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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

You get delayed

You fall ill or get hurt while outside the UK

Your belongings get lost or stolen

You need legal advice

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

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 (a natural event that’s outside of human control). 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. 

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 two or more trips within a 12-month period, it’s worth considering whether annual or ‘multi-trip cover’ works out cheaper for you. 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 – if you take a third trip within the same region during the year, you’ll already be covered.

At HSBC, we no longer offer single and annual multi-trip travel insurance policies – but M&S Bank, a member of the HSBC Group, does. Terms and conditions apply. 

M&S Travel Insurance is provided by Aviva Insurance Limited. Annual multi-trip age limit of under 80, with no age limit for single trip policies.

M&S Travel Insurance is not available to customers who live in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man.