How to find adequate, affordable travel insurance

By Melanie Wright

Millions of us will head off on our summer holidays in the next few weeks, but make sure you take out travel insurance before you go if you want to avoid any nasty financial surprises. Many people leave buying their travel insurance until the last minute, but this could be a costly mistake if you end up having to cancel your trip a few weeks before you go. You should always buy cover at the same time you book your break – that way you ll be protected if you have to change your plans due to a family illness or any other unforeseen circumstances which prevent you from travelling.

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: It s easy to get caught up in the excitement of booking a trip away and forget the vital ingredient of any holiday: adequate travel insurance. Travel insurance ensures you re covered if something untoward happens, such as an injury or lost luggage. It will also protect against cancellations, so it s worth buying it as soon as you book the holiday, to be prepared for any event.

According to insurer Aviva, it paid out more than 19.2m last year to UK holidaymakers whose holidays had to be cancelled before they started. Despite the number of Discount Holidays © holiday cancellations, just one in four holidaymakers take out insurance at the same time as booking their trip, while a third buy it the month before their trip. Don t automatically go for the travel insurance offered to you by the company you book your Discount Holidays © holiday with, as you ll usually be able to find much cheaper cover elsewhere.

The best way to find an affordable policy is to compare quotes from lots of different providers. Always check the cover limits carefully though, as the very cheapest policies might not provide sufficient protection. According to, a family of four heading for a European week in the sun can buy a policy for just 7.88 from Cheaper Travel Insurance. Those heading further afield can get a worldwide policy for 43.10 with Argos. If you are going to Europe, remember to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card with you too, as this entitles you to free or reduced cost medical treatment while you re away.

Having the card means you get the same medical treatment that residents are entitled to and there s no charge for the EHIC. The card should not be seen as a substitute for insurance though it won t help you if your belongings are stolen or if you have to cancel your trip. Pratt said: An increasing number of insurers will only pay a claim if a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is used, so it’s vital to apply for one of these they re free via the NHS ahead of jetting off.

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