Should you get travel insurance?

In the excitement of planning a holiday, the last thing you want to think about is something going wrong.

However, having insurance for your international or UK trip can help protect you if it does.

There are 5 main reasons why people take travel insurance:

Your trip gets cancelled before you even set off

It’s a good idea to buy travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked so you’re covered from that point onwards. Travel insurance doesn't just cover you while you're away. It can also cover you for things that might go wrong before you travel, such as:

  • getting injured or ill, including contracting coronavirus
  • experiencing a death in the family
  • finding out your travel company’s gone out of business
  • being made redundant

For full details of the coronavirus-related cover offered with HSBC policies, see our coronavirus travel guidance.

You get delayed

Even when you’re on your way to the airport, it’s not uncommon for a storm to wreak havoc with your plans. Delay cover can be a useful feature of travel insurance.

Most policies cover more than just acts of god. Many will also cover missed connections, industrial action and mechanical breakdown. Just make sure you check your policy to see what type of delay and disruption cover is included.

You fall ill or get hurt while outside the UK

This is possibly the most valuable feature of any travel insurance policy. Thanks to the NHS, many of us don’t think about the costs of healthcare. But a medical emergency in another country can be very expensive.

According to the Association of British Insurers, the average claim for medical expenses is around £1,300. But many medical bills cost much more than this. For example, if you were in a moped accident in Greece, the cost of surgery and being taken back to the UK could be upwards of £25,000.1

If you're planning a trip to an EU country, you can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to get state-provided healthcare during your visit. If you have a valid UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), it still provides cover in the EU post-Brexit. Once your EHIC has expired, you’ll be able to replace it with a GHIC.

Keep in mind, an EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. It doesn’t cover everything – such as private healthcare, mountain rescue or being flown back to the UK (medical repatriation) – so it’s a good idea to have both before you travel.

When taking out travel insurance, check what activities are covered as standard. If you’re going skiing or taking part in extreme sports, you may need to pay for extra cover.

Your belongings get lost or stolen

Having your suitcase go missing or your phone, cash or travel documents stolen can have a big impact on your trip. With the right travel insurance, you'll have the peace of mind of knowing your belongings are covered.

Before buying a policy, check whether it covers all your gadgets and other important possessions. While some may be included as standard, others – such as your clubs if you’re going on a golf trip – may be optional extras. Also check what's covered under your home insurance policy if you have one.

You need legal advice

Hopefully, you won't have any trouble with the law while you're away. But if you do, travel insurance can provide legal cover and advice to assist you. This could be particularly relevant if you’re travelling to a country without a legal aid system.

Remember, you may already have legal cover as part of your home or car insurance policy – although you’d need to check if it covers you outside the UK.

Are you considering travel insurance?

The first thing to check is that you’re not already covered - perhaps with your bank account?

If not, and you’re planning 2 or more trips within a 12-month period, annual or ‘multi-trip cover’ is usually cheaper. Naturally, this will depend on where you're travelling and for how long – so it pays to compare annual cover against the cost of buying a policy for each trip.

Aside from cost, the other good thing about buying an annual policy is convenience. Because if you end up taking a third trip within the course of a year, you’ll already be covered.

At HSBC, we offer travel insurance in several different ways. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we no longer offer single and multi-trip travel insurance policies to new customers. However, we provide Worldwide Travel Insurance as one of the options in our multi-cover policy, Select and Cover.

So if you’re looking for travel insurance alongside 2 other types of cover – such as mobile phone insurance or motor breakdown insurance – Select and Cover could make a lot of sense.

According to Which? , it's one of only a few policies that provide ‘complete’ coronavirus cover. This means you're covered if you can't travel due to changes in government advice or because of a lockdown, but not if you travel against government advice. See what's covered.

Select and Cover is available for HSBC UK customers who are registered for online banking. It covers you, your spouse, domestic or civil partner and any dependent children living with you who are under 18 – or under 23 if they’re in full-time education and living at home during the holidays.

The Worldwide Travel option covers up to the age of 70 and is provided by Aviva Insurance Limited.

1 Source: GOV.UK: Foreign travel insurance, July 2020

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