Holidays in the UK – should you buy travel insurance?

Booking a holiday in the UK? Tread carefully with travel insurance, says Ruth Jackson-Kirby – make sure your policy covers everything you need.

Since Boris Johnson announced England’s roadmap out of lockdown, holiday bookings have boomed. But many of us are opting for a break in the UK rather than risk borders and foreign climes this year. Interest in holiday cottage rentals has jumped by 300% compared with the last lockdown, according to holiday-home rental site Independent Cottages. 

If you are planning a holiday in the UK this year, have you considered insurance? As we worry about lockdowns or falling ill on holiday, many of us are opting to take out an insurance policy to protect what we’ve spent on a trip. Since February 2020 demand for domestic travel-insurance policies has risen by a third, according to Compare the Market.

But before you pay for travel insurance to protect a UK break, make sure you actually need it – and that it will cover you if you need to make a claim. Always read through the policy carefully. You could find there are all sorts of strange exclusions hidden in the small print that could leave you footing the bill when your trip goes wrong. 

First, look at whether your trip actually qualifies as a holiday under the insurer’s rules. “British travel-insurance policies are known to have particularly fiddly clauses, which don’t apply to foreign ones,” says David Byers in The Times. Your trip will usually have to involve at least two nights away from home, be more than 25 miles from your home, or include a sea crossing. You are also likely to be covered if you are staying in commercial premises – that’s a hotel or bed and breakfast – but not privately rented cottages.

Next, take a look at the cancellation cover. Many travel-insurance policies won’t cover you for Covid-19-related cancellations. “Just 1% of... policies will cover you for cancellation of a trip if there is another lockdown,” says Grace Gausden on This Is Money. “If you are unlucky enough to catch Covid-19 before you travel, only 71% of policies will cover your cancellation costs.” If you have to cancel because you are told to self-isolate, then only 34% of policies will pay out.

Axa and LV offer cancellation cover if you catch Covid-19 or have to self-isolate, but not for lockdowns. Make sure your policy doesn’t simply cover the cost of your accommodation, but that it covers anything you’ve spent on travel and activities to do with your trip, otherwise you could still end up out of pocket. Try to book your trip with a travel firm that offers generous cancellation policies due to Covid-19. Many will offer you a refund if you have to cancel or let you move your dates without penalty. Another reason to take out a travel-insurance policy is to protect the valuables you take with you, but they may already be covered. 

Many home-insurance policies apply to items taken away from the home. But this won’t cover everything you take on holiday with you; usually it is only valuables. So, a UK travel -insurance policy could prove useful if your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged. 

If you already have annual travel insurance don’t assume your trip is protected. “According to the Association of British Insurers, many standard policies don’t include UK cover, which helps insurers to keep prices competitive,” says Byers. So check your policy carefully.

Recommended

The best offers for switching banks – get up to £200 free cash
Personal finance

The best offers for switching banks – get up to £200 free cash

Looking to move bank accounts? You can now bag as much as £200 for switching current accounts
3 Oct 2022
Early repayment charges: should you abandon your fixed-rate mortgage for a new deal now?
Mortgages

Early repayment charges: should you abandon your fixed-rate mortgage for a new deal now?

Increasing numbers of homeowners are paying an early repayment charge to leave their fixed-rate mortgage deal early, and lock in a new deal now. Shoul…
30 Sep 2022
Energy meter reading day: why you need submit your gas and electricity readings now
Personal finance

Energy meter reading day: why you need submit your gas and electricity readings now

Energy meter reading day - you need to submit your gas and electricity readings as soon as possible ahead of the October energy price increase
30 Sep 2022
Should you fix your mortgage? Here are the best rates available now
Mortgages

Should you fix your mortgage? Here are the best rates available now

Rising interest rates look set to spring a nasty surprise on millions of homeowners next year. You need to take steps today to protect yourself from a…
30 Sep 2022

Most Popular

Share tips of the week – 30 September
Share tips

Share tips of the week – 30 September

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
30 Sep 2022
Should you fix your mortgage? Here are the best rates available now
Mortgages

Should you fix your mortgage? Here are the best rates available now

Rising interest rates look set to spring a nasty surprise on millions of homeowners next year. You need to take steps today to protect yourself from a…
30 Sep 2022
Why everyone is over-reacting to the mini-Budget
Budget

Why everyone is over-reacting to the mini-Budget

Most analyses of the chancellor’s mini-Budget speech have failed to grasp its purpose and significance, says Max King
29 Sep 2022