 - We regularly review the content on our website to ensure the information we provide our customers with is up to date. At the time of updating this article there were travel and attraction restrictions in place due to Covid-19. Please adhere to government guidance.

Holidays are supposed to be fun, right? You've waited all year for your two weeks in the sun, swimming with dolphins or enjoying a cocktail or two around the pool. Or maybe taking to the slopes is more your thing, trying out a black run, and sampling the delights of the après-ski while dancing on a table. The last thing you want to think about when planning your escape is what may go wrong. Spending time online getting the right travel insurance policy will provide peace of mind in case something unexpected happens.

You need to think about what cover you need for your individual travel needs. Where you're travelling to and what you're going to do when you get there will have a big impact on the right kind of policy for you.

What's included in a standard policy?

There are several common situations most insurance policies will cover you for, prior to and during your trip:

Medical expenses

This will cover the costs of medical treatment you may need if you get ill or injured on holiday, and repatriation if you need to be flown home to the UK. Without travel insurance, you could incur huge bills which you may not be able to afford to pay.

Cancellation of your trip

A holiday is probably one of the biggest purchases you make in a year. If for example you have to cancel your trip because you or someone you are travelling with falls ill, or you get called up for jury service, a travel insurance policy can help you cover the cost so you don't lose out financially. Don't forget to read through the policy terms and conditions though, they include a list of the reasons for cancellation you can claim for, and the maximum amount they will pay out.

Delays in travel

So, there you are sitting in the departure lounge, reading the bumper summer edition of Take a Break or Men's Health, when you hear an announcement over the tannoy. Your flight has been delayed because of a freak snowstorm, or your cruise ship has engine problems. If your trip is delayed by 12 hours or more, you will be able to claim for expenses you incur due to the delay, such as an overnight stay in a hotel.

Lost or stolen luggage and belongings

If your bags get lost en route to your dream destination, or you're in Gibraltar and a monkey steals your brand spanking new camera, your travel insurance policy can cover the cost of replacing your belongings. Many policies will also pay for damaged luggage. Remember to check your policy to see what items it will pay out for, and the amount you can claim in each case.

Help in an emergency

If you find yourself in need of medical assistance but don't speak the local language, having travel insurance could literally be a lifesaver. Many insurers have a 24-hour helpline you can call for advice, such as where to go for treatment or how you can get home.

Personal liability

Just like at home, sometimes accidents will happen when we're abroad. You may find yourself liable to pay damages to a fellow holiday maker if you unintentionally run them over whilst cycling through a vineyard in France, or the company you hired the bike from, for damage to their equipment. Personal liability can cover you in these situations.

What a travel policy won't cover - Exclusions

Travel insurance policies don't usually cover every eventuality, and below you will find some examples of what they don't automatically include. If you do require additional cover however, you can request this when you fill in your quote form in order to only see quotes for policies most suitable for your requirements.

Pre-existing medical conditions

If you're playing a game of beach volleyball and that old back injury flares up, don't expect your travel insurance to cover the costs of any treatment you may need. You may think this is a bit unfair but remember, travel insurance is there to cover unforeseen or unexpected events, so if you already know you've got an injury or medical condition it probably wouldn't be covered under a standard policy. Help is at hand though, as there are a number of insurers on our panel who quote for pre-existing medical conditions.

Winter and adventure sports, or dangerous activities

Thinking about going bungee jumping in New Zealand? Or maybe cliff diving in Mexico is more your bag. Your standard travel insurance policy won't cover you if your holiday resembles an episode of 'Running Wild with Bear Grylls'. You'll need to take out additional cover for your extreme or winter sports holiday. Take a look at our Additional Travel Cover page for more information.

Travel to countries the Foreign Office has advised not to travel to

Unsurprisingly, insurers aren't generally keen on insuring people travelling to places that are considered unsafe. A country in the middle of civil unrest, or a region hit by a virus are likely to be thought of as high risk. You can check if your destination is safe to visit by looking at the Foreign Office Travel Advice page.

Natural disasters and Terrorism

You may also find that some insurance policies don't cover natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes if you experience one during your holiday and the same can apply to acts of terrorism. Check your policy to see exactly what it covers, especially if you're heading somewhere you could potentially experience something like this.


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Quotations are provided by Compare Cover on a non-advised basis. This means no advice is given or implied. You are responsible for deciding whether the policy is suitable for your needs.

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