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Martin Lewis Travel Insurance Guide 2024

Financial expert and consumer champion, Martin Lewis has issued another stark warning to British holidaymakers that could save them £1,000’s. Martin Lewis’s MoneySavingExpert.com January weekly newsletter issued its annual warning to travellers to make sure that you ‘Get travel insurance ASAB – As Soon As you Book’.

Martin Lewis also spoke out about this on an interview with This Morning on the 9th January to reiterate his standard ‘ASAB’ advice for travellers. This clearly shows how important this topic is and how much emphasis we need to place on sorting out your cover quickly.

Money Man Martin Lewis Shares His Advice On Holiday Insurance and Mortgage Rates | This Morning

January is the peak time in the UK for holiday bookings as the summer travel season rapidly approaches. Martin Lewis himself says ‘every year without fail, someone who’s been diagnosed with cancer or another serious condition, asks me what to do if they can’t travel because they need treatment and they can’t cancel their holiday’.

As Martin Lewis says, “that’s what travel insurance is for, they say that haven’t got around to doing it yet”. Half of the value of travel insurance is for the period before you travel, if anything happens or goes wrong that stops you from going away.

MoneySavingExpert.com’s weekly newsletter in January issued another serious warning about the potential risks of not taking travel insurance early. The newsletter article was titled ‘Booked a holiday abroad? Or about to…? Get travel insurance ASAB – As Soon As you Book. Delay and you’ll be unprotected. You can get travel insurance for only £9 a week’.

In this travel guide by our team of travel insurance experts, we review the latest Martin Lewis travel insurance advice. Our experts will help to explain how travel insurance works and how to save money, but also how to protect yourself from the moment you book.

A picture of a stopwatch

60-Second Summary – Top Martin Lewis travel insurance tips

One of the best tips for travellers and holidaymakers in the UK is when we ask, ‘Does Martin Lewis recommend travel insurance?’. The answer is very clearly yes Martin Lewis strongly recommends travel insurance and he also recommends getting it ‘ASAB – As Soon As you Book’.

Holidaymakers seem to be making the same mistakes every year and leaving themselves exposed to potentially losing money on holiday bookings. In yet another warning issued in January, Martin Lewis recommended to take out travel insurance instantly to avoid losing money.

  • Every year, Martin Lewis makes the same recommendation that travellers should get their travel insurance sorted out as soon as possible or ‘ASAB – As Soon As you Book’ to avoid losing money.
  • Martin Lewis said on ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby, he gets a Tweet from a viewer every year asking, “what can I do if I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, and I can’t travel?”.
  • Travel insurance is specifically for helping you when something goes wrong, and it covers the costs of flight or ferry cancellations, medical problems before and during your trip, and lost or stolen luggage.
  • Exclusions can be extremely costly and it’s extremely important to make sure that you check your policy wording carefully for medical, sports, and geographical exclusions.
  • Martin Lewis also recommends checking with your credit cards or bank to see if you have any free travel insurance benefits included with them, which could potentially save you money.

Martin Lewis says “Everybody should get their travel insurance ASAB – As Soon As you Booked, do not forget this!”. He told ITV’s This Morning, “someone will Tweet me every year and it’s a serious point, saying that I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer or another serious illness, and I won’t be able to travel but my airline says I can’t cancel my seat”.

The interview goes on to explain that Martin Lewis receives the same messages every year from a viewer, asking what to do if they can’t travel because of a serious medical condition, but they don’t have travel insurance. This is why Mr Lewis is very clear on saying that you need to get your travel insurance sorted straight away.

Getting the best and cheapest travel insurance can be difficult, and especially for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Martin Lewis travel insurance recommendations on MoneySavingExpert.com, covers a lot about this topic and other ways to get the best and cheapest travel insurance.

Top Martin Lewis travel insurance guides:

Getting the very best travel insurance can make a huge difference if you need to make a claim when travelling overseas, especially for the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions. Martin Lewis travel insurance covers both of these topics and looks at how to save money in the process, which is also extremely important.

Lots of us in the UK will be familiar with Martin Lewis CBE and his consumer advice website called MoneySavingExpert.com. Martin Lewis himself is currently regarded as the top financial journalist in the country and campaigner for consumer rights.

You may also be familiar with the ‘Martin Lewis Money Show’ on ITV with his current co-host Angellica Bell. Mr Lewis has also regularly featured on breakfast TV in both This Morning and Good Morning Britain providing his own brand of financial wisdom.

His website MoneySavingExpert.com is what Martin Lewis is most famous for which currently generates millions of unique visitors every month. Money Saving Expert (MSE) was created in 2003 for a massive £100 which seems unbelievable in today’s market.

MoneySavingExpert.com provides free consumer advice for all elements of personal finances, including:

A list displaying the services available on MoneySavingExpert.com

You can also subscribe to the free MSE weekly email newsletter to receive updates about current financial affairs. There are also daily and monthly update options available for these newsletters.

It would be pretty difficult to not recommend that people take out travel insurance, especially considering the potential risks and costs of not having cover. Martin Lewis travel insurance advice recommends that you take out a travel policy and that you get it as soon as you’ve booked (ASAB) your holiday or travel (either independently or through a travel agent).

Martin Lewis travel insurance TOP recommendation is “Get it ASAB or As Soon As you Book” taken from an interview on This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield in July 2018 and again with The Independent in February 2023.

Holiday Tips – Get Travel Insurance As Soon As You Book | This Morning

Here’s a quote from an article about Martin Lewis on The Independent:

The Independent logo

The Independent – 22nd February 2023

“Each spring without fail, someone asks me a heart breaking question, I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness and I need long-term treatment, so I can’t go on holiday. What can I do?”

As Martin Lewis strongly recommends on any of his travel insurance interviews, blogs or guides, get it ‘ASAB’.

As Mr Lewis also points out on MoneySavingExpert.com in his Martin Lewis travel insurance guides, around half of the value of your policy is before you actually travel. Taking out travel insurance before you actually travel won’t affect the cost but it will significantly increase the value.

A traditional or standard travel insurance policy is solely designed to protect you and your family against financial loss before, during and after your trip.

This simply means that most good travel insurance policies will provide you with financial protection for most of the usual risks relating to overseas and domestic holidays, such as:

  • Cancellation or curtailment
  • Medical emergencies
  • Loss or theft of possessions
  • Holiday disruptions
  • Virus’s and diseases (e.g. COVID-19)
  • Sports and activities

Sadly no, there is a significant difference between a good travel insurance policy and a lower level travel insurance policy. Also, it’s not always true to say that “you get what you pay for” either, because some policies offer great value for money whereas others can be overpriced.

You should always check your policy wording and terms & conditions very carefully before you accept any cover. It’s also worth noting that comparing several travel insurance quotes is the best way to make sure that you’ve got the right cover. You can do this through your own research, via comparison sites or by talking to a travel insurance expert.

Below is an example of what a ‘good travel insurance’ policy should protect you for.

Policy protection and cover typePotential reasons for claim
Cancellation and curtailment of travel plansThis is the bit that most people miss, and the bit that Martin Lewis travel insurance advice emphasises the most.
If you need to cancel your holiday due to illness or injury prior to travel which means that you are unable to travel (e.g. car accident, sports injury, diagnosis of a serious illness etc.), or even things like family bereavements and an emergency at home.
Hospital treatments and medical costs when overseasOne of the single biggest and potentially most scary situations, is requiring medical treatment and hospitalisation when travelling overseas.
Firstly, the language barrier alone can be a very scary issue, compounded by the potential astronomical costs of any treatments and care. You should also check very carefully to make sure that your policy covers any pre-existing medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, cancer, heart conditions, stroke etc.).
Personal belongings and luggage (e.g. Theft, loss and damage)Most of us travel with a significant amount of luggage and personal possessions when we go on holiday, especially if we’ve got children or for activity holidays.
The potential costs of loss, theft or damage to those possessions can be hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Most good travel insurance policies will give higher limits for these belongings and you can even increase limits if you have specific items to cover.
Extreme sports, dangerous activities and holiday excursionsA popular reason for holidaymakers visiting foreign locations is to take part in certain activities or sports (e.g. skiing, snowboarding, sailing, diving and mountaineering).
There are specific policies that cover these activities and some might exclude these unless stated in the policy terms and conditions.
Personal and public liability (including legal costs)You are just as much at risk of hurting or injuring another person when you are on holiday, as when you’re at home (e.g. car accident, sports accident, property damage etc.).
Your building and contents or car insurance will usually cover these at home, so you’ll nee to think about making sure that this is covered when you’re on holiday.

Note: Every travel insurance policy has its own limits of cover and will provide different levels of coverage, so check your policy documents very carefully.

Most people will want to buy the ‘best quality’ or ‘best rated’ travel insurance that they can. Many UK consumers find it useful to look at product ratings to see which companies offer the best policies. Looking at both Trustpilot scores and Defaqto ratings allows our experts to assess the best policies across both customer service and industry standards.

Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert will often mention ‘Defaqto’ ratings when talking about specific types of insurance policies. There are even several threads about Defaqto on the MoneySavingExpert consumer forum.

Based on Defaqto ratings and independent customer reviews, the Top 5 best-rated travel insurance companies in the UK are currently:

Coverwise logo

1) Coverwise

Trustpilot score: 4.7 out of 5.0 Stars
Defaqto rating: 5 Stars

Coverwise was rated as #1 in our latest independent research into the UK’s Best Travel Insurance Companies. This was based on outstanding customer service, fair pricing, and high-quality of cover.

Coverwise has been rated as 4.7 out of 5.0 Stars on the independent customer review site Trustpilot, with almost 68,000 5 Star reviews (out of 84,568 total). Most of their online reviews note their competitive prices and helpful staff members.

Coverwise Defaqto ratings

Coverwise offers a wide range of policies for customers of different budgets including:

  • 28 policies which were rated as 5 Stars by Defaqto
  • 20 policies which were rated as 4 Stars by Defaqto
  • 12 policies which were rated as 3 Stars by Defaqto

Good to Go logo

2) Good to Go Insurance

Trustpilot score: 4.7 out of 5.0 Stars
Defaqto rating: 5 Stars

Good to Go was also rated as 4.7 out of 5.0 Stars on Trustpilot, with a rating of ‘Excellent’ and over 6,700 5 Star reviews. Most reviewers mentioned low prices and a straightforward contact process to get in touch if they had any questions.

Though none of Good to Go’s policies are Defaqto 5 Star rated, a 4 Star rating still indicates ‘a product with a good level of features and benefits’.

Good to Go Defaqto ratings

Goodtogoinsurance.com provides various options for travel insurance customers including:

  • 4 policies which were rated as 4 Stars by Defaqto
  • 5 policies which were rated as 3 Stars by Defaqto

Admiral logo

3) Admiral

Trustpilot score: 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars
Defaqto rating: 5 Stars

Admiral has been a popular choice for UK insurance customers for over two decades, with their parent group owning comparison sites like Confused.com.

Admiral has been rated 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars for customer service on Trustpilot, with more than 50,600 5-star reviews. Admiral sells various types of insurance, so not all reviews will relate to travel insurance. Most of the reviews that do mention travel insurance comment on ‘bargain’ prices and being a good option for customers with medical conditions.

Admiral Defaqto ratings

Admiral is also well rated by industry body Defaqto, with one-third of their policies being Defaqto 5 Star rated.

  • 6 policies which were rated as 5 Stars by Defaqto
  • 6 policies which were rated as 4 Stars by Defaqto
  • 6 policies which were rated as 3 Stars by Defaqto

Holiday Extras logo

4) Holiday Extras

Trustpilot score: 4.4 out of 5.0 Stars
Defaqto rating: 5 Stars

Holiday Extras also appeared within our Top 5 list of UK travel insurance companies based on our recent independent research. Holiday Extras is currently rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot, with a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0 Stars and almost 25,000 5 Star reviews.

Many recent reviews mention Holiday Extras being extremely helpful in resolving issues such as needing to change bookings. The reviewers also frequently comment on Holiday Extra’s ‘efficient and helpful’ staff members.

Holiday Extras Defaqto ratings

Holiday Extras has received various positive ratings from the industry body Defaqto with:

  • 7 policies which were rated as 5 Stars by Defaqto
  • 7 policies which were rated as 4 Stars by Defaqto
  • 6 policies which were rated as 3 Stars by Defaqto

The AA logo

5) The AA Insurance

Trustpilot score: 4.3 out of 5.0 Stars
Defaqto rating: 5 Stars

The AA is well known in the UK for car insurance, breakdown cover, and travel insurance. The AA Insurance is currently rated 4.3 out of 5.0 Stars on Trustpilot, with over 16,000 5 Star reviews.

It is important to note that most of the AA Trustpilot reviews are for their car insurance and breakdown policies. The travel insurance reviews are mixed, but several do mention an easy claims process and reasonable prices.

The AA Defaqto ratings

The AA travel insurance policies are well-rated by Defaqto, with ratings such as:

  • 11 policies which were rated as 5 Stars by Defaqto
  • 1 policy which was rated as 4 Stars by Defaqto
  • 2 policies which were rated as 3 Stars by Defaqto

MoneySavingExpert.com’s main travel insurance page is titled ‘Cheap travel insurance’, so you would assume that it contains information on the best and cheapest travel insurance in the UK.

While the page does contain various helpful tips about saving money on your cover, there isn’t much information about specific insurance companies that are budget-friendly. The companies that are suggested are mentioned briefly, without much context about their customer service record or features of their policies.

MSE does have a built-in ‘cheap travel insurance finder’ tool, which works similarly to a typical price comparison tool as seen in the image below.

A screenshot of MoneySavingExpert's 'cheap travel insurance comparison tool'

This tool doesn’t offer exact prices but will give you a rough estimate of the prices you might expect to see. This list of prices will be based on:

  • Your age (provides a general age bracket like 18-35 and you can’t input an exact age)
  • If you need individual, couples, or family cover
  • If you need a single trip or annual policy

While this list can be a helpful starting point, it doesn’t account for things like your trip destination, exact age, or any medical conditions, which can all affect the price of your policy. MSE also states that they judge any policies included in this list solely on price, and don’t take customer feedback into account.

We would be wary of choosing any policies based solely on these lists, as it is always best to do some research and consider which insurance company will work best for your situation.

The ‘best’ place to get your travel insurance will depend on the type of cover that you are after and your own situation. Some people find it useful to use a comparison site or to speak to a travel insurance broker for advice about their policy.

Our partners Medical Travel Compared are specialists in travel insurance for pre-existing conditions and can quickly compare the best prices and policies from across the UK.

What medical conditions do you have to declare on travel insurance?

You will need to declare any medical conditions that you have experienced in the recent past when you apply for travel insurance. Some companies will ask more detailed questions than others about your health and medical history.

It can be useful to apply via a specialist website if you’re worried that your health will affect the policies that are available to you.

Martin Lewis’ website MoneySavingExpert.com has a full page dedicated to pre-existing conditions travel insurance, which contains more information on this topic. We explain these comments and advice in full detail in our guide ‘Martin Lewis Travel Insurance Pre-existing Medical Conditions’.

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There are also 10 need to knows about travel insurance on the Martin Lewis guide to travel insurance that are very useful hints and tips. Travel insurance policies do vary significantly from one insurer to another, so it’s not just the price that you need to think about.

1) Take out travel insurance as soon as you can once you’ve booked your trip to cover for cancellations due to illness or other unforeseen issues.

One of the key tips and main points on all of the Martin Lewis travel insurance guides is to make sure that buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday or travel. Unfortunately, lots of us leave taking out travel insurance to the last minute or we buy it just before we travel which significantly reduces the value of your policy.

One of the biggest elements of travel insurance is the cover and protection that it provides before you travel. Some of those events can include cancellation due to medical problems, redundancy, injury through an accident and even death in the family.

Most consumers don’t even consider these elements or events when booking their holidays and thinking about travel insurance. Roughly 50% of the value of a travel insurance policy is in the time leading up to when you are due to travel.

Martin Lewis travel insurance recommends ASAB which means ‘as soon as you’ve booked’ And this is a great rule to follow.

Note: This also applies for people who are booking holidays in the UK, and it’s not just for overseas travel.

2) Always check your travel insurance policy exclusions to see what you’re actually covered for (e.g. Alcohol related exclusions, extreme sports or pre-existing medical conditions).

Similar to most of the general insurance and personal insurance policies, travel insurance also comes with a standard set of exclusions that can vary from one insurer to another. You should check your policy documents and terms and conditions very carefully before you travel.

Here’s a list of standard exclusions and explanations:

Alcohol related accidents or injuries   

Alcohol related accidents or injuries are typical and standard exclusions on most travel insurance policies. This exclusion has applied for several years now since the increase of alcohol and drug related injuries from UK holidaymakers travelling abroad. If you are found to have alcohol or drugs in your system at the time of the accident or injury then your claim is likely to be refused.

Extreme sports and hazardous activities

Extreme sports and hazardous activities will also generally be excluded from most standard travel insurance policies, unless they offer specific activities (e.g. winter sports, sailing, diving, motorcycle riding etc.). You have a number of options if you intend to take part in extreme sports while you are on holiday, or for people who are travelling abroad specifically to take part in dangerous activities.

There are a number of organisations for certain activities to speak to if you intend to take part in sports overseas.

You can get advice from:

These organisations will be able to provide useful information which may be of use when looking for the right travel insurance cover.

You can also get advice and quotes from an extreme sports travel insurance specialist to get the right cover. For more information and a list of specialists you can visit the British Insurance Brokers Association website.

British Insurance Broker's Association (BIBA) Logo

What to do if you can’t find travel insurance

There are certain options and support mechanisms that are available to you if you’re struggling to find life insurance. One of the bodies to support consumers with life insurance is the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) which covers all insurance services in the United Kingdom.

BIBA provides a Find Insurance service that allows you to search for a recommended member who might be able to help you.

Telephone (Insurance Help)- 0370 950 1790

Telephone (General Enquiries) – 0344 7700 266

Emailenquiries@biba.org.uk

Pre-existing medical conditions

Pre-existing medical conditions will usually need to be covered with a specialist policy or will often be excluded from a standard travel insurance policy. You will need to check your policy wording carefully and you can seek advice from a medical conditions specialist.

Note: You must disclose your medical history when you take out a travel insurance policy, or your cover might be invalid. If you fail to tell your travel insurance provider about a specific pre-existing medical condition then your claims will usually be refused.

Medical Travel Compared logo

Medical Travel Compared

We are proud to partner with Medical Travel Compared to provide top quality travel insurance cover with great coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Medical Travel Compared is one of the UK’s leading pre-existing medical conditions travel insurance specialists. You can get a medical travel insurance quote online if you CLICK HERE.

Invalid travel documents

Invalid travel documents is also an unfortunate possibility when you travel overseas, such as an out of date passport, invalid visa documents or other travel documents that are required. You are responsible to ensure that you have the appropriate travel documents and that they are all valid (e.g. not out of date).

Note: You should always check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website to find out which documents are required and any rules for entry. Make sure that you allow sufficient time to be able to prepare yourself and any requirements for entry to your destination.

Policy excess

Policy excess is the amount that you would have to pay to your travel insurance provider in the event of a claim. Your excess should be explained to you on your policy documents and you might be able to select different excess levels, also there will be different excess levels for different claims.

Example: if you require hospital treatment while you are overseas and the cost is £2,000 for the procedure and medication, you might have to pay £300 excess before you claim will be paid.

Excesses can vary from as little as £100 up to as much as £500 or even £1,000 for bigger claims (e.g. repatriation back to the UK). You might also find that it’s not worth claiming small amounts because the excess will be more than the claim.

Private medical treatment or private hospitals

Private medical treatment or private hospitals may also be excluded as these are not typically included with standard travel insurance coverage. Some higher level travel insurance policies will include private hospital treatment, but you just need to check first.

You should always double check your documents to make sure that you are allowed to have treatment in your chosen hospital or facility. Some insurance companies will accept private hospital treatment as standard for certain procedures or medical emergencies, while others won’t.

Note: If you’re unhappy with a claim being refused or you feel that you have been treated unfairly then you should refer your claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for further advice.

3) It is extremely important to disclose any medical conditions that you are asked about on your application for travel insurance.

Dangerous or hazardous locations are often excluded from most standard travel insurance policies. You should always check to see whether your chosen destination is currently listed on the unsafe travel locations. You can check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website to get the latest destinations on the list.

It can be difficult to talk about your medical history and it’s not always something that you will want to disclose on a travel insurance application. It is important to be open and honest about your health to avoid any potential issues with claims.

If you fail to disclose a pre-existing medical condition on your application then your policy could be invalid and any claims might be refused. When you apply for travel insurance, you will be asked questions about your health, medical history and lifestyle.

If you want more information then you should visit our Martin Lewis pre existing travel insurance guide. Alternatively you can get a medical travel insurance quote online CLICK HERE.

4) Make sure that your travel insurance policy covers you to travel to your chosen destination, especially for annual or multi-trip policies.

There are two standard types of travel insurance policies which are ‘European’ and ‘Worldwide’ cover. The slightly confusing thing is that European travel insurance generally covers you to travel to a number of other non-European locations.

Annual travel insurance cover for non-European travel

If you buy annual travel insurance cover then you should make sure that it covers your potential destinations for the whole year. Most annual travel insurance policies can’t be changed once you’ve paid for them and started your cover.

It does seem slightly strange to call it ‘European’ travel insurance when in reality they cover a number of non-European destinations. Some of the locations that are often included outside of Europe include:

  • Egypt
  • Russia
  • Israel
  • Turkey
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia

You should check to make sure that any potential destinations are covered under the travel insurance policy you are looking at.

Another slightly strange anomaly with European travel insurance is that not all policies include Spain (including Canaries and Balearic Islands) as standard. These can often be added at an extra cost but this may make the cover less cost-effective.

Some of the best European travel insurance policies include:

  • Allianz
  • Insure and Go
  • AIG

5) Is it worth getting your free EHIC or GHIC to help you with medical treatment costs overseas and do they replace the need for travel insurance?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and the new version which is the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) are free for UK residents. The GHIC came in to operation from the 1st January 2021, and it gives you access to treatment from state-run medical facilities and hospitals in the European Union (EU).

The main feature of the GHIC is that it provides the holder with treatment at the same cost as what national residents would pay. Most other European countries don’t operate the same National Health Service (NHS) as in the UK, so there will often be a charge or fee for treatment.

Does an EHIC or GHIC replace the need for travel insurance?

NO – You should always take out travel insurance as well as having the EHIC or GHIC. Martin Lewis travel insurance guides also recommend that you should always have travel insurance as well as either of these cards.

Travel insurance covers over EHIC and GHIC:

  • Lost or stolen property
  • Cancellations and curtailment
  • Personal liability
  • Holiday disruption and delays
  • Repatriation back to the UK
  • Sports injuries and accident liability

What does the EHIC or GHIC do if I’ve got travel insurance?

You might wonder whether it’s actually worth getting a card if you’ve travel insurance, and that’s a good question. The only benefit of the EHIC or GHIC if you’ve got travel insurance is that it might mean that you don’t have to pay any excess for medical claims.


What does the EHIC or GHIC do if I’ve got travel insurance?

The older style EHIC is no longer available after the 1st January 2021 and you would automatically receive a GHIC in its place. The GHIC is free and can be obtained via the NHS website (see below).

Note: There are websites that claim to offer GHIC for a fee (usually £30-40) which should be avoided as recommended quite rightly on the Martin Lewis travel insurance guides.

6) How many times do I need to travel overseas to consider annual travel insurance to make it worthwhile and cost-effective?

As a general rule of thumb from the advice in the Martin Lewis travel insurance guides, it is suggested that 2 or more trips in a 12 month period is worth considering annual cover. As most travel insurance providers will recommend, annual travel insurance is more cost-effective and easier than buying two or more individual policies.

There are many other considerations when buying annual travel insurance, such as:

  • Make sure that it covers all of your destinations
  • If you’re taking part in sports or activities then make sure that they are included and covered
  • Longer trips might not be covered so check limits on travel times
  • Short holidays or weekend breaks might be cheaper to cover individually
  • Cruise holidays may not be covered on an annual policy (optional add-on usually)

You might also have a limit on your annual travel insurance policy for the maximum amount of time you are allowed to travel overseas in a year. Some limits might be as low as 2 weeks or can go up to as high as 3 months in some cases, depending on your insurance provider.

People looking for specialist travel insurance policies such as working abroad, backpacking, travelling for long periods, or gap years. There are specific policies and providers that are ideal for these types of travel.

7) Do you already have travel insurance with your bank account or credit card company and is that enough?

It’s fairly common in recent times for bank or credit card customers to get travel insurance with certain account types. If you’re not sure whether any of your accounts have this benefit then you should definitely check, because you might already have travel insurance.

One of the big points that isn’t really mentioned in the Martin Lewis travel insurance guide is that these policies can have exclusions, and might not be the level of cover that you are looking for, such as:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Extreme Sports (e.g. winter sports, sailing, diving etc.)
  • USA and Canada
  • Dangerous destinations
  • Cruises

 Martin Lewis travel insurance guides also points out that there is another benefit that is offered on some credit cards, which is called ‘travel accident insurance’. This is another type of cover completely that covers accidents when travelling, but it isn’t offered much with more modern card facilities.

8) Get winter sports cover for skiing and snowboarding holidays.

This is a subject that we know a lot about being a lifelong skier and winter sports fanatic, so we’ve had lots of experience in this area. Lots of travel insurance policies offer winter sports cover either as a separate policy or can be added as a benefit.

People who take part in winter sports will be aware of the risks involved as well as the other issues, such as loss or theft of equipment.

Main risks for winter sports and activities:

  • Accidents and injuries can be a common issue for people who take part in winter sports, and that can be for any level of experience. Some of the most common injuries can be things like broken bones and head injuries. If you need treatment in the mountains and especially if you need to be rescued off the mountain by helicopter.
  • Theft, loss and damage of ski equipment is also common when in the mountains and especially in the past 10 years, where theft has unfortunately become part of winter holiday risks. Ski equipment can be extremely expensive to replace, even if it is rented from a local ski shop. Replacing ski equipment can more than double the cost of your already costly ski holiday.
  • Public liability insurance (e.g. injuring another person in an accident or damaging another person’s equipment) can also be vital cover because accidents can happen and it might not be your fault at all. The mountains can be a very dangerous place and especially in adverse weather conditions, so an unintentional or unavoidable accident might happen.
  • Adverse weather conditions can also cause major disruptions or mean that your holiday might be significantly impacted. Some winter sports travel insurance policies will cover you for mountain closures due to severe weather problems.

Note: as it has been pointed out by Martin Lewis, most winter sports travel insurance policies won’t cover you for skiing or snowboarding off-piste (unless you are accompanied by a qualified guide).

9) Will I need specialist travel insurance if I am going on a cruise?

The number of people taking cruise holidays dramatically fell during COVID, the overall figure dropped to under the 5 million in 2021. Globally, these figures have partially recovered to around 20 million cruise holiday travellers in 2022.

One of the common mistakes that people make with cruise holidays, is assuming that their travel insurance covers them for this type of trip. Unfortunately, most traditional travel insurance policies don’t fully cover cruise holidays as standard. You might be lucky and get some cover on your standard travel insurance policy but some critical elements will usually be missing, such as:

  • Illness (confined to cabin) e.g. virus or outbreak of diseases
  • Excursions that were not used or unavailable
  • Change to your cruise schedule
  • Missing the ship departure

All of these can be covered with a standard travel insurance policy add on benefit, and this is usually not too expensive. There are also specialist travel insurance policies and providers that specifically tailor their cover for cruise holidays.

Note: For a specific cruise holiday travel insurance policy quote you can get a quote online CLICK HERE.

10) How does cancellation cover work and how do I make a claim if I’m having problems with my tour operator or airline?

Most traditional and standard travel insurance policies will cover you for cancellation and curtailment of your holiday for a number of reasons. However, even if you have the highest level of cover from the very best travel insurance provider, you’ll still have to follow a certain procedure to make a claim for cancellations.

One of the biggest potential issues with climbing for cancellation on a travel insurance policy, is the clause about ‘recoverable costs’. This means that your travel insurance policy will only cover you for costs that cannot be recovered from your tour operator or airline first.

As it recommends on the Martin Lewis travel insurance guide, you’ll need to speak to your tour operator and airline first to see what compensation they would offer or what costs they would reimburse. This is a fairly normal procedure with any travel plans that are cancelled or changed, and simply means that you would need to provide proof or evidence that you followed the correct procedure.

A standard ‘recoverable costs’ clause would usually look like this:

In the event of cancellation of your holiday or travel you should follow some simple steps before you make a claim.

  • First you should contact your tour operator to find out what their refund policy is, and any potential compensation they will provide (including credit notes and vouchers)
  • Any trips that have been booked by using a credit card or debit card, you should firstly contact the card provider to find out what cover they offer, and any compensation they might provide.

If you have a complaint about your travel insurance policy or if you’re not happy with the outcome of a claim, then you can raise a complaint with the Financial Ombudsmen Service (FOS).

All travel insurance policies are covered by the same regulators and you will automatically have a level of protection built in. You should firstly raise your complaint with your travel insurance provider, and then you can escalate your complaint to the FOS if you’re unhappy with the outcome.

Common travel insurance complaints:

  • Unclear terms and conditions (hidden small print)
  • Unpaid or pay out shortfalls on claims
  • Unfair fees or charges
  • Poor service
  • Exclusions not explained properly

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Making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an impartial and free service for financial services customers in the UK. This service can be used to settle any disputes between life insurance companies and their customers in the United Kingdom. If they feel that you have suffered any financial loss as a result of your life insurance policy, then they may rule for compensation to be awarded.

Telephone – 0800 023 4567 (or 0300 123 9123)

Telephone (outside the UK) – 0207 964 0500

Emailcomplaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Travel insurance is there to protect you and your family, so you shouldn’t feel bad if you need to claim on it. Often, people are put off claiming on their travel insurance because of unclear wording, complicated claims processes, high excesses, or just can’t be bothered with the hassle.

There are several simple steps that you should follow if you need to make a claim on your travel insurance policy.

  • Submit your claim form and contact your insurance provider as soon as you can
  • Submit your claim form and contact your insurance provider as soon as you can to avoid any unnecessary questions or potential issues. If you fail to notify your insurance company of your claim in a certain timeframe (usually 1 or 2 weeks), then you might risk missing the claim window that is allowed under your policy terms and conditions, this includes any police reports and crime reference numbers.


  • Get a crime reference number (CRN) from the local police
  • Get a crime reference number (CRN) from the local police for any theft or damage to possessions. This can be a painful process and might seem like a waste of your time, especially if you’re on holiday and you want to make the most of your time abroad. Submitting an incident report to the police can be the difference between a valid and an invalid claim on your travel insurance policy. Often this needs to be done within 24 or 48 hours of the incident happening.


  • Speak to your insurer and get them to authorise treatment before you have it
  • Speak to your insurer and get them to authorise treatment before you have it which can be extremely difficult, but can make a huge difference. Most travel insurance policies will require that you contact them before you receive treatment to make sure that it is in an approved facility or hospital and that the procedure is valid. This can be difficult as well, especially if you are in significant pain or discomfort.


  • Keep a log of costs and receipts
  • Keep a log of costs and receipts for any payments to make sure that you have a full audit trail of anything you have paid for. Most travel insurance policies will want proof or evidence for any costs that you have incurred that you are claiming for. These can include hotel costs, taxis, medications or medical treatments.

    You also have the option to make a complaint to your insurance provider and escalate your complaint to the FOS (see above), if you feel that you are being treated unfairly.

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    What does Martin Lewis say about travel insurance?

    Martin Lewis provides lots of guidance for holidaymakers who are searching for the best deals on their travel insurance. One of the biggest recommendations from Martin Lewis travel insurance advice is ‘ASAB’ (As Soon As you Book), which basically translates to suggesting that you should buy your travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday.

    In an interview on This Morning talking to Martin Lewis about travel insurance, he claims that he is constantly being asked by consumers, “what can I do if I’ve been diagnosed with a medical problem and I can’t go on holiday because my travel company won’t give me a refund?”. According to Martin Lewis travel insurance recommendations, 50% of the value of your travel insurance cover is before you are due to travel.

    Top reasons for holiday cancellations before travelling:

    • Sickness or illness
    • Accidents causing an injury
    • Emergency at home
    • Family emergency
    • Work commitments
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    Martin Lewis Travel Insurance - iam|INSURED

    Is it worth taking out travel insurance?

    Almost all financial experts such as Martin Lewis and citizensadvice.org.uk, strongly recommend that you take out a travel insurance policy and that you do it quickly. The financial and emotional impact of not having travel insurance while overseas can be catastrophic if you require medical treatment or if you are victim of a crime.

    The cost of travel insurance is generally affordable for most holidaymakers and you should factor this in to the cost of your holiday. Risking not having travel insurance and then having a medical emergency when you are overseas, especially in certain destinations, can cost you thousands.

    What does travel insurance cover?

    Most travel insurance policies will provide the same core elements such as medical emergencies, repatriation, legal expenses, loss, theft or damage to personal belongings, and cancellation or curtailment of your trip. The types and levels of cover can vary dramatically from one policy to another so you should make sure that you’re getting the cover that you want and that you need.

    Also, some travel insurance policies won’t cover you for certain destinations, activities or types of holidays, such as:

    • Cruise holidays
    • Winter sports
    • Worldwide travel
    • Pre-existing medical conditions

    Note: Travel insurance will generally exclude any accident or injury that has happened whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    What is classed as a pre-existing medical condition for travel insurance?

    According to one of the UK’s top travel insurance providers, Staysure clearly states that ‘you must declare ALL pre-existing medical conditions when your take out a travel insurance policy’. Witholding any information about your health or medical history could expose you to the risks of rendering your cover invalid and therefore class any claims as ‘null and void’.

    Any of the following pre-existing conditions must always be disclosed on your travel insurance application:

    • Cardiovascular conditions (e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease etc.)
    • Cancer(s)
    • Any Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

    You should also let your travel insurance provider know about any of the following medical investigations, tests or treatments in the past two years:

    • Symptoms (whether or not you have consulted a doctor)
    • Medication or treatments
    • Scans or investigations
    • Medical appointments and check-ups
    • Surgery
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    How much should I spend on travel insurance?

    According to a recent travel insurance survey carried out by Forbes Advisor’s Analysis (Average cost of travel insurance 2023), the average cost of travel insurance is between 5% and 6% of the cost of your trip.

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