Buying travel insurance is harder in the current climate, with fewer policies available and tighter restrictions so here’s all you need to know. You can buy a week’s travel policy for less than the price of a couple of drinks, yet only one in three of us buy it according to Compare The Market.

Travel insurance means financial protection if things go wrong with your holiday, but it’s not a passport to an automatic payout. It’s intended for ‘unrecoverable costs’, which is why travellers were told to chase refunds with airlines and holiday companies, instead of travel insurers, after their trips were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Why you should buy travel insurance

If you have an accident or get sick abroad, medical bills can be costly, even within Europe.

Your EHIC, (European Health Insurance Card) is no substitute for travel cover. This currently entitles you to free or discounted state medical care, but won’t cover ‘out of pocket’ expenses like rearranging flights home. However, since we have now exited the European Union, it is unlikely to be valid beyond Dec 31 2020. For further updates, see

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While most travel policies now have restrictions on claims relating to Coronavirus; other benefits still apply, like medical treatment if you break your leg, have to cancel your trip after a family bereavement or find your passport pinched.

How much does it cost?

There’s no fixed price as premiums are based on the ‘risk’ factor. Insurers consider your age, health and where you’re going when calculating quotes.

As a very rough guide, (based on average policy prices), you can pay from £6 for a week in Europe and £15 for annual cover according to GoCompare Travel Insurance.

With worldwide cover, (including the USA), it’s from £10 for a week or £39 a year.

Who sells travel insurance?

Lots of big names including Direct Line, Aviva and LV= stopped selling policies at the start of the pandemic.

However an increasing number of insurers, mainly smaller ones, are now selling them, but with restricted cover.

“If you’ve booked a holiday since the pandemic began, most policies won’t cover you for any disruption caused by coronavirus”, says Nicky Kelvin, Director of Content at travel information website, The Points Guy UK.

“However if you booked before March with a policy that includes pandemic cover, any disruption to your trip caused by coronavirus should be covered”.

Am I covered if I catch Coronavirus?

Insurers set their own terms and conditions so check policy details carefully.

“Some policies will include cover for coronavirus expenses if you get ill while you’re on holiday”, says Pippa Jacks, Group Editor of the Travel Trade Gazette, “however some will only cover medical expenses and not any extra costs you incur, like needing to stay on or rebooking a flight home”.

Some insurers may pay out if you need to cancel your trip after developing Coronavirus but once again check the detail.

“Insurers have differing terms for cancellation cover”, warns Brian Brown from financial information service Defaqto, “for example StaySure cover cancellation if you catch COVID-19, (and have a medical test to prove it), but not if you’re told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace team”.

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Cover if FCO travel advice changes

The FCO issued a warning against ‘non essential’ travel back in March, but it’s now published a list of country exemptions.

Means you can book a break to certain countries, but if the FCO advice suddenly changes, as happened recently with Spain, you could be out of pocket.

“Some travel insurers will pay out if the Foreign Office impose a travel advisory for the country you’re travelling to because of COVID-19 (or if the country closes its own borders), but the majority will not”, warns Pippa Jacks.

Booking a ‘package’ means greater protection, as tour operators follow FCO advice.

“This means if the FCO advise against travel to your destination, the tour operator will cancel the holiday, and give you a refund or allow you to rebook”.

If the FCO advise against travel, and you still go; your travel insurance won’t be valid.

Finding policies with COVID cover

You can compare travel insurance at MoneySupermarket which says all its providers offer both emergency medical treatment and repatriation for coronavirus as a minimum.

Travel insurance checklist

  • Compare the level of cover, not just the policy price.
  • Declare any pre-existing medical conditions. You can buy specialist policies from and
  • The Association of British Insurers has a helpful guide on what to check before buying travel insurance here.
  • Check the ‘Defaqto’ star rating of policies on comparison sites. This compares and rates financial products with five stars being the best.

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